17th Pluralsight Course Published – “Python for Linux System Administration”

I am excited to announce that I published a Python course on Pluralsight! This course is titled “Python for Linux System Administration“. This is my 17th course with Pluralsight overall and 6th for 2022. It will teach you how to utilize Python to administer Linux servers. This course is suitable for system administrators, DevOps engineers, and anyone working with servers running on cloud.

In this course, Python for Linux System Administration, you’ll learn the core of the Python language, various Python admin modules, & how to combine python scripts with other Linux tools for administration.

Here are some of the major topics that are covered in this course:

  1. Gaining an understanding of the many benefits of using Python for systems administration.
  2. What goes into setting up a Python environment and what IDE’s are the best options to assist you with your Python scripting.
  3. How to install and use Python to Interact with the Linux System.
  4. How to utilize Python modules such as the OS module & psutil to perform various administrative functions.

When you’re finished with this course, you’ll have the skills and knowledge about the core of Python, how it can be used for administration, why you would use it for administration, how to get setup for Python scripting, insight into Python administrative modules & scripts, as well as some real-world examples of administering Linux servers with Python.

Check out the “Python“ course here: https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/python-linux-system-administration

I hope you find value in this new Python for Linux System Administration course. Be sure to follow my profile on Pluralsight so you will be notified as I release new courses

Here is the link to my Pluralsight profile to follow mehttps://app.pluralsight.com/profile/author/steve-buchanan

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My 1st Microsoft Article: Build and deploy apps on AKS using DevOps (GitHub Actions) and GitOps (ArgoCD)

Yesterday a new article titled “Build and deploy apps on AKS using DevOps and GitOps” was published. This is an article I was working on for a while and it is the first item of work that I can share publicly since joining Microsoft. I am working on many other things I can’t share publicly at the moment. :-)!

The article is a part of the Azure Architecture Center. This article is about modernizing end-to-end app build and deploy using containers, continuous integration (CI) via GitHub Actions for build and push to an Azure Container Registry, as well as GitOps via Argo CD for continuous deployment (CD) to an AKS cluster.

The article can be found here: 

https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/architecture/example-scenario/apps/devops-with-aks

The article explores deploying a Python and Flask based app via two CI/CD approaches push-based and pull-based (GitOps). It is complete with a pros and cons comparison of both approaches and architecture diagrams for each that you can download. Here is a screenshot of the pull-based (GitOps) architecture:

The technologies used in this article and scenario include:

GitHub

GitHub Actions

Azure Container Registry

Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)

Argo CD (GitOps Operator)

Azure Monitor

This article also has a repository with code for both the push-based CI/CD scenario and the pull-based CI/CD (GitOps) scenario in the AKS Baseline Automation. I had the opportunity to spearhead and work on these. They will walk through using each approach and have the code for the Flask App, and GitHub Actions to run the approaches. A direct link to this section of the article is here: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/architecture/example-scenario/apps/devops-with-aks#deploy-this-scenario

I hope that you find all of this useful. Now go check out the article and deploy the app using the approaches. Stay tuned for more from me at Microsoft and for more blog posts here!

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Running Stateful Apps in Kubernetes

With Kubernetes you will eventually, have the need to run stateful applications in Kubernetes. This is more common than you think. If you have never run stateful apps on Kubernetes before this can be a scary thing adding more moving parts to a Kubernetes cluster, deploying the app, as well as managing your stateful application/s on Kubernetes when it requires state.

In this blog post I am going to take you on a short journey to gain an understanding of Stateless vs Stateful applications, how storage works in Kubernetes touching on volumes, storage classes, persistent volumes (PC), and persistent volume claims (PVC), what Stateful Sets are, about Persistent state with pods, and good practices for running Stateful Apps on Kubernetes.

Stateless

A stateless app is an application program that does not save client data generated in one session for use in the next session with that client.

Stateful

A stateful app is a program that saves client data from the activities of one session for use in the next session.

The data that is saved is called the application’s state. Here is a visual covering the differences between Stateless and Stateful applications:

Volumes

Here is a breakdown of what volumes are:

  • A volume is a directory, typically with data in it, that is accessible to the containers in a pod.
    • A volume represents a way to store, retrieve, and persist data across pods through an applications lifecycle.
    • Volume modes in Kubernetes supports are Filesystem or Block.
    • Volumes are backed by different types of storage such as NFS, iSCSI, or other cloud storage (i.e. awsElasticBlockStore, azureDisk, gcePersistentDisk etc..).
    • When pods ceases to exist, Kubernetes destroys ephemeral volumes; however, Kubernetes does not destroy persistent volumes.

StorageClasses

Here is a breakdown of what volumes are:

  • Define types of storage tiers like Premium and Standard through Storage Classes in Kubernetes.
    • Give K8s admins a way to describe the “classes” of storage they offer.
    • StorageClasses define the provisioner, parameters, and reclaimPolicy used when a PersistentVolume is provisioned.
    • When a pod is deleted the underlying storage resource can either be deleted or kept for use with a future pod.
    • A reclaim Policy controls the behavior of the underlying storage resource when pod & the its persistent volume are no longer required.

Example of a configuration file for a StorageClass:

kind: StorageClass
apiVersion: storage.k8s.io/v1
metadata:
  name: managed-premium-retain
provisioner: kubernetes.io/azure-disk
reclaimPolicy: Retain
parameters:
  storageaccounttype: Premium_LRS
  kind: Managed

Reclaim Policy

Here is a breakdown of what Reclaim Policies:

  • Retain –
    • Allows for manual reclamation of the resource. The PV is not available for another claim due to previous claimant’s data remaining on the volume. A K8s admin must manually reclaim the volume.
    • Delete –
      • The delete reclaim policy removes the PV resource from the K8s cluster, & the associated storage asset such as cloud storage, NFS etc…
    • Recycle –
      • Performs a basic scrub on the volume & makes it available again for a new PVC.

Persistent Volumes (PVs)

Here is a breakdown of what Persistent Volumes are:

  • A persistent volume (PV) is a storage resource created and managed by the Kubernetes API that can exist beyond the lifetime of an individual pod.
    • A Persistent Volume can be manually provisioned by an Kubernetes admin or dynamically provisioned using Storage Classes by the Kubernetes API server.
    • Dynamic provisioning uses a StorageClass to identify what type of storage (NFS, iSCSI, or cloud-based) needs to be created.

Example of a configuration file for the PersistentVolume:

apiVersion: v1
kind: PersistentVolume
metadata:
  name: pv0010
spec:
  capacity:
   storage: 40Gi
  volumeMode: Filesystem
  accessModes:
   - ReadWriteOnce
  persistentVolumeReclaimPolicy: Recycle
  storageClassName: slow
  mountOptions:
   - hard
   - nfsvers=4.1
  nfs:
   path: /tmp
   server: 172.19.0.22

Persistent Volume Claims (PVCs)

Here is a breakdown of what Persistent Volumes Claims are:

  • A PersistentVolumeClaim (PVC) is a request for storage by a user.
    • A PersistentVolumeClaim specifies the volume mode of either Block or File storage from a StorageClass, the access mode, and the capacity needed.
    • PVC Access Modes Are:
      • ReadOnlyMany (ROX) allows being mounted by multiple nodes in read-only mode.
      • ReadWriteOnce (RWO) allows being mounted by a single node in read-write mode.
      • ReadWriteMany (RWX) allows multiple nodes to be mounted in read-write mode.

Example of a configuration file for the PersistentVolumeClaim:

apiVersion: v1
kind: PersistentVolumeClaim
metadata:
  name: pvc0002
spec:
  storageClassName: manual
  accessModes:
   - ReadWriteOnce
  resources:
   requests:
    storage: 10Gi

Lifecycle of a Volume & Claim

Let’s take a look at how the lifecycle of volumes and claims flow:

StatefulSets

Here is a breakdown of what Stateful Sets are:

  • StaefulSets are Kubernetes objects that are used when we need each pod to have its own independent state & use its own individual volume.
    • With StatefulSets each pod is assigned a unique name & the unique name stays with it even if the pod is deleted & recreated.
    • Headless services are primarily used when we deploy statefulset applications. Headless services don’t operate like load balancers. Headless services are not assigned IPs like a regular service is.

StatefulSets are typically used when the following is needed:

  • unique network identifiers for pods
    • persistent storage for retaining data
    • Ordered, graceful deployment, & scaling of pods
    • Ordered, & automated rolling updates of the app

Some Good Practices When Running Stateful Apps on Kubernetes

That wraps up this blog post! Thanks for reading and stay tuned to my blog for more content on Kubernetes soon.

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GitOps Fundamentals Certification

Recently Codefresh launched the 1st certification in its GitOps certification path. This one is called “GitOps Fundamentals“. You can find it here: https://codefresh.learnworlds.com .

It takes you through the basics of GitOps to gain theoretical knowledge, and how to utilize Argo CD as the GitOps operator to gain hands-on knowledge. You will learn about both and will have questions on both in the quizzes and final exam.

They also touch on Argo Rollouts to go over Progressive Delivery with topics such as blue/green deployments and canary deployments. This is the 1st ever GitOps certification and it’s free! They do have plans for GitOps at Edge and GitOps at Scale certifications.

You can find more information about the GitOps certification and Codefresh’s future plans for it on this blog by Hannah Seligson (one of the authors of the course and exam) here: https://codefresh.io/blog/get-gitops-certified-argo.

I jumped all over this opportunity to get certified on GitOps, by signing up for the course, taking the training, and the exam! I passed and now I am GitOps certified.

Here is the certification:

GitOps is gaining adoption more and more every day in the Kubernetes space. Also, Argo CD is growing extremely fast as one of the top if not the top GitOps operator. I recommend you check this Codefresh GitOps certification out and get GitOps certified as this pattern and the technology behind it are growing at a super fast rate.

Also note, it looks like Weaveworks is planning to launch a “Certified GitOps Practitioner (CGP)” certification soon. I would guess the Weaveworks GitOps certification will contain content on Flux another GitOps operator. You can learn more about their coming GitOps certification here: https://www.weave.works/certified-gitops-practitioner

Also for more training on GitOps and Argo CD be sure to check out my GitOps and Argo CD courses on Pluralsight here:

GitOps: The Big Picture“:

https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/gitops-the-big-picture

Getting Started with Argo CD“:

https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/argo-cd-getting-started

And here is the link to my Pluralsight profile to follow me for future GitOps, Kubernetes, Cloud, and DevOps content: https://app.pluralsight.com/profile/author/steve-buchanan

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Co-hosting 2 sessions in the Azure Hybrid Cloud Study Hall Series

I am very excited to be a part of a new Microsoft Azure Hybrid Cloud Study Hall series. This is a free fourteen-part weekly series that starts in April running through June.

In this study hall, you will learn how you can manage your on-premises, edge, and multi-cloud resources, and how you can deploy Azure services anywhere with Azure Arc and Azure Stack.

In this series, each session covers working with hybrid cloud resources using Azure services and hybrid cloud technologies. In these sessions we will:

  • Answer your questions live
  • Walk-through how to configure hybrid cloud resources
  • Walk-through how to deploy hybrid cloud resources
  • Walk-through how to manage hybrid cloud resources

In these sessions, together with you, we will work through Microsoft Learn modules focused on Azure Arc and Azure Stack HCI.

We have a solid lineup of speakers from Microsoft and the community! And I will be co-delivering two sessions myself.

Some of the speakers and moderators

Check out this video Microsoft marketing made where I talk about the sessions:

My sessions are:

Introduction to Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes

on May 5, 2022 10:00AM – 11:30AM (Pacific) co-hosting with Pierre Roman. 

Add to Calendar:
https://aka.ms/learnlive-azure-hybrid-cloud-study-hall-Ep7

The Learn Module:
https://aka.ms/learnlive-20220505A

Implement Azure App Service on Kubernetes with Arc

on June 9, 2022 10:00AM – 11:30AM (Pacific) co-hosting with Lior Kamrat.

Add to Calendar:
https://aka.ms/learnlive-azure-hybrid-cloud-study-hall-Ep11

The Learn Module:
https://aka.ms/learnlive-20220609A

Check out all of the Learn Live – Azure Hybrid Cloud Study Hall sessions here:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/events/learntv/learnlive-azure-hybrid-cloud-study-hall

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Cloudbusting Podcast Guest EP130 – Diving into Jucy Lucy, & Root Canal’s with a little Kubernetes, Azure Arc, & GitOps on the side

This was a fun podcast with Jez Ward, and Dave Chapman of Cloudreach. They run a podcast called Cloudbusting. On the podcast they focus on transformation, leadership, ways of working and emerging technology they explore the significant impact that cloud is having on people and businesses.

On this podcast episode, we set out to answer very important questions such as what are Jucy Lucy’s?, what are root Canals like today? oh, and yeah we also spend some time talking about what Containers, Kubernetes, & GitOps are and how they fit in the cloud.

Check out the podcast episode here:

https://www.cloudreach.com/en/podcasts/diving-into-kubernetes-azure-arc-gitops-episode-130

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New Rancher Course Published for Multiple Kubernetes Management

My 14th course has been published on Pluralsight! This course is titled “Getting Started with Rancher” and can be found here: https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/rancher-getting-started

With the growth of Kubernetes, the complexity & needs have also grown. IT Professionals need help with the operational & security challenges of managing Kubernetes clusters across multiple clouds, on-premises, & the edge.

My new course will teach you how to use Rancher for multi-Kubernetes cluster management, streamlining Kubernetes cluster deployments, & unified multi-Kubernetes cluster app management. When you’re finished with this course, you’ll have the skills and knowledge of Rancher needed for multi-K8s cluster management.

There is a learning path on Pluralsight focused on Kubernetes management. This is my 3rd course in the Kubernetes Management path titled “Kubernetes Tooling and Techniques” on Pluralsight. My other courses in the path are: “GitOps: The Big Picture” and “Getting Started with Argo CD“. You can get to the path using this link: https://app.pluralsight.com/paths/skills/kubernetes-tooling-and-techniques

Again you can check out my new Rancher course here: https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/mulesoft4-big-picture

I hope you find value in this new Getting Started with Rancher course. Be sure to follow my profile on Pluralsight so you will be notified as I release new courses related to Kubernetes and other topics! 

Here is the link to my Pluralsight profile to follow mehttps://app.pluralsight.com/profile/author/steve-buchanan

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Get started with Argo CD & Azure Kubernetes Service

As Kubernetes adoption continues to grow so does GitOps. GitOps has been increasing in adoption and popularity among enterprises at a fast rate as well. Here is what GitOps is: “GitOps is an operating model pattern for cloud-native applications & Kubernetes storing application & declarative infrastructure code in Git as the source of truth used for automated continuous delivery.” GitOps puts Git at the center of continuous delivery making git the Source of Truth describing the desired state of your entire system. For a deeper dive into GitOps check out my GitOps course on Pluralsight here: https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/gitops-the-big-picture

In the GitOps model, you need GitOps operators. GitOps Operators are software agents that continuously monitor your apps running on your Kubernetes clusters comparing the live state of your app against the desired state you have defined in your Git repository. These GitOps Operators ensure the desired state is in place on your Kubernetes clusters performing create, update, delete activities on your Kubernetes clusters as needed.

This is where Argo CD comes into the picture. Argo CD is one of the top GitOps Operators. It provides declarative, continuous delivery to your Kubernetes clusters. It was created by a team at Intuit in 2018 and later open-sourced. I am going to write a few blogs exploring the use of Argo CD with AKS. This will be the first of the series walking through the deployment of Argo CD to AKS. In the next post, we will deploy an app to Kubernetes using Argo CD and see where the topic goes from there. Now let’s dive into deploying Argo CD to AKS. Here are the steps:

-DEPLOYING ARGO CD ON AKS-

Log onto the Azure portal (https://portal.azure.com)

Launch Azure Cloud Shell

Connect to your AKS cluster from the Azure Cloud Shell by running the following:

# Set your subscription

az account set –subscription YOURSUBSCRIPTIONIDHERE

# Connect to your KS cluster

az aks get-credentials –resource-group YOURRESOURCEGROUPNAME –name CLUSTER NAME

Next let’s create a namespace for Argo CD to deploy all of its components in. To do this run:

kubectl create namespace argocd

Next we can install Argo CD into the new namespace we created. We will reference Argo CD’s GitHub repository for the latest Argo CD operator. Run the following:

kubectl apply -n argocd -f https://raw.githubusercontent.com/argoproj/argo-cd/stable/manifests/install.yaml

You should see the following:

You should end up with many objects in the Argo CD namespace.

By default, the Argo CD is not accessible externally. It is deployed with a service type of ClusterIP.

Leaving it at ClusterIP is fine but for the purposes of this blog/lab and getting started lets change this so we can easily access the ArgoCD Server website. # Change the argocd-server service type to LoadBalancer. To do this run the following:

kubectl patch svc argocd-server -n argocd -p ‘{“spec”: {“type”: “LoadBalancer”}}’

Now you will be able to see that the argocd-server service type has been changed to a LoadBalancer type. This means that it now has a public Azure load balancer attached to it with an external IP.

NOTE: This is not recommended in production environments. Only use in a lab or dev environment. In production environments, it is recommended to use an ingress for the Argo CD API server that is secured.

Argo CD auto generated a password during the deployment. We need to get the Argo CD password so we can log into it. To get the password run the following:

kubectl -n argocd get secret argocd-initial-admin-secret -o jsonpath=”{.data.password}” | base64 -d && echo

You will see the password in readable format so you can copy it such as shown in the screenshot.

Note the default Argo CD username is admin.

To access the Argo CD web portal you need to access the Argo CD API Server. To do this you can either do this from the external IP of the argo-cd object or the via the Argo CD CLI using the following:

 argocd login <ARGOCD_SERVER>

The Argo CD web portal will look like:

That’s it! You have Argo CD deployed on your AKS cluster. In the next post, I will walk through deploying a simple app to your Kubernetes cluster via Argo CD.

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Guest on New Relic Observy McObservface Podcast – GitOps, Kubernetes, Linux on Azure, AI, Blockchain, and more

I was recently a guest on New Relic‘s Developer Relations team podcast “Observy McObservface” with Jonan Scheffler.

Jonan Scheffler and I talk about Microsoft’s Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Linux on Azure, how Microsoft’s been successful at working in enterprise and open source, where I believe GitOps & Kubernetes is eventually going to go, and my excitement in regards to AI and blockchain as well as how they’re going to impact the world. You can listen to the podcast and read the article links below.

Listen to the Podcast:
https://www.buzzsprout.com/1225223/8618776-open-is-not-optional-shifting-sands-and-faxing-on-blockchains-with-steve-buchanan

Read the Article:
https://www.therelicans.com/mandymoore/open-is-not-optional-shifting-sands-and-faxing-on-blockchains-with-steve-buchanan-495p

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Speaking at Open Source North on Azure Arc K8s and GitOps

I am excited to be speaking at Open Source North Conference for the first time this year. It will be on May 20th, 2021.

I will be speaking on Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes and GitOps. My session is titled: “Push Code, Not Containers with Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes and GitOps“. The description is:

Use Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes to manage Kubernetes clusters across Google Cloud Platform and Azure without running a single Kubectl command! In this session, Steve Buchanan will take you into the world of GitOps. He will show you how to deploy applications and configuration to GKE clusters and AKS clusters from a GitHub repository. Explore how we can use this new operating model for Kubernetes and cloud-native apps to declaratively describe and ensure the state of our applications and Kubernetes environments.

You can see my speaker profile and session here: https://opensourcenorth.com/speakers

Register for the conference here: https://hopin.com/events/open-source-north

—-Update—-

The session went great! Here is a recording of the session in case you missed the event:

https://vimeo.com/user131685752/review/554446642/196569f760?sort=lastUserActionEventDate&direction=desc
https://vimeo.com/user131685752/review/554446642/196569f760?sort=lastUserActionEventDate&direction=desc

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