Over the past couple of weeks, I was getting back into the normal life of Cloud Engineering (the #BuildWithAI global hackathon isn’t the only thing that I focus on – check this article out #BuildWithAI Announces Winners). And something that I was doing was actually less about technology but more about budgeting – Cloud Estimations.
This is an interesting puzzle because of a couple of different elements.
Cloud is supposed to be elastic. But budgeting is typically not. Nor are project estimations and costs. Nor are approval processes. Nor are procurement processes. There are so many things in a business that are not elastic.
The people provisioning are not necessarily in charge of the costs. And I know as a developer, these overarching cost discussions aren’t necessarily the one you get invited to.
I’ll keep this one short as we have done a specific writeup about this event. If you hasn’t seen it – check out this previous article #BuildWithAI – A Hackathon Experience. The winners have been announced and published … Here’s a quick summary of who won what.
On August 17th, we’ll be announcing winners of the #BuildWithAI hackathon and it will be live-streamed on youtube – https://youtu.be/URuB0FtBIJo (note – set your reminder). Cassie Kozyrkov (Chief Decision Scientist, Google), Steve Nouri (Board Member, Hackmakers), Cherie Ryan (Regional MD of ANZ and VP, Oracle) as well as an all-star judging line-up will be there.
Before we get to that, lets rewind, fast-forward and bring together some of the interesting points of the #BuildWithAI hackathon – an event that was truly global in its nature hosted by Hackmakers (https://hackmakers.com/).
July 24th 11:45am AEST – I received a calendar alert for the Leader Mentor Zoom session for the #BuildWithAI hackathon. Trying to finish as many of the things that I needed to get done before I joined this call. This will be interesting. Watching the number of competitors join the event’s slack workspace climbing from a hundred users when I first joined, to now over 3,500 users in the #introductions channel, it was an unique experience. I’m thinking about lots of different things from past hackathons that I’ve participated, mentored, sponsored, hosted – how will this one be any different. I’ll just have to wait and see. And better yet, give to the community and the competitors as much as I can in the time we have.
This moment was not the beginning nor the end of this experience. It was somewhere in between. I’ll give you some background.
Kubernetes is a great platform to run microservices, there is no question about it. It has great features like Horizontal Pod Autoscaler and Cluster Autoscaler that make it very easy to scale whole applications depending on current or forecasted load. However with auto-scaling there are a few considerations that we need to keep in mind and one of the most important ones is that containers are ephemeral, which implies that we need to design our applications in such a way that they can scale, without compromising data persistency. There are multiple techniques available to make this possible. A common way to achieve this, is by using Persistent Volumes (PV) and Persistent Volumes Claims (PVC), that hook via the CSI (Container Storage Interface) into external disk volumes. This helps maintain state outside containers, allowing them to scale without compromising the data.
Also, with the constant embrace of Cloud providers to kubernetes, these solutions are quickly also evolving and becoming more sophisticated and easier to use. For example, now days we can extend the use of PVC with Storage Classes, implemented by the different Cloud vendors. This make the whole PV/PVC experience so enjoyable, as these storage classes become responsible to interface into the Cloud vendor IaaS land and create resources that we simply declared, while we keep reading and writing data in persistent disks.
Now, with this constant multi-cloud endorsement with kubernetes, it was a matter of time, until Cloud vendors decided to differentiate themselves by allowing the use of foreign cloud services, as first-class citizens in kubernetes. Just imagine, having the ability to use a PaaS service from “Cloud Vendor A”, seamlessly from within my kubernetes cluster that is running on “Cloud Vendor B”. The piece of magic that makes this possible is called, Open Service Broker (OSB), which is really not magic, but just a bunch of APIs that allow the control plane in kubernetes to interact with Cloud services.
In this blog, I am going to show you how to consume Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) resources from within kubernetes using the Open Service Broker. Specifically, I am going to let my kubernetes control plane to fully manage an OCI Autonomous Transaction Processing DB (ATP), as if it was a native kubernetes resource… And by the way, I am going to use OKE (Oracle managed Kubernetes), but you could very well use Google/AWS/Azure Kubernetes elsewhere and still consume OCI resources. How cool is that?
In a recent blog, I explained how to approve in Kubernetes external certificate signing requests from end users. This way, users can then simply use their private keys to authenticate into Kubernetes API server. Further to this, Role Based Access Control (RBAC) can be put in place to authorise access to resources in kubernetes clusters. This is amazing and provides some level of governance, however there is a caveat, since kubernetes does not hold neither users nor groups, the identities must exist outside the cluster somewhere else. If we create external CSRs with non-existent users and groups, soon it will become very hard to properly manage all the identities, especially if we have to maintain multiple users accessing the cluster. This is yet another area that gets highly simplified when Cloud vendors embrace kubernetes as first class citizens.
In this blog, I am going to show you how to create and manage your identities in OCI IAM and simply, using such identities to access Oracle Container Engine for Kubernetes (OKE) clusters and authorise access to resources.
In a nutshell, this is what I am going to do:
Create a new user/group in OCI IAM
Configure an OCI policy to grant access to my user’s group to access the OKE clusters
Create Roles and Role Bindings (RBAC) in OKE to authorise our user to access OKE resources
Download a kubeconfig set for my new user using token validation
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:
Create and use Client certificates to authenticate into a Kubernetes cluster
Create a Role Base Access Control to fine grain authorise resources in the Kubernetes cluster
Configure kubectl with the new security context, to properly limit access to resources in the Kubernetes cluster.
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.
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.
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:
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.