In addition to specifying values in YAML environment files, there are other plugins that can also provide values to be used in your templates, and you can easily write your own. The plugins that ship with Tiller are :

  • File : The default template_ and data_source plugins which read templates from ERB files on disk, and values from YAML file(s). Important: You normally will want to enable these plugins unless you are fetching everything from another data source, as Tiller needs this to read configuration blocks from common.yaml, fetch templates from disk etc.
  • Consul : These plugins allow you to retrieve your templates and values from a Consul cluster. Full documentation for this plugin is available in, and there's also a blog post with a walk-through example at
  • Defaults : Make use of default values across your environments and templates - this can help avoid repeated definitions and makes for more efficient configuration.
  • Environment variables : Make use of environment variables in your templates.
  • JSON environment variables : Use complex JSON data structures from the environment in your templates. See for some practical examples.
  • Nested environment variables : Use environment variables a_b_c=value to build nested variables like a['b']['c'].
  • External files : Load external JSON or YAML files, and use their contents in your templates.
  • HTTP plugins : These plugins let you retrieve your templates and values from a HTTP server
  • Random data : Simple wrapper to provide random values to your templates.
  • XML files : Load and parse XML data for use in your templates.
  • Zookeeper plugins : These plugins allow you to store your templates and values in a ZooKeeper cluster.
  • Hashicorp Vault : These plugins allow you to to store and retrieve your templates and values from the Hashicorp Vault secrets store.
  • Ansible Vault : This plugin lets you retrieve values from an encrypted Ansible Vault YAML file.
  • Regex : This plugin allows developers to take advantage of regular expression functionality to find and replace strings inside existing files.
  • Reusable Templates : This plugin allows developers to reuse file templates.

Helper modules

You can also make use of custom utility functions in Ruby that can be called from within templates. For more information on this, see the developers documentation.


This is an important point so I mention it here so it's more visible! You can use multiple plugins together, and Tiller lets you over-ride values from one data source with another.

Plugins can provide two types of values:

  • "global values" which are available to all templates
  • "template values" which are specific to a single template

Template values always take priority - If a template value has the same name as a global value, it will overwrite the global value.

When you load the plugins (covered below), the order you load them in is significant - the last loaded plugin will have the highest priority and over-write values from the previous plugin. For example, in short-form YAML:

data_sources: [ "defaults" , "file" , "environment" ]

The priority increases from left to right: Defaults will be used first, then the file data source, and finally any values specified as environment variables will over-write anything else.

In long-form YAML, the priority increases from top to bottom:

  - defaults
  - file
  - environment

So, to summarise: A template value will take priority over a global value, and a value from a plugin loaded later will take priority over any previously loaded plugins.