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By Pramod Kumar | Published November 30, 2017 - Updated November 10, 2018
IBM UrbanCode Deploy is a tool that helps you automate application deployments throughout your cloud environments. It is designed to make rapid feedback and continuous delivery in agile development relatively easy while providing the audit trails, versioning, and approval paths you need in a production-level system.
UrbanCode Deploy provides:
In this tutorial, I’ll explain the build-and-deploy toolchain of microservices, starting with the standard tools you need:
I will be focusing primarily on UrbanCode Deploy.
Let’s start by examining a typical microservices architecture.
Typically, a microservices architecture is one in which multiple microservices each perform a single unit of work, while a web component consumes all the data provided by these microservices and shows it to the user. Each microservice will have its own build pipeline to build and deploy to the development environment automatically.
Let’s look at this in a bit more detail.
In this scenario, one common database and cache service hold the common data across the various microservices.
My goal in this article is to describe how you can configure UrbanCode Deploy to deploy these microservices to hybrid cloud environments.
Since each microservice will have its own build pipeline, let’s look at that next.
Based on the branching strategy, the code gets deployed to the target environment. I will be doing this using a GitLab repository where webhooks are configured to automatically trigger a build in Jenkins.
The Jenkins job is configured to build a Java™ or Node application, perform code quality using SonarQube (the open-source platform for continuous inspection of code quality), and store the artifacts in IBM UrbanCode Deploy.
The version of the artifact generated is tagged with the Jenkins build number to have traceability with the Jenkins build that created the artifact. This version number will be useful in creating the snapshots in UrbanCode Deploy.
Next, I’ll demonstrate how to configure Jenkins for auto-build.
Running builds as soon as code is pushed can be important because it enables you to detect problems quickly and locate them more easily. To automatically run builds, Jenkins listens for POST requests at a Hook URL.
In Jenkins, you enable the option to build when a change is pushed to the GitLab repository as shown:
Copy the GitLab CI Service URL, go to the corresponding GitLab Project, click Settings > Webhooks, and paste the URL into the field. Click Add Webhook and test it, as shown:
Configure the GitLab system to build when code is pushed to a certain branch. Add the same filter in Jenkins.
In this section, I will show you how to create a deployment pattern, which involves:
All the microservices in this example have the same build-and-deploy process. This helps when you want to create build-and-deploy pipelines automatically when a new microservice is created. From a deployment perspective, this is achieved by creating a component template that will be used by all of the microservices deployed to IBM Cloud.
Let’s create a component template for IBM Cloud deployment called “BluemixDeployTemplate”:
Whenever a new microservice deployment is needed, a component is created using this template. The template will have the following four processes defined:
You’ll need to define the following environmental variables for the component. Follow these steps to create them:
Provide the Name, Label, and Default value (if any) for the environment variable and click Save.
Create the following set of environment variables which will be used in the process execution:
All these variables should be defined as the component environment variable.
You’ll also need to define the following component-specific variables (as shown in Figure 6):
Component-specific variables are restricted to a component and will remain same across environments. To create a component variable:
Save the property definition.
The sample process for deploying a typical Liberty application with Slack integration is shown in Figure 7. You can see that application artifacts are downloaded, custom server.xml is generated, and the application is pushed to IBM Cloud. The Slack channel is notified of the success or failure of the process. You can use the following steps as a reference, but the deployment steps for each of the microservices may vary based on your architecture and customization.
For each microservice, you’ll create a separate component in UrbanCode Deploy and during creation, you’ll select the component template that you created earlier.
Each component may default to the component template property values. Sometimes you may need to override these values at the component level—for example, if the template has the memory allocation of the application set to 1GB and one of your microservices needs 4GB. In that case, you can override the template value at the UrbanCode Deploy component level to 4GB.
Once the components are created, you need to create an application that will contain multiple hybrid components with different deployment models. To create an application in UrbanCode Deploy:
Click Save after filling in those details.
Once you’ve created the application, start adding components as follows:
Repeat these steps for each application component and click Save for each.
Now let’s create multiple environments based on our project needs (see Figure 11):
This will create a new environment.
Once an environment is created, you will need to associate resources (agents) based on the environment where the deployment needs to be made.
Next, you’ll add resources to the environments. If your application components need to be deployed to multiple servers, then you will need to configure resource mapping carefully.
Now UrbanCode Deploy is aware of the component-to-server mapping for each environment.
Once the environment is created and resources have been mapped, you can start adding the environment variables to the environment as defined in the component template. If there are environment variables that are not part of the component template and should be accessible by all the components, then you should define those environment variables.
To create the environment variable:
The variables will be listed as shown in Figure 13.
A manifest file is a template file that contains the key name and the value that will be dynamically populated during the deployment by the UrbanCode Deploy process.
For example, the route of the application should be different for different environments. If the pattern to be followed is <ENV>-<APPNAME>.mybluemix.net, then the value of the <ENV> should be picked up from the environment-specific variable and <APPNAME> should be picked up from the component-specific name in UrbanCode Deploy.
Once you have defined an application and created the environment and mapped the resources, you need to create the application process that defines the order of deployment for multiple components in the application.
It is a good idea to create a single application process for each component individually—a process that will deploy all the components in one go.
Many development teams use Jenkins for continuous integration, but also need to coordinate the deployment of builds through environments, so they use Jenkins to create those builds and then pass the new builds to UrbanCode Deploy for deployment. UrbanCode Deploy provides a plug-in for Jenkins that allows Jenkins to invoke UrbanCode Deploy as a post-build action from which deployment can be triggered. (Read “Integrating Jenkins and IBM UrbanCode Deploy” for complete instructions on activating this plug-in.)
Once you install the plug-in, you will see a new post-build action to publish artifacts to UrbanCode Deploy. Select this step and configure the values as shown in Figure 15:
Provide the Component name and the Version number. This step will copy the artifacts provided in the field Base Artifact Directory to UrbanCode Deploy and version it with the number provided in Version field.
If you need to deploy this version of the artifact, then add in the following details:
Provide the UrbanCode Deploy application name created in the previous step. Provide the Environment and Application Process information from previous sections to deploy to the corresponding environment.
Most development projects follow the &build once, deploy many& approach and this example is no exception.
After a successful Jenkins job execution, the deployable version of the microservice will be stored in UrbanCode Deploy. You can use the same version of the artifact and deploy it to a higher environment (such as pre-production and production) after testing it successfully in lower environments (dev and test environments). To do this, select the application in UrbanCode Deploy and click play (the arrow button next to the environment).
Next, select the application process that you want to use from the drop-down menu. If you need to deploy multiple microservices in one go, then you can create snapshots in UrbanCode Deploy that contain the tested versions of the microservice and deploy them all at once.
In this tutorial, you’ve learned how to create an UrbanCode Deploy component template and application and how to add components. You have also learned how to integrate Jenkins with UrbanCode Deploy and trigger multiple microservice deployments from Jenkins and UrbanCode Deploy. For instructions on activating this UrbanCode Deploy/Jenkins plug-in, see “Integrating Jenkins and IBM UrbanCode Deploy.”
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