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Deploying Applications with GitHub Actions Workflow and Flux

Hands-On Lab

 

Photo of

Training Architect

Length

00:45:00

Difficulty

Beginner

This hands-on lab challenges the student to implement Flux within a GitHub environment, taking into account the need to deploy applications into development, test, and production environments. This lab challenges the student to set up Kubernetes YAML to deploy workloads into a QA and Production Cluster.

What are Hands-On Labs?

Hands-On Labs are scenario-based learning environments where learners can practice without consequences. Don't compromise a system or waste money on expensive downloads. Practice real-world skills without the real-world risk, no assembly required.

Deploying Applications with GitHub Actions Workflow and Flux

Introduction

This hands-on lab challenges the student to implement Flux within a GitHub environment, taking into account the need to deploy applications into development, test, and production environments. This lab challenges the student to set up Kubernetes YAML to deploy workloads into a QA and Production Cluster.

To complete this lab the student must have their own GitHub or GitLab account and be able to set up a repository with the required YAML files. The student should also be familiar with the installation and configuration of Flux, which is covered in a prior lab as part of the GitOps course.

Prerequisites

We need our own GitHub and Docker Hub accounts. In our Docker Hub account, we'll need a repository that we can push to from GitHub.

We'll also need to create fork of the content-gitops repository in our own GitHub account.

The Scenario

Our manager is impressed with Flux and wants to expand the proof-of-concept work we are doing beyond using Flux on a development server. He has asked us to set up a demo for some of the Operations and Engineering team, to show how Flux can be used to promote workloads from Development to Test and Production environments.

Fork or Create a GitHub Repository

We'll have to set up a repository for this lab. Let's fork the linuxacademy/content-gitops repository using our own GitHub account.

Create the Hello YAML in a Folder Called qa

First let's navigate into the workloads directory of our fork, and open up hello.yml. Copy that whole file's contents to the clipboard, then navigate back out to the main content-gitops directory. Click the Create new file button. In the Name your file box, we're actually going to create a new directory in addition to the file, so type qa/. The forward slash will make it a directory, and we'll get another box to type the filename in. We'll call this file hello.yaml, and paste the contents of the hello.yml we copied earlier into it:

apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: Deployment
metadata:
  name: hello
  namespace: lasample
  labels:
    app: hello
spec:
  selector:
    matchLabels:
      app: hello
  template:
    metadata:
      labels:
        app: hello
    spec:
      containers:
      - name: hello
        image: linuxacademycontent/gitops:hellov1.1

The hello.yml we copied from may have a different version number, so pay attention here and make sure we set it to hellov1.1 in this new file. Click Commit new file.

Create the Hello YAML in a Folder Called production

Navigate back to the main content-gitops directory, and let's repeat this procedure, but making a production instead of qa folder. Click the Create new file button. In the Name your file box, type production/, then type hello.yaml in the second box that appears after we type the slash character. Paste the same content into this file that we pasted into the qa directory's file with the same name.

Click Commit new file.

Deploy the Flux Daemon and Configure It To Scan the qa Folder

Logging In

We've got to use the login credentials for cloud_user, and get logged into our Kubernetes master node with SSH.

Inspect the Environment

Just to see what we've got running, as far as Kubernetes goes, let's execute these commands:

$ kubectl get nodes
$ kubectl get pods --all-namespaces

We should see three nodes (one master) and several running namespaces. Now we can install Flux.

Deploying Flux

First, let's create a namespace, and call it flux:

$ kubectl create namespace flux

Now we can set the GHUSER Environment variable to our GitHub username:

$ export GHUSER=[Our username here]

Deploy Flux, but notice that we are scanning the qa folder not the workloads folder:

$ fluxctl install 
--git-user=${GHUSER} 
--git-email=${GHUSER}@users.noreply.github.com 
--git-url=git@github.com:${GHUSER}/content-gitops 
--git-path=namespaces,qa 
--namespace=flux | kubectl apply -f -

If we run another kubectl get pods --all-namespaces, we should see a couple of flux pods running.

Giving Flux Permissions

We've got to give this instance of Flux read and write permissions on our repository. Let's get our RSA key with this command:

$ fluxctl identity --k8s-fwd-ns flux

Copy the output, then let's get back into GitHub with a web browser.

Implement the RSA Key in GitHub

In the GitHub user interface, make sure we're in our new repository, and click on the Settings tab. In there, click Deploy keys, then click the Add deploy key button. We can give it a Title of qa, then paste the key we copied earlier down in the Key field. Check the Allow write access box, and click Add key.

Setting an Environment Variable

Set the environment variable for the fluxctl command:

$ export FLUX_FORWARD_NAMESPACE=flux

Use fluxctl to examine the deployed container images:

$ fluxctl list-workloads --all-namespaces

We should see our hello image running, and that it's at version 1.1.

Implement a New Version

Change the Version Number

We've just been informed that our development team has released version 1.2 of the hello application. We need to get that in sync with the qa server. So let's head back into GitHub, navigate to the content-gitops/qa directory, and click on our hello.yaml file. Edit it (by clicking on the pencil button) and change version in the last line from 1.1 to 1.2. Click on the Commit changes button and then head back into the terminal we have open.

Synchronize with Flux

On the Kubernetes server, let's run a command to pull the new version into our cluster:

$ fluxctl sync --k8s-fwd-ns flux

Check to see if it came, with this:

$ fluxctl list-workloads --all-namespaces

We should see that the hello container is now at version 1.2.

Another Scenario -- A Production Server

We've got a group of production engineers, and they want to expand the server that they already have running. This will be pretty much the same process.

Clean the Slate

Let's start off by getting rid of our Flux install, and the lasample namespace:

$ kubectl delete namespace flux
$ kubectl delete namespace lasample

Now let's take another look at what's still running:

$ kubectl get pods --all-namespaces

Things should look like they did the first time we ever ran that command in this environment.

Install Flux

We'll set up the namespace again:

$ kubectl create namespace flux

We're going to deploy Flux again, but we are going to change the folder that it scans. Instead of qa, like we did earlier, we're going to have it scan a production folder. So let's run this on our Kubernetes server:

$ fluxctl install 
--git-user=${GHUSER} 
--git-email=${GHUSER}@users.noreply.github.com 
--git-url=git@github.com:${GHUSER}/content-gitops 
--git-path=namespaces,production 
--namespace=flux | kubectl apply -f -

Giving Flux Permissions

We've got to create another deploy key for this instance of Flux. Get it by running this:

$ fluxctl identity

Copy the output, and head back into GitHub.

Once in the GitHub user interface, click on the Settings tab. In there, click Deploy keys, then click the Add deploy key button. We can give it a Title of production, then paste the key we copied earlier down in the Key field. Check the Allow write access box, and then click Add key.

In the production folder, open up hello.yaml. Look down at the bottom, and note the version, 1.1.

Sync Flux

Back in the command line we've got open, let's pull to our cluster:

fluxctl sync

Now let's list the workloads in the lasample namespace:

fluxctl list-workloads -n lasample

We should see our hello container running, at version 1.1.

Change Versions

Back in our GitHub repository (in hello.yaml that's in the production directory) let's change the version to 1.2 on the last line of the file. Click the pencil icon and then change hellov1.1 at the end of the last line to hellov1.2. Click the Commit changes button below.

Implement the Change

Now we can update the container back in the terminal we have open. Let's sync things again:

fluxctl sync

List the workloads in the lasample namespace again:

fluxctl list-workloads -n lasample

This time we should see our hello container running, but at version 1.2.

Conclusion

Congratulations on completing this hands-on lab!