Apache Guacamole

Apache Guacamole … What is it about? It’s a client-less remote gateway for Telnet, SSH, RDP and VNC. Client-less, because there is no need to install any plugin or additional software for users (clients). The client will use just the browser (also without any plugin). In this tutorial we will create a very simple environment via Vagrant and use Guacamole. Why the tutorial? Because I know a lot of testers for example – who work with Windows, who are not allowed to install any software (eq Putty) but still need access to environments. … Next point are for example public security groups on cloud providers. Here only one port would be needed to support different protocols on different hosts (incl. file transfer).

What we need?

Project preparation

Okay, via your favorite editor you now add the content of all files. All files inside directory “src” are configuration files (installed on Guacamole host).

This file (user-mapping.xml) is the configuration for all your connections.

The ShellProvisioner.sh includes all installation and configuration for Guacamole All examples are provided but for Debian RDP is currently not working and I commented out.

Usage

First start-up the environment (via simple Vagrant command) and next start the VNC inside the box. You can do via vagrant ssh or you start the VNC via Browser (SSH).

Now login with “USERNAME/PASSWORD” (see src/user-mapping.xml) on http://localhost:55555/guacamole. If everything works it should look like this:

Guacamole on browser

Please have a look here https://guacamole.apache.org/doc/gug/index.html to learn more about configuration and authentication. All files which we used in this tutorial are available via https://github.com/Lupin3000/GuacamoleExample.

Simple Jenkins pipeline on AWS (Part 2)

In previous tutorial I showed you how to create the environment and how to implement the build steps for Jenkins pipeline. Now I will show you to setup the deploy step.

Preconditions

AWS ECS Cluster

Create a very small AWS ECS cluster in region “Frankfurt” (eu-central-1). Therefore enter Amazon ECS Clusters and press button “Create Cluster”.

AWS ECS create cluster

Select template “EC2 Linux + Networking” and continue to next step.

AWS ECS cluster template

On section “Configure cluster” you give a name like “ExampleCluster”.

AWS ECS configure cluster

On section “Instance configuration” select “On-Demand Instance”, “t2.micro”, “1”, “22” and “None – unable to SSH”.

AWS ECS instance configuration

In the section “Networking” you have to be careful now. Your values ​​will be different from mine! Under VPC, select the same value as for the EC2 Jenkins instance (I selected default VPC). Now you can choose one of the subnets. We created the security group together with the EC2 Jenkins instance, so select “ExampleSecurityGroup” here.

AWS ECS networking

Okay, press button “Create” and wait till the cluster is created. The cluster creation can take a while, so please be patient.

AWS ECS Task Definition

The cluster is running and the “Task Definition” can be created. So press button “Create new Task Definition”.

AWS ECS task definition

Select “EC2” on page launch type compatibility and press button “Next step”.

AWS ECS task launch type

On section “Configure task and container definitions” set value “ExampleTask” for input field “Task Definition Name” and for “Network Mode” select “<default>”.

AWS ECS task definition name

On section “Container Definition” press button “Add Container”. A new window will slide in. Here give the “Container name” value “ExampleContainer”, add under image your latest version from ECR (my latest is 24). Set values “128” for “Memory Limits (MiB)”, “80:80” for “Port mappings” and press button “Add”.

AWS ECS task add container

You are done with your task definition configuration, scroll down and press button “Create”.

AWS IAM

Before we can go through the next steps, we need to adjust the group policy for “PipelineExampleGroup”. You must add the “AmazonECS_FullAccess” policy. _For our example this is okay, but never use this policy in production!_

AWS ECS IAM

Run task on ECS cluster (via Jenkins)

Now you only need to modify two files in your repository. Replace the content of “deploy.sh” and “Jenkinsfile” with following contents.

Commit your changes and wait for build trigger (or trigger manually). After successful deployment, your ECS cluster will have a running task now. On section “Container” you can see the link.

AWS ECS cluster task container

Every time when you modify files and commit them into your Git repository, the pipeline will be triggered and latest version will be visible in browser.

That’s it with this part of the series. Cu soon in next part.

Simple Jenkins pipeline on AWS (Part 1)

This tutorial serie should enable you to create own pipelines via Jenkins on AWS. Therefore we try to catch all needed basics with AWS IAM, EC2, ECR and ECS. Some of our configurations are recommended only for learning purpose, don’t use them on production! Why? Because these lessons are for people who starts on these topics and I will try to make all steps/configuration as easy as possible without focus on security. In this part we will create the environment and setup the “build step”.

Preconditions

  • AWS account (eq. free tier)
  • Git account (eq. GitLab, Bitbucket, GitHub, etc.)

AWS IAM

The first preparation you do on AWS IAM Management Console. Here you create and configure a new group. The benefit of this group is that you can reconfigure the policies for assigned users easily at anytime. Please name the group “PipelineExampleGroup”.

AWS IAM group name

Now search for EC2 Container Registry policies and enable checkbox for “AmazonEC2ContainerRegistryPowerUser”. For our example this policy is enough, but for production please don’t do that!

AWS IAM group policies

After the group is created, a user needs to be assigned to this group. Name the user “PipelineExampleUser”. Please enable checkbox “Programmatic access” for this user.

AWS IAM user name

Assign the user to group.

AWS IAM user group

Before you finish the process, please choose Download .csv and then save the file to a safe location.

AWS Jenkins EC2 Instance

Now you can launch our EC2 instance. Do this on region “Frankfurt” (eu-central-1). Of course you can choose any other region, but please remember your choice later. At very first step select the template “Amazon Linux 2 AMI (HVM), SSD Volume Type”.

AWS EC2 AMI

The instance type “t2.micro” is enough for our example. For production you will need something else – depending to your needs.

AWS EC2 instance type

Now you need to be a little bit careful. On Instance Details step please select “Enable” for “Auto-assign Public IP” and “Stop” for “Shutdown Behavior”. For all other values the defaults should be fine. I select my default VPC and “No preference…” for Subnet.

AWS EC2 instance details

15 Gb disk space are fine. For production you need to estimate differently.

AWS EC2 instance storage

With the tag you will have it easier to identify the instance later on console view. Enter values “Name” for “Key” and “Jenkins” for “Value”.

AWS EC2 instance tags

Create a new security group with name “ExampleSecurityGroup” and allow ports 22, 80 and 8080 (IPv4 only). You can change the configuration at any time later. On a production environment you should use other ports like 443 and IP restrictions.

AWS EC2 instance security group

Create a new key pair with name “ExampleKeyPair”. Don’t forget to save the key (“Download Key Pair”) and press “Launch Instances”!

AWS EC2 instance key pair

Install and run Jenkins

The EC2 instance is running and you can connect via SSH to start all needed installations and configurations. Attention: Your Public IP/DNS will be different (also after every stop/start), via button “Connect” you can easily figure out your configuration. I will just use the term “<EC2 IP|DNS>” in my description.

AWS EC2 connection

Note: I have a space after etc, because of security settings of my provider.

Do not close the SSH connection yet. Start your browser and following there the Jenkins installation steps. The URL is similar to your SSH connection – http://<EC2 IP|DNS>:8080. You should see the following screen and paste the initial password there.

jenkins screen initial password

On next screen press button “Install suggested plugins” and wait for the screen to create administrator account. Fill in your credentials and finish the installation steps. The remaining configurations (on browser) will be made later.

AWS ECR

Before you can push images to ECR, you need to create a new repository. On the ECR page, choose button “Create repository”. Your AWS ECR console screen could look a little bit different.

AWS ECR repositories

Give a repository name “example/nginx” and press button “Create repository”.

AWS ECR repository configuration

Done, your ECR repository is already created. You can see on overview page all needed informations like Repository name and URI. Your repository URI will be different to my. I will just use the term “<ECR URI>” in my description.

AWS ECR repository overview

Okay, now enable user jenkins to connect to ECR. Go back to terminal and execute following steps. You need now the credentials from downloaded csv file for “PipelineExampleUser”.

Git Repository

I assume that you are familiar with Git. You must now create a Git Repository and create the following folders and files there. I will use my own private GitLab repository.

Content of files in root folder:

Content of files in cicd folder:

Note: Please set permission rights for shell scripts like $ chmod +x build.sh deploy.sh test.sh

Inside folder “dev_credentials” I store the credentials.csv from AWS. The content of this folder will be only on my local machine, because via .gitignore I exclude the folder and files from git.

Jenkins job configuration

I will not use this tutorial to explain security topics for Jenkins, so we start directly with the configuration of the job (resp. project). On main page press now button “New item” or link “create new jobs”. Insert name “ExamplePipeline”, select “Pipeline” and press button “OK”.

jenkins new job

To save some disk space enable checkbox discard old builds (5 builds are enough).

jenkins job discard old builds

Normally you would create a webhook to trigger the build after commit, but our EC2 instance does change the public IP/DNS on every stop/start. That’s why here we check the revision changes every 5 minutes on git and trigger the job if something has changed.

jenkins job build trigger

Add the repository (may credentials are needed), configure the branch and Jenkinsfile path.

jenkins job scm pipeline

Press button “save”, _cross fingers_ and trigger manual the build. If you did nothing wrong, the job will run without issues and the ECR contains your images (depending how often you trigger the build).

AWS ECR repository images

The next part of this tutorial series will be about deployment to ECS.

Jenkins and Sitespeed.io

While surfing the internet I stumbled across Sitespeed.io. It’s a amazing collection of Open Source Tools, which make performance measuring for developers and testers super easy. I tried it out and was immediately impressed. Here’s a little tutorial on how to use Jenkins and Sitespeed.

Requirements

  • Docker (latest)

Environment setup

With minimal 2 commands the environment (via Docker) is already created. Most of the time will be needed for the plugins installation.

On setup wizard finish: unlock Jenkins, install the suggested plugins, create an account and finish the instance configuration.

Jenkins permissions to /var/run/docker.sock

Before you start with Jenkins job configuration, ensure that user jenkins has permissions to /var/run/docker.sock.

Jenkins job configuration

When Jenkins is ready (restarted), install the HTML Publisher PlugIn (no restart after installation of plugin required).

Jenkins HTML Publisher Plugin

Create a new free-style project named SiteSpeed.

Jenkins SiteSpeed Project

Attention: You need to specify later the absolute path to the local directory /target/workspace/SiteSpeed. If you do not know how, press save and start the build without any job information (empty job configuration) and follow the optional instructions.

In my case the path is: “/Users/steffen/Projects/Sitespeed/target/workspace/SiteSpeed”. Under job configuration section “Build” enable “Execute shell” and paste following command.

Via Post-Build-Action: Publish HTML reports you can enter the report very simple from the job project page.

Jenkins SiteSpeed Job Configuration

Save everything and run the job. After a short time you can look at the HTML report. See “Pages” > “https://www.sitespeed.io/” for screenshots, HAR and video files. On the website of sitespeed.io is a very detailed documentation and many more examples. Have fun!

Create QA dashboards with Grafana (Part 1)

Since I have my new role (Head of QA), many employees constantly want metrics from me. That means a lot of work for me. But since I do not always want to deal with such things, I have searched for a simpler way. So the question was – how can I deliver this data at any time and possibly from different sources (eq. JIRA, pipelines, test results, Salesforce, etc.)? Hmmm … Grafana is awesome – not only for DevOps! So in this tutorial series, I’d like to show you how to create nice and meaningful dashboards for your QA metrics in Grafana.

What you need?

  • Docker installed (latest version)
  • Bash (min. 3.2.x)

Prepare the project

In order to create dashboards in Grafana, you need a small environment (Grafana/InfluxDB) as well as some data. The next steps will help you to create them. The environment/services are simulated by docker containers. For the fictitious data, just use the bash script which I created for this tutorial.

Now copy/paste the content of the two files with your favorite editor. The content of docker-compose.yml.

And here the content of CreateData.sh.

Start environment and create data

Once the project and the files have been created, you can build and start the environment. For this you use Docker Compose.

In next step you create the InfluxDB databases (incl. fictitious measurements, series and data) via Bash script.

Note: You could use influx command to administrate InfluxDB directly.

Okay the environment preparation is done. Now start Grafana in browser.

New Grafana Login

The default username and password is “admin:admin“. Note, if you use docker-compose down you have to repeat most of steps like data creation. Better use docker-compose stop! … See you in 2nd part – where we add data sources and create dashboards.

Vagrant and Vault

I was a little surprised why there is no Vagrant plug-in for Vault. Then I thought no matter, because the Vagrantfile is actually a Ruby script. Let me try it. I have to say right away that I’m not a Ruby developer! But here is my solution which has brought me to the goal.

Prerequisite

  • latest Vault installed (0.11.0)
  • latest Vagrant installed (2.1.3)

Prepare project and start Vault

Here my simple vagrant policy (don’t do that in production).

And here is my crazy and fancy Vagrantfile

Configure Vault

Run it

😉 … it just works

Start with Vault 0.10.x

HashiCorp released Vault version 0.10.x on April 2018. The 0.10.x release delivers many new features and changes (eq. K/V Secrets Engine v2, Vault Web UI, etc.). Please have a look on vault/CHANGELOG for more informations. This tiny tutorial will concentrate now on usage of Vault’s Key-Value Secrets Engine via CLI.

Preparation

Start Vault server in development mode

Do not stop the process and open new tab on terminal [COMMAND] + [t].

Create, Read, Update and Delete secrets

As you can see, there are minor changes to previous versions of Vault.

Note: The API for the Vault KV secrets engine even changed.

Okay, back to CLI and some examples which are better for automation. We will use the STDIN and a simple JSON file.

Web UI

Previously the Web UI was for Enterprise only, now it has been made open source.

Now you can use the root token to sign in.

Create a simple video test environment (Part 3)

Okay, now is time to see some command line tools to analysis videos. I selected 4 Open-Source applications (avprobe, mediainfo, mplayer, exiftool).

Specification

  • docker
  • git

Get ready for docker images

On Bitbucket I created a repository with needed Dockerfiles for fast usage. You can also choose the installation method.

mediainfo

Lets start with mediainfo. Here some information about on wikipedia.

mplayer

Second application is mplayer. Here the wikipedia link.

exiftool

Now we take a look on exiftool. Here the wikipedia article and the official documentation.

avprobe

Last but not least avprobe. Here the wikipedia article and detailed official documentation.

Compare tools by expecting specific result

I will not judge the applications against each other! But here a compare of complexity of commands and output for video duration.