EKS reference architecture

EKS reference architecture

The Octopus - EKS Reference Architecture step populates an existing Octopus space with deployment projects demonstrating how DevOps teams can deploy applications to the AWS EKS platform.

Supporting Videos

Deploying to Kubernetes at scale with Octopus

Configuring the step

Hosted Octopus users should use the Hosted Ubuntu worker pool and run the step with the octopuslabs/terraform-workertools container image accessed via the Container Images feed. On-premises Octopus users need to ensure the step is run on a worker with a recent version of Terraform installed, or can use the octopuslabs/terraform-workertools container image on a worker with Docker installed.

The step exposes a number of options, typically requesting credentials to the various platforms that are configured to support EKS deployments:

  • AWS Access Key and AWS Secret Key require the access keys of the user that will create the EKS cluster.
  • Docker Hub Username and Docker Hub Password require the credentials of a Docker Hub user that is used to access sample Docker images from public DockerHub repositories. These credentials are also used by a sample GitHub Actions workflow that publishes Docker images.
  • GitHub Access Token requires the GitHub access token of a user that is used to create a new GitHub repository holding a sample application.
  • Octopus API Key requires an API key to the Octopus instance where the reference architecture projects and supporting resources are created.
  • Octopus Space ID requires the space ID where the reference architecture projects and supporting resources are created. Leave the default value to populate the same space as the runbook.
  • Octopus Server URL requires the URL of the Octopus instance where the reference architecture projects and supporting resources are created. Leave the default value to populate the same instance as the runbook.
  • Optional Terraform Apply Args allows custom arguments to be passed to the terraform apply command. The Terraform module applied by this step exposes a number of optional variables that can be defined as apply arguments. These arguments can be defined by setting this field to a value like -var=project_template_project_name=renamed -var=infrastructure_project_name=renamed2 -var=frontend_project_name=renamed3 -var=products_project_name=renamed4 -var=audits_project_name=renamed5:
    • infrastructure_project_name defines the name of the _ AWS EKS Infrastructure project
    • project_template_project_name defines the name of the Docker Project Templates project
    • frontend_project_name defines the name of the EKS Octopub Frontend project
    • products_project_name defines the name of the EKS Octopub Products project
    • audits_project_name defines the name of the EKS Octopub Audits project
  • Optional Terraform Init Args allows custom argument to be passed to the terraform init command. Leave this field blank unless you have a specific use case.

Reference projects

The step creates a number of reference projects demonstrating how to deploy applications to an EKS cluster.

The _ AWS EKS Infrastructure project contains a runbook called Create EKS Cluster. This runbook creates a Fargate EKS cluster with the supplied name in the supplied region and then installs the NGINX ingress controller on it. The script then creates a new Kubernetes target using dynamic infrastructure. This cluster can be destroyed with the Delete EKS Cluster runbook.

The EKS Octopub Audits, EKS Octopub Frontend, EKS Octopub Products projects deploy the Octopub sample application to the EKS cluster, performs a smoke test, and scans the SBOM associated with each image using Trivy. Each of these projects have a number of supporting runbooks to inspect Kubernetes resources.

In addition, there are two runbooks called Scale Pods to One and Scale Pods to Zero that scale the number of pods associated with the deployment. These runbooks are expected to be triggered in the morning and afternoon to scale non-production environments up and down. Because the pods are run on Fargate nodes, scaling a deployment to zero removes the compute costs associated with them.

The _ Deploy EKS Octopub Stack project uses the Deploy a release step to orchestrate the deployment of the individual microservices that make up the Octopub sample application. Orchestration projects provide a convenient way of promoting multiple related releases between environments in a predefined order, which may be required when applications are tightly bound or a well-defined set of release versions must be installed as a group.

The Docker Project Templates project contains a runbook called Create Template Github Node.js Project that:

  1. Creates a new GitHub repository
  2. Adds Github Actions secrets to allow workflows to interact with the Octopus server and the DockerHub repository
  3. Populates the repo with a sample Node.js web application and GitHub Actions workflow to build the application, push it to DockerHub, and create a release in Octopus

This runbook is an example of platform engineering where DevOps teams can bootstrap sample applications with best practices such as versioning, security scanning, and CI/CD pipelines provided as part of a common base template.

Feature branches

This reference architecture provides the ability to deploy feature branch builds of each of the microservices.

The implementation satisfies these requirements:

  • Feature branches are deployed to their own namespace
  • Feature branch builds can not be promoted to production
  • The feature branch environment is initially populated with the set of applications in another environment
  • Feature branch artifacts are identified by the prerelease component of their version e.g. myfeature in the version 0.2.8-myfeature.4

Feature branch deployments are performed in the environment called Feature Branch. This environment is defined as an optional phase after Development for regular mainline deployments. Typically, mainline deployments will skip the Feature Branch environment, but it is possible to promote deployments from Development to Feature Branch in order to recreate the Development environment for the purposes of testing a feature branch build.

Each application deployment project has two channels: Mainline and Feature Branch. The Mainline channel requires containers to have no prerelease component in their tags. The Feature Branch channel has no restrictions, allowing both mainline and feature branch builds to be deployed.

The Feature Branch channel is configured to use the Feature Branch lifecycle, which only contains the Feature Branch environment. This ensures that feature branch builds can not be promoted to production.

The typical workflow is this:

  1. Using the _ Deploy EKS Octopub Stack orchestration project, the current state of the Development environment is promoted to the Feature Branch environment. The namespace hosting the feature branch is prompted for, just before the release is deployed. This effectively recreates the Development environment in a new namespace.
  2. The feature branch build of the individual microservice being tested is then manually deployed using the Feature Branch channel.
  3. The end result is a copy of the mainline applications deployed to a feature branch namespace with a single feature branch build of the microservice being tested. This allows the feature branch microservice to be tested in isolation with a complete microservice stack.

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Page updated on Monday, November 13, 2023