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15 April 2019

Low Friction Container Deployment with Nomad, Consul, Traefik, Jenkins, Terraform, and Github

Like many, I’ve been looking for a way to deploy containers in our environment securely and efficiently with a minimal amount of fuss. After taking a hard look at Kubernetes, I came to the realization it might be a little too complex to roll out in our environment, so I started looking at Consul + Nomad. I’m currently using Terraform and Vault heavily in our environment, and I’m pretty comfortable with the HashiCorp way of doing things, so this seemed like a good option.

Pretty quickly, we were able to get something working, but without a load balancer doing the translation between the randomized ports Docker + Nomad gives you, fitting it into our environment would be a challenge. FabioLB seemed pretty popular, but I found the documentation really lacking in some areas, so I concentrated my efforts on Traefik.

Getting Traefik Going

Since getting the load balancing right was important, this is where I spent the bulk of my time.

Things we wanted from the solution:

This is what we came up with (click the link for the larger image):

An explanation of the magic:

  1. Our DNS is configured with a *.services.ourdomain.com record pointing at the IP address of our Traefik load balancer (currently just a single VM for now, with a TODO to look at clustering this or moving this into a Docker container in the future)
  2. Traefik is configured with a *.services.outdomain.com wildcard certificate.
  3. Jenkins grabs commits via the webhook from Github, builds a container, and uses Terraform to tell Nomad to reload the new container.

The end result is that developers can build and test their apps locally, and when they commit their changes to Github they can be built and deployed to end users without needing to manually configure certificates or DNS.

Hit me up on Twitter at @rayterrill with any questions or feedback. Cheers.

tags: github - terraform - consul - nomad - jenkins - traefik