Infrastructure for microservices. K8s and all

    I once wrote here about moving from Asia to Europe , and now I want to write what I am doing in this Europe. There is such a profession - DevOpsor rather not, but it turned out that this is exactly what I am doing now. Now for the orchestration of everything that runs in docker, we use the rancher , which I also wrote about . But a terrible thing happened, rancher 2.0 came out, which moved to kubernetes (just k8s), and since k8s is now really a standard for managing a cluster, there was a desire to build the entire infrastructure again with blackjack and librarian. What else adds piquancy is the fact that the company constantly hires different specialists from different countries and with different traditions, and someone brings with them puppet, someone deareransible, and someone generally believes that Makefile + bash- our everything. Therefore, there is no single opinion how everything should work, but I really want to.

    Pre-assembled such a zoo technology and tools:


    Infrastructure Management

    • Minikube
    • Rke
    • Terraform
    • Kops
    • Kubespray
    • Ansible

    Application Management

    • Kubernetes
    • Rancher
    • Kubectl
    • Helm
    • Confd
    • Kompose
    • Jenkins

    Logging and monitoring

    • Elasticsearch
    • Kibana
    • Fluent bit
    • Telegraf
    • Influxdb
    • Zabbix
    • Prometheus
    • Grafana
    • Kapacitor

    Then I will try to briefly describe each item of this zoo, describe why it is necessary and why this particular solution was chosen. In fact, almost any item can be replaced by a dozen analogs and we are still not completely sure of the choice, so if anyone has an opinion or recommendations, I’ll be happy to read in the comments.

    The center of everything will be kubernetes because now it really is a solution to which there are simply no alternatives, which are supported by all providers from Amazon and Microsoft to How alternatives were considered

    • Swarm - which never took off
    • Nomad - which similar strangers wrote for predators
    • Cattle - the engine from the rancher 1.x, on which we now live, basically suits everything, but the rancher himself has already refused it in favor of k8s so there will be no development.

    Creation of infrastructure

    First we need to create an infrastructure, and deploy a k8s cluster on it. There are several options, they all work and therefore it is difficult to choose the best.

    Minikube is a great option for running a cluster on a developer's machine, for test purposes.

    Rke - Rancher kubernetes engine, simple as the door; the minimum config for creating a cluster looks like

     -address: localhostrole: [controlplane,worker,etcd]

    And that's all, this is enough to start a cluster on a local machine, while allowing you to create production ready HA clusters, change the configuration, upgrade the cluster, dump etcd the database, and much more.

    Kops - allows not only to create a cluster, but also to pre-create instances in aws or gce. Also allows you to generate a configuration for terraform. An interesting tool, but we have not yet got accustomed. It is completely replaced terraform + rkeat the same time easier and more flexible.

    Kubespray - in fact, it’s just the ansible role that creates the k8s cluster, damn powerful, flexible, configurable. This is practically the default solution for deploying k8s.

    Terraform is a tool for building infrastructure in aws, azure, or a bunch of other places. Flexible, stable - I recommend.

    Ansible is not exactly about k8s, but we use it everywhere and here too: fix configs, install / update software, distribute certificates. Cheap and angry.

    Application Management

    So, we have a cluster, now we need to run something useful on it, the only question left is how to do it.

    Option one: use naked k8s all deployed with help kubectl. In principle, this option has the right to life. Kubectl is a powerful enough tool that allows you to do everything we need, including deployment, upgrading, controlling the current state, changing the configuration on the fly, viewing logs and connecting to specific containers. But sometimes you want everything to be a little more convenient, so go ahead.



    In fact, now rancher is a web muzzle for managing k8s and at the same time a lot of small buns that add convenience. Here you can view logs, access the console and configure and upgrade applications and access control based on roles and the server’s built-in metadata, alarms, log redirection, secrets management and much more. We have been using the rancher of the first version for several years now and are completely satisfied with it, although it must be admitted that when switching to k8s, the question arises whether we really need it. It's nice that you can import any previously created cluster into the rancher, and from any provider, that is, you can import a cluster from EKS from azure and created locally into one server and steer them from one place. Moreover, if you suddenly get tired,

    Nowadays, a very correct concept is all popular as a code. For example, infrastructure as code, is implemented with help terraform, assembly as code is implemented through jenkins pipeline. Now it's the turn of the application. The installation and configuration of the application must also be described in some manifesto and stored in the gita. Rancher versions 1.x used standard docker-compose.ymland everything was fine, but when they moved to k8s they switched to helm charts.Helm- from my point of view, a completely awful thing with strange logic and architecture. This is one of those projects from which there is a feeling that it was written by predators for strangers or vice versa. The only problem is that in the world of k8s chelm there are simply no alternatives, and this is de facto the standard. Therefore, we will stab at crying, but continue to use helm. In version 3.x, the developers promise to rewrite it almost from scratch, throwing out all the oddities from it and simplifying the architecture. It is then that we will live, but for now we will eat what we have.

    You should at least mention it here jenkins, it does not directly relate to the topic of cubernetis, but it is with its help that applications are deployed in a cluster. He is, he works and he is a topic for a separate article.


    Now we have a cluster and even some application is spinning in it, it would seem - you can breathe out, but in fact everything is just beginning. How stable is our application? How fast? Does he have enough resources? What happens in a cluster at all?
    Yes, the next topic is monitoring and logging. There are only three unambiguous answers. Keep logs in elasticsearch, watch them through kibanadraw graphs in grafana. For all other questions there are ten correct answers.


    Here we will start with grafanaby itself it practically does nothing, but it can be fastened as a beautiful face to any of the systems described below and you can get beautiful and sometimes vivid graphs, besides you can also set up alarms, but it is better to use other solutions for this prometheus alertmanagerand for example ElastAlert.


    From my point of view at the moment it is the best aggregator and logger of logs, besides, there is support for k8s right out of the box. There is more, Fluentdbut it is written in Ruby and pulls along too much legacy code, which makes it much less attractive. So if you need a specific module from fluentd which is not yet ported to fluent-bit, use it, in all the others - the bit is the best choice. It is faster, more stable, consumes less memory. It allows you to collect logs from all or selected containers, filter them, enrich them by adding data specific to the cubnet and send it all to elasticsearch or to many other storages. If you compare it with the traditional, logstash + docker-bit + file-bitthis solution is definitely better in all respects. Historically we still uselogspout + logstash but fluent-bit definitely wins.


    Monitoring system written specifically for microservice architecture. De facto standard in the industry, moreover there is a project which is called Prometheus Operator, written specifically for k8s. Everyone decides what to choose, but it’s better to start from bare prometheus, just to understand the logic of his work, it is quite different from the usual systems. It is also necessary to mention node-exporterwhich allows you to collect metrics of the machine level and prometheus-rancher-exporter which allows you to collect metrics through rancher api. In general, if you have a cluster on kubernetes, then prometheus is a must have.

    It could have stayed here, but historically, we have several other monitoring systems. Firstly, it is zabbixvery convenient to see all the problems of the entire infrastructure on one panel. The presence of auto discovery allows on the fly to find and add to the monitoring of new networks, nodes, services, and in general almost anything, it makes it more than a convenient tool for monitoring dynamic infrastructures. In addition, in version 4.0, zabbiks added a collection of metrics from exporters of prometheus and it turns out that all this can be very nicely integrated into one system. Although there is not yet a definite answer whether it is necessary to drag zabbix to the k8s cluster, but it is definitely interesting to try.

    It’s still just as an option you can use it TIG (telegraf + influxdb + grafana)simply, it works stably, it allows you to aggregate metrics, by containers, applications, nodes, etc., but in fact completely duplicates the prometheus functionality, and “only one should remain”.

    And this is how it turns out that, before launching anything useful, it is necessary to install and configure a strapping from a couple of dozen of auxiliary services and tools. At the same time, the article did not raise issues of managing permanent data, secrets and other strange things, each of which can pull on a separate publication.

    How do you see the perfect infrastructure for yourself?
    If you have an opinion, please write in the comments, or maybe even join our team and help collect it all on the spot.

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