M8s: Moodle in Kubernetes

M8s: Moodle in Kubernetes


This documentation is purely for example. Please take into consideration all resource restraints and deployment options (such as logging) before taking this tutorial into production. I will be adding bits and pieces over time as I am more familiar with best practices, but also welcome any comments/suggestions as people walkthrough this tutorial!

Table of Contents:

  1. Getting Started
  2. Proxy Setup
  3. Postgres Setup
  4. Moodle Setup
  5. TLDR;

M8s is a Kubernetes deployment tutorial for Moodle. There is absolutely an intention to move this to a Helm Chart however deploying Moodle to Kubernetes was the priority. In this example I will walk you through setting up an Ingress Proxy, Postgres and finally Moodle in your Kubernetes environment to deploy Moodle.

Note that the Ingress Proxy used here, Traefik, is interchangable with any other method you choose.

Getting Started

Don’t have Kubernetes?: I suggest starting with MiniKube to get going.

First and foremost, to get the files mentioned in this tutorial clone the tutorial repository. As stated before, I plan on moving M8s to a Helm Chart after I get the initial manifests created.

$ git clone https://github.com/jbkc85/moodle-kubernetes-tutorial $ cd moodle-kubernetes-tutorial

Proxy Setup

As mentioned before, we will be using Traefik. To get traefik setup, you can just run the following command:

$ kubectl apply -f m8s/proxy/

This will apply a Kubernetes Ingress Provider as well as a WebUI for Traefik. This is basically taken directly from the Kubernetes Documentation over at Traefik, so I won’t be going too into detail here about it.

To verify we have our proxy setup (taken directly from the documentation in Traefik mentioned earlier), simply run the following:

$ kubectl get pods --namespace=kube-system NAME READY STATUS RESTARTS AGE kube-addon-manager-minikube 1/1 Running 3 29d kubernetes-dashboard-fhz0w 1/1 Running 3 29d tiller-deploy-327544198-dgfaw 1/1 Running 3 29d traefik-ingress-controller-678226159-q50aw 1/1 Running 0 11s

notice the traefik-ingress-controller and you are good

$ curl -XGET $(minikube ip) 404 page not found

we get a 404 because no ingress is currently configured for the minikube ip, and therefore nothing is routed.

Note: The reason we only create a service and ingress in the traefik-webui.yaml is because the traefik.yaml actually starts the WebUI on port 8080 – it just doesn’t expose it outside of the internal network.

Postgres Setup

Postgres is another obvious interchangable part of the m8s setup. However since the database of Moodle is essential, I will be going a bit more in detail on how to set it up.

Persistent Volume

File: m8s/postgres/persistent-volume.yaml

The first step is getting a persistent volume setup in Kubernetes. This is important as if you don’t create a persistent volume, the data from Postgres can be potentially lost.

apiVersion: v1 kind: PersistentVolume metadata: name: local-postgresql-pv labels: type: local spec: capacity: storage: 1Gi accessModes: - ReadWriteOnce hostPath: path: /tmp/postgresql

Lets go ahead and get the Persistent Volume created:

$ kubectl apply -f m8s/postgres/persistent-volume.yaml


Passwords in Kubernetes isn’t that difficult if you pass them in through the environment. However, this isn’t secure nor a best practice. Therefore instead of making an ‘easy tutorial’, we are going to go through the creation of secrets. For this particular setup, we use four secrets: Root Password, Database, Username and Password. To create them, we basically upload them to the API through the ‘secrets’ type from plain text files.

If you wish to create your own text files, simply use the following:

# create txt files if you wish $ echo -n "your_value" > m8s/postgres/postgres-rootpassword.txt $ echo -n "your_value" > m8s/postgres/postgres-database.txt $ echo -n "your_value" > m8s/postgres/postgres-user.txt $ echo -n "your_value" > m8s/postgres/postgres-password.txt

If you wish to use the default (everything is moodle), just leave the files as they are.

Whichever you choose, its now time to upload these secrets. Once again, to read more about Secrets just visit the documentation site.

$ kubectl create secret generic postgres-credentials --from-file=m8s/postgres/postgres-rootpassword.txt --from-file=m8s/postgres/postgres-database.txt --from-file=m8s/postgres/postgres-user.txt --from-file=m8s/postgres/postgres-password.txt

After the secret is created, you should be able to describe it based on the name given, in our case postgres-credentials.

$ kubectl describe secret postgres-credentials Name: postgres-credentials Namespace: default Labels: <none> Annotations: <none> Type: Opaque Data ==== postgres-database.txt: 6 bytes postgres-password.txt: 6 bytes postgres-rootpassword.txt: 6 bytes postgres-user.txt: 6 bytes

Now we have our secrets, and we can get onto the Deployment!


File: m8s/postgres/deployment.yaml

The deployment of Postgres in Kubernetes requires a few pieces to operate as we want it to. Though they all are organized in the same YAML file, I will show each one in detail here.

First, we have our a service. The service allows for communication to the pods under the selector metadata. To learn more about services in Kubernetes, simply read the docs for services.

Please note that this port is exposed only internally to the pods in the namespace we created.

apiVersion: v1 kind: Service metadata: name: moodle-postgresql labels: app: moodle spec: ports: - port: 5432 selector: app: moodle tier: postgresql clusterIP: None

Next, we have to claim our Persistent Volume, which you created in the first step. In some cases, a Persistent Volume can only have a certain amount of claims. So, in this particular example we are making our claim!

Once again, to read more about Persistent Volumes, go to the Kubernetes Docs!

apiVersion: v1 kind: PersistentVolumeClaim metadata: name: postgresql-claim labels: app: moodle spec: accessModes: - ReadWriteOnce resources: requests: storage: 1Gi

Finally, we get to the deployment.

apiVersion: extensions/v1beta1 kind: Deployment metadata: name: moodle-postgresql labels: app: moodle spec: strategy: type: Recreate template: metadata: labels: app: moodle tier: postgresql spec: containers: - image: postgres:9.5-alpine name: database env: - name: ROOT_PASSWORD valueFrom: secretKeyRef: name: postgres-credentials key: postgres-rootpassword.txt - name: DATABASE valueFrom: secretKeyRef: name: postgres-credentials key: postgres-database.txt - name: USER valueFrom: secretKeyRef: name: postgres-credentials key: postgres-username.txt - name: PASSWORD valueFrom: secretKeyRef: name: postgres-credentials key: postgres-password.txt ports: - containerPort: 5432 name: postgresql volumeMounts: - name: postgresql-persistent-storage mountPath: /var/lib/postgresql/ volumes: - name: postgresql-persistent-storage persistentVolumeClaim: claimName: postgresql-claim

To deploy, simply use the same kubectl apply command we have been using:

$ kubectl apply -f m8s/postgres/deployment.yaml


Now what we have all been waiting for, the deployment of Moodle. In this example, Moodle will be utilizing the following resources in Kubernetes:

  • Persistent Volume: Once again, the Persistent Volume is used to ensure our ‘moodledata’ is not erased on accident when/if this group of pods are destroyed. In production deployments, I would highly suggest looking into alternative methods other than Host-based Mounting, but as this is an example it is what I am using. skip to PersistentVolumes
  • Service: As mentioned before Services expose underlying pods in a given namespace. skip to Services
  • Ingress: An ingress is an instruction to inform Kubernetes (also Traefik in our tutorial) on how to route incoming traffic. skip to Ingress
  • ConfigMap: ConfigMaps are as they sound, a method of storing configurations in Kubernetes. Please remember to read about them and security implications before using them in Production! skip to configmap
  • Deployment: Providing metadata to spin up pods and replica sets in Kubernetes. skip to Deployment

Persistent Volume

Again, creating the persitent-volume is pretty straight forward.

apiVersion: v1 kind: PersistentVolume metadata: name: local-moodledata-pv labels: type: local spec: capacity: storage: 2Gi accessModes: - ReadWriteMany hostPath: path: /tmp/moodledata

Because we are using a persistent volume on the hostPath, we are going to have to create it manually and adjust some permissions to ensure its readable/writable by www-data, our Moodle user.

$ minikube ssh mkdir /tmp/moodledata $ minikube ssh sudo chown 33:33 /tmp/moodledata $ kubectl apply -f m8s/moodle/persistent-volume.yaml

Check our work:

$ kubectl describe pv local-moodledata-pv Name: local-moodledata-pv Labels: type=local Status: Available Claim: Reclaim Policy: Retain Access Modes: RWO Capacity: 2Gi Message: Source: Type: HostPath (bare host directory volume) Path: /tmp/moodledata

Service and Ingress

Now we want to create a service and Ingress for the underlying Moodle deployment. Note we are doing this first before any deployment is created.


apiVersion: v1 kind: Service metadata: name: moodle labels: app: moodle spec: ports: - port: 80 targetPort: 80 selector: app: moodle tier: frontend

Note: If you want to use SSL, you would still only expose port 80 on this device. Port 443 would be exposed on the proxy which would be responsible for all SSL transactions while the backend can still simply listen on 80.


For this ingress, we can use the following host map to access Moodle once brought up in the cluster:

$(minikube ip) : http://moodle.local

This is due to the fact our rules in the Ingress map to ‘moodle.local’, which then will map to oour backend service (under the backend serviceName metadata).

apiVersion: extensions/v1beta1 kind: Ingress metadata: name: moodle-ingress spec: rules: - host: moodle.local http: paths: - backend: serviceName: moodle servicePort: 80

$ kubectl apply -f m8s/moodle/service.yaml service "moodle" created $ kubectl apply -f m8s/moodle/ingress.yaml ingress "moodle-ingress" created

Check our work:

$ kubectl describe svc moodle Name: moodle Namespace: default Labels: app=moodle Selector: app=moodle,tier=frontend Type: ClusterIP IP: Port: <unset> 80/TCP Endpoints: <none> Session Affinity: None $ kubectl describe ingress moodle-ingress Name: moodle-ingress Namespace: default Address: Default backend: default-http-backend:80 (<none>) Rules: Host Path Backends ---- ---- -------- moodle.local moodle:80 (<none>) Annotations: No events.


As mentioned at the top, using configMap isn’t for everyone. This can certainly be done a bit more securely using an ExtraDopeBadge tool like Kelsey Hightower’s Konfd or the likes, so please keep that in mind as we work through this tutorial.

Basically, I am going to take our config.php that we use with Moodle and pump it into configMap. If you make changes to any of the above persistent volumes or ingress settings, you will need to make changes in the file used in this configMap.

$ kubectl create configmap moodle-site-config --from-file=m8s/moodle/moodle-config.php configmap "moodle-site-config" created

Check our work:

$ kubectl get configmaps moodle-site-config -o yaml apiVersion: v1 data: moodle-config.php: | <?php // Moodle configuration file unset($CFG); global $CFG; $CFG = new stdClass(); $CFG->dbtype = 'pgsql'; $CFG->dblibrary = 'native'; $CFG->dbhost = 'moodle-postgresql'; $CFG->dbname = 'moodle'; $CFG->dbuser = 'moodle'; $CFG->dbpass = 'moodle'; $CFG->prefix = 'mdl'; $CFG->dboptions = array ( 'dbpersist' => 0, ); $CFG->wwwroot = 'http://moodle.local'; $CFG->dataroot = '/moodle/data'; $CFG->admin = 'admin'; $CFG->directorypermissions = 02775; $CFG->passwordsaltmain = 'y0uR34l!ySh0uldtU$3-th1sS&lt'; require_once "/var/www/html/lib/setup.php"; // There is no php closing tag in this file, // it is intentional because it prevents trailing whitespace problems! kind: ConfigMap metadata: creationTimestamp: 2017-01-13T15:36:38Z name: moodle-site-config namespace: default resourceVersion: "6087" selfLink: /api/v1/namespaces/default/configmaps/moodle-site-config uid: 12db3f35-d9a6-11e6-9f63-4217ea3347ce

Great, we should be good to go for the deployment!


The deployment is identical to the Postgres deployment in many ways – using the PersistentVolumeClaim and basic Deployment kubernetes objects.

apiVersion: v1 kind: PersistentVolumeClaim metadata: name: moodledata-claim labels: app: moodle spec: accessModes: - ReadWriteMany resources: requests: storage: 2Gi --- apiVersion: extensions/v1beta1 kind: Deployment metadata: name: moodle labels: app: moodle spec: strategy: type: Recreate template: metadata: labels: app: moodle tier: frontend annotations: pod.alpha.kubernetes.io/init-containers: '[ { "name": "moodle-init", "image": "alpine:3.5", "imagePullPolicy": "IfNotPresent", "command": ["sh", "-c", "chown -R 33:33 /moodledata", ";", "chmod 2775 /moodledata"], "volumeMounts": [ { "name": "moodledata", "mountPath": "/moodledata" } ] } ]' spec: containers: - image: jbkc85/docker-moodle name: moodle ports: - containerPort: 80 name: moodle resources: requests: cpu: 300m memory: 128Mi volumeMounts: - name: moodledata mountPath: /moodle/data - name: config mountPath: /moodle/conf volumes: - name: moodledata persistentVolumeClaim: claimName: moodledata-claim - name: config configMap: name: moodle-site-config items: - key: moodle-config.php path: config.php

Lets fire her up!

$ kubectl apply -f m8s/moodle/deployment.yaml persistentvolumeclaim "moodledata-claim" created deployment "moodle" created

Check our work:

$ kubectl describe deployment moodle Name: moodle Namespace: default CreationTimestamp: Fri, 13 Jan 2017 09:54:39 -0600 Labels: app=moodle Selector: app=moodle,tier=frontend Replicas: 1 updated | 1 total | 0 available | 1 unavailable StrategyType: Recreate MinReadySeconds: 0 OldReplicaSets: <none> NewReplicaSet: moodle-476540258 (1/1 replicas created) Events: FirstSeen LastSeen Count From SubobjectPath Type Reason Message --------- -------- ----- ---- ------------- -------- ------ ------- 19s 19s 1 {deployment-controller } Normal ScalingReplicaSet Scaled up replica set moodle-476540258 to 1


$ git clone https://github.com/jbkc85/moodle-kubernetes-tutorial $ cd moodle-kubernetes-tutorial $ kubectl apply -f m8s/proxy/ service "traefik-web-ui" created ingress "traefik-web-ui" created deployment "traefik-ingress-controller" created $ kubectl create secret generic postgres-credentials --from-file=m8s/postgres/postgres-rootpassword.txt --from-file=m8s/postgres/postgres-database.txt --from-file=m8s/postgres/postgres-user.txt --from-file=m8s/postgres/postgres-password.txt secret "postgres-credentials" created $ kubectl apply -f m8s/postgres/ service "moodle-postgresql" created persistentvolumeclaim "postgresql-claim" created deployment "moodle-postgresql" created persistentvolume "local-postgresql-pv" created $ minikube ssh mkdir /tmp/moodledata $ minikube ssh sudo chown 33:33 /tmp/moodledata $ kubectl create configmap moodle-site-config --from-file=m8s/moodle/moodle-config.php configmap "moodle-site-config" created $ kubectl apply -f m8s/moodle persistentvolumeclaim "moodledata-claim" created deployment "moodle" created ingress "moodle-ingress" created persistentvolume "local-moodledata-pv" created service "moodle" created

Ending Notes

There are many things I need to do to sure up this documentation, but I wanted to share it in case anyone else is looking into it and may have a better solution or deployment already written.

Rather than post comments here, I would highly encourage anyone interested to use Github so I don’t have to worry about ReCaptcha or spam.

Click here for Comments/Suggestions/Issues

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