Deploy Manifests Separately using Apply Step

Updated 1 month ago by Michael Cretzman

By default, the Harness Kubernetes Rolling, Canary, and Blue Green steps will deploy all of the resources you have set up in the Service Definition Manifests section.

In some cases, you might have resources in Manifests that you do not want to deploy as part of the main deployment, but want to apply as another step in the stage.

For example, you might want to deploy an additional resource only after Harness has verified the deployment of the main resources in the Manifests section.

CD stages include an Apply step that allows you to deploy any resource you have set up in the Manifests section.

In this topic:

Before You Begin

What Kubernetes Workloads Can I Include?

The ​Apply Step can deploy all workload types, including Jobs.

All workloads deployed by the Apply step are managed workloads. Managed workloads are tracked until steady state is reached.

The Apply Step is primarily used for deploying Jobs controllers, but it can be used for other resources. Typically, when you want to deploy multiple workloads (Deployment, StatefulSet, and DaemonSet) you will use separate stages for each.

Other Kubernetes steps, such as Rolling, are limited to specific workload types.

For a detailed list of what Kubernetes workloads you can deploy in Harness, see What Can I Deploy in Kubernetes?.

Rolling vs Apply

The following table lists the differences between the Rolling Deployment step (default in a Rolling strategy) and the Apply step (which may be used with any strategy).



Rolling Deployment step



Apply step



Step 1: Skip a Specific Workload

By default, when you run a CD Pipeline, Harness will use all of the manifests in the Manifests section, and deploy all of its workloads.

To avoid having a specific workload deployed as part of the standard deployment, you add the Harness comment  # to the top of the file.

This comment instructs Harness to ignore this manifest. Later, you will use the Apply Step to deploy this manifest.

For example, here is a ConfigMap file using the # comment:


{{- if .Values.env.config}}
apiVersion: v1
kind: ConfigMap
name: {{}}
{{.Values.env.config | toYaml | indent 2}}
{{- end}}

Now, when this Pipeline is executed, this ConfigMap resource will not be applied.


  • The comment # must be at the top of the file. If it is on the second line it will not work and the resource will be deployed as part of the main stage rollout.
  • If you apply the ignore comment # to a resource but do not use the resource in an Apply step, the resource is never deployed.

Step 2: Add the Manifest

Add the commented manifest to the Manifests section of your CD stage.

See Add Kubernetes Manifests.

Step 3: Add the Apply Step

In your Pipeline, click Add Step, and then click Apply. The Apply step appears.

Enter a name for the step. Harness will create a step Id using the name, but you can change it.

Step 4: Enter the Path and Name of the Manifest

In File Path, enter the path to a manifest file.

File Path has the following requirements:

  • The path to the manifest for the Apply step must be subordinate to the path for the manifest in the Manifests section of the Service Definition. The manifest cannot be in the same folder as Manifests.
  • The path must include the folder name and the file name.

In the following example, the path used in the Manifests section of the Service Definition is default-k8s-manifests/Manifests/Files/templates/. The Apply step uses a Job manifest in the subfolder jobs/job.yaml.

You can enter multiple file paths in File Path. Simply click Add file.

File Path Runtime Inputs

You can set Fixed Values, Runtime Inputs, and Expressions for File Path settings:

Here are the options:

  • File Path setting:
    • Fixed Value: this is the default. Selecting Fixed Value means that you will set a static file path or expression in the step.
    • Runtime Input: select this option if you want to enter a value at runtime or using Input Sets and Overlays.
  • File path field:
    • Fixed Value: this is the default. Selecting Fixed Value means that you will set a static file path in the step.
    • Expression: Selecting Expression means that you will use a variable in the step, such as a stage variable.

Option: Skip Dry Run

By default, Harness uses the --dry-run flag on the kubectl apply command, which prints the object that would be sent to the cluster without really sending it. If the Skip Dry Run option is selected, Harness will not use the --dry-run flag.

Option: Skip Steady State Check

By default, Harness checks to see if a deployed workload has reached steady state.

If you select this option, Harness will not check that the workload has reached steady state.

Apply Step Examples

Deploying a resource out of sync with the main resource deployment in a stage can be useful if a specific resource requires some external service processing that is orchestrated around your main rollout, such as database migration.

One reason why a Job controller object is a good use of the Kubernetes Apply step is that it represents a finite task that runs to completion rather than managing an ongoing desired state. You can run a Job to do perform work outside of the primary object deployment, such as large computation and batch-oriented tasks.

In another example, let's say you have two services, serviceA calls serviceB to populate a product page. The primary Deployment rollout deploys serviceB successfully and then the Apply step deploys serviceA next, ensuring serviceA only calls serviceB after serviceB is deployed successfully.

Another example of the use of the Apply step is service mesh traffic shifting. Your main workload rollout can deploy your services and then an Apply step can apply the resource that modifies the service mesh for the deployed services.


  • The Apply step does not version ConfigMap and Secret objects. ConfigMap and Secret objects are overwritten on each deployment. This is the same as when ConfigMap and Secret objects are marked as unversioned in typical rollouts ( true). See Kubernetes Releases and Versioning.

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