Skip to main content

Add Retool Workflows to a legacy Kubernetes with Helm deployment

Learn how to add support for Retool Workflows to an existing self-hosted deployment.

Retool Workflows was available as an optional configuration in Legacy releases of Retool 3.20.15 and later. It is part of the standard configuration of Stable and Edge releases.

If you deployed a Legacy release and did not enable Retool Workflows, you can upgrade to a Stable or Edge release and configure it with support.

Requirements

Your self-hosted deployment must meet the following requirements for Retool Workflows.

VM configuration

Retool Workflows requires a Linux-based virtual machine that meets the following system requirements:

  • Ubuntu 22.04 or later.
  • 16GiB memory.
  • 8x vCPUs.
  • 60GiB storage.
  • curl and unzip software packages installed.
Allocate more resources to scale

Retool recommends you allocate more resources than the minimum requirements so that your instance can more easily scale.

Retool version

Workflows is available in all Stable and Edge releases of self-hosted Retool, and in Legacy releases 3.20.15 or later. If you are using an older version, upgrade to either a Stable or Edge release. Unless you need to make use of the latest changes and have the ability to regularly upgrade your deployment, Retool recommends you use Stable releases.

Temporal

Temporal is a distributed system used to schedule and run asynchronous tasks for Retool Workflows. A Self-hosted Retool instance uses a Temporal cluster to facilitate the execution of each workflow amongst a pool of self-hosted workers that make queries and execute code in your VPC. Temporal manages the queueing, scheduling, and orchestration of workflows to guarantee that each workflow block executes in the correct order of the control flow. It does not store any block results by default.

You can use a Retool-managed cluster on Temporal Cloud, which is recommended for most use cases. You can also use an existing self-managed cluster that is hosted on Temporal Cloud or in your own infrastructure. Alternatively, you can spin up a new self-hosted cluster alongside your Self-hosted Retool instance.

Recommended

You should use a Retool-managed cluster if:

  • You are on a version greater than 3.6.14.
  • Your organization is on the Enterprise plan.
  • You don't have an existing cluster which you prefer to use.
  • Your cluster only needs to be used for a Self-hosted Retool deployment.
  • You don't want to manage the cluster directly.
  • You have a single or multi-instance Retool deployment, where each instance requires its own namespace.

Retool admins can enable Retool-managed Temporal. To get started, navigate to the Retool Workflows page and click Enroll now. Once you update your configuration, return to the page and click Complete setup.

Initializing namespace in Retool-managed Temporal

It can take a few minutes to initialize a namespace in Retool-managed Temporal.

Retool-managed Temporal clusters are hosted on Temporal Cloud. Your Self-hosted Retool deployment communicates with the cluster when building, deploying, and executing Retool Workflows. All orchestration data to Temporal is fully encrypted and uses the private encryption key set for your deployment.

Once you’ve decided which Temporal deployment option is best for you, you'll need to modify and provision additional services to your existing deployment and provide sufficient resources to run those resources. Retool recommends providing the following resource specifications wherever you deploy your infrastructure (e.g. at the VM level if using docker compose or "node" level if using Kubernetes):

System architecture changes

Support for Retool Workflows requires provisioning additional containers and services:

ContainerImageRepositoryServices
workflows-workerbackendtryretool/backendWORKFLOW_TEMPORAL_WORKER
workflows-backendbackendtryretool/backendWORKFLOW_BACKEND
DB_CONNECTOR_SERVICE
DB_SSH_CONNECTOR_SERVICE
code-executorcode-executor-servicetryretool/code-executor-serviceNo service type.

The following diagrams illustrates how your deployment instance's architecture changes after you add support for Retool Workflows.

* Only present if you are using the default PostgreSQL database for Retool Database.

1. Upgrade your deployment

Follow these instructions to update your Retool instance to a newer release version.

1. Back up your database

If you use a managed database service, your database provider may have a feature to take snapshots or otherwise back up your database. If you use the PostgreSQL subchart, run the following command to export data from the PostgreSQL pod to a .sql file.

kubectl exec -it <POSTGRES-POD-NAME> -- bash -c 'pg_dump hammerhead_production --no-acl --no-owner --clean -U postgres' > retool_db_dump.sql

2. Select a new version

Update the image.tag value in values.yaml to the Docker tag for the version of Retool to install, such as tryretool/backend:3.52.3-stable.

3. Upgrade instance and apply changes

Use helm to perform the upgrade and include the Helm chart version number. Retool requires version 6.1.1 or later.

helm upgrade -f values.yaml my-retool retool/retool --version 6.1.1

4. Verify instance

Run kubectl get pods to verify that the update has completed.

my-retool-7898474bbd-pr8n6               1/1     Running   1 (8h ago)   8h
my-retool-jobs-runner-74796ddd99-dd856 1/1 Running 0 8h
my-retool-postgresql-0 1/1 Running 0 8h

You should see additional services for workflows, such as workflows-worker, workflows-backend, and code-executor.

2. Configure deployment

Allow your deployment to connect to Temporal

Open up egress to the public internet on ports 443 and 7233 to allow outbound-only connections to Temporal Cloud from your deployment. This is so services can enqueue work to, and poll work out, of Temporal.

Temporal Cloud does not have a static IP range to allow list. If more specificity is required, egress is required on ports on the following domains:

PortDomains
443*.retool.com, *.tryretool.com, *.temporal.io
7233*.tmprl.cloud
Kubernetes pod isolation

Kubernetes pods are non-isolated for egress by default thereby allowing all outbound connections. If the Retool backend or workers cannot connect to Temporal Cloud, check your egress NetworkPolicy for any issues.

Configure Helm for Temporal cluster

Update the values.yaml configuration file to specify whether to use a Retool-managed cluster or a self-managed one.

VariableDescription
.Values.workflows.enabledWhether to enable workers and workflow backend pods. Set to true.
.Values.codeExecutor.enabledWhether to enable code executor pods. Set to true.
.Values.retool-temporal-services-helm.enabledWhether to use a local Retool-deployed Temporal cluster. Set to false.
.Values.workflows.temporal.enabledWhether to use a self-managed Temporal cluster. Set to false.