Using a pipeline

You can use a pipeline to build the application and Docker image from source in a Git repository, publish the image to a Docker registry, run tests, and deploy your application to a Kubernetes-based cluster. By configuring webhooks on your Git repository, your pipeline can be automatically triggered based on certain Git repository events, such as on pushes to the branch or on the creation of pull requests.


To use the pipeline, install Microclimate onto an IBM Cloud Private cluster, or connect a local installation of Microclimate to an installation of Microclimate on an IBM Cloud Private cluster.

Jenkins provides the pipeline capability only when Microclimate is deployed onto IBM Cloud Private by way of the Microclimate Helm chart. The installation instructions for the chart include specifying the Docker registry that the pipeline uses for images, any credentials required to access that registry, and the namespace that the pipeline uses to deploy applications to. Unlike an individual’s Microclimate development workspace, pipeline instances are shared among all users of the Microclimate installation.

Microclimate video icon Watch the video for creating a pipeline.

Video: Creating a pipeline

Creating a build pipeline with a local project

Follow these steps to create a pipeline:

  1. Connect to Microclimate. Select a project or create a new one.
  2. Then, click Pipeline. If you have a local installation of Microclimate, connect the local Microclimate installation to another Microclimate installation on the IBM Cloud Private cluster.
  3. Click Create pipeline. Enter the pipeline name and the HTTP(S) clone URL of your Git repository. Ensure that you include the .git suffix. If you previously imported the repository, this URL might be the same as the one that you used on the import, or it might be the URL of the upstream repository from which you forked.
    • Note: Do not include your user name and password or API token in the Git repository URL. Add these credentials in the following pipeline Credentials section.
  4. If needed, provide the credentials required to clone the repository. Credentials might be a user ID and password or a personal access token. For more information, see Creating a personal access token in GitHub and Creating a personal access token in GitLab.
    • Note: When provided, credentials might be reused by any user that has access to the Microclimate instance. They typically represent a shared build identity that is used by the team.
    • At this point, a multi-branch pipeline job is automatically configured in Jenkins. In the Git repository specified by the pipeline, Jenkins sets up a child job to build any branch with a Jenkinsfile. The default Jenkinsfile generated for projects by Microclimate builds the application and Docker image and publishes the image to the Docker registry and namespace specified on the Microclimate Helm chart. The image name is specified in the Jenkinsfile, and the image tag is the short form of the Git commit ID.
  5. Click Open pipeline to access the newly created Jenkins pipeline. If necessary, log in with the same identity used to authenticate against IBM Cloud Private.
Microclimate video icon Watch the video for pipeline deployments.

Video: Pipeline deployments

Creating a build pipeline with a Git project

You can create a pipeline outside of a local project. Instead of creating or cloning a project locally, you can create a pipeline for a project in a Git repository.

  1. On the Microclimate UI Welcome page, click the New pipeline button. The pipeline appears as a project on the project list page.
  2. You can use the pipeline without development options. You can clone or create projects later and configure the pipeline differently.

Deploying applications

After you set up a pipeline to build the application and Docker image, you can deploy applications:

  1. Click the Add deployment button.
  2. Select one of two options to deploy the application with the Helm chart that is defined in the Git repository of the application.
    • Select Last successful build for branch to automatically deploy the latest successful build from a specific branch. When a new build for that branch completes successfully, the deployed build is automatically upgraded with the new build.
    • Select Custom selected build to deploy a specific build of the application.

In both cases, the default behavior is to deploy to the target namespace that was specified when Microclimate was installed on the IBM Cloud Private cluster to which Microclimate is deployed. If deploying to IBM Cloud Private, you can modify the target namespace at the point of adding your deployment.

A specific build can also be targeted for deployment to a cluster that is running in the IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service. In this case, you cannot modify the target namespace of your deployment.

These two scenarios can be combined. For example, a branch can be automatically deployed to a testing environment in IBM Cloud Private and then manually promoted to a cluster in the IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service. For more information, see Configuring Microclimate to deploy applications to the IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service.

  • Optional: To verify Java projects built with Maven, the pipeline first installs into a test namespace. To prevent the installation into the test namespace, set the test value to false in your Jenkinsfile.

The status of releases is dynamically updated in Microclimate. After a deployment is created, you can see the release status, which includes No build information, Building, Build failed, and Deployment successful.

Overriding chart values

When you add deployments, you can specify chart override values in the /overrides/overrides.yaml and /overrides/<target-namespace>_overrides.yaml files.

Create these files in your Git repository on the branch for which you are creating a deployment. Replace the <target-namespace> variable with the name of the namespace into which your application is deployed. The version of the files that is used is the version that exists at the specific commit level that is deployed.

The overrides.yaml file is applied to all deployments, but the <target-namespace>_overrides.yaml file affects only deployments in the matching namespace. Including these files in the Git repository indicates that you want Microclimate to apply the override.

The settings take effect in the following order:

  • The lowest priority file is the overrides.yaml file.
  • The highest priority file is the relevant <target-namespace>_overrides.yaml file.

Any entries that are found in the relevant <target-namespace>_overrides.yaml file are used in preference to similar entries in the overrides.yaml file.

You cannot override the image repository and tag, which are handled by Microclimate and cannot be modified.

Pipeline deployment limitation

Helm charts can contain resources with names that aren’t scoped by the Helm release, such as the Kubernetes services in Helm charts generated by Microclimate. These Helm charts can be deployed only once to any particular cluster namespace.

Note: Deleting the deployment for a specific build also deletes the corresponding Helm release, allowing another deployment to be made to the same namespace.

Deleting a pipeline or a project

Deleting a pipeline deletes all of your deployments that are associated with that pipeline.

Deleting a project does not delete the pipeline. Pipelines are shared by projects that target the same Git repository. If you want to delete the pipeline, you must do so before you delete the project. If you accidentally delete a project before you delete a pipeline, you can reimport the project, delete the pipeline, and then delete the project.

Need help?

If you encounter problems with using a pipeline, check the Troubleshooting page.