OCI – Oracle Container Engine for Kubernetes (OKE) – Using Client Certificates and RBAC

Kubernetes has been proven the best way that we have today to run microservices deployments, whether it is via a Serverless approach or by managing your own deployments in the cluster. This has solidified with the strong adoption of Kubernetes by all the major Cloud Vendors, as the strategic way to orchestrate containers and run serverless functions.

However, one of the situations that we need to be mindful, is that kubernetes creates by default a super powerful user that has full access to almost every resource in the cluster (accessible via kubectl or directly though APIs). This is very convenient for most dev & test scenarios, but it is imperative that for production workloads, we limit such power and use Role Base Access Control (RBAC), stable since version 1.8, for fine-grained authorisation access control to kubernetes cluster resources.

For the purpose of this demo, I am assuming some familiarity with Kubernetes and kubectl. I will mainly focus on the Authentication and Authorisation aspects that allow us to use Client certificates to get access to protected resources in a Kubernetes cluster.

In a nutshell this is what I am going to do:

  1. Create and use Client certificates to authenticate into a Kubernetes cluster
  2. Create a Role Base Access Control to fine grain authorise resources in the Kubernetes cluster
  3. Configure kubectl with the new security context, to properly limit access to resources in the Kubernetes cluster.

This is a super simplified visual representation:

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Calling OCI APIs from Postman

Oracle’s Cloud Infrastructure has been designed in an API-first manner, which is awesome for all sorts of infrastructure automation tasks. It also implements an interesting API security model, in which all requests must be signed using a private key, associated with a public key which has already been configured in OCI (here, the developers are showing their infrastructure roots, as this echoes how SSH Auth is normally handled). The documentation of this model provides sample code in a number of languages, which is perfect if you are writing automation scripts, but is a little inflexible for ad-hoc testing. Typically I much prefer to use a rich graphical REST client, such a Postman, so that I can easily tweak my parameters and try out different types of calls before I write any code. Unfortunately while Postman is well equipped for Basic and Token based Auth, HTTP-Signature is not natively implemented, and rather than abandon Postman for a new tool, I set out to implement it using Postman’s powerful scripting capabilities. In this blog post I provide the result of this, which is a downloadable collection which provides all of the required scripts, and discuss the approach used.

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Getting started with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Internet and NAT Gateways

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure makes it easy to allow secured ways to let your compute instances in the Oracle Public Cloud to reach the internet, as well as being reachable from the Internet when needed. There are 2 main types of Networking Gateways that makes this easy to implement:

  • Internet Gateway: This type of gateway is directly attached to your Virtual Cloud Network (VCN) and lets your compute instances, that reside in a public subnet, to reach the Internet and being reachable from the Internet. A classic example of this is a bastion host that needs to be accessed via SSH from outside your VCN and that also needs connectivity to the Internet.
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Enhance the security of your website with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure’s Web Application Firewall

Oracle recently introduced a Web Application Firewall (WAF) to further enhance and secure Oracle Cloud Infrastructure offerings. The Oracle Cloud Infrastructure WAF is based on Oracle Zenedge and Oracle Dyn technologies. It inspects all traffic destined to your web application origin and identifies and blocks all malicious traffic. The WAF offers the following tools, which can be used on any website, regardless of where it is being hosted:

  • Origin management
  • Bot management
  • Access control
  • Over 250 robust protection rules that include the OWASP rulesets to protect against SQL injection, cross-site scripting, HTML injection, and more

In this post, I configure a set of access control WAF policies to a website. Access control defines explicit actions for requests that meet conditions based on URI, request headers, client IP address, or countries and regions.

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AUSOUG Connect 2018 – Talking Dev

ausoug-title-01.pngIn November 2018, I had the privilege to attend the Australian Oracle User Group national conference “#AUSOUG Connect” in Melbourne. My role was to have video interviews with as many of the speakers and exhibitors at the conference. Overall, 10 interviews over the course of the day, 90 mins of real footage, 34 short clips to share and plenty of hours reviewing and post-editing to capture the best parts.

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Teaching How to Get Started with Oracle Container Engine for Kubernetes (OKE)

In a previous blog, I explained how to provision a Kubernetes cluster locally on your laptop (either as a single node with minikube or a multi-node using VirtualBox), as well as remotely in the Oracle Public Cloud IaaS. In this blog, I am going to show you how to get started with Oracle Container Engine for Kubernetes (OKE). OKE is a fully-managed, scalable, and highly available service that you can use to deploy your containerized applications to the cloud on Kubernetes.

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Teaching How to Invoke Gen2 Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) resources via REST APIs

I am thrilled with the Oracle’s Gen2 Cloud Infrastructure architecture, where Oracle completely separates the Cloud Control Computers from the User Code, so that no threats can enter from outside the cloud and no threats can spread from within tenants.

Obviously with more security, there comes more coordination, especially at the moment of invoking OCI resources APIs. Luckily, Oracle did a good job at providing a simple to use CLI and SDK (see here for more information).

For the purpose of this blog, I built a simple NodeJS application that helps demystify the security aspect of invoking OCI APIs. Check this link for examples of running similar code across other Programming Languages.

My NodeJS application manages OCI resources in order to:

  • List ADW instances
  • Stop an ADW instance
  • Start an ADW instance

I started this NodeJS application to list, start and stop ADW resources. However, I designed this application to easily extend it to invoke any other type of OCI resources.

I containerised this application with Docker, to make it easier to ship and run.

This is a picture of the moving parts:

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