Deploying the Cloud Native Starter example on Red Hat OpenShift on the IBM Cloud

Please note: I am moving this blog.
You can read this article at its new home:
https://haralduebele.github.io/2019/07/10/deploying-the-cloud-native-starter-example-on-red-hat-openshift-on-the-ibm-cloud/

In my last blog I explained how to deploy our cloud native starter project on Minishift. Since early June 2019 there is a Red Hat OpenShift beta available on the IBM Cloud. It is currently based on OpenShift 3.11 and is a managed offering like the IBM Kubernetes Service on IBM Cloud. Our cloud native starter project is mostly based on Open Source technology and free offerings but while OpenShift is Open Source it is not free. During the beta there are no license fees but OpenShift does not run on the free cluster available with the IBM Kubernetes Service.

Logo: (c) Red Hat, Inc.

The deployment of the cloud native starter example is documented in our Github repo. Where are the main differences to the Minishift deployment?

There is no user installation of OpenShift: You create a Kubernetes cluster of type “OpenShift” in the IBM Cloud dashboard and the rest is taken care of. After typically 15 to 20 minutes you will gain access to the OpenShift web console through the IBM Cloud dashboard. A user and password has been automatically created via IBM Cloud Identity and Access Management (IAM).

To log in with the ‘oc’ CLI you can either copy the login command from the OpenShift web console, request an OAuth token from IBM Cloud dashboard, or use an IAM API key that you can create and store on your workstation. The latter is what we use in the OpenShift scripts in our Github project:

oc login -u apikey -p $IBMCLOUD_API_KEY --server=$OPENSHIFT_URL

So while security aspects between Minishift and OpenShift on IBM Cloud are not different, there is no simple login with developer/developer anymore.

In Minishift we applied the anyuid addon to allow pods to run as any user including the root user. We need to do that in OpenShift, too, although this is not really considered best practice. But the Web-App service is based on an Nginx image and this is causing a lot of trouble in the security area. And I really didn’t want to spend a lot of time fixing this. The script ‘openshift-scripts/setup-project.sh‘ pulls the OpenShift Master URL for the ‘oc login’ in the other scripts, creates a project ‘cloud-native-starter’, and adds the anyuid security constraint to this project.

All deploy scripts use the binary build method of OpenShift: Create a build configuration with ‘oc new-build’ and then push the code including a Dockerfile with ‘oc start-build’., e.g.:

oc new-build --name authors --binary --strategy docker --to authors:1 -l app=authors
oc start-build authors --from-dir=.

This triggers the creation of a build pod which will in turn create an image with the instructions in the Dockerfile and push the image into the OpenShift Docker Registry as an image stream. The binary build is able to perform the multistage build we use for some of the microservices. Deployment of the apps is then done with ‘oc apply’ or ‘kubectl apply’. Creating a route for a service exposes the service with a URL that is directly accessible on the Internet, no need to fiddle with NodePort etc.

oc apply -f deployment-openshift.yaml
oc expose svc/authors

Istio is currently not officially supported on OpenShift. There is a Red Hat OpenShift Service Mesh currently available as Technology Preview. The upstream project for this is Maistra and this is what I want to test next. But Maistra requires the so-called “admission-webhooks” for Sidecar auto-injection, and these are currently missing in the OpenShift on IBM Cloud master nodes. There is an issue open with IBM Development and they plan to include them in the near future. So for the time being we deploy the cloud native starter example on OpenShift on IBM Cloud without Istio. And I plan another blog once I am able to install Istio, stay tuned.

Deploying the Cloud Native Starter microservices on Minishift

Please note: I am moving this blog.
You can read this article at its new home:
https://haralduebele.github.io/2019/07/03/deploying-the-cloud-native-starter-microservices-on-minishift/

Initially I thought that different Kubernetes environments are more or less identical. I have learned in the past weeks that some of them are more and some are less so and there are always differences so here are my notes on deployments on Minishift. As a seasoned OpenShift user you might find it strange why I describe the obvious but if you come from a plain Kubernetes background like I did, this maybe helpful. Since I am still a noob in all things OpenShift maybe things are really done differently?

OpenShift enforces role based access control and security and thus enables strict separation of “projects” which are based on Kubernetes namespaces.

So in order to start a new project on OpenShift/Minishift, you create a project and apply some security policies to it. The project automatically includes a Kubernetes namespace of the same name and an “image stream” – also of the same name – to store Docker images in the OpenShift Docker registry. In my last blog, I wrote about Minishift setup and Istio installation and that Maistra, the Istio “flavour” I installed, is enforcing mTLS. Since we haven’t implemented mTLS in Cloud Native Starter, we need to apply a no-mtls policy to our projects name space. The setup-project.sh script does exactly this.

The final result in the Minishift Console

With Minikube, Docker images can be built in the Docker environment that runs in the VM (by using the “eval $(minikube docker-env)” command) and Kubernetes can pull the images directly from there.

With the IBM Cloud Container Registry (ICR), you can build images locally on your workstation, tag them for ICR, and then push them to the registry, or you can use the CLI to build them directly in the repository (“ibmcloud cr build“).

Minishift is similar to ICR: You can do the docker build, docker tag, docker push sequence, use the Minishift Docker environment for the build (“eval $(minishift docker-env)“), and then push the image to the OpenShift Docker Registry. This is what I do in the script “deploy-authors-nodejs.sh“:

# Create Docker Image and push to registry  
eval $(minishift docker-env)
docker login -u admin -p $(oc whoami -t) $(minishift openshift registry)
imagestream=$(minishift openshift registry)/cloud-native-starter/authors:1
docker build -f Dockerfile -t authors:1 .
docker tag authors:1 $imagestream
docker push $imagestream

Note the “docker login …“, this is required to access the OpenShift Docker Registry.

One issue here is the Docker version in Minishift, currently it is Version 1.13.1 (which is equivalent to Version 17.03 in the new Docker versioning scheme). We use multi-stage builds on Minikube for the articles and web-api service and for the web-app. This means, we use build containers as stage 1 and deploy the generated artifacts into stage 2 and thus into the final container image (example). But multi-stage build requires at least Docker Version 17.05. So for the web-app in script deploy-web-app.sh I use an OpenShift build option, “binary build”, which supports multi-stage build:

oc new-build --name web-app --binary --strategy docker
oc start-build web-app --from-dir=.

This creates a “build config” on OpenShift in our project, uploads the code to OpenShift into a build container, builds the image, and pushes it into the OpenShift Docker Registry, specifically into the image stream for our project.

And then I use “oc apply -f kubernetes-minishift.yaml” to create the Kubernetes deployment. Why not use the OpenShift “oc new-app” command? Because I want to specify the Istio sidecar inject annotation in the yaml file. I haven’t found a way to do that with “oc new-app”.

How can you access this service running on OpenShift? Again there are multiple options: OpenShift specific is to create a route (“oc expose svc/web-app“). Or Istio specific by using the Istio Ingress Gateway and a VirtualService using the Gateway.

Cloud Native Starter in the Kiali dashboard