In a previous blog (here) I wrote about the structure and naming of assets to be applied to OCIR. What I didn’t address is the interesting challenge of what if my development machine has a different architecture to my target environment. For example, as a developer, I have a nice shiny Mac Book Pro with the M1 chipset which uses an ARM architecture. However, my target cloud environment has been built and runs with an AMD64 chipset? As we’re creating binary images it does raise some interesting questions.
As we’re creating our containers with Docker, this addresses how to solve the problem with Docker. Other OCI Compliant containers will address the problem differently.
Buildx is a development feature in Docker which makes use of a cross-platform build capability. When using buildx we can specify one or more build platform types. These are specified using the –platform parameter. In the code below we use it to define the Linux AMD64 architecture mentioned (linux/amd64). But we can make the parameter a comma-separated list targeting different platform types. When that is done, multiple images will be built. By default, the build will happen in sequence, but it is possible to switch on additional process threads for the Docker build process to get the build process running concurrently.
Unlike the following example (which is only intended for one platform, if you are building for multiple platforms then it would be recommended that the name include the platform type the image will work for. For production builds we would promote that idea regardless, just as we see with installer and package manager-related artifacts.
If you compare this version of the code to the previous blog (here) there are some additional differences. Now I’ve switched to setting the target tag as part of the build. As we’re not interested in hanging onto any images built we’ve included the target repository in the build statement. Immediately push it to OCIR, after all the images won’t work on our machine.
A container registry is as essential as a Kubernetes service as you want to manage the deployable resources. That registry could be the public Docker repository or something else. In most people’s cases, the registry needs to be private as you don’t want to expose your product assets to potential external tampering. As a result, we need a service such as Oracle’s container registry OCIR.
The re of this blog is going to walk through how to push a container you’ve built into OCIR and a gotcha that can trip up users if you make assumptions about how the registry works.
Let’s assume you’re building your microservices locally or retrieving vetting 3rd party services for use. In both cases, you want to manually push your assets into OCIR manually rather than have an automated build pipeline do it for you.
This creates a container locally, and we can see the container listed using the command:
Setup of OCIR
We need an OCIR to target so the easiest thing is to manually create an OCIR instance in one of the regions, for the sake of this illustration we’ll use Ashburn (short code is IAD). To help with the visibility we can put the registry in a separate compartment as a child of the root. Let’s assume we’re going to call the registry GraphQL. So before creating your OCIR set up the compartment as necessary.
In the screenshot, you can see I’ve created a registry, which is very quick and easy in the UI (in the menu it’s in the Developer Services section).
Finally, we click on the button to create the specific OCIR.
Having created the image, and with a repo ready we can start the steps of pushing the container to OCIR.
The next step is to tag the created image. This has to be done carefully as the tag needs to reflect where the image is going using the formula <region name>/<tenancy name/<registry name>:<version>. All the registries will be addressed by <region short code>.ocir.io In our case, it would be iad.ocir.io.
docker tag graph-svr:latest iad.ocir.io/ociobenablement/graphql-svr:v0.1-dev
As you may have realized the tag being applied effectively tells OCI which instance of OCIR to place the container in. Getting this wrong can be the core of the gotcha previously mentioned and we’ll elaborate upon it shortly.
To sign in you’ll need an auth token as that is passed as the password. For simplicity, I’ve passed the token in the docker command, which Docker will warn you of as being insecure, and suggest it is passed in as part of a prompt. Note my token will have been changed by the time this is published. The username is built on the structure of <cloud tenancy name>/identitycloudservice/<username>. The identitycloudservice piece only needs to be included for your authentication is managed through IDCS, as is the case here. The final bit is the URI for the appropriate regional OCIR address, as we’ve used previously.
With hopefully a successful authentication response we can push the container. It is worth noting that the Docker authenticated connection will timeout which is why we’ve put everything in place before connecting. The push command is very simple, it is the tag name assigned to the artifact including the version number.
When we deal with repositories from Git to SVN or Apache Archiva to Nexus we work with a repository that holds multiple different assets with multiple versions of those assets. as a result, when we identify an asset uniquely we would expect to name things based on server/location, repository, asset name, and version. However, here each repository is designed for one type of asset but multiple versions. In reality, a Docker repository works in the same manner (but the extended path impact is different).
This means it becomes easy to accidentally define a tag with an extra element. Depending upon your OCI tenancy privileges if you get the path wrong, OCI creates a new root compartment container repository with a name that is a composite of the name elements after the tenancy and puts your artifact in that repository, not the one you expected.
We can address this in several ways, first and probably the best option is to automate the process of loading assets into OCIR, once the process is correct, it will remain correct. Another is to adopt a principle of never holding repositories at the root of a tenancy, which means you can then explicitly remove the permissions to create repositories in that compartment (you’ll need to explicitly grant the permissions elsewhere in the compartment hierarchy because of policy inheritance. This will result in the process of pushing a container to fail because of privileges if the tag is wrong.
Visual representation of structure differences
Condensed to a simple script
These steps can be condensed to a simple platform neutral script as follows:
This script would need modifying for each container being built, but you could easily make it parameterized or configuration drive.
A Note on Registry Standards
Oracle’s Container Registry has adopted the Open Registries standard for OCIR. Open Registries come under the Linux Foundation‘s governance. This standard has been adopted by all the major hyperscalers (Google, AWS, Azure, etc). All the technical spec information for the standard is published through GitHub rather than the main website.
Before joining Oracle I used to typically refer to a couple of key resources from Oracle – docs.oracle.com, and occasionally developer.oracle.com and ateam-oracle.com. We’d obviously use cloud.oracle.com and the main oracle.com to be able to reference published stats, success references etc. Now I’m part of the company and working in the OCI product team with an outbound side of things, I needed to gem up on all the assets that exist. So that we can help contribute, and ensure that they are up to date etc. In doing so, the number of resources available is so much more than I’d realized.
Upon reflection, this may have been from the fact we didn’t drill down deeply enough, also in part that Capgemini has its own approaches and strategies as well.
This in part is linked to the organizational structures e.g. OCI Product Management’s outbound work overlaps with the Marketing Developer Relations, for example, something that is inevitable in an organization that provides such a diverse portfolio of products.
For my own benefit, and for others to exploit, the following table summarises the different areas of information. The nature of the content and – where content overlaps or is presented in different ways.
We’ve moved this content so it can be easily revised to here (and accessible from the site menu). But also available here …
Oracle blogs primarily from Oracle staff covering different parts of the organization, covering employment diversity through to each of the major product families, domain verticals such as Retail, Hospitality. The blogs are broken into groups, so it’s worth bookmarking the product groups of interest, for example, Infrastructure. In addition to the product spaces, there are blogs that come from teams such as the A-Team – Infrastructure, Java Magazine,
The members of this team are the ‘gurus’ of product application. These cover a range of domains – structured in a similar way to blogs.oracle.com with different posts. These posts represent patterns and solutions to problems encountered by the team. How to, or not to implement things. This can overlap with some blogs in so far as both product blogs and A-Team blogs may address how to leverage product features.
This is the Architecture Center which provides reference solutions. But these aren’t exclusive to the SaaS products (which would be easy to interpret). A lot of examples cover deploying and running open-source solutions on IaaS, for example, Drupal, WordPress, and Magento to name just a couple. A lot of these are backed up with scripts, Terraform, and code to achieve the deployment and configuration. In addition to this, there are use cases of what customers have deployed into production (known as built and deployed).
This contains a lot of free tutorials and labs that can be taken a run to implement different things, from deploying a Python with Flask solution on Kubernetes to Creating USB Installation Media for Oracle Linux with Fedora Media Writer. As you can see from these examples, the tutorials cover both Oracle products and open source. These resources interlink with the Architecture Centre and can overlap with developer.oracle.com.
This is the home for the majority of all Oracle free code, including the Open source projects such as Helidon, JET, Kubernetes Operators, and so on.
Helidon, Fn, and other source projects
A number of Oracle open source projects have their own independent web resources as well. Helidon includes additional technical resources. The ones we know more about are : Helidon, Fn, Verrrazano, GraalVM, Apiary Bit it includes references to Java core language etc.
Managed by Jurgen Kress (Prod Mgr for Oracle PaaS). It acts as an aggregator for contributions from the community and shares news about what is happening within Oracle to support customers and partners in the PaaS space.
Perhaps not access usable as documentation, how-to etc. but Podcasts can yield a lot of broad picture insights. Oracle has a range of podcasts covering a diverse range of subjects. Not all podcasts are active at any one time. But the site provides a catalog and episode list.
Today was the first run of some new presentation material looking at the use of GitHub Actions using Runners deployed on OCI Free Tier. The presentation was actually physical rather than virtual which was after 2 years of virtual presenting, rather refreshing. Not to mention the UKOUG hosted the event at the Oval Cricket ground, which made for an interesting venue. The example configuration is included in our GitHub OCI Utilities repository (as we use this solution to help validate and test our development work).
The presentation itself (which includes screenshots of the setup of a simple Action and runner) is here, note I have disconnected my Runners, but you will be able to see the Action configuration but if you try to trigger activity through my repository then nothing will happen.
We’re excited to be presenting on November 16th 4.30pm CET (3.30pm GMT). I hope you can join us by registering here
Heathrow rapidly moves to Oracle Cloud and connects with hybrid Integration.
The continuous delivery of constant small innovations can bring benefits faster without risks. Join us to hear how Capgemini’s Agile Innovation Platform (AIP) combined with Flexagon’s FlexDeploy DevOps platform enable this model of innovation and achieve tangible benefits to customers using the cloud capabilities and traditional on-premises ERP.
Phil Wilkins, Capgemini Integration Architect, and Dan Goerdt, President of Flexagon will describe how the combination are highly effective at delivering micro-innovation demonstrated through real-world customer results.
From this session, you will learn:
How the Agile Innovation Platform’s building blocks and templates allow development teams to reduce time to value.
How FlexDeploy brings unique benefits to both Open Source and Oracle-specific technologies.
What were the challenges solved and benefits gained by actual customers using AIP and FlexDeploy.
How Integration is the foundation of continuous delivery and innovation.
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about the Oracle Cloud SDK (check here), but it seems rather fitting, as some of the utilities I’ve been working on are open to the community, and #JoelKallmanDay is all about community. If you’d like to know more about #JoelKallmanDay then checkout Tim Hall’s blog here.
Oracle have provided a very rich API and then overlaid it with a number of SDKs in Python, Java etc. The SDKs immediately remove the work of creating connections and correct payloads. Taking the Python SDK for example, all I need to do is create a standard configuration file with all the necessary connection properties to my OCI instance. Then it’s simply a case of creating the correct Python object for the correct group of services wanted. Then it’s down to populating the object attributes. This is the illustration of exactly what a good SDK does. I can lean on my IDE to use the correct set and get operators. The code for establishing a connection is done for me.
What I’ve found most striking is the level of consistency in the methods provided by the SDK regardless of the service. This makes it very easy to develop functionality without needing to check every API before I can write any code. it would be easy to say, so what. But when you look at the breadth of the OCI services it becomes more impressive.
The convenience doesn’t end there. Rather than having to run your utilities from a local command line (Python means we’re pretty much OS agnostic), the Oracle Cloud shell is preconfigured with Python, OCI SDK, GitHub and FTP server and basic Linux text editors. The all amounts to the fact that you can use your scripts/tools from within the web UI of OCI. Edit your credentials file locally, push and pull any changes to the scripts from the shell and any Git repo such as GitHub.
With this insight, we just need to build that catalogue of accelerator tools to make those repetitive processes just a little easier. For example ensuring that when you tear down your manually created services all interlinked entities are deleted first (which can be troublesome with policies, groups, compartments and so on).
While there is a deserved amount of publicity around the introduction of ARM compute onto OCI with the ARM Ampere CPU offering, and the amazing level of always free compute being provided (24GB of memory and 4 cores which can be used in any combination of servers). There have been some interesting announcements that perhaps haven’t drawn as much attention that they deserve. This includes OCI support for GitHub Actions, plus several new DevOps services and an Artifact Registry. We’ll comeback to the new services in another post. Today, let’s look at GitHub Actions.
The latest edition of OraWorld is out which includes the second part of my part part articles relating to GraphQL and API Security. You can check it out at on page 22, along with lots of other great content here.