TCE 0.11 – tanzu packages

In the previous write-up I covered the cluster configuration.

Tanzu packages are leveraging Carvel’s open source component kapp with its own way to implement kubernetes manifest templating (like Helm and Kustomize). For now, let’s leave the implementation details and check how they are used.

This diagram shows the challenges for reliable kubernetes packaging.

There are different sources already introduced like helm repositories. If you do not start from scratch and want to rely on a vendors helm repo, you might want to continously integrate with new releases of this repo. The integration part can be done with a lot of scripting tools, the toolchain introduced and maintained by VMware addresses a lot of these common issues like templating, image management, catalog bundling, support of air-gapped environments.

The second customization step is not yet fully addressed with the proposed tool chain. Very crucial for productive environment is handling of secrets and certificates, usually externalized by a vault like CyberArk or HashiCorp Vault. There are other interesting solutions like sealed secrets or CSI implementations together with strict security recommendations regarding RBAC for personal access that might help to mitigate the security risks involved in storing secrets – and helping not to find them in Git repositories anymore. I am using hashicorp vault with the CSI driver and will go in further details in the last part.

Now let’s jump into the process directly at the application template in the diagram above: in case of TCE, these templates are defined as tanzu package catalog that you can load like any other container:

tanzu package repository add tce-repo --url projects.registry.vmware.com/tce/main:0.11.0 --namespace tanzu-package-repo-global

This installs the packages defined in this container on the given namespace. You can now check what’s available on your system:

tanzu package repository list --all-namespaces
tanzu package available list --all-namespaces
tanzu package installed list --all-namespaces

You can install the packages from the TCE catalog one by one in any combination, or you can try the app-toolkit.

The files I am referencing throughout my blog post can be found here.

Bundling requires aggregating all needed values into one component (common value file) – this can be done but needs to be tested on the individual package level anyway. So I followed the lead of the contents of the app-toolkit and installed everything individually – adding harbor and the recommendation of this vsphere must-read on monitoring:

tanzu package install cert-manager --package-name cert-manager.community.tanzu.vmware.com --version 1.6.1

#create custom certificate authority CA and cluster issuer
kubens cert-manager
kubectl create secret tls niceneasy-ca --cert=/home/daniele/CA/ca.niceneasy.ch.crt --key=/home/daniele/CA/ca.niceneasy.ch.key
kubectl apply -f cert-manager/cluster-issuer.yaml
#create custom certificate authority

tanzu package install contour --package-name contour.community.tanzu.vmware.com --version 1.20.1 --values-file contour/contour-values.yaml

tanzu package install prometheus --package-name prometheus.community.tanzu.vmware.com --version 2.27.0-1 --values-file prometheus/prometheus-values.yaml

tanzu package install grafana --package-name grafana.community.tanzu.vmware.com --version 7.5.11 --values-file grafana/grafana-values.yaml

tanzu package install harbor --package-name harbor.community.tanzu.vmware.com --version 2.3.3 --values-file harbor/harbor-values.yaml

tanzu package install cartographer --package-name cartographer.community.tanzu.vmware.com --version 0.2.2

tanzu package install fluxcd-source-controller -p fluxcd-source-controller.community.tanzu.vmware.com -v 0.21.2

tanzu package install cert-injection-webhook --package-name cert-injection-webhook.community.tanzu.vmware.com --version 0.1.0 -f ./cert-injection-webhook/cert-injection-webhook-config-values.yaml

tanzu package install knative-serving --package-name knative-serving.community.tanzu.vmware.com --version 1.0.0 --values-file knative-serving/knative-serving-values.yml

tanzu package install kpack --package-name kpack.community.tanzu.vmware.com --version 0.5.1 -f ./kpack/kpack-values.yaml

# see registry-creds: https://github.com/pivotal/kpack/blob/main/docs/secrets.md and https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Tanzu-Kubernetes-Grid/1.5/vmware-tanzu-kubernetes-grid-15/GUID-cluster-lifecycle-secrets.html

For each of the packages you’ll find a setup description in the docs together with some first setup tests. If you have everything in place, I recommend running the app-tools and the kpack tests.

As I am using my own harbor registry with a self-signed certificate or untrusted CA, I had some issues until I checked out the cert-injection-webhook. It is very common to introduce a self-signed certificate in development environments – leveraging cert-manager and cert-injection-webhook automate the publication of custom CAs. If you don’t want to deal with these details, just use a public repository with valid certificates. Otherwise you have to tackle the bootstrapping problem to avoid certificate errors. Please remember, it is best practice to inject custom CAs already in the k8s nodes during the creation of the cluster as mentioned in the first part on TCE 0.11. With cert-injection-webhook a lot of flexibility is added but this is only applicable within containers. The containerd processes on the nodes will still use the CAs registered in the OS.

A very extensive covering on certificate injection with a similar component offered by cert-manager directly can be found here.

OK, now I had some additional tools on the plate to create the management cluster of my developer dreams:

  • metallb
  • argocd
  • hashicorp vault
  • nexus (maven and other repo types)
  • jenkins (nice to have)
  • plex (just for fun)

So I decided to try out the package management system proposed by TCE. You will find my test here, just cd in and try it out yourself following the documentation. Again: subject to automation if you want to do continuous delivery of external sources of manifests. A first try converting helm on the fly by the help of vendir and a bash script can be found here.

tanzu package repository add niceneasy.ch --url bluebossa63/dev-tools-tanzu-package:0.1.0 --namespace tanzu-package-repo-global

installs the result onto your cluster provided as is. Honestly, I took the shortcut and did not externalize a lot of configuration values. It was more a test of the overall handling for me. But everything lays there and should be easily adaptable.

The official TCE packages can be found here. That’s also an alternative if you want to check the values file – in this case for grafana 7.5.7.

First part on TCE 0.11.

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