The Akuity Platform automates the deployment of the upstream version of Argo CD, but packages it in a unique hybrid architecture that significantly improves performance and scalability. There are two common approaches to deploying Argo CD: Argo CD in a control plane cluster that manages multiple workload clusters or Argo CD in each workload cluster. Argo CD in a control plane cluster provides the better experience for developers by serving as a single pane of glass for the whole company infrastructure. However, it requires some security compromises and introduces management and scalability challenges. One of the unique innovations of the Akuity Platform is that it separates Argo CD’s data plane from the control plane and allows to get the best of both worlds.
Control Plane vs. Data Plane
The Akuity Platform hosts and manages Argo CD frontend - the control plane that enables developers to manage the desired state of their applications and gain visibility into the current state of managed infrastructure. Argo CD Application Controller, however, is running inside of the managed workload clusters and seamlessly connected back to the control plane by the Akuity Agent.
This separation allows to move the most critical Argo CD component closer to the infrastructure it manages and provides numerous benefits:
- Improved security. The Argo CD controller is running inside of the managed cluster, so no external cluster access is required. You can leverage the Akuity Platform to manage private clusters without exposing Kubernetes API server.
- Less Management Burden. No cluster access means no cluster credentials. Administrators no longer need to store and maintain cluster credentials in Argo CD settings and deal with revoked access tokens.
- Improved Scalability. Higher scalability is achieved by allowing the work of the controller to be distributed and delegated to individual clusters.
- Less Networking Costs. With the controller running in the managed cluster the heavy Kubernetes resource processing happens in-cluster instead of over the network. Only the relevant pieces of metadata presented in the Argo CD UI are sent over the network. In our real-world testing, this has been shown to reduce traffic consumption by as much as 80%.
To summarize, the Akuity Platform provides a single Argo CD interface for managing infrastructure across many clusters, without the compromises on security or scalability that would typically be required.