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Key Concepts📜

Big Bang📜

Big Bang is a declarative, continuous delivery tool for core DoD hardened and approved packages into a Kubernetes cluster. Big Bang follows a GitOps approach to configuration management, using Flux v2 to reconcile Git with the cluster. Environments (e.g. dev, prod) and packages (e.g. istio) can be fully configured to suit the deployment needs.

Big Bang Components📜

Big Bang is made of several components that operate together. These include a base Kustomize, a Helm chart, packages, and an environment. The environment and base Kustomize are used together to deploy the Big Bang configuration and Helm chart. The Helm chart is then used to facilitate deployment of the packages.

Flux v2📜

Flux v2 is the tool used by Big Bang to reconcile sources of configuration in Git with actual code deployment. Flux includes resources to reconcile Git repositories, Kustomizations to Kubernetes manifests, and Helm Chart releases. Flux automatically monitors changes in these items and reconciles with the Kubernetes cluster.


GitOps is a way to declaratively manage a Kubernetes cluster using a single source of truth in Git. All Kubernetes configuration is stored in Git. And, a tool (e.g. Flux) is used to automatically monitor and reconcile the configuration with the running Kubernetes cluster. This allows all changes to the cluster to be version controlled and pipelined.


SOPS is a way to encrypt values in YAML, JSON, ENV, INI, or BINARY files so that sensitive data can be securely shared. Big Bang uses SOPS to encrypt pull secrets, certificates, and other secrets so that it can be stored into the Git repository securely. Big Bang (via Flux) uses the private key, stored in a secure area (e.g. KMS) to decrypt the secrets and deploy them into the cluster for use.


Kustomize is a tool that assists with configuration management for Kubernetes manifest files. It uses overlays and patching to customize a base set of manifests for deployment. Big Bang uses Kustomize to setup the environment (e.g. dev, prod) configuration.


Helm is a tool that assists with configuration management for Kubernetes manifest files. It uses charts, which includes templates and values, to create a set of manifests for deployment. Big Bang uses Helm charts to deploy all of its packages.


The following packages are included in a default deployment of Big Bang:

Name Description Helm Chart Repo
Istio Service Mesh Link
Cluster Auditor Link
Open Policy Agent Gatekeeper Policy Management Link
Elastic Cloud on Kubernetes (ECK) Logging; Incl. Elasticsearch & Kibana Link
Prometheus and Grafana Monitoring Link
Twistlock Security Scanning Link

In addition, the following packages can be added onto the default deployment:

Name Description Helm Chart Repo
Argo CD Continuous Delivery Link
Auth Service Single Sign On Link


The diagram below shows a typical deployment of Big Bang into a Kubernetes cluster. The items in blue require user interaction. The remaining items are automated by Big Bang.


  1. The user must setup an encryption key pair for SOPS and store the private key securely (e.g. KMS). This should NOT be stored in Git.
  2. The user should then configure Big Bang values and secrets for the targeted Kubernetes cluster.
  3. All secrets should be encrypted with SOPS to protect them.
  4. Once all of the configuration has been completed, it must be pushed to a Git repository.


  1. With everything in Git, the user can deploy BigBang using a Kubernetes manifest.
  2. The manifest holds two Flux resources, one pointing to the Git repository holding the custom environment, and one telling Flux to run Kustomize on a targeted folder within the repo.
  3. The repository is reconciled first, pulling the files from Git.
  4. Next, Kustomize is run on the environment configuration.
    1. The Kustomize files use Big Bang’s Git repo as a base before applying overlays and patches for the configuration.
    2. Flux uses SOPS to decrypt any secrets before deploying the manifests.
    3. After completing the Kustomization process, Flux deploys two ConfigMaps, two Secrets, and flux resources for Big Bang.
  5. Big Bang’s flux resources include a Git repository holding the Helm chart and a Helm Release resource that tells Flux how to deploy the Helm chart.
  6. The repository is reconciled first, pulling the Helm chart from Git.
  7. The Helm Release will check for the Helm chart and the Secrets / ConfigMaps deployed before performing a Helm install.
  8. Once the Helm release deploys the Helm chart for Big Bang, each package that is enabled will have a Flux Git Repository and Helm Release resource deployed.
  9. All of the package Git repositories containing Helm charts will be pulled so that Flux can reconcile dependencies.
  10. Each package’s Helm Release has dependencies built in. Flux will reconcile these dependencies and deploy the Helm chart for the package once all of the dependencies are ready.
  11. Once all of the packages are ready, Big Bang will monitor Git periodically for changes and reconcile using the methods above.


graph TD
    style SetupSOPS fill:#00758f
    style CustomSecrets fill:#00758f
    style CustomVals fill:#00758f
    style EncryptSecrets fill:#00758f
    style PushToGit fill:#00758f
    style DeployMan fill:#00758f

    SetupSOPS(Setup SOPS keys) --> EncryptSecrets(Encrypt secrets)
    SetupSOPS --> CustomVals(Customize values)
    CustomSecrets(Customize secrets) --> EncryptSecrets
    CustomVals --> PushToGit(Push customization to Git)
    EncryptSecrets --> PushToGit
    PushToGit --> DeployMan(Deploy BigBang Manifest)

    DeployMan --> KustResEnv[[Deploy Environment Kustomization Resource]]
    KustResEnv --> HelmResBB[[Deploy Big Bang Helm Release Resource]]
    DeployMan --> GitResEnv[[Deploy Environment Git Repository Resource]]
    KustResEnv --> GitResBB[[Deploy Big Bang Git Repository Resource]]
    KustResEnv --> SOPS

    GitResEnv --> PullEnv[[Pull environment]]
    PullEnv --> SOPS[[SOPS Decrypt secrets]]
    SOPS --> DeployVals[[Deploy ConfigMap and Secrets]]

    GitResBB --> PullBB[[Pull Big Bang Helm Chart]]
    PullBB --> DeployBB[[Deploy Big Bang Helm Chart]]
    HelmResBB --> DeployBB
    DeployVals --> DeployBB

    DeployBB --> PackGit[[Deploy Package Git Repository Resources]]
    PackGit --> PackPull[[Pull Package Helm Charts]]
    PackPull --> PackDep[[Resolve Package Dependencies]]
    PackDep --> PackReady{Package Ready?}
    PackReady --Yes--> PackDeploy[[Deploy Package w/ Helm Chart]]
    PackReady --No--> PackDep

Last update: 2023-10-02 by Christopher O'Connell