Kubernetes for Everything! (With Windows and Linux on Azure) Part 1 - Jenkins

When I found out Kubernetes had support for Windows containers, I was pretty excited. I work with applications running on both Operating Systems so this opens up a lot of opportunities.

I plan to explore building a CI/CD pipeline that can scale based on load, set up monitoring (both cluster and application logs) and deploy both .NET apps in Windows containers and other apps in Linux containers — all on Kubernetes.

I hope to share what I've learnt through these posts, starting with employing our favorite butler!

Part 1: Jenkins on a hybrid Windows/Linux Kubernetes cluster

In this post, I'll explain how to get a traditional Jenkins cluster with one Ubuntu and one Windows agent working. In the next one, I'll talk about on-demand dynamic agents that only spin up for a build, save the artifact and are then shut down - clean build environments and no wasted resources!

Deploying the cluster on Azure

Deploying a hybrid Windows/linux cluster isn't supported directly through the Azure Container Service (ACS) command line tools or the portal, so we need to generate a custom ARM template. The open source acs-engine codebase makes that really easy.

Just follow the instructions here to run and build acs-engine inside a container and then generate the Kubernetes ARM template in the _output folder.
For reference, this is what my kubernetes.json file looks like

* Note that if/when you want to update the cluster (modify an existing agent pool, add a new pool, etc) you should use the generated apimodel.json file instead of kubernetes.json so you keep all the same cert info, etc.

Deploy the Jenkins master pod on a Linux node

I've used the official Jenkins Dockerhub image for master.

All we need to do here is create the deployment and service in Kubernetes and optionally add a persistent volume. I also like to create storage classes to differentiate between using SSDs and HDDs.

(Run kubectl apply -f [filename] for all the YAML files)

Create the storage classes (optional)

Create the persistent storage volume

Create the service and deployment

Note the nodeselector block

Configure Jenkins master

  • Figure out the name of the pod running Jenkins: kubectl get pods

  • Get the password:

    kubectl exec [POD_NAME] cat /var/jenkins_home/secrets/initialAdminPassword

  • Navigate to the IP reserved for the Jenkins-master service and enter the password.

  • Click through the rest of the setup and you're done!

Build the Linux agent

Add a new Jenkins agent through the UI

New Agent

Once you create the agent you'll see a screen with details on setting up an agent. We're only interested in the secret.

Pass the secret in as an argument to the docker build:

Build the Windows agent

Use the same steps to set up a new Jenkins agent and get a new secret to pass to the windows container build:

This will just get your cluster running. Here's a link to one that installs some basic .NET build tools.

Create the service and deployment for both

Again, note the nodeSelector to ensure it gets scheduled on the right nodes (based on OS)



Final thoughts

This initial setup was really not too difficult - the only thing that was an issue for me was that the windows agent connection kept timing out if I set JENKINS_JNLP_URL to the public IP. As soon as I set it to the internal Kubernetes service IP things started running smoothly.

I'm excited to see how everything else works out!

Next up - dynamic, on-demand Windows/Linux agents using the Jenkins Kubernetes plugin!

Feel free to reach out to me @rohchak if you have any questions!

Update: Here's a link to Part 2!