Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Linux Namespaces - Part 1


First of all I would like to give credit to Docker which motivated me to write this blog, I've been using docker for more then 6 months but I always wondered how things are happening behind the scene. So I started in depth learning of Docker and here I am talking about Namespace which is the core concept used by Docker.

Before talking about Namespaces in Linux, it is very important to know that what namespaces actually is?

Let's take an example, We have two people with the same first name Abhishek Dubey and Abhishek Rawat but we can differentiate them on the basis of their surname Dubey and Rawat. So you can think surname as a namespace.

In Linux, namespaces are used to provide isolation for objects from other objects. So that anything will happen in namespaces will remain in that particular namespace and doesn't affect other objects of other namespaces. For example:- we can have the same type of objects in different namespaces as they are isolated from each other.

In short, due to isolation, namespaces limits how much we can see.

Now you would be having a good conceptual idea of Namespace let's try to understand them in the context of Linux Operating System.

Linux Namespaces

Linux namespace forms a single hierarchy, with all processes and that is init. Usually, privileged processes and services can trace or kill other processes. Linux namespaces provide the functionality to have many hierarchies of processes with their own "subtrees", such that, processes in one subtree can't access or even know those of another.

A namespace wraps a global system resource (For ex:- PID) using the abstraction that makes it appear to processes within the namespace that they have, using their own isolated instance of the said resource.

In the above figure, we have a process named 1 which is the first PID and from 1 parent process there are new PIDs are generated just like a tree. If you see the 6th PID in which we are creating a subtree, there actually we are creating a different namespace. In the new namespace, 6th PID will be its first and parent PID. So the child processes of 6th PID cannot see the parent process or namespace but the parent process can see the child PIDs of the subtree.

Let's take PID namespace as an example to understand it more clearly. Without namespace, all processes descend(move downwards) hierarchically from First PID i.e. init. If we create PID namespace and run a process in it, the process becomes the First PID in that namespace. In this case, we wrap a global system resource(PID). The process that creates the namespace still remains in the parent namespace but makes it child for the root of the new process tree.

This means that the processes within the new namespace cannot see the parent process but the parent process can see the child namespace process. 

I hope you have got a clear understanding of Namespaces concepts & what purpose they serve in a Linux OS. The next blog of this series will talk about how we use namespace to restrict usage of system resources such as network, mounts, cgroups...

Monday, October 22, 2018

Docker Logging Driver

The  docker logs command batch-retrieves logs present at the time of execution. The docker logs command shows information logged by a running container. The docker service logs command shows information logged by all containers participating in a service. The information that is logged and the format of the log depends almost entirely on the container’s endpoint command.


These logs are basically stored at "/var/lib/docker/containers/<container_id>.log", So basically it is not easy to use this file by using Filebeat because the file will change every time when the new container is up with a new container id.

So, How to monitor these logs which are formed in different files ? For this Docker logging driver were introduced to monitor the docker logs.

Docker includes multiple logging mechanisms to help you get information from running containers & services. These mechanisms are called logging drivers. These logging drivers are configured for the docker daemon.

To configure the Docker daemon to default to a specific logging driver, set the value of log-driver to the name of the logging driver in the daemon.json file, which is located in /etc/docker/ on Linux hosts or C:\ProgramData\docker\config\ on Windows server hosts.

 The default logging driver is json-file. The following example explicitly sets the default logging driver to syslog:

  "log-driver": "syslog"
After configuring the log driver in daemon.json file, you can define the log driver & the destination where you want to send the logs for example logstash & fluentd etc. You can define it either on the run time execution command as "--log-driver=syslog --log-opt syslog-address=udp://logstash:5044" or if you are using a docker-compose file then you can define it as:

  driver: fluentd
    fluentd-address: ""
    tag: "{{ container_name }}"

Once you have configured the log driver, it will send all the docker logs to the configured destination. And now if you will try to see the docker logs on the terminal using the docker logs command, you will get a msg:

Error response from daemon: configured logging driver does not support reading

Because all the logs have been parsed to the destination.

Let me give you an example that how i configured logging driver fluentd
and parse those logs onto Elasticsearch and viewed them on Kibana. In this case I am configuring the logging driver at the run-time by installing the logging driver plugin inside the fluentd but not in daemon.json. So make sure that your containers are created inside the same docker network where you will be configuring the logging driver.

Step 1: Create a docker network.

docker network create docker-net

Step 2: Create a container for elasticsearch inside a docker network.

docker run -itd --name elasticsearch -p 9200:9200 --network=docker-net elasticsearch:6.4.1

Step 3: Create a fluentd configuration where you will be configuring the logging driver inside the fluent.conf which is further being copied inside the fluentd docker image.


  @type forward
  port 24224

<match *.**>
  @type copy
    @type elasticsearch 
    host elasticsearch  
    port 9200
    logstash_format true
    logstash_prefix fluentd
    logstash_dateformat %Y%m%d
    include_tag_key true
    type_name access_log
    tag_key app
    flush_interval 1s
    index_name fluentd                         
    type_name fluentd
    @type stdout

This will also create an index naming as fluentd & host is defined in the name of the service defined for elasticsearch.

Step 4: Build the fluentd image and create a docker container from that.


FROM fluent/fluentd:latest
COPY fluent.conf /fluentd/etc/
RUN ["gem", "install", "fluent-plugin-elasticsearch", "--no-rdoc", "--no-ri", "--version", "1.9.5"]

Here the logging driver pluggin is been installed and configured inside the fluentd. 

Now build the docker image. And create a container.

docker build -t fluent -f Dockerfile.fluent .
docker run -itd --name fluentd -p 24224:24224 --network=docker-net fluent

Step 5: Now you need to create a container whose logs you want to see on kibana by configuring it on the run time. In this example, I am creating an nginx container and configuring it for the log driver.

docker run -itd --name nginx -p 80:80 --network=docker-net --log-driver=fluentd --log-opt fluentd-address=udp://<fluentd-ip>:24224 opstree/nginx:server

Step 6: Finally you need to create a docker container for kibana inside the same network.

docker run -itd --name kibana -p 5601:5601 --network=docker-net kibana

Now, You will be able to check the logs for the nginx container on kibana by creating an index fluentd-*.

Types of Logging driver which can be used:

       Driver           Description
  •  none:           No logs are available for the container and docker logs does  not return any output.
  •  json-file:     The logs are formatted as JSON. The default logging driver for Docker.
  •  syslog:     Writes logging messages to the syslog facility. The syslog daemon must be running on the host machine.
  •  journald:     Writes log messages to journald. The journald daemon must be running on the host machine.
  •  gelf:     Writes log messages to a Graylog Extended Log Format (GELF) endpoint such as Graylog or Logstash.
  •  fluentd:     Writes log messages to fluentd (forward input). The fluentd daemon must be running on the host machine.
  •  awslogs:     Writes log messages to Amazon CloudWatch Logs.
  •  splunk:     Writes log messages to splunk using the HTTP Event Collector.
  •  etwlogs:     Writes log messages as Event Tracing for Windows (ETW) events. Only available on Windows platforms.
  •  gcplogs:     Writes log messages to Google Cloud Platform (GCP) Logging.
  •  logentries:     Writes log messages to Rapid7 Logentries.

How to launch an ECS instance in Alibaba cloud

This blog introduces you to ECS service provided by Alibaba cloud. 
After reading this blog you will be able to deploy your own ECS instance in no time.

What is ECS?
Elastic Compute Service is a type of computing service, ECS is simple and
more efficient than physical servers. We can create instances, change the OS and modify 
any number of ECS instances at any time. An ECS instance is a virtual computing
environment that includes CPU, memory, and other computing components.

If you have already used AWS then you can compare ECS with EC2.

What are the advantages of ECS?


Cloud provider's job is to monitor security, most of the businesses don't like to openly 
consider possibility of internal data theft, but the truth is that high percentage of data thefts 
occur internally and are done by employees.


Cloud providers are now days present in most of the continents and countries. So, if you 
want to deploy your application in a particular region, you can easily do it with help of most 
of the cloud providers.


Cloud providers allow you to easily modify your IT requirements as and when required. 
This will allow you to support your business growth without expensive changes to your 
existing IT systems.

Before creating an instance you must create a security group and key pair.

What is security group?

Security groups are associated with ECS instances and provide security at the protocol and 
port access level. Each security group working much the same way as a firewall – contains 
a set of rules that filter traffic coming into and out of an ECS instance. Security groups made
 in a particular region, will only be available in that region.

How to create a security group in Alibaba cloud?

1. Log on to the ECS console.
2. In the left-side navigation pane, select “Networks and Security” 
and then “Security Groups”.

3. Click “Create Security Group”.
4. In the Create Security Group dialog box, complete the following configurations:

  • Template: If the instances in the security group are for Web server deployment. 
  • Select proper template to simplify security group rule configuration.
  •  Security Group Name: Specify a valid security group name. 
  • Description: Give a brief description to the security group for future management.
  • Network Type:

    • To create a classic network-connected security group, select Classic.
A classic network is majorly deployed in the public infrastructure of 
Alibaba Cloud, which is responsible for its planning and management.

    • To create a VPC-connected security group, select VPC and then a specific VPC.
VPCs are isolated networks established in Alibaba Cloud and logically 
isolated from each other. You can customize the topology and 
IP addresses in a VPC.

    5.    Click OK to save the rule.

What is SSH key?

Secure Shell is a cryptographic network protocol for operating network services 
securely over an unsecured network. The standard TCP port for SSH is 22. The best known 
example application is for remote login to computer systems by users.

How to create key pair in Alibaba cloud?

1. Log on to the ECS console.
2. In the left-side navigation pane, select “Networks and Security” and then “SSH Key Pair”.
3. On the SSH Key Pairs page, click “Create SSH Key Pair”.
4. On the Create SSH Key Pair page, enter a name for the key pair, and select Auto-Create 
SSH Key Pair.

How to create ECS instance in Alibaba cloud?

1. Log in to Alibaba cloud console.

2. Select “Elastic Cloud Service” and then select “Instance”.

3. Click on “Create Instance”.

4. Choose the billing method, region, instance type, image and storage.
Billing method - There are two billing methods. 

1. Subscription - You can choose subscription if you want to use the instance for 
a month or a year.
2. Pay as you go - In this method you will be billed on hourly basis. 

Region - It defines in which region and availability zone you want to deploy your instance. 

Instance type - It lets you choose the configuration of your instance ie number of CPU’s and 
amount of RAM required. 

Image - It lets you select the Operating system and its version. 

Storage - Allocate the required amount of disk space.

After completing all the above, click on “Next: Networking”.

5. In Networking select the VPC and VSwitch, assign public IP, select security group

VPC - A virtual private cloud is a virtual network dedicated to your account. 
It is logically isolated from other virtual networks in the Cloud.

VSwitch - It is nothing but a subnet of the network.

Public IP - It is the IP address with which you can access your instance.

Security group - It is a logical group that assorts instances in the same region 
with the same security requirements. Each instance belongs to 
at least one security group, which must be specified at the 
time of creation.

After completing all the above click on “Next: System Configuration”.

6. In System Configurations select the key pair that you have created earlier and 
fill the instance name, description and host.

7. Click on Preview and then Create Instance.
8. After instance has been created you can log into the instance using pem file.
9. Open the terminal and type the command -

    ssh -i your_key_file.pem root@ip_address




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