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Simon Massey
Simon Massey

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Git-driven Infrastructure as Code on Origin Kubernetes Distribution

At we automatically deploy all of the Kubernetes configuration running our applications on AWS simply by pushing changes to GitHub. I could say that this is a good thing as it is all about efficiency, DevOps, and infrastructure-as-code. That is true but it misses the magic. Driving your infrastructure this way gives us 🐐🏭💨🦄. It is a yak shaving factory that powers a blast furnace of team empowering mega awesomeness.

We even wrote a slack bot that edits the configuration files in git and creates the pull requests. When a new dev joins our team they can push their first code to production by hanging out on slack and chatting to the bot. Yes, they 🗣️🤖🌈. Everyone can see what's going on in slack as we run continuous deployments. Here is a seven-minute video showing that in action:

We thought other people could use our approach so we put everything up on GitHub as OCD. Yes, we🦄🎁🌈. This is the first in a series of posts about how OCD combines some great open source technologies to run a successful start-up business. Running a business with multiple web applications and a mobile backend in Kubernetes on AWS is a big topic. So I will break it down into bite-sized chunks you can run on your laptop.

But why did I call it OCD? Well because it runs on OKD and it is a bad pun about obsessive automation, sorry. I guess I should explain the background.

Origin Kubernetes Distribution OKD is one of the most popular Kubernetes distributions that makes self-service devops a reality. It is the open-source project that powers OpenShift so I will use the terms OKD and OpenShift interchangeably. We run our business apps on OpenShift Online Pro which is a CaaS (Container-Orchestration-as-a-Service). We simply rent space on the Kubernetes cluster and someone else patches it and the operating system. We only pay for a fraction of the cluster and get a mature stable solution. We only need to manage the Kubernetes configuration that runs our webapps and our mobile backend API. The service team keeps the managed cluster on AWS healthy and security patched. Yet OpenShift is based on open source OKD so there is no lock-in and you can run it yourself on any cloud.

If you haven't yet discovered why OpenShift is a great place to start here is a video of building and deploy a ReactJS app by simply enter the git URL into the web console:

That video highlights how the Origin Kubernetes Distribution has a focus on being a solution for turning your code into a live system. The git URL is run through a template for building and deploying a node.js app. The template creates all the Kubernetes objects necessary to pull your code, build a container image, and push it to an image stream within the internal container registry. It also sets up a deployment object that watches the image stream for push events to deploy any updates. Finally, there is a service to load balance the pods and a route to expose them to the outside world. That is a lot of software-defined application infrastructure all created by a developer just entering a git URL!

With great power comes great responsibility. We wanted all our Kubernetes configuration under source control. This allows us to treat all our Kubernetes application infrastructure like code so that we can automate the deployments. We wanted code reviews, continuous integration and continuous delivery onto Kubernetes. We wanted the full 🐐🏭💨🦄. In this series of posts, I will start by running through the OCD demos on your laptop as a quick tour of what it does. After that, I will run through some of the great tools that OCD brings together coherently to be more than the sum of the parts. First up we will run through the first tutorial on setting up a Kubernetes configuration deployment pipeline from scratch on Minishift.

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