Learning DevOps: Aws, Terraform, Ansible, Jenkins, and Docker

Learning DevOps: Aws, Terraform, Ansible, Jenkins, and Docker

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Scotty Parlor

Feb. 10, 2020

Read Time 17 min

As I was browsing jobs posted on Glassdoor.com, I  wasn't really sure how this post and video would be formatted. I really wanted to find a job posting that covered all the beginner basics, both to help you, the reader, and me! I believe I found the perfect job listing to review, and although it was already taken down since first reading, I know that these skills can carry to many other opportunities.


You can find the video of this tutorial HERE.

Make sure to Subscribe and Like!


The Posting and Requirements:

1) Docker
2) Jenkins experience
3) Cloud experience (they're using google, but would be OK with Azure as well)
4) Infrastructure as Code experience; Terraform or Cloud formation
5) Ansible experience for scripting
In addition, the client is looking for someone who can build infrastructure and deploy applications within a CI/CD pipeline. Ideally, they are looking for someone who has fresh ideas and is very passionate about the DevOps space.


OK! Simple right? Maybe not. Unless you have been in the industry for a bit, or just do nothing but learn new things and the applications of them, this portfolio may be something that discourages you. We are going to build a repository with these skills so that you can showcase them and send to whomever you'd like!

Quick note for this tutorial, if you are a Windows 10 user, check out this post on how to set up the Windows Subsystem for Linux! We will be using the Linux shell for a lot of our commands.


What we will be building:


Project Plan graphic


We will build two servers (AWS EC2) with Terraform (Infra as code) and then configure them with the requirements needed for the project. Box one will be Jenkins and Box two will be configured for Docker and able to listen on port 8000 for our python app using the Falcon framework.

I should note, that this is not going to be "best practice" or even really fully make sense in a real world application. Some of these tools can and should be used exclusively for some tasks. But the purpose here is to gain experience with each tool. I am using them together in this context to help your learning process, AND bundle these up into a portfolio for a hiring manager to see that you actually do have hands on experience and understanding of the tools here.

And although I will be adding more detailed tutorials of specific tools in the future, you absolutely MUST read documentation and supplement with other learning out there. That's what keeps you sharp.

With that said...


Lets Begin:


PART 1:  Set Up AWS User and Access

1. )  If you haven't already, create an aws account, docker account, and a github account. Remember, everything we do in this tutorial will be free, so don't panic!

2.) We will need to authenticate to our AWS console from our command line. We will be using a pretty cool tool to do this for us quickly and easily. Head over to 99Designs and follow the instructions in the README for installation based on your OS.

3.) Now that aws-vault is installed, log into the aws console. Click on Services > IAM. This is the Identity Access Management provided by AWS.



IAM selection





4.) Click 'Users' and create a new user. Call this user what you'd like and provide "Programmatic Access".




Programmatic Access


5.)  Create a group for this user and provide administrator access:



Add user to group selection



6.) Click through the next two screens and get to the Create User screen. Click "Create User" and make sure you keep your security credentials safe as well as handy. You can only view these one time from the aws console. IF you are careful, you can download the csv as prompted.



User creation success message


7.) Now that we have our user and access keys, lets pop over to a terminal/shell and configure our aws account and aws-vault.


In your terminal:


Make sure you have the aws-cli

pip3 install awscli --upgrade --user

configure aws and add your Access and secret keys when prompted

aws configure

Now lets setup aws-vault with a username and add your access keys as prompted.

aws-vault add devops_01


now lets exec into that aws-vault:

aws-vault exec devops_01

Awesome! Now we are ready to start working from our machine and creating resources in the cloud!


Part 2: Creating the environment in Terraform


Terraform is an Infrastructure as Code platform to enable us to configure and create many cloud resources efficiently. We can tear down servers and build them back easily and quickly. The demand for terraform skills is quickly rising in the industry.

Before we begin the terraform steps, let's create a key pair that we can use with our servers.

In the aws console, navigate to Services > EC2. In the left menu panel find and click "key pairs". Follow the click through prompt to generate your key pair. Note: use ppk for putty and pem for openssh. Download that key and move it somewhere handy that makes sense (i. e. ~/.ssh).


1.) If you haven't already, head over to Terraform's docs for installation, or use a package manager.

2.) Check in your terminal if you have terraform installed correctly:

terraform version
Terraform v0.12.20

3.) Lets create the directories we need for the terraform portion of this project (NOTE: I am using the fish shell, which is not required but easy to use. So I am bundling my command separated by "; and"):

mkdir projects; and cd projects; and mkdir devops_01; and cd devops_01; and mkdir terraform; and cd terraform; and touch main.tf

4.) Note that the above gives away that we will be building our jenkins server first. Let's open that main.tf file that we created in the last step and add the following (in your editor of choice, I use VS Code):

provider "aws" {

region = "us-east-1"


We are choosing the terraform provider "aws" and declaring the region we will be using. In my case, the free tier region that I will use is "us-east-1" on the east coast.

Feel free to reference the AWS provider documentation at any time to better understand what fields you may want to use. In our case in standing up a jenkins server instance, we will want to create an EC2 instance with aws_instance. We will also need to add the ami (amazon machine image). In our case we will choose an Ubuntu Server image from the EC2 options. We will also want an instance_type of t2.micro. THIS IS FOR THE FREE TIER. If you go above the t2.micro, you will be charged!


Now, let's add that key pair we created earlier for added security.

I am also going to throw in a tag for "Name" and create a variable to be entered when we run it. As tempted as I am to go into detail, I would prefer not to turn this into a full terraform tutorial and stick to the task at hand.


Our code should now look like this:



provider "aws" {

    region = "us-east-1"


variable "name" {

    description = "Name the instance on deploy"


resource "aws_instance" "devops_01" {

    ami = "ami-04b9e92b5572fa0d1"

    instance_type = "t2.micro"

    key_name = "devops_01"

    tags = {

        Name = "${var.name}"



Awesome. Now from the directory that main.tf is in, lets run:

terraform init

if you get an auth error here, remember to aws-vault exec username

This will grab the requirements for our aws provider.

Fyi - you can add a gitignore file based on this reference to keep large terraform packages out.

now, to verify that we have set this up correctly, let's run a plan! This will show us everything that we are about to change on our aws account with terraform. We can catch mistakes if there are any, without ever doing anything officially to our environment.

terrform plan

you should see the plan now, just take a glance and check for things specifically like instance_type.

If all is well, let's do a

terraform apply

Confirm and check your aws console EC2 dashboard to watch your box spin up.

You did it! Now on your own, spin up a container called "web". hint, use the same terraform file!

If you are feeling juicy, ssh into one or both of your EC2 instances.

ssh -i ~/.ssh/keyName ubuntu@public_ip_address

One thing that we will need to configure before moving on, is the Security Groups, AWS's firewall functionality to tell our instances which connections to allow inbound and outbound.

In your EC2 dashboard on the Instances page, click on your jenkins instance. Below you will see that is has been assigned your default security group for you VPC (virtual private network). If you click on "default" it will take you to the security group screen (or this is in the left menu).

From here, select "Create Security Group" and call it "jenkins-server".

In this case, but really not ever the real case, we are going to allow our IP ONLY to speak to jenkins. This would usually be done over a companies VPN. Also, not that your IP could change...so if you can't ssh into your box eventually, check the SG.

for "inbound rules" select, "Add Rule" and select "all traffic". Then from the next drop down, pick "My IP". Outbound rules can stay open (they are by default here).

Then repeat the same process for web, except, instead of just our IP, we want to create an ssh rule for jenkins, and an http rule for the browser to hit from anywhere.


Inbound Security Group rules


Now that we have our SG's made, lets hop over to the instance page again and change the security groups of both to their respective groups. To do this, click on the instance you want to change, click "Action" > "Networking" > "Change Security Groups" and then apply the group to you instance.

Next, we will begin our ansible configuration to make these servers do what we expect them to.


Part 3: Configuring our servers with Ansible


Now that we have our servers up and running in the cloud, lets make sure we install and run the necessary dependencies on them.

You will need to install ansible on your machine (typically in a professional setting there will be a host for ansible, not done from locals).

Now that ansible is installed, we will start with our Jenkins server.

Before diving into writing the yaml's, let's open our ansible hosts file and add a couple of things there.

Open the hosts file: /etc/ansible/hosts in your editor (I use vim but that can be confusing if you're new to this)


Inside the hosts file, you will see comments, lets add two hosts (anywhere), one for jenkins and one for web.

Note: Ansible has a feature for aws EC2 and can actually autodiscover your instances and you won't have to manually update. I am NOT going to use that for this walkthrough because you ought to know the hosts file. Look that feature up! It's pretty cool, just outside of the scope i'd like to go.



ubuntu@public_web_ip ansible_ssh_private_key_file=~/.ssh/yourKeyPair


ubuntu@public_jenkins_ip ansible_ssh_private_key_file=~/.ssh/yourKeyPair.pem

#lots of comments below...


now save that file

lets make a new directory called "ansible" under our project folder  and create a yaml file called "provision_jenkins.yml".

cd ~/projects/devops_01; and mkdir ansible; and cd ansible; and touch provision_jenkins.yml

So here is where we ask ourselves what do we need to do for our jenkins server to run. Let's head over to the jenkins documentation and take a look.

We need to install java and jenkins and then run jenkins!

Note: Yaml files are very sensitive with tabs/spaces. If your spacing is off, it will cause an error on run.



- name: Configure Jenkins Server

  hosts: jenkins


    - name: Install Java Requirements


        update_cache: yes

        name: default-jdk

      become: yes

    - name: Install Jenkins

      shell: | 

        wget -q -O - https://pkg.jenkins.io/debian/jenkins.io.key | sudo apt-key add -

        sudo sh -c 'echo deb https://pkg.jenkins.io/debian-stable binary/ > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/jenkins.list'

        sudo apt-get update -y

        sudo apt-get install jenkins -y

    - name: Run Jenkins

      shell: /etc/init.d/jenkins start

      become: yes


Feel extra free to go and look up things like update_cache and become in the official ansible docs.

Now, we can run this playbook!

ansible-playbook provision_jenkins.yaml

Assuming all goes well, this playbook should install those items and then start jenkins on port 8080.

Jump over to that public IP on port 8080 and you should receive a prompt from jenkins to create your first user!


Follow the prompts to create your own personal user and log in. For our example we will need to install the ssh plugin.  To install navigate to Manage Jenkins > Manage Plugins > Available and search for ssh. Check that box and install it without restart.

OK! now that you are inside your jenkins instance and have ssh installed, lets pause and start looking into the web server configuration that will host our Docker container with a very simple Falcon app.

lets create a file in the same directory as our provision_jenkins.yml called provision_web.yml. Let's also add the EC2 public IP to the /etc/ansible/hosts file under [webservers].



- name: Provision Web Servers

  hosts: webservers


    - name: Install pip3


        update_cache: yes

        name: python3-pip

      become: yes

    - name: Install python docker sdk

      shell: |

        pip3 install docker

      become: yes

    - name: Install docker


        name: docker.io

      become: yes

    - name: Start Docker

      shell: |

        systemctl start docker

        systemctl enable docker

      become: yes


Again, feel free to stop and look up some of those tasks in the ansible docs. Also, I got the docker installation straight from docker docs.

And there we go. Our web server is up and ready to accept jenkins ssh!


Part 4: Falcon App and Dockerize it!


Jump over to docker.com and create a new repo called "devops_01" (or whatever you want).

The falcon app is NOT the point of this so lets be quick. I'm going to create a directory called docker in ~/projects/devops_01/ and then create three files: hello.py, requirements.txt, and dockerfile.

cd ~/projects/devops_01; and mkdir docker; and cd docker; and touch hello.py requirements.txt dockerfile

Falcon is a lightweight python framework that we will use in tandem with gunicorn to serve it. I'm using  a variant of the falcon tutorial on their main site.

The dependencies we need for this will go in our requirements.txt file. So let's add that now:



Next, lets add the falcon code to our hello.py app:

import falcon

class HelloResource(object):

    def on_get(self, req, resp):
        resp.status = falcon.HTTP_200
        resp.body = ("Hello, World!")

class Page2Resource(object):

    def on_get(self, req, resp):
        resp.status = falcon.HTTP_200
        resp.body = ("This is the second page!")

app = falcon.API()
hello = HelloResource()
page2 = Page2Resource()

app.add_route('/', hello)
app.add_route('/page2', page2)

As you can see, we have two routes that will display different text.

Let's open that dockerfile and get started:

We will use the base image python: 3

RUN pip install --upgrade pip

make our WORKDIR /hello_world for the image

COPY requirements.txt from our local directory to the workdir on the image

RUN pip3 install -r requirements.txt to install our dependencies for the application inside the image

COPY . . to copy the remainder of our files to the workdir

and finally, kick off the gunicorn server and bind to port 8000 with:

CMD ["gunicorn", "-b", "", "hello:app"]

FROM python:3

RUN pip install --upgrade pip

WORKDIR /hello_world

COPY requirements.txt .

RUN pip3 install -r requirements.txt

COPY . .

CMD ["gunicorn", "-b", "", "hello:app"]

Save that file and lets log into docker from our terminal.

sudo docker login

now, we can run the build in the directory our dockerfile is in and tag it for our repo (account/repo_name:tag)

sudo docker build . -t sparlor/scottyfullstack:devops_01

Then push it to docker

sudo docker push sparlor/scottyfullstack:devops_01

Once that completes we should see our docker image in the repo we created.

That's it! Our docker image is ready to go.


Part 5: Jenkins ssh and run the docker image on Web


This is the final piece!!! We are almost there.

Log back into your Jenkins server at http://Jenkins_IP:8080

first, we will add ssh credentials for our web box.

In the left menu, click credentials > system > global credentials > add credentials. Set the kind to "SSH username with private Key" and fill it in.

Note: to get your private key text

cat ~/.ssh/devops_01.pem

Click Manage Jenkins > Configure System

At the ssh plugin section, let's add our web server's details. At the time of writing, mine looks like this:

note: port 22 is the standard ssh port and the credentials are the ones we just added.


SSH configuration in Jenkins



Save it, and lets build our job!

Head back to the main jenkins page. Click "New Item", name it and choose "Freestyle Project".

In the build section of your project select "Add Build Step" > "Execute shell script on remote host using ssh".  Choose the SSH site you just created in the drop down (You may see an error...ignore it).

The command is:

sudo docker run -dit --name hello_world -p 8000:8000 sparlor/scottyfullstack:devops_01

Save it, and then click on your new job and and "Build Now".

You can then checkout the output and make sure it's running ok!

If it is successful, grab the public IP of your web instance and throw it in the browser with :8000 at the end.


Hello, World Http Response


Then if you navigate to IP:8080/page2 You should see your second route!!!!

The next step of course is to add it to your git portfolio

git add .
git commit -m "Devops_01"
git push origin master


I hope that this tutorial has provided you value and the ability to pursue these concepts in much more detail!