Sharing ArgoCD between teams


Currently, there’s no easy way to assign operational responsibility for applications managed by the Project Syn ArgoCD instance to different teams. Additionally, a team currently can’t pause ArgoCD’s auto sync for their applications without pausing auto sync for the ArgoCD root application.


  • We can assign operational responsibility per Project Syn-managed ArgoCD application (per component instance)

  • Teams can manage their ArgoCD applications on a cluster without interfering with other teams' ArgoCD applications


  • Allow deploying arbitrary applications through the Project Syn ArgoCD instance

  • Create a well-defined structure for per-team configurations in the Project Syn tenant repository

  • Partial cluster catalog compilation to allow isolated catalog updates for a single team’s applications


Add team label to ArgoCD apps

We can keep the current setup (one ArgoCD instance with one root application ("app of apps")) and inject additional information in the form of labels on the ArgoCD applications.

This approach can easily be tested by injecting suitable application labels manually in Commodore components. Additionally, engineering streamlined support for this approach is straightforward and can be done in the argocd component library and the configuration hierarchy. A potential implementation would be to provide a mapping of component instance names to team names in the configuration hierarchy. This would enable the component library to lookup the value for the team label with minimal requirements.

However, this approach doesn’t address the issue that it’s currently not possible to pause ArgoCD auto sync without pausing auto sync for the global root app.

Create separate ArgoCD project and root application per team

The next option is to adjust the Project Syn-managed ArgoCD to support an ArgoCD Project and root app per team. This approach will need more extensive engineering, since a lot of Project Syn tooling (at least Steward, component argocd and the component template) currently assumes that there’s exactly one ArgoCD project and root application for all applications managed through Project Syn.

With this approach, the team responsible for the cluster itself would continue using the current ArgoCD project (syn) and root application (root). This team can bootstrap ArgoCD projects and root applications for any other teams who deploy applications to the cluster through Project Syn.

Each team’s root application will be managed independently from the default root application (root). The bootstrap process for the additional root applications should be fully automated through some parameter in the configuration hierarchy.

To support this approach, the argocd component library needs to be made "team-aware" (similar to the first alternative). Instead of using the component instance to team mapping to add labels to each ArgoCD application, the component library can ensure the correct ArgoCD project is configured for each application.

To ensure each team’s applications are independent, support for storing application definitions in multiple paths in the catalog repository will be required. To do so, each component’s kapitan.compile entry for the ArgoCD application needs to be adjusted to write the application manifest into a well-defined path matching the owning team’s ArgoCD project. Most likely, this change can be implemented globally in the component template.

Create separate ArgoCD instance per team

The final option would be to bootstrap a separate ArgoCD instance per additional team managing a part of the applications on a cluster. The primary Project Syn ArgoCD instance (in namespace syn) would be assigned to the primary team which operates the cluster itself. This team would then bootstrap an additional ArgoCD instance for each other team who manages a number of applications on the cluster through Project Syn.

This approach has similar implications to the previous approach in regards of required engineering. However, this approach requires more cluster resources than just adding a separate ArgoCD project and root app to the existing Project Syn ArgoCD instance.


We’ve decided to go with creating a separate ArgoCD project and root application per team.


First off, just adding a team label to each ArgoCD application doesn’t fully address the goal of allowing teams to autonomously manage their ArgoCD applications.

Overall, we think that creating a separate ArgoCD project and root application per team strikes a good balance between separation and resource usage. There’s not much to gain by operating multiple ArgoCD instances with a single project and root application each for configurations which are sourced from the same Git repository.

The current decision doesn’t introduce partial catalog compilations to allow a team to make changes without having to worry about other unrelated changes getting rolled out through the same catalog compilation. However, the chosen approach could easily be extended to allow partial catalog compilations in the future. Additionally, the approach could be extended to allow the Project Syn ArgoCD instance to deploy manifests from multiple different catalog repositories.