“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana Default broken I was reminded, last week, of how old issues repeat. Back in the 90s it was a truism that if you put an “Out Of The Box” RedHat 4 (not RedHat Enterprise; the original freeware version) server on the internet then it would be compromised within hours. And so we learned; our default builds didn’t have telnet, didn’t have every possible service installed, didn’t have vulnerable configurations.
One of the big problems with a cloudy environment is in how to allow the application to get the username/password needed to reach a backend service (e.g. a MySQL database). With a normal application the application operate team can inject these credentials at install time, but a cloudy app needs to be able to start/stop/restart/scale without human intervention. This can get worse with containers because these may be started a lot more frequently.
As we’ve previously seen, Docker Swarm mode is a pretty powerful tool for deploying containers across a cluster. It has self-healing capabilities, built in network load balancers, scaling, private VXLAN networks and more. Docker Swarm will automatically try and place your containers to provide maximum resiliency within the service. So, for example, if you request 3 running copies of a container then it will try and place these on three different machines.
In my previous entry I took a quick look at some of the Docker orchestration tools. I spent a bit of time poking at docker-compose and mentioned Swarm. In this entry I’m going to poke a little at Swarm; after all, it now comes as part of the platform and is a key foundation of Docker Enterprise Edition. Docker Swarm tries to take some of the concepts of a single host model and convert it into a cluster.
In earlier posts I looked at what a Docker image looks like and a dig into how it looks at runtime. In this entry I’m going to look at ways of running containers beyond a simple docker run command. docker-compose This is an additional program to be installed, but it’s very common in use. Basically, it takes a YAML configuration file. This can describe networks, dependencies, scaling factors, volumes etc etc.
In the previous entry we looked at how a Docker container image is built. In this entry we’re going to look a little bit about how a container runs. Let’s take another look at the container we built last time, running apache: % cat Dockerfile FROM centos RUN yum -y update RUN yum -y install httpd CMD ["/usr/sbin/httpd","-DFOREGROUND"] % docker build -t web-server . % docker run --rm -d -p 80:80 -v $PWD/web_base:/var/www/html \ -v /tmp/weblogs:/var/log/httpd web-server 63250d9d48bb784ac59b39d5c0254337384ee67026f27b144e2717ae0fe3b57b % docker ps CONTAINER ID IMAGE COMMAND CREATED STATUS PORTS NAMES 63250d9d48bb web-server "/usr/sbin/httpd -.
Container technology, specifically Docker, is becoming an important part of any enterprise. Even if you don’t have development teams targeting Docker you may have a vendor wanting to deliver their software in container form. I’m not so happy with that, but we’re going to have to live with it. In order to properly control the risk around this I feel it helps to have a feeling for the basics of what a Docker container is, and since I come from a technical background I like to look at it from a technology driven perspective.
Last year I wrote about how I used Letsencrypt to handle the SSL certificates for this site. In this entry I’m going to take a step back and discuss the basics of what an SSL certificate is and the steps involved in managing them. There’s a lot of jargon involved, which can make this seem more complicated than it already is. Note that in this post I’m likely to use the words “SSL” and “TLS” interchangeably.
I’ve previous written about encryption and hashing and why things like customer passwords should never be encrypted. Sometimes, though, you need encryption because you need to get the raw data back. Now you can apply encryption at different layers. Some are easy; some are hard. What you need to be aware of, though, is what they protect against. There is no one-size-fits-all solution A standard app In a common scenario we may have an application that writes data to a database; that database persists data to disk.
A number of years back I saw a mail thread around Java performance. One person made the claim that Java was slow; if you wanted performant apps then write in a different language. This matched my experience, so I felt a little confirmation bias. However the reply really made me think; this may have been true 10 years ago (and, indeed, it’d been over 10 years since I’d done any real Java) but modern techniques meant that Java was perfectly fast.