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A walk-through charming an existing wsgi application

with 2 comments

After recently writing the re-usable wsgi-app role for juju charms, I wanted to see how easy it would be to apply this to an existing service. I chose the existing ubuntu-reviews service because it’s open-source and something that we’ll probably need to deploy with juju soon (albeit only the functionality for reviewing newer click applications).

I’ve tried to include the workflow below that I used to create the charm including the detailed steps and some mistakes, in case it’s useful for others. If you’re after more of an overview about using reusable ansible roles in your juju charms, checkout these slides.

1. Create the new charm from the bootstrap-wsgi charm

First grab the charm-bootstrap-wsgi code and rename it to ubuntu-reviews:

$ mkdir -p ~/charms/rnr/precise && cd ~/charms/rnr/precise
$ git clone
$ mv charm-bootstrap-wsgi ubuntu-reviews && cd ubuntu-reviews/

Then update the charm metadata to reflect the ubuntu-reviews service:

--- a/metadata.yaml
+++ b/metadata.yaml
@@ -1,6 +1,6 @@
-name: charm-bootstrap-wsgi
-summary: Bootstrap your wsgi service charm.
-maintainer: Developer Account <Developer.Account@localhost>
+name: ubuntu-reviews
+summary: A review API service for Ubuntu click packages.
+maintainer: Michael Nelson <>
 description: |
   <Multi-line description here>

I then updated the playbook to expect a tarball named rnr-server.tgz, and gave it a more relevant app_label (which controls the directories under which the service is setup):

--- a/playbook.yml
+++ b/playbook.yml
@@ -2,13 +2,13 @@
 - hosts: localhost
-    - app_label:
+    - app_label:
     - role: wsgi-app
       listen_port: 8080
-      wsgi_application: example_wsgi:application
-      code_archive: "{{ build_label }}/example-wsgi-app.tar.bzip2"
+      wsgi_application: wsgi:app
+      code_archive: "{{ build_label }}/rnr-server.tgz"
       when: build_label != ''

Although when deploying this service we’d be deploying a built asset published somewhere else, for development it’s easier to work with a local file in the charm – and the reusable wsgi-app role allows you to switch between those two options. So the last step here is to add some Makefile targets to enable pulling in the application code and creating the tarball (you can see the details on the git commit for this step).

With that done, I can deploy the charm with `make deploy` – expecting it to fail because the wsgi object doesn’t yet exist.

Aside: if you’re deploying locally, it’s sometimes useful to watch the deployment progress with:

$ tail -F ~/.juju/local/log/unit-ubuntu-reviews-0.log

At this point, juju status shows no issues, but curling the service does (as expected):

$ juju ssh ubuntu-reviews/0 "curl http://localhost:8080"
curl: (56) Recv failure: Connection reset by peer

Checking the logs (which, oh joy, are already setup and configured with log rotation etc. by the wsgi-app role) shows the expected error:

$ juju ssh ubuntu-reviews/0 "tail -F /srv/"
ImportError: No module named wsgi

2. Adding the wsgi, settings and urls

The current rnr-server code does have a django project setup, but it’s specific to the current setup (requiring a 3rd party library for settings, and serves the non-click reviews service too). I’d like to simplify that here, so I’m bundling a project configuration in the charm. First the standard (django-generated), and near-default (which you can see in the actual commit).

An extra task is added which copies the project configuration into place during install/upgrade, and both the wsgi application location and the required PYTHONPATH are specified:

--- a/playbook.yml
+++ b/playbook.yml
@@ -7,7 +7,8 @@
     - role: wsgi-app
       listen_port: 8080
-      wsgi_application: wsgi:app
+      python_path: "{{ application_dir }}/django-project:{{ current_code_dir }}/src"
+      wsgi_application: clickreviewsproject.wsgi:application
       code_archive: "{{ build_label }}/rnr-server.tgz"
       when: build_label != ''
@@ -18,20 +19,18 @@
-    # Pretend there are some package dependencies for the example wsgi app.
     - name: Install any required packages for your app.
-      apt: pkg={{ item }} state=latest update_cache=yes
+      apt: pkg={{ item }}
-        - python-django
-        - python-django-celery
+        - python-django=1.5.4-1ubuntu1~ctools0
         - install
         - upgrade-charm
     - name: Write any custom configuration files
-      debug: msg="You'd write any custom config files here, then notify the 'Restart wsgi' handler."
+      copy: src=django-project dest={{ application_dir }} owner={{ wsgi_user }} group={{ wsgi_group }}
-        - config-changed
-        # Also any backend relation-changed events, such as databases.
+        - install
+        - upgrade-charm
         - Restart wsgi

I can now run juju upgrade-charm and see that the application now responds, but with a 500 error highlighting the first (of a few) missing dependencies…

3. Adding missing dependencies

At this point, it’s easiest in my opinion to run debug-hooks:

$ juju debug-hooks ubuntu-reviews/0

and directly test and install missing dependencies, adding them to the playbook as you go:

ubuntu@michael-local-machine-1:~$ curl http://localhost:8080 | less
ubuntu@michael-local-machine-1:~$ sudo apt-get install python-missing-library -y (and add it to the playbook in your charm editor).
ubuntu@michael-local-machine-1:~$ sudo service gunicorn restart

Rinse and repeat. You may want to occasionally run upgrade-charm in a separate terminal:

$ juju upgrade-charm --repository=../.. ubuntu-reviews

to verify that you’ve not broken things, running the hooks as they are triggered in your debug-hooks window.

Other times you might want to destroy the environment to redeploy from scratch.

Sometimes you’ll have dependencies which are not available in the distro. For our deployments,
we always ensure we have these included in our tarball (in some form). In the case of the reviews server, there was an existing script which pulls in a bunch of extra branches, so I’ve updated to use that in the Makefile target that builds the tarball. But there was another dependency, south, which wasn’t included by that task, so for simplicity here, I’m going to install that via pip (which you don’t want to do in reality – you’d update your build process instead).

You can see the extra dependencies in the commit.

4. Customise settings

At this point, the service deploys but errors due to a missing setting, which makes complete sense as I’ve not added any app-specific settings yet.

So, remove the vanilla and add a custom template, and add an extra django_secret_key option to the charm config.yaml:

--- a/config.yaml
+++ b/config.yaml
@@ -10,8 +10,13 @@ options:
         default: "latest"
         type: string
-        description: |
+        description: >
             The symlink of the code to run. The default of 'latest' will use
             the most recently added build on the instance.  Specifying a
             differnt label (eg. "r235") will symlink to that directory assuming
             it has been previously added to the instance.
+    django_secret_key:
+        default: "you-really-should-set-this"
+        type: string
+        description: >
+            The secret key that django should use for each instance.

--- /dev/null
+++ b/templates/
@@ -0,0 +1,41 @@
+DEBUG = True
+SECRET_KEY = '{{ django_secret_key }}'
+ROOT_URLCONF = 'clickreviewsproject.urls'
+WSGI_APPLICATION = 'clickreviewsproject.wsgi.application'
+    'django.contrib.auth',
+    'django.contrib.contenttypes',
+    'django.contrib.sessions',
+    'django.contrib.sites',
+    'django_openid_auth',
+    'django.contrib.messages',
+    'django.contrib.staticfiles',
+    'clickreviews',
+    'south',

Again, full diff in the commit.

With the extra settings now defined and one more dependencie added, I’m now able to ping the service successfully:

$ juju ssh ubuntu-reviews/0 "curl http://localhost:8080/api/1.0/reviews/"
{"errors": {"package_name": ["This field is required."]}}

But that only works because the input validation is fired before anything tries to use the (non-existent) database…

5. Adding the database relation

I had expected this step to be simple – add the database relation, call syncdb/migrate, but there were three factors conspiring to complicate things:

  1. The reviews application uses a custom postgres “debversion” column type
  2. A migration for the older non-click reviewsapp service requires postgres superuser creds (specifically, reviews/
  3. The clickreviews app, which I wanted to deploy on its own, is currently dependent on the older non-click reviews app, so it’s necessary to have both enabled and therefore the tables from both sync’d

So to work around the first point, I split the ‘deploy’ task into two tasks so I can install and setup the custom debversion field on the postgres units, before running syncdb:

--- a/Makefile
+++ b/Makefile
@@ -37,8 +37,17 @@ deploy: create-tarball
        @juju set ubuntu-reviews build_label=r$(REVIEWS_REVNO)
        @juju deploy gunicorn
        @juju deploy nrpe-external-master
+       @juju deploy postgresql
        @juju add-relation ubuntu-reviews gunicorn
        @juju add-relation ubuntu-reviews nrpe-external-master
+       @juju add-relation ubuntu-reviews postgresql:db
+       @juju set postgresql extra-packages=postgresql-9.1-debversion
+       @echo "Once the services are related, run 'make setup-db'"
+       @echo "Creating custom debversion postgres type and syncing the ubuntu-reviews database."
+       @juju run --service postgresql 'psql -U postgres ubuntu-reviews -c "CREATE EXTENSION debversion;"'
+       @juju run --unit=ubuntu-reviews/0 "hooks/syncdb"
        @echo See the README for explorations after deploying.

I’ve separated the syncdb out to a manual step (rather than running syncdb on a hook like config-changed) so that I can run it after the postgresql service had been updated with the custom field, and also because juju doesn’t currently have a concept of a leader (yes, syncdb could be run on every unit, and might be safe, but I don’t like it conceptually).

--- a/playbook.yml
+++ b/playbook.yml
@@ -3,13 +3,13 @@
     - app_label:
+    - code_archive: "{{ build_label }}/rnr-server.tgz"
     - role: wsgi-app
       listen_port: 8080
       python_path: "{{ application_dir }}/django-project:{{ current_code_dir }}/src"
       wsgi_application: clickreviewsproject.wsgi:application
-      code_archive: "{{ build_label }}/rnr-server.tgz"
       when: build_label != ''
     - role: nrpe-external-master
@@ -25,6 +25,7 @@
         - python-django=1.5.4-1ubuntu1~ctools0
         - python-tz
         - python-pip
+        - python-psycopg2
         - install
         - upgrade-charm
@@ -46,13 +47,24 @@
         - install
         - upgrade-charm
+        - db-relation-changed
         - Restart wsgi
     # XXX Normally our deployment build would ensure these are all available in the tarball.
     - name: Install any non-distro dependencies (Don't depend on pip for a real deployment!)
       pip: name={{ item.key }} version={{ item.value }}
         south: 0.7.6
+        django-openid-auth: 0.2
         - install
         - upgrade-charm
+    - name: sync the database
+      django_manage: >
+        command="syncdb --noinput"
+        app_path="{{ application_dir }}/django-project"
+        pythonpath="{{ code_dir }}/current/src"
+      tags:
+        - syncdb

To work around the second and third points above, I updated to remove the ‘south’ django application so that syncdb will setup the correct current tables without using migrations (while leaving it on the pythonpath as some code imports it currently), and added the old non-click reviews app to satisfy some of the imported dependencies.

By far the most complicated part of this change though, was the database settings:

--- a/templates/
+++ b/templates/
@@ -1,6 +1,31 @@
 DEBUG = True
 SECRET_KEY = '{{ django_secret_key }}'
+{% if 'db' in relations %}
+  {% for dbrelation in relations['db'] %}
+  {% if loop.first %}
+    {% set services=relations['db'][dbrelation] %}
+    {% for service in services %}
+      {% if service.startswith('postgres') %}
+      {% set dbdetails = services[service] %}
+        {% if 'database' in dbdetails %}
+    'default': {
+        'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.postgresql_psycopg2',
+        'NAME': '{{ dbdetails["database"] }}',
+        'HOST': '{{ dbdetails["host"] }}',
+        'USER': '{{ dbdetails["user"] }}',
+        'PASSWORD': '{{ dbdetails["password"] }}',
+    }
+        {% endif %}
+      {% endif %}
+    {% endfor %}
+  {% endif %}
+  {% endfor %}
+{% endif %}
 ROOT_URLCONF = 'clickreviewsproject.urls'
 WSGI_APPLICATION = 'clickreviewsproject.wsgi.application'
@@ -12,8 +37,8 @@ INSTALLED_APPS = (
+    'reviewsapp',
-    'south',

Why are the database settings so complicated? I’m currently rendering all the settings on any config change as well as database relation change which means I need to use the global juju state for the relation data, and as far as juju knows, there could be multiple database relations for this stack. The current charm helpers gives you this as a dict (above it’s ‘relations’). The ‘db’ key of that dict contains all the database relations, so I’m grabbing the first database relation and taking the details from the postgres side of that relation (there are two keys for the relation, one for postgres, the other for the connecting service). Yuk (see below for a better solution).

Full details are in the commit. With those changes I can now use the service:

$ juju ssh ubuntu-reviews/0 "curl http://localhost:8080/api/1.0/reviews/"
{"errors": {"package_name": ["This field is required."]}}

$ juju ssh ubuntu-reviews/0 "curl http://localhost:8080/api/1.0/reviews/?package_name=foo"

A. Cleanup: Simplify database settings

In retrospect, the complicated database settings are only needed because the settings are rendered on any config change, not just when the database relation changes, so I’ll clean this up in the next step by moving the database settings to a separate file which is only written on the db-relation-changed hook where we can use the more convenient current_relation dict (given that I know this service only has one database relationship).

This simplifies things quite a bit:

--- a/playbook.yml
+++ b/playbook.yml
@@ -45,11 +45,21 @@
         owner: "{{ wsgi_user }}"
         group: "{{ wsgi_group }}"
-        - install
-        - upgrade-charm
+        - config-changed
+      notify:
+        - Restart wsgi
+    - name: Write the database settings
+      template:
+        src: "templates/"
+        dest: "{{ application_dir }}/django-project/clickreviewsproject/"
+        owner: "{{ wsgi_user }}"
+        group: "{{ wsgi_group }}"
+      tags:
         - db-relation-changed
         - Restart wsgi
+      when: "'database' in current_relation"
--- /dev/null
+++ b/templates/
@@ -0,0 +1,9 @@
+    'default': {
+        'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.postgresql_psycopg2',
+        'NAME': '{{ current_relation["database"] }}',
+        'HOST': '{{ current_relation["host"] }}',
+        'USER': '{{ current_relation["user"] }}',
+        'PASSWORD': '{{ current_relation["password"] }}',
+    }

--- a/templates/
+++ b/templates/
@@ -2,29 +2,7 @@ DEBUG = True
 SECRET_KEY = '{{ django_secret_key }}'
-{% if 'db' in relations %}
-  {% for dbrelation in relations['db'] %}
-  {% if loop.first %}
-    {% set services=relations['db'][dbrelation] %}
-    {% for service in services %}
-      {% if service.startswith('postgres') %}
-      {% set dbdetails = services[service] %}
-        {% if 'database' in dbdetails %}
-    'default': {
-        'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.postgresql_psycopg2',
-        'NAME': '{{ dbdetails["database"] }}',
-        'HOST': '{{ dbdetails["host"] }}',
-        'USER': '{{ dbdetails["user"] }}',
-        'PASSWORD': '{{ dbdetails["password"] }}',
-    }
-        {% endif %}
-      {% endif %}
-    {% endfor %}
-  {% endif %}
-  {% endfor %}
-{% endif %}
+from database_settings import DATABASES

With those changes, the deploy still works as expected:
$ make deploy
$ make setup-db
Creating custom debversion postgres type and syncing the ubuntu-reviews database.
$ juju ssh ubuntu-reviews/0 "curl http://localhost:8080/api/1.0/reviews/?package_name=foo"


Reusing the wsgi-app ansible role allowed me to focus just on the things that make this service different from other wsgi-app services:

  1. Creating the tarball for deployment (not normally part of the charm, but useful for developing the charm)
  2. Handling the application settings
  3. Handling the database relation and custom setup

The wsgi-app role already provides the functionality to deploy and upgrade code tarballs via a config set (ie. `juju set ubuntu-reviews build_label=r156`) from a configured url. It provides the functionality for the complete directory layout, user and group setup, log rotation etc. All of that comes for free.

Things I’d do if I was doing this charm for a real deployment now:

  1. Use the postgres db-admin relation for syncdb/migrations (thanks Simon) and ensure that the normal app uses the non-admin settings (and can’t change the schema etc.) This functionality could be factored out into another reusable role.
  2. Remove the dependency on the older non-click reviews app so that the clickreviews service can be deployed in isolation.
  3. Ensure all dependencies are either available in the distro, or included in the tarball

Written by Michael

June 25, 2014 at 11:54 am

Posted in cloud automation, juju

Reusable ansible roles for Juju charms

with 3 comments

I’ve been writing Juju charms to automate the deployment of a few different services at work, which all happen to be wsgi applications… some Django apps, others with other frameworks. I’ve been using the ansible support for writing charms which makes charm authoring simpler, but even then, essentially each wsgi service charm needs to do the same thing:

  1. Setup specific users
  2. Install the built code into a specific location
  3. Install any package dependencies
  4. Relate to a backend (could be postgresql, could be elasticsearch)
  5. Render the settings
  6. Setup a wsgi (gunicorn) service (via a subordinate charm)
  7. Setup log rotation
  8. Support updating to a new codebase without upgrading the charm
  9. Support rolling updates a new codebase

Only three of the above really change slightly from service to service: which package dependencies are required, the rendering of the settings and the backend relation (which usually just causes the settings to be rerendered anyway).

After trying (and failing) to create a nice reusable wsgi-app charm, I’ve switched to utilise ansible’s built-in support for reusable roles and created a charm-bootstrap-wsgi repo on github, which demonstrates all of the above out of the box (the README has an example rolling upgrade). The charm’s playbook is very simple, just reusing the wsgi-app role:


    - role: wsgi-app
      listen_port: 8080
      wsgi_application: example_wsgi:application
      code_archive: "{{ build_label }}/example-wsgi-app.tar.bzip2"
      when: build_label != ''


and only needs to do two things itself:

    - name: Install any required packages for your app.
      apt: pkg={{ item }} state=latest update_cache=yes
        - python-django
        - python-django-celery
        - install
        - upgrade-charm

    - name: Write any custom configuration files
      debug: msg="You'd write any custom config files here, then notify the 'Restart wsgi' handler."
        - config-changed
        # Also any backend relation-changed hooks for databases etc.
        - Restart wsgi


Everything else is provided by the reusable wsgi-app role. For the moment I’ve got the source of the reusable roles in a separate github repo, but I’d like to get these into the charm-helpers project itself eventually. Of course there will be cases where the service charm may need to do quite a bit more custom functionality, but if we can encapsulate and reuse as much as possible, it’s a win for all of us.

If you’re interested in chatting about easier charms with ansible (or any issues you can see), we’ll be getting together for a hangout tomorrow (Jun 11, 2014 at 1400UTC).

Written by Michael

June 10, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Posted in ansible, juju, python

Bootstrap your ansible-powered juju charm

with 4 comments

After working with InformatiQ to setup a new charm using the ansible support (and ironing out a few issues), it made sense to capture the process…

The README at charm-bootstrap-ansible has the details, but the branch will pull in the required charm-helpers library and run the tests, leaving you ready to deploy and explore.

Hopefully I can get this into the charm-create tool eventually.

Written by Michael

November 20, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Posted in bzr, juju

Easier juju charms with Python helpers

with one comment

logo-jujuHave you ever wished you could just declare the installed state of your juju charm like this?

        - gid: 1800
        - uid: 1800
        - gid: 1800
        - createhome: False
        - require:
            - group: deploy_user

        - gid: 1500
        - uid: 1500
        - gid: 1500
        - createhome: False
        - require:
            - group: exampleapp

/srv/{{ service_name }}:
        - group: exampleapp
        - user: exampleapp
        - require:
            - user: exampleapp
        - recurse:
            - user
            - group

/srv/{{ service_name }}/{{ instance_type }}-logs:
        - makedirs: True

While writing charms for Juju a long time ago, one of the things that I struggled with was testing the hook code – specifically the install hook code where the machine state is set up (ie. packages installed, directories created with correct permissions, config files setup etc.) Often the test code would be fragile – at best you can patch some attributes of your module (like “code_location = ‘/srv/'”) to a tmp dir and test the state correctly, but at worst you end up testing the behaviour of your code (ie. os.mkdir was called with the correct user/group etc.). Either way, it wasn’t fun to write and iterate those tests.

But support has improved over the past year with the charmhelpers library. And recently I landed a branch adding support for declaring saltstack states in yaml, like the above example. That means that the install hook of your can be reduced to something like:

import charmhelpers.core.hookenv
import charmhelpers.payload.execd
import charmhelpers.contrib.saltstack

hooks = charmhelpers.core.hookenv.Hooks()

def install():
    """Setup the machine dependencies and installed state."""

# Other hooks...

if __name__ == "__main__":

…letting you focus on testing and writing the actual hook functionality (like relation-set’s etc. I’d like to add some test helpers that will automatically check the syntax of the state yaml files and template rendering output, but haven’t yet).

Hopefully we can add similar support for puppet and Ansible soon too, so that the charmer can choose the tools they want to use to declare the local machine state.

A few other things that I found valuable while writing my charm:

  • Use a branch for charmhelpers – this way you can make improvements to the library as you develop and not be dependent on your changes landing straight away to deploy (thanks Sidnei – I think I just copied that idea from one of his charms). The easiest way that I found for that was to install the branch into mycharm/lib so that it’s included in both dev and when you deploy (with a small snippet in your
  • Make it easy to deploy your local charm from the branch… the easiest way I found was a link-test-juju-repo make target – I’m not sure what other people do here?
  • In terms of writing actual hook functionality (like relation-set events etc), I found the easiest way to develop the charm was to iterate within a debug-hook session. Something like:
    1. write new test+code then juju upgrade-charm or add-relation
    2. run the hook and if it fails…
    3. fix and test right there within the debug-hook
    4. put the code back into my actual charm branch and update the test
    5. restore the system state in debug hook
    6. then juju upgrade-charm again to ensure it works, if it fails, iterate from 3.
  • Use the built-in support of template rendering from saltstack for rendering any config files that you need.

I don’t think I’d really appreciated the beauty of what juju is doing until, after testing my charm locally together with a gunicorn charm and a solr backend, I then setup a config using juju-deployer to create a full stack with an Apache front-end, a cache load balancer for multiple squid caches, as well as a load balancer in front of potentially multiple instances of my charms wsgi app, then a back-end loadbalancer in between my app and the (multiple) solr backends… and it just works.

Written by Michael

June 24, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Posted in juju, python, testing

A generic juju charm for Django apps

with 4 comments

After experimenting with juju and puppet the other week, I wanted to see if it was possible to create a generic juju charm for deploying any Django apps using Apache+mod_wsgi together with puppet manifests wherever possible. The resulting apache-django-wsgi charm is ready to demo (thanks to lots of support from the #juju team), but still needs a few more configuration options. The charm currently:

  1. Enables the user to specify a branch of a Python package containing the Django app/project for deploy. This python package will be `python install`’d on the instance, but it also
  2. Enables you to configure extra debian packages to be installed first so that your requirements can be installed in a more reliable/trusted manner, along with the standard required packages (apache2, libapache2-mod-wsgi etc.). Here’s the example charm config used for,
  3. Creates a django.wsgi and httpd.conf ready to serve your app, automatically collecting all the static content of your installed Django apps to be served separately from the same Apache virtual host,
  4. When it receives a database relation change, it creates some local settings, overriding the database settings of your branch, sync’s and migrates the database (a noop if it’s the second unit) and restarts apache (See the database_settings.pp manifest for more details).

Here’s a quick demo which puts up a postgresql unit and two app servers with these commands:

$ juju deploy --repository ~/charms local:postgresql
$ juju deploy --config ubuntu-app-dir.yaml --repository ~/apache-django-wsgi/ local:apache-django-wsgi
$ juju add-relation postgresql:db apache-django-wsgi
$ juju add-unit apache-django-wsgi

Things that I think need to be improved or I’m uncertain about:

  1. `gem install puppet-module` is included in the install hook (a 3rd way of installing something on the system :/). I wanted to use the vcsrepo puppet module to define bzr resource types and puppet-module-tool seems to be the way to install 3rd-party puppet modules. Using this resource-type enables a simple initial_state.pp manifest. Of course, it’d be great to have ‘necessary’ tools like that in the archive instead.
  2. The initial_state.pp manifest pulls the django app package to /home/ubuntu/django-app-branch and then pip installs it on the system. Requiring the app to be a valid python package seemed sensible (in terms of ensuring it is correctly installed with its requirements satisfied) while still allowing the user to go one step further if they like and provide a debian package instead of a python package in a branch (which I assume we would do ultimately for production deploys?)
  3. Currently it’s just a very simple apache setup. I think ideally the static file serving should be done by a separate unit in the charm (ie. an instance running a stripped down apache2 or lighttpd). Also, I would have liked to have used an ‘official’ or ‘blessed’ puppet apache module to benefit from someone else’s experience, but I couldn’t see one that stood out as such.
  4. Currently the charm assumes that your project contains the configuration info (ie. a, etc.), of which the database settings can be simply overridden for deploy. There should be an additional option to specify a configuration branch (and it shouldn’t assume that you’re using django-configglue), as well as other options like django_debug, static_url etc.
  5. The charm should also export an interface (?) that can be used by a load balancer charm.

Written by Michael

November 22, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Posted in django, juju

Experimenting with juju and Puppet

with one comment

I’ve been playing with juju for a few months now in different contexts and I’ve really enjoyed the ease with which it allows me to think about services rather than resources.

More recently I’ve started thinking about best-practices for deploying services using juju, while still using puppet to setup individual units. As a simple experiment, I wrote a juju charm to deploy an irssi service [1] to dig around. Here’s what I’ve found so far [2]. The first is kind of obvious, but worth mentioning:

Install hooks can be trivial:

sudo apt-get -y install puppet

juju-log "Initialising machine state."
puppet apply $PWD/hooks/initial_state.pp

Normally the corresponding manifest (see initial_state.pp) would be a little more complicated, but in this example it’s hardly worth mentioning.

Juju config changes can utilise Puppet’s Facter infrastructure:

This enables juju config options to be passed through to puppet, so that config-changed hooks can be equally simple:

juju-log "Getting config options"
username=`config-get username`
public_key=`config-get public_key`

juju-log "Configuring irssi for user"
# We specify custom facts so that they're accessible in the manifest.
FACTER_username=$username FACTER_public_key=$public_key puppet apply $PWD/hooks/configured_state.pp

In this example, it is the configured state manifest that is more interesting (see configured_state.pp). It adds the user to the system, sets up byobu with an irssi window ready to go, and adds the given public ssh key enabling the user to login.

The same would go for other juju hooks (db-relation-changed etc.), which is quite neat – getting the best of both worlds: the charm user can still think in terms of deploying services, while the charm author can use puppets declarative syntax to define the machine states.

Next up: I hope to experiment with an optional puppet master for a real project (something simple like the Ubuntu App directory), so that

  1. a project can be deployed without the (probably private) puppet-master to create a close-to-production environment, while
  2. configuring a puppet-master in the juju config would enable production deploys (or deploys of exact replicas of production to a separate environment for testing).

If you’re interested in seeing the simple irssi charm, the following 2min video demos:

# Deploy an irssi service
$ juju deploy --repository=/home/ubuntu/mycharms  local:oneiric/irssi
# Configure it so a user can login
$ juju set irssi username=michael public_key=AAAA...
# Login to find irssi already up and running in a byobu window
$ ssh michael@new.ip.address

and the code is on Launchpad.

[1] Yes, irssi is not particularly useful as a juju service (as I don’t want multiple units, or relating it to other services etc.), but it suited my purposes for a simple experiment that also automates something I can use for working in the cloud.

[2] I’m not a puppet or juju expert, so if you’ve got any comments or improvements, don’t hesitate.

Written by Michael

November 8, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Posted in juju, puppet, ubuntu

Tagged with