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How to Set Up Argo Workflows on Kubernetes


How to Set Up Argo Workflows on Kubernetes

Argo Workflows is an open source project that enables the orchestration of multiple Kubernetes jobs. Argo Workflows is implemented as a Kubernetes custom resource definition (CRD), which means it is native to the Kubernetes ecosystem and can run on any Kubernetes cluster.

Workflows are set steps by which individual jobs are executed. You can use Argo Workflows for various purposes, such as data processing, machine learning, CI/CD, and infrastructure automation.

In this article, you will set up Argo Workflows on a Kubernetes cluster and use available templates to create a Workflow to manage in a Kubernetes cluster.

Argo Workflows Key Concepts

As I mentioned above, Argo Workflows is implemented as a Kubernetes custom resource definition (CRD) by its own controller. Argo Workflows is made up of two main concepts: workflow and Template.


A workflow is a central resource in Argo Workflows that defines the workflow to be executed and stores the workflow’s state.

A workflow consists of a specification that contains an entrypoint and a list of templates.

A workflow can model complex logic using directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) or steps to capture the dependencies or sequences between the templates.


A template is a core concept in Argo Workflows that defines the instructions to execute in a workflow step. A template can be one of the following types:

  • Container: Allows you to be able to define the container. Here is an example:
  - name: hello-world
      image: alpine:latest
      command: [sh, -c]
      args: ["echo hello world"]
  • Script: A template that runs a script in a container image. This is similar to the container type, but allows you to write the script inline instead of using a separate file. Here is an example:
  - name: factorial
      - name: num
      image: python:alpine 3.6
      command: [python]
      source: |
        def factorial(n):
          if n == 0:
            return 1
            return n * factorial(n-1)
  • Resource: This template allows direct manipulation of cluster resources. It can be used for operations such as retrieval, creation, modification, or deletion, including GET, CREATE, APPLY, PATCH, REPLACE, or DELETE requests. Here is an example:
  - name: create-configmap
      action: create
      manifest: |
        apiVersion: v1
        kind: ConfigMap
          name: my-config
          foo: bar
          hello: world
  • DAG: This template defines a directed acyclic graph of other templates. In this example, the DAG has three tasks: A, B, and C. Task A runs first, then tasks B and C run in parallel. Here is an example:
  - name: my-dag
      - name: A
        template: echo
          parameters: [{name: message, value: A}]
      - name: B
        dependencies: [A]
        template: echo
          parameters: [{name: message, value: B}]
      - name: C
        dependencies: [A]
        template: echo
          parameters: [{name: message, value: C}]

Now, let’s get started.


To follow this guide, make sure you have the following:

Step 1 – Install Argo Workflows

  1. Using Kubectl, create a namespace for Argo Workflows to segregate your kubernetes cluster resources.
$ kubectl create namespace argo
  1. Install the latest Argo Workflows release file from Argo Workflows github page.
$ kubectl apply -n argo -f https://github.com/argoproj/argo-workflows/releases/download/v<VERSION>/install.yaml

The version of Argo Workflows used in this guide is v3.5.0.

  1. Check if all the resources have been installed correctly.
$ kubectl get all -n argo


NAME                                      READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
pod/workflow-controller-7f8c9f8f5-9qj2l   1/1     Running   0          2m
pod/argo-server-6f8f9c9f8f-6kx4d          1/1     Running   0          2m

NAME                                  TYPE        CLUSTER-IP      EXTERNAL-IP   PORT(S)    AGE
service/argo-server                   ClusterIP    <none>        2746/TCP   2m
service/workflow-controller-metrics   ClusterIP    <none>        9090/TCP   2m

NAME                                 READY   UP-TO-DATE   AVAILABLE   AGE
deployment.apps/workflow-controller   1/1     1            1           3m05s
deployment.apps/argo-server           1/1     1            1           3m07s

NAME                                            DESIRED   CURRENT   READY   AGE
replicaset.apps/workflow-controller-7f8c9f8f5   1         1         1       3m33s
replicaset.apps/argo-server-6f8f9c9f8f          1         1         1       2m33s

Step 2 – Start the Argo UI for Monitoring

Argo Server has a graphical user interface that you can use to manage and monitor your Kubernetes cluster Workflows.

In this guide, you will bypass the authentication process of requesting a token to access the Argo web interface because it cannot be accessed publicly. This is called the Server Authentication mode, although you can use the other mode, Client Authentication, which requires that you request a token to be able to access the web interface.

  1. Change the authentication mode to Server Authentication.
$ kubectl patch deployment \
  argo-server \
  --namespace argo \
  --type="json" \
  -p='[{"op": "replace", "path": "/spec/template/spec/containers/0/args", "value": [


deployment.apps/argo-server patched

Note that this mode is not recommended for production environments, as it creates a significant security risks. A more secure option is to use the client authentication mode, which require clients to provide their Kubernetes bearer token.

  1. Configure Kubernetes Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) to grant Argo Admin-level permissions for managing resources within the argo namespace.
$ kubectl create rolebinding argo-default-admin --clusterrole=admin --serviceaccount=argo:default -n argo
  1. Forward the Argo server web interface port with kubectl port-forward.
$ kubectl -n argo port-forward deployment/argo-server 2746:2746

Using a browser like Chrome, visit the IP Address http://localhost:2746.


Create a New Workflow

You can use a YAML manifest to define Agro Workflows and apply to your Kubernetes cluster.

  1. Create a new Workflow file.
Nano argo-workflow.yaml
  1. Add the following to the file:
apiVersion: argoproj.io/v1alpha1
kind: Workflow
    name: demo-workflow
    entrypoint: main
    - name: main
        image: busybox
        command: ["/bin/sh"]
        args: ["-c", "echo 'The first step of the Workflow'"]

Here is a quick breakdown of the components of the file:

  • entrypoint specifies the entry point for the workflow, which is defined as main.
  • templates contains a list of templates, which define the steps or tasks within the workflow.
  • name is the name of the template, which is set as main.
  • container specifies a container-based step within the workflow.
  • image specifies the Docker image to use for the container, set here as busybox.
  • command specifies the command to be executed inside the container, set as ["/bin/sh"].
  • args specifies the arguments to be passed to the command inside the container, set as ["-c", "echo 'The first step of the Workflow'"]. This command will run echo to print “The first step of the Workflow”.
  1. Apply the Workflow to your cluster:
$ kubectl -n argo create -f argo-workflow.yaml

Here’s the output:

workflow.argoproj.io/hello-world-nb42c created

How to Manage Argo Workflows

  1. To list all workflows within the argo namespace, do the following:
$ kubectl -n argo get wf

Here’s the output:

NAME                      STATUS        AGE     MESSAGE
demo-workflow             Succeeded     4m23s  
  1. To see the pod logs for your Workflow, do the following:
$ kubectl -n argo logs demo-workflow

Here’s the output:

This template is the first step of the Workflow
time="2024-02-13T19:56:54.629Z" level=info msg="sub-process exited" argo=true error="<nil>"
  1. To delete a workflow, do this:
$ kubectl -n argo delete wf workflow-name
  1. To suspend or resume a workflow, do this:
$ kubectl -n argo suspend wf workflow-name
$ kubectl -n argo resume wf workflow-name
  1. To submit a workflow using the Argo CLI, do this:
$ argo submit -n argo workflow.yaml

You can learn more about Argo Workflows on their official documentation.


You have now explored Argo Workflows and successfully set it up. This powerful tool enables you to create logic using DAGs, or individual steps, helping you execute various tasks through different templates. You can also interact with your workflows and keep track of their progress by utilizing tools like Argo CLI, Argo UI, and Argo Events.

By using Argo Workflows, you can take advantage of Kubernetes scalability and flexibility to ensure reliable execution of tasks.

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