Configuring Spinnaker

We handle numerous questions every day in the Spinnaker Slack channel related to configuring Spinnaker.

Each of the core components runs as a Spring Boot application, and it has a powerful system for composing and overwriting values via YAML files.

Config Hierarchy

It’s important to first understand that there are shared settings that apply to every service, and some that are specific to an individual service. Shared settings can be overridden by the individual services.

The common settings are defined in the spinnaker.yml file (found in /opt/spinnaker/config), and component-specific settings are found in files like gate.yml, clouddriver.yml, etc.

Now, it’s important that you do not edit these files. They are [source controlled] (, so the next time you update Spinnaker, any changes you’ve made will be clobbered.

Instead, you should create a separate -local.yml file, and replicate the YAML settings you want to overwrite.

When each of the services come up, they will load the config files in this order (I’ll use the Gate service as the example):

  1. spinnaker.yml
  2. spinnaker-local.yml
  3. gate.yml
  4. gate-local.yml

So lets say there’s a snippet of YAML in spinnaker.yml that you want to change:

    setting: 42

You’ll first create (or edit) the spinnaker-local.yml file that overwrites this setting

    setting: 1337

Now, all of the component services will have the.special.setting property with a value of 1337.

“But what if I want it changed just for a specific component?”

No problem - just overwrite it in that component’s -local.yml file.

You may recognize this as a “last write wins” kind of pattern - spinnaker.yml sets it to a default value, it’s overwritten in spinnaker-local.yml, and then overwritten again in a component’s -local.yml file.


Spring Profiles are a powerful way to group logical sets of configurations that can be turned on and off with command line arguments or environmental properties.

For example, we bake in common settings for Google, Azure, and GitHub OAuth settings directly into Gate. Here is a snippet:

  profiles: googleOAuth
      # Set these values in your own config file (e.g. gate-googleOAuth.yml).
      # clientId:
      # clientSecret:
      scope: "profile email"
      email: email
      firstName: given_name
      lastName: family_name

Notice the name of the profile is googleOAuth. The comment suggests writing clientId and clientSecret into a file named gate-googleOAuth.yml, which would look like:

      clientId: abcdefgh
      clientSecret: shhhDontTellAnyone

That looks strangely familiar to gate-local setup, no? That’s because local is in fact a Spring profile! It’s applied automatically by each component at startup time.

The easiest way to set your active profiles is using the SPRING_PROFILES_ACTIVE environmental variable and restart. Be sure to include the local profile too!

export SPRING_PROFILES_ACTIVE=local,googleOAuth