Last modified February 11, 2019


The Giant Swarm App Catalog refers to a set of features and concepts that allow you to browse, install and manage the configurations of apps (such as prometheus) from a single place; the Control Plane.

Through this we are also providing you a list of curated Managed Apps. In the near future you might also see Apps provided by our partners.

These collections of Apps are grouped in App Catalogs, which in turn are browseable through our web interface.

So to clarify a bit: the Giant Swarm App Catalog refers to the whole feature, and an App Catalog is a collection of Apps.

We’ll provide some App Catalogs, but so will our partners, and you too can set up your own internal catalog(s) for your whole company to use.

What makes up the Giant Swarm App Catalog?

Technically the Giant Swarm App Catalog is implemented as a set of operators running on your Control Plane and tenant clusters. These operators watch various Custom Resources, some created by us, and others created by you, which make up the desired state of the Giant Swarm App Catalog.

For example, this “App” Custom Resource indicates that you want Instana installed on a specific tenant cluster.

kind: App
  name: "instana-agent"
  namespace: "x7jwz"
  labels: "1.0.0"
  catalog: "community"
  name: "instana-agent"
  namespace: "instana-agent"
  version: "1.0.6"
      name: "x7jwz-kubeconfig"
      namespace: "x7jwz"
      name: "instana-agent-user-values"
      namespace: "x7jwz"

Below you can see a high level overview of the components and resources that work together to enable the features of the Giant Swarm App Catalog:


What kind of App Catalogs are there?

By default you will have the Incubator and the Community App Catalogs installed on your Control Planes.

The Giant Swarm Incubator App Catalog

The Giant Swarm Incubator App Catalog contains apps that we would like to provide as a Managed App at some point in the future. When you install an app from the Giant Swarm Incubator App Catalog you are being brave and helping us get things right before we offer the SLA on that app.

Feedback and collaboration are valued here! There is no guarantee or SLA on these apps, but we offer support on a best-effort basis.

The Giant Swarm Managed App Catalog and Managed Apps

Managed Apps are provided by Giant Swarm and have an SLA associated with them. When you install one of our Managed Apps, we make sure that it stays running and even get paged if something goes wrong.

Managed Apps can be found in the Giant Swarm Managed App Catalog. In our web interface they are indicated by the orange “Managed” badge.

Details on the SLA are still being discussed and fleshed out, however watch this space for a link to a more in depth explanation of our SLA on our Managed Apps.

The Helm Stable App Catalog

The Helm Stable App Catalog contains all the Apps you’d find in the upstream helm stable repository. There is no guarantee or SLA here. Install Apps from this catalog at your own risk.

Installing your own App Catalog

It’s possible to create your own App Catalog. This is useful if you want to make a set of Apps available to your company. Currently there is no API endpoint or way to add the App Catalog yourself, but once you’ve created the necessary repo, we can add it to your installation upon request.

What are Helm Chart Repositories?

The App Catalog CR is an abstraction, it’s purpose is to point to something that contains a list of Apps and the storage location of where to get those Apps.

Currently the only supported format for App Catalogs are Helm Chart Repositories, however in the future we might support other ways of offering your Apps to the Giant Swarm App Catalog.

We’ve created some automation and best practices around hosting a Helm Chart Repository on Github, see for more information.

How can I interact with the Giant Swarm App Catalog?

You can interact with the Giant Swarm App Catalog through our API and our web interface.

Support for the App Catalog is coming to our CLI (gsctl) next.

Lastly, at the end of the day, what our interfaces do, is create (or update) a set of Custom Resources on your Control Plane.

Our intention is to eventually grant you full access to the Control Plane API, and all of these resources, so that you can interact with them using kubectl (think kubectl create app), and automate them just as you have been automating other parts of your stack.