Cassandra AWS Cluster with CloudFormation, bastion host, Ansible, ssh and the aws-command line

Datetime:2017-04-18 05:35:17         Topic: Cassandra          Share        Original >>
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This Cassandra tutorial is useful for developers and  DevOps/DBA staff who want to launch a Cassandra cluster in AWS.

The  cassandra-image project has been using Vagrant and Ansible to set up a Cassandra Cluster for local testing. Then we used  Packer Ansible and  EC2 . We used Packer to create AWS images in the last tutorial. In this tutorial, we will use  CloudFormation to create a VPC, Subnets, security groups and more to launch a Cassandra cluster in EC2 using the AWS AMI image we created with Packer in the last article. The next two tutorials after this one, will set up Cassandra to work in multiple AZs and multiple regions using custom snitches for Cassandra.

Overview

This article covers the following:

  • CloudFormation
  • CloudFormer
  • Setting up VPC, NAT, Subnets, CIDRs, and more
  • AWS command line tools to launch CloudFormations
  • Setting up a bastion server for ssh and ansible in AWS
  • Setting up ansible to tunnel through our bastion server to manage AWS Cassandra instances
  • Using ansible to install Oracle 8 JDK instead of OpenJDK

Getting started

We will create a VPC, subnets, security groups and more. Then we will expand the CloudFormation as we need to set up  EC2Snitch and  EC2MultiRegionSnitch in later tutorials. We also set up a bastion host in our new public subnet of our new VPC. The bastion host allows us to tunnel ansible commands to our Cassandra or Kafka cluster.

Retrospective - Past Articles in this Cassandra Cluster DevOps/DBA series

The first tutorial in this series was about setting up a Cassandra  cluster with Vagrant (also appeared on DZone with some additional content  DZone Setting up a Cassandra Cluster with Vagrant . The second tutorial in this series was about  setting up SSL for a Cassandra cluster using Vagrant (which also appeared with more content as  DZone Setting up a Cassandra Cluster with SSL ). The  third article in this series was about configuring and using Ansible (building on the first two articles). This last article (the 4th)  Cassandra Tutorial: AWS Ansible Packer and the AWS command line covered applying the tools and techniques from the first three articles to produce an image (EC2 AMI to be precise) that we can deploy to AWS/EC2. This article uses that AWS AMI image and deploys it into a VPC that we create with CloudFormation.

Where do you go if you have a problem or get stuck?

We set up a  google group for this project and set of articles. If you just can’t get something to work or you are getting an error message, please report it  here . Between the mailing list and the github issues, we can support you with quite a few questions and issues. You can also find new articles in this series by following Cloudurable™ at our  LinkedIn pageFacebook pageGoogle plus or  Twitter .

Creating a simple VPC with one private subnet and one public subnet for our Cassandra Cluster

We describe the process here to create a  VPC , but we have a script (CloudFormation template) to save you the trouble.

Recall that an  AWS VPC is a virtual private cloud. You can create multiple Amazon VPCs within a region that spans multiple availability zones, which is useful for  Amazon Cassandra deploys and  Amazon Kafka deploys . A VPC is an isolated area to deploy EC2 instances.

Let’s create a new VPC for our cluster (Kafka or Cassandra). To start things off, you can use the  AWS VPC creation wizard . Before you do that, create an elastic IP, which you will use for the  NatGateway .

Recall that Amazon EC2 instances launched in a private subnet cannot access the Internet to do updates unless there is a NAT gateway. A NAT is a network address translator. Even if you wanted to update your Cassandra or Kafka EC2 instances with  yum install foo , you could not do it because they have no route to the public Internet. AWS provides NAT gateways which are similar to IGW, but unlike IGWs they do not allow incoming traffic, but rather only allow responses to outgoing traffic from your Amazon EC2 instances.

Before we create the  NatGateway , we need to create an EIP. First created a new EIP to associate with the new VPC. The wizard will ask you to select a VPC template, pick the one with one private network and one public network. It will ask you for the EIP id for the NatGateway.

Recall that an EIP is an Elastic IP Address which is a public IP address. AWS has a pool of public IP addresses available to rent per region, and an EIP is taken from this pool.

Don’t worry, we did all of this and created a  CloudFormation template which we will cover in a bit, you can use the CloudFormation script instead of the Wizard, but we want to describe how we created the CloudFormation template.

When using the VPC wizard, it says it is waiting for a Nat Gateway, but the NatGateway seems to be waiting for a subnet, but it is not. All you need is the EIP to give the VPC wizard; then it creates the NatGateway for you.

Using CloudFormer

After you are done creating something in AWS/EC2 that you want to automate, do the following. Tag all of the resources, VPC, NAT gateway, etc. For this, we used  cloudgen=cassandra-test .

Then you want to start up the  AWS CloudFormer . To do this in the AWS Console, go to  CloudFormation , you should see a wizard, pick the 3rd option down on the home page of CloudFormation (or pick create-stack and choose CloudFormer from templates examples dropdown). Then select the CloudFormer from the list of templates. Run this CloudFormation template to create a CloudFormer. Give a username and password that you will have to use later. Run the CloudFormation for  CloudFormer (very meta). After the CloudFormation completes, go to the link provided in the CloudFormation stack output. Enter your username and password. Launch the CloudFormer, then use the filter on  cloudgen=cassandra-test .

Walk through the wizard, and it will create a CloudFormation template that you can run (it won’t work, but it gets you 99% of the way there as CloudFormer came out before NatGateways). First time I created it the username and password did not work. I had to pick a shorter password. After you are done creating your  CloudFormation stack, then you can shutdown the  CloudFormer

CloudFormation template created from CloudFormer

Here is the CloudFormation template that we derived from the above process with some edits to make it more readable.

CloudFormation Template

{
  "AWSTemplateFormatVersion": "2010-09-09",
  "Description": "Setup VPC for Cassandra",
  "Resources": {
    "vpcMain": {
      "Type": "AWS::EC2::VPC",
      "Properties": {
        "CidrBlock": "10.0.0.0/16",
        "InstanceTenancy": "default",
        "EnableDnsSupport": "true",
        "EnableDnsHostnames": "true",
        "Tags": [
          {
            "Key": "cloudgen",
            "Value": "cassandra-test"
          },
          {
            "Key": "Name",
            "Value": "CassandraTestCluster"
          }
        ]
      }
    },
    "subnetPublic": {
      "Type": "AWS::EC2::Subnet",
      "Properties": {
        "CidrBlock": "10.0.0.0/24",
        "AvailabilityZone": "us-west-2a",
        "VpcId": {
          "Ref": "vpcMain"
        },
        "Tags": [
          {
            "Key": "cloudgen",
            "Value": "cassandra-test"
          },
          {
            "Key": "Name",
            "Value": "Public subnet"
          }
        ]
      }
    },
    "subnetPrivate": {
      "Type": "AWS::EC2::Subnet",
      "Properties": {
        "CidrBlock": "10.0.1.0/24",
        "AvailabilityZone": "us-west-2a",
        "VpcId": {
          "Ref": "vpcMain"
        },
        "Tags": [
          {
            "Key": "cloudgen",
            "Value": "cassandra-test"
          },
          {
            "Key": "Name",
            "Value": "Private subnet"
          }
        ]
      }
    },
    "internetGateway": {
      "Type": "AWS::EC2::InternetGateway",
      "Properties": {
      }
    },
    "dhcpOptions": {
      "Type": "AWS::EC2::DHCPOptions",
      "Properties": {
        "DomainName": "us-west-2.compute.internal",
        "DomainNameServers": [
          "AmazonProvidedDNS"
        ]
      }
    },
    "networkACL": {
      "Type": "AWS::EC2::NetworkAcl",
      "Properties": {
        "VpcId": {
          "Ref": "vpcMain"
        },
        "Tags": [
          {
            "Key": "cloudgen",
            "Value": "cassandra-test"
          },
          {
            "Key": "Name",
            "Value": "CassandraTestNACL"
          }
        ]
      }
    },
    "routeTableMain": {
      "Type": "AWS::EC2::RouteTable",
      "Properties": {
        "VpcId": {
          "Ref": "vpcMain"
        },
        "Tags": [
          {
            "Key": "cloudgen",
            "Value": "cassandra-test"
          }
        ]
      }
    },
    "routeTablePublic": {
      "Type": "AWS::EC2::RouteTable",
      "Properties": {
        "VpcId": {
          "Ref": "vpcMain"
        },
        "Tags": [
          {
            "Key": "cloudgen",
            "Value": "cassandra-test"
          }
        ]
      }
    },
    "eipForNatGateway": {
      "Type": "AWS::EC2::EIP",
      "Properties": {
        "Domain": "vpc"
      }
    },
    "natGateway": {
      "Type": "AWS::EC2::NatGateway",
      "Properties": {
        "AllocationId": {
          "Fn::GetAtt": [
            "eipForNatGateway",
            "AllocationId"
          ]
        },
        "SubnetId": {
          "Ref": "subnetPublic"
        }
      }
    },
    "securityGroupDefault": {
      "Type": "AWS::EC2::SecurityGroup",
      "Properties": {
        "GroupDescription": "default VPC security group",
        "VpcId": {
          "Ref": "vpcMain"
        },
        "Tags": [
          {
            "Key": "cloudgen",
            "Value": "cassandra-test"
          },
          {
            "Key": "Name",
            "Value": "CassandraTestSG"
          }
        ]
      }
    },
    "aclEntryAllowAllEgress": {
      "Type": "AWS::EC2::NetworkAclEntry",
      "Properties": {
        "CidrBlock": "0.0.0.0/0",
        "Egress": "true",
        "Protocol": "-1",
        "RuleAction": "allow",
        "RuleNumber": "100",
        "NetworkAclId": {
          "Ref": "networkACL"
        }
      }
    },
    "aclEntryAllowAllIngress": {
      "Type": "AWS::EC2::NetworkAclEntry",
      "Properties": {
        "CidrBlock": "0.0.0.0/0",
        "Protocol": "-1",
        "RuleAction": "allow",
        "RuleNumber": "100",
        "NetworkAclId": {
          "Ref": "networkACL"
        }
      }
    },
    "subnetAclAssociationPublic": {
      "Type": "AWS::EC2::SubnetNetworkAclAssociation",
      "Properties": {
        "NetworkAclId": {
          "Ref": "networkACL"
        },
        "SubnetId": {
          "Ref": "subnetPublic"
        }
      }
    },
    "subnetAclAssociationPrivate": {
      "Type": "AWS::EC2::SubnetNetworkAclAssociation",
      "Properties": {
        "NetworkAclId": {
          "Ref": "networkACL"
        },
        "SubnetId": {
          "Ref": "subnetPrivate"
        }
      }
    },
    "vpcGatewayAttachment": {
      "Type": "AWS::EC2::VPCGatewayAttachment",
      "Properties": {
        "VpcId": {
          "Ref": "vpcMain"
        },
        "InternetGatewayId": {
          "Ref": "internetGateway"
        }
      }
    },
    "subnetRouteTableAssociationPublic": {
      "Type": "AWS::EC2::SubnetRouteTableAssociation",
      "Properties": {
        "RouteTableId": {
          "Ref": "routeTablePublic"
        },
        "SubnetId": {
          "Ref": "subnetPublic"
        }
      }
    },
    "routeNatGateway": {
      "Type": "AWS::EC2::Route",
      "Properties": {
        "DestinationCidrBlock": "0.0.0.0/0",
        "NatGatewayId": {
          "Ref": "natGateway"
        },
        "RouteTableId": {
          "Ref": "routeTableMain"
        }
      }
    },
    "routeInternetGateway": {
      "Type": "AWS::EC2::Route",
      "Properties": {
        "DestinationCidrBlock": "0.0.0.0/0",
        "RouteTableId": {
          "Ref": "routeTablePublic"
        },
        "GatewayId": {
          "Ref": "internetGateway"
        }
      },
      "DependsOn": "vpcGatewayAttachment"
    },
    "vpcDHCPOptionsAssociation": {
      "Type": "AWS::EC2::VPCDHCPOptionsAssociation",
      "Properties": {
        "VpcId": {
          "Ref": "vpcMain"
        },
        "DhcpOptionsId": {
          "Ref": "dhcpOptions"
        }
      }
    },
    "securityGroupIngressDefault": {
      "Type": "AWS::EC2::SecurityGroupIngress",
      "Properties": {
        "GroupId": {
          "Ref": "securityGroupDefault"
        },
        "IpProtocol": "-1",
        "SourceSecurityGroupId": {
          "Ref": "securityGroupDefault"
        }
      }
    },
    "securityGroupEgressDefault": {
      "Type": "AWS::EC2::SecurityGroupEgress",
      "Properties": {
        "GroupId": {
          "Ref": "securityGroupDefault"
        },
        "IpProtocol": "-1",
        "CidrIp": "0.0.0.0/0"
      }
    }
  }
}

We define the following resources in the above  CloudFormation which was generated with  CloudFormer .

  • vpcMain  which is the  VPC  with CIDR  10.0.0.0/16
  • subnetPublic  which is the public  Subnet  with CIDR  10.0.0.0/24
  • subnetPrivate  which is the private  Subnet  with CIDR  10.0.1.0/24
  • internetGateway  of type  InternetGateway
  • dhcpOptions  of type  DHCPOptions
  • networkACL  of type  NetworkAcl
  • natGateway  of type  NatGateway
  • routeTableMain  of type  RouteTable
  • routeTablePublic  of type  RouteTable
  • eipForNatGateway  of type  NatGateway
  • securityGroupDefault  of type  SecurityGroup

The  vpcMain which is the AWS  VPC which is the VPC we use to deploy instances. The  subnetPublic ( Subnet ) with CIDR  10.0.0.0/24 is a part of a VPC’s IP address range. Just like an AWS VPC you need to specify CIDR blocks for the subnets. Subnets are associated with availability zones (independent power source and network). Subnets can be public or private. A private subnet is one that is not routable from the  internetGateway . The  subnetPrivate ( Subnet ) does not have a route to the  internetGateway . The  internetGateway ( InternetGateway ) enables traffic from the public Internet to the mainVPC VPC. The  internetGateway (IGW) does network address translation from public IPs of EC2 instances to their private IP for incoming traffic. When an EC2 instance sends IP traffic from a public subnet, the IGW acts as the NAT for the public subnet and translates the reply address to the EC2 instance’s public IP (EIP). The IGW keep track of the mappings of EC2 instances private IP address and their public IP address. AWS ensures that the IGW is highly available and handles the horizontal scale, redundancy as needed. The  dhcpOptions ( DHCPOptions ) is associated with with the  mainVPC and is used for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) config and provides a standard for configuring TCP/IP networks. The  networkACL ( NetworkAcl ) - Network ACL Control List (NACL) - is a stateless layer of security for subnets. NACLs act as a stateless firewall. The  natGateway ( NatGateway ) are similar to IGW, but unlike IGWs they do not allow incoming traffic, but rather only allow responses to outgoing traffic from your Amazon EC2 instances. NAT gateways are simple to manage and highly available. The  securityGroupDefault ( SecurityGroup ) provides a stateful firewall that is applied directly to EC2 instance, ELBs and Autoscale group launches. For more details of what the above CloudFormation creates and why see this  short guide to VPC or this  AWS Cassandra deployment guide .

Using the new CloudFormation

We use the  AWS CloudFormation CommandLine to create the VPC, subnets, Network ACL, etc. for our  Cassandra Cluster .

Using aws cloudformation command line to create VPC for Cassandra Cluster or Kafka Cluster

#!/usr/bin/env bash
set -e

source bin/ec2-env.sh

aws --region ${REGION} s3 cp cloud-formation/vpc.json s3://$CLOUD_FORMER_BUCKET
aws --region ${REGION} cloudformation create-stack --stack-name ${ENV}-vpc-cassandra \
--template-url "https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/$CLOUD_FORMER_BUCKET/vpc.json" \

Notice that we upload the  CloudFormation template to  S3 using the AWS command-line. Then, we call  create-stack to run the  CloudFormation stack. This is our base VPC setup. We will add to it as we continue.

Modifying ec2-env.sh

We added three more variables to our  ec2-env.sh file as follows:

ec2-env.sh - KEY name, aws REGION, name of S3 bucket to store CloudFormation templates

export KEY=KEY_NAME_CASSANDRA
export REGION=us-west-2
export CLOUD_FORMER_BUCKET=cloudurable-cloudformer-templates

You might recall that our  ec2-env.sh file specifies security groups id, subnets id, IAM profile name, etc.

Adding outputs to CloudFormation.

We were using the default VPC, but now we want to use the VPC, subnet, etc. that we just created. We could just look that up using the console, but a better way would be to add  Outputs  to our VPC CloudFormation for our  Cassandra Cluster . The  CloudFormation Outputs section declares values that can be imported into other CloudFormation stacks or queried by the command line, or just displayed in the  AWS CloudFormation console.

CloudFormation templates once deployed are called CloudFormation stacks. CloudFormation stacks can depend on outputs from other CloudFormation stacks.

Here are the updates we make to create output variables from our  CloudFormation .

cloud-formation/vpc.json - adding output variables

{
  "AWSTemplateFormatVersion": "2010-09-09",
  "Description": "Setup VPC for Cassandra",
  "Outputs": {
      "subnetPublicOut": {
        "Description": "Subnet Public Id",
        "Value": {
          "Ref": "subnetPublic"
        },
        "Export": {
          "Name": {
            "Fn::Sub": "${AWS::StackName}-subnetPublic"
          }
        }
      },
      "subnetPrivateOut": {
        "Description": "Subnet Private Id",
        "Value": {
          "Ref": "subnetPrivate"
        },
        "Export": {
          "Name": {
            "Fn::Sub": "${AWS::StackName}-subnetPrivate"
          }
        }
      }
  },
  ...

Notice we put our output variable under the key  "Outputs" which is a map of output variables.

We define  subnetPublicOut and  subnetPrivateOut which get exported to  ${AWS::StackName}-subnetPublic and  ${AWS::StackName}-subnetPrivate

Setting up Bastion Security Group

Next, we need to setup the Security Group for our Bastion Host. A Bastion host will allow us to manage the Cassandra/Kafka EC2 instances from ssh/ansible. It is the bridge to out private subnet where we will keep our Cassandra/Kafka EC2 instances.

The security group needs to open up port 22 as follows.

cloud-formation/vpc.json - Bastion Security Group for Ansible Mgmt of Cassandra Database Nodes

"securityGroupBastion": {
      "Type": "AWS::EC2::SecurityGroup",
      "Properties": {
        "GroupDescription": "Security group for bastion server.",
        "VpcId": {
          "Ref": "vpcMain"
        },
        "SecurityGroupIngress": [
          {
            "IpProtocol": "tcp",
            "FromPort": "22",
            "ToPort": "22",
            "CidrIp": "0.0.0.0/0"
          }
        ],
        "SecurityGroupEgress": [
          {
            "IpProtocol": "-1",
            "CidrIp": "0.0.0.0/0"
          }
        ],
        "Tags": [
          {
            "Key": "Name",
            "Value": "bastionSecurityGroup"
          },
          {
            "Key": "cloudgen",
            "Value": "cassandra-test"
          }
        ]
      }
    },

Setting up Security Group for Cassandra Nodes

This example will focus on Cassandra nodes, not Kafka, but the ideas are similar. This security group uses the CIDR of the VPC to open up all traffic to all subnets in this VPC.

cloud-formation/vpc.json - Security group for Cassandra Database nodes in Cassandra Cluster

"securityGroupCassandraNodes": {
      "Type": "AWS::EC2::SecurityGroup",
      "Properties": {
        "GroupDescription": "Security group for Cassandra Database nodes in Cassandra Cluster",
        "VpcId": {
          "Ref": "vpcMain"
        },
        "SecurityGroupIngress": [
          {
            "IpProtocol": "-1",
            "CidrIp": "10.0.0.0/8"
          }
        ],
        "SecurityGroupEgress": [
          {
            "IpProtocol": "-1",
            "CidrIp": "0.0.0.0/0"
          }
        ],
        "Tags": [
          {
            "Key": "Name",
            "Value": "cassandraSecurityGroup"
          },
          {
            "Key": "cloudgen",
            "Value": "cassandra-test"
          }
        ]
      }
    }

Output new security groups as CloudFormation outputs.

We will want to add the  securityGroupCassandraNodes and  securityGroupBastion to the output of the  CloudFormation so we can use it from our AWS EC2 scripts.

cloud-formation/vpc.json - output new security groups

{
  "AWSTemplateFormatVersion": "2010-09-09",
  "Description": "Setup VPC for Cassandra Cluster for Cassandra Database",

  "Outputs": {
    "subnetPublicOut": {
      "Description": "Subnet Public Id",
      "Value": {
        "Ref": "subnetPublic"
      },
      "Export": {
        "Name": {
          "Fn::Sub": "${AWS::StackName}-subnetPublic"
        }
      }
    },
    "subnetPrivateOut": {
      "Description": "Subnet Private Id",
      "Value": {
        "Ref": "subnetPrivate"
      },
      "Export": {
        "Name": {
          "Fn::Sub": "${AWS::StackName}-subnetPrivate"
        }
      }
    },
    "securityGroupBastionOutput": {
      "Description": "Security Group Bastion for managing Cassandra Cluster Nodes with Ansible",
      "Value": {
        "Ref": "securityGroupBastion"
      },
      "Export": {
        "Name": {
          "Fn::Sub": "${AWS::StackName}-securityGroupBastion"
        }
      }
    },
    "securityGroupCassandraNodesOutput": {
      "Description": "Cassandra Database Node security group for Cassandra Cluster",
      "Value": {
        "Ref": "securityGroupCassandraNodes"
      },
      "Export": {
        "Name": {
          "Fn::Sub": "${AWS::StackName}-securityGroupCassandraNodes"
        }
      }
    }
  },
  ...

Notice that we added  securityGroupBastionOutput and  securityGroupCassandraNodesOutput to the above  CloudFormation .

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Updating CloudFormation

As we iterative develop our CloudFormation, like add new security groups, we do not have to rebuild everything. Instead, we can update the CloudFormation stack. CloudFormation is smart enough to see what has changed and only add/update those areas.

bin/update-vpc-cloudformation.sh

#!/usr/bin/env bash
set -e

source bin/ec2-env.sh

aws --region ${REGION} s3 cp cloud-formation/vpc.json s3://$CLOUD_FORMER_BUCKET
aws --region ${REGION} cloudformation update-stack --stack-name ${ENV}-vpc-cassandra \
--template-url "https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/$CLOUD_FORMER_BUCKET/vpc.json" \

The above uses the  CloudFormation Update Stack to update a stack as specified by the template. After the  update stack completes successfully, the stack update starts.

We can see our output variable from our CloudFormation template from the command line as follows.

List the output variables of CloudFormation with the aws command-line

$ aws cloudformation describe-stacks --stack-name dev-vpc-cassandra | jq .Stacks[].Outputs[]

Output

{
  "Description": "Subnet Private Id",
  "OutputKey": "subnetPrivateOut",
  "OutputValue": "subnet-XXe5453a"
}
{
  "Description": "Cassandra Database Node security group for Cassandra Cluster",
  "OutputKey": "securityGroupCassandraNodesOutput",
  "OutputValue": "sg-XX527048"
}
{
  "Description": "Subnet Public Id",
  "OutputKey": "subnetPublicOut",
  "OutputValue": "subnet-XXe5453c"
}
{
  "Description": "Security Group Bastion for managing Cassandra Cluster Nodes with Ansible",
  "OutputKey": "securityGroupBastionOutput",
  "OutputValue": "sg-XX527040"
}

Then we just modify our  ec2-env.sh script to use these values. Now we can modify the  bin/ec2-env.sh .

env file

#!/bin/bash
set -e


export REGION=us-west-2
export ENV=dev
export KEY_PAIR_NAME="cloudurable-$REGION"
export PEM_FILE="${HOME}/.ssh/${KEY_PAIR_NAME}.pem"
export SUBNET_PUBLIC=subnet-XXe5453a
export SUBNET_PRIVATE=subnet-XXe5453b
export CLOUD_FORMER_S3_BUCKET=cloudurable-cloudformer-templates
export HOSTED_ZONE_ID="XXNXWWXWZXEXHJ-NOT-REAL"



export BASTION_NODE_SIZE=t2.small
export BASTION_SECURITY_GROUP=sg-XX527040
export BASTION_AMI=ami-XXb3310e
export BASTION_EC2_INSTANCE_NAME="bastion.${ENV}.${REGION}"
export BASTION_DNS_NAME="bastion.${ENV}.${REGION}.cloudurable.com."


export CASSANDRA_NODE_SIZE=m4.large
export CASSANDRA_AMI=ami-XXb3310f
export CASSANDRA_SECURITY_GROUP=sg-XX527048
export CASSANDRA_IAM_PROFILE=IAM_PROFILE_CASSANDRA
export CASSANDRA_EC2_INSTANCE_NAME="cassandra-node.${ENV}.${REGION}"
export CASSANDRA_DNS_NAME="node0.${ENV}.${REGION}.cloudurable.com."

Just like a war plan does not survive the first battle, variable names do not survive the first refactor to add a feature. We could also use the CloudFormation outputs as input variables to another CloudFormation as input variables.

CloudFormation is the AWS way to create immutable infrastructure.

Why a Bastion server

bastion host is a computer that is locked down and fully exposed to attack, but in our case the Bastion has a firewall so that only port 22 is open (SSH), and in fact when we only run the bastion host when we want to ssh into our private subnet or run asnbile playbooks. The bastion host is on the public side of the DMZ.

Creating bastion server

We updated the  log into server bash script , the  associate DNS with IP bash scripts and the  get IP address of ec2 instance bash scripts to take arguments and renamed them to work with the bastion EC2 instance and Cassandra Database instances. Then we created a new script called  bin/create-ec2-instance-bastion.sh to use the new scripts and the appropriate environment variables.

Here is the create bastion script.

create-ec2-instance-bastion.sh - bastion for ansible and ssh bridge

#!/bin/bash
set -e

source bin/ec2-env.sh

instance_id=$(aws ec2 run-instances --image-id "$BASTION_AMI" --subnet-id  "$SUBNET_PUBLIC" \
 --instance-type "$BASTION_NODE_SIZE" --iam-instance-profile "Name=$CASSANDRA_IAM_PROFILE" \
 --associate-public-ip-address --security-group-ids "$BASTION_SECURITY_GROUP" \
 --key-name "$KEY_PAIR_NAME" | jq --raw-output .Instances[].InstanceId)

echo "bastion ${instance_id} is being created"

aws ec2 wait instance-exists --instance-ids "$instance_id"

aws ec2 create-tags --resources "${instance_id}" --tags Key=Name,Value="${BASTION_EC2_INSTANCE_NAME}" \
Key=Role,Value="Bastion" Key=Env,Value="DEV"

echo "${instance_id} was tagged waiting to login"

aws ec2 wait instance-status-ok --instance-ids "$instance_id"


bin/associate-route53-DNS-with-IP.sh ${BASTION_EC2_INSTANCE_NAME} ${BASTION_DNS_NAME}
bin/login-ec2-instance.sh ${BASTION_EC2_INSTANCE_NAME}

If you followed along with the previous tutorials, the above will all make sense. Essentially, we are just launching and EC2 instance using the  AMI/image we created with packer from Packer/Ansible/Cassandra Tutorial . Then the script waits for the image to become active, then it associates the bastion DNS name with the IP of this image.

Note since we are launching the Cassandra node in a private subnet, we will not be able to log into it direct any longer. We will have to log into the bastion server first.

Now let’s run this script.

Running bin/create-ec2-instance-bastion.sh - to create ansible bastion AWS ec2 instance

$ bin/create-ec2-instance-bastion.sh
bastion i-069819c22bbd379ab is being created
i-069819c22bbd379ab was tagged waiting to login
IP ADDRESS 55.222.33.66 bastion.dev.us-west-2.cloudurable.com.

{
"Changes":[
    {
        "Action": "UPSERT",
        "ResourceRecordSet": {
                "Type": "A",
                "Name": "bastion.dev.us-west-2.cloudurable.com.",
                "TTL": 300,
                "ResourceRecords": [{
                    "Value": "55.222.33.66"
                }]
        }
    }
]
}

IP ADDRESS 55.222.33.66
ECDSA key fingerprint is SHA256:DzyRqdhPPUlTf8ZPAH6XtGe0SRNthSoMXK4cZCpGGME.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? yes
Warning: Permanently added '54.202.31.60' (ECDSA) to the list of known hosts.
...

Let’s also startup the Cassandra Database Node which will be a seed server in the Cassandra Cluster. We do this with the  create-ec2-instance-cassandra.sh as follows.

Run bin/create-ec2-instance-cassandra.sh - Create Cassandra instance

$ bin/create-ec2-instance-cassandra.sh
Cassandra Database: Cassandra Cluster Node i-0602e8b4d75020438 is being created
Cassandra Node i-0602e8b4d75020438 was tagged waiting for status ready

Now we can log into the bastion.

Logging into Bastion running in our public subnet

We will log into Bastion so we can then log into our Cassandra or Kafka nodes.

Using login-ec2-instance.sh

$ bin/login-ec2-instance.sh bastion.dev.us-west-2
centos@ip-10-0-0-220 ~]$

The private IP address of the Cassandra instance is 10.0.1.10. To log into that server, we would first need to log into bastion (private IP 10-0-0-220) as follows.

Logging into Cassandra node from bastion

centos@ip-10-0-0-220 ~]$ ssh -i ~/resources/server/certs/test_rsa ansible@10.0.1.138
[ansible@ip-10-0-1-10 ~]$

Notice we are using the  test_rsa  that we setup for ssh access from our first Ansible/Cassandra Tutorial .

SSH Setup for Ansible/SSH to managed Cassandra nodes

Before we setup, let’s make sure we can log into the bastion host.

Try to connect to Cassandra seed node via ssh bastion tunnel

$ ssh -t bastion ssh -t -i /home/ansible/.ssh/test_rsa ansible@10.0.1.10

This trick of ssh bastion tunneling from the cmd line was described  Using SSH through a Bastion tunnel .

We modify our  ~/.ssh/config to tunnel requests for  10.0.1.10 (our Cassandra node), through the bastion  bastion.dev.us-west-2.cloudurable.com .

~/.ssh/config - configure ssh bridge from bastion to main cassandra node

Host *.us-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com
  ForwardAgent yes
  IdentityFile ~/.ssh/test_rsa
  User ansible

Host bastion
  Hostname bastion.dev.us-west-2.cloudurable.com
  ForwardAgent yes
  IdentityFile ~/.ssh/test_rsa
  User ansible

Host cassandra.node0
  Hostname 10.0.1.10
  ForwardAgent yes
  IdentityFile ~/.ssh/test_rsa
  ProxyCommand ssh bastion  -W  %h:%p
  User ansible

First, we create  Host bastion alias that sets up access to  bastion.dev.us-west-2.cloudurable.com , your DNS name will vary. Then we use this  bastion to tunnel ssh to the Cassandra instance using the  ProxyCommand . This  ProxyCommand of the  ssh client config runs the command  ssh bastion -W host:port and then talks to the standard in/out of that command as if the remote connection (specified by  -W ). The  %h is for the hostname and the  %p is port.

Now,  cassandra.node0 is a bit special because it is a seed server, but other Cassandra Nodes will be a bit nameless so to speak. We want a way to configure them without naming each one, and while we are at for speed we want to use  SSH multiplexing .

~/.ssh/config - create the ssh bridge for the rest of the Cassandra nodes

Host 10.0.1.*
    ForwardAgent yes
    IdentityFile ~/.ssh/test_rsa
    ProxyCommand ssh bastion  -W  %h:%p
    User ansible
    ControlMaster auto
    ControlPath ~/.ssh/ansible-%r@%h:%p
    ControlPersist 5m

Ideas for this setup came from the  running ansible through SSH bastion host on Scott’s WebLog.

We make the following changes to get ansible to work through bastion.

We add this workaround to ansible.cfg.

ansible.cfg -

...
[ssh_connection]
ssh_args = -o ControlMaster=auto -o ControlPersist=30m
control_path = %(directory)s/%%h-%%p-%%r

Then we setup our inventory file with our new ssh aliases that we defined in  ~/.ssh/config earlier.

inventory.ini -

[cassandra-nodes]
cassandra.node0


[bastion]
bastion

Side Note: Local to project ssh config so we can check it in.

If we use the  -F parameter as an  ssh_args in  ansible.cfg/ssh_connection then we can specify . Now we can keep all these files in source control by adding this  [ssh_connection] \n ssh_args = -F ssh/ssh.config -o ControlMaster=auto -o ControlPersist=30m to  ansible.cfg in the project directory of this Ansible/Cassandra tutorial. This is another trick from  blog post: running ansible through a bastion

The next thing we want to do is ping our servers with ansible just to show that it is working.

Running ansible commands via a bastion server

$ ansible cassandra.node0 -m ping

cassandra.node0 | SUCCESS => {
    "changed": false,
    "ping": "pong"
}

$ ansible bastion -m ping

bastion | SUCCESS => {
    "changed": false,
    "ping": "pong"
}

Installing more than one node to the cluster

To automate the configuration of the Cassandra instances, we will use  Cassandra Cloud .

CassandraCloud is a tool that helps you configure Cassandra for clustered environments. It works well in  DockerAWSMesosEC2 , and  VirtualBox environments (and similar environments). It allows you to configure Cassandra easily. For example, it could be kicked off as a  USER_DATA script in Amazon EC2 (AWS EC2).  CassandraCloud usually runs once when an instance is first launched and then never again.  CassandraCloud allows you to override values via  OS ENVIRONMENT variables. There is an HCL config file, and there are command line arguments. The HCL config file can be overridden with  ENVIRONMENT which can be overridden with command line arguments. CassandraCloud will generate  ${CASSANDRA_HOME}/conf/cassandra.yaml file. You can specify a custom template (usually found in  ${CASSANDRA_HOME}/conf/cassandra-yaml.template ).

Here is the EC2 user-data script where we invoke  Cassandra Cloud .

resources/user-data/cassandra - AWS EC2 User-Data for Cassandra Database Node

#!/bin/bash
set -e

export BIND_IP=`curl http://169.254.169.254/latest/meta-data/local-ipv4`

/opt/cloudurable/bin/cassandra-cloud -cluster-name test \
                -client-address  ${BIND_IP} \
                -cluster-address  ${BIND_IP} \
                -cluster-seeds 10.0.1.10

/bin/systemctl restart  cassandra

Notice we are passing the client  BIND_IP which we get form the  EC2 meta-data .

We also added an extra param to  bin/create-ec2-instance-cassandra.sh so we can pin a deployment to a certain IP in the CIDR range of our AWS VPC private subnet.

bin/create-ec2-instance-cassandra.sh -

#!/bin/bash
set -e

source bin/ec2-env.sh

if [ -z "$1" ]
    then
        PRIVATE_IP_ADDRESS=10.0.1.10
    else
        PRIVATE_IP_ADDRESS=$1
fi

instance_id=$(aws ec2 run-instances --image-id "$CASSANDRA_AMI" --subnet-id  "$SUBNET_PRIVATE" \
 --instance-type ${CASSANDRA_NODE_SIZE} --private-ip-address ${PRIVATE_IP_ADDRESS}  \
 --iam-instance-profile "Name=$CASSANDRA_IAM_PROFILE" \
 --security-group-ids "$CASSANDRA_SECURITY_GROUP" \
 --user-data file://resources/user-data/cassandra \
 --key-name "$KEY_PAIR_NAME" | jq --raw-output .Instances[].InstanceId)

echo "Cassandra Database: Cassandra Cluster Node ${instance_id} is being created"

aws ec2 wait instance-exists --instance-ids "$instance_id"

aws ec2 create-tags --resources "${instance_id}" --tags Key=Name,Value="${CASSANDRA_EC2_INSTANCE_NAME}" \
Key=Cluster,Value="Cassandra" Key=Role,Value="Cassandra_Database_Cluster_Node" Key=Env,Value="DEV"

echo "Cassandra Node ${instance_id} was tagged waiting for status ready"

aws ec2 wait instance-status-ok --instance-ids "$instance_id"

If you run it with no IP address, then it creates the Cassandra Seed Node EC2 instance. If you run it with an IP address, then it creates and instance with that private IP. (Note that the IP must be in the range of the private subnet CIDR that we created earlier.)

Let’s use this to create a second instance.

Running bin/create-ec2-instance-cassandra.sh 10.0.1.11

$ bin/create-ec2-instance-cassandra.sh 10.0.1.11
Cassandra Database: Cassandra Cluster Node i-0e9939e9f62ae33d4 is being created
Cassandra Node i-0e9939e9f62ae33d4 was tagged waiting for status ready

Now we need to make sure it is working. We can do this by ssh-ing into  cassandra.node0 and checking the status and describing the cassandra cluster with  nodetool .

Check Cassandra node status with nodetool

$ ssh cassandra.node0
...
$ /opt/cassandra/bin/nodetool status
Datacenter: datacenter1
=======================
Status=Up/Down
|/ State=Normal/Leaving/Joining/Moving
--  Address    Load       Tokens       Owns (effective)  Host ID                               Rack
UN  10.0.1.10  132.06 KiB  32           100.0%            95794596-7dbe-4ec9-8c35-f4f49a5bb999  rack1
UN  10.0.1.11   94.97 KiB  32           100.0%            eb35bb65-c582-4fa9-9069-fd5222830c99  rack1

Notice that both  10.0.1.10 (the seed server), and  10.0.1.11 are seen. We will setup a seed server per availability zone.

Let’s also see the Cassandra cluster with  nodetool status .

Check Cassandra node status with nodetool

[ansible@ip-10-0-1-10 ~]$ /opt/cassandra/bin/nodetool describecluster
Cluster Information:
        Name: test
        Snitch: org.apache.cassandra.locator.DynamicEndpointSnitch
        Partitioner: org.apache.cassandra.dht.Murmur3Partitioner
        Schema versions:
                86afa796-d883-3932-aa73-6b017cef0d19: [10.0.1.10, 10.0.1.11]

Up next

In the next article we will use  Ec2Snitch and setup a second subnet and availability zone.

Bonus lap using an ansible playbook to install Oracle JDK 8

A big mandate came down from the corporate home office, switch all instances from OpenJDK to the Oracle JDK. We protest that we ran benchmarks and burn-ins with the OpenJDK and there is no difference. The home office has silenced our pleas. No remorse.

We are using the OpenJDK and Cassandra gives warning messages not to. Let’s use Ansible to fix that. We will use a  ansible playbook for installing jdk-8 on CentOS .

First let’s add our extra Cassandra node  10.0.1.11 to the list of  cassandra-nodes that we are managing.

inventory.ini - add new Cassandra node to file

[cassandra-nodes]
cassandra.node0
10.0.1.11

...

Then let’s create an ansible playbook that installs the Oracle JDK on our Cassandra nodes.

playbooks-oracle-8.jdk.yml

---
- hosts: cassandra-nodes
  gather_facts: no
  become: true
  remote_user: ansible
  vars:
    download_url: http://download.oracle.com/otn-pub/java/jdk/8u121-b13/e9e7ea248e2c4826b92b3f075a80e441/jdk-8u121-linux-x64.tar.gz
    download_folder: /opt
    java_name: "{{download_folder}}/jdk1.8.0_121"
    java_archive: "{{download_folder}}/jdk-8u121-linux-x64.tar.gz"


  tasks:
  - name: Download Java
    command: "curl -L -b 'oraclelicense=a' {{download_url}} -o {{java_archive}} creates={{java_archive}}"

  - name: Unpack archive
    command: "tar -zxf {{java_archive}} -C {{download_folder}} creates={{java_name}}"

  - name: Fix ownership
    file: state=directory path={{java_name}} owner=root group=root recurse=yes

  - name: Remove previous
    command: 'alternatives --remove "java" /usr/lib/jvm/java-1.8.0-openjdk-1.8.0.121-0.b13.el7_3.x86_64/jre/bin/java'

  - name: Make Java available for system
    command: 'alternatives --install "/usr/bin/java" "java" "{{java_name}}/bin/java" 2000'

  - name: Clean up
    file: state=absent path={{java_archive}}

Next up we just need to run the playbook.

Running playbook

$ ansible-playbook playbooks/install-oracle-8-jdk.yml

PLAY [cassandra-nodes] *********************************************************

TASK [Download Java] ***********************************************************
changed: [cassandra.node0]
 [WARNING]: Consider using get_url or uri module rather than running curl

changed: [10.0.1.11]

TASK [Unpack archive] **********************************************************
changed: [cassandra.node0]
 [WARNING]: Consider using unarchive module rather than running tar

changed: [10.0.1.11]

TASK [Fix ownership] ***********************************************************
changed: [10.0.1.11]
changed: [cassandra.node0]

TASK [Remove previous] *********************************************************
changed: [cassandra.node0]
changed: [10.0.1.11]

TASK [Make Java available for system] ******************************************
changed: [10.0.1.11]
changed: [cassandra.node0]

TASK [Clean up] ****************************************************************
changed: [cassandra.node0]
changed: [10.0.1.11]

PLAY RECAP *********************************************************************
10.0.1.11                  : ok=6    changed=6    unreachable=0    failed=0   
cassandra.node0            : ok=6    changed=6    unreachable=0    failed=0

Now imagine that we did not just have two servers but 50. This playbook is a lot nicer.

Conclusion

We used  CloudFormer to create a starter  CloudFormation template which created an AWS VPC, NAT, Subnets, InternetGateway, CIDRs, and more. Then we used  AWS command line tools to launch CloudFormations as a stack. Then we added some additional security groups. Then we used  AWS command line tools to update the CloudFormations stack that we set up earlier. We set up a  bastion host which allows us to tunnel ansible commands. We then used the  AWS command line . We then set up a Cassandra cluster using  Cassandra Cloud , EC2 USER DATA script, and EC2 instance meta-data to generate Cassandra YAML config. Then as a bonus lap, we used ansible to run a playbook to replace our OpenJDK usage with the Oracle JDK.

More about Cloudurable™

Cloudurable is focused on AWS DevOps automation for Cassandra and Kafka. We also focus on supporting the SMACK stack in AWS. All of our training and mentoring has a special focus on AWS deployments. Our Apache Spark course, for example, covers running Spark on EMR and using Spark SQL with data from S3 and DynamoDB as well as using Spark Streaming with Kinesis. We also cover how to use Cassandra from Spark (for example).

Consulting








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