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Building a bakery of Windows servers with Packer - London WinOps

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Nobody likes patching servers. Specially not Windows servers. And the problem becomes even worse with hybrid infrastructures where you have servers running both in AWS and in a datacenter.

Packer is a tool for creating machine and container images for multiple platforms from a single source configuration.

In this session we will talk about how we are trying to sort this problem at Wonga, using Packer to create a bakery of Windows servers which allows us to build up-to-date AMIs and VMWare templates from the same set of provisioning scripts.

Published in: Technology

Building a bakery of Windows servers with Packer - London WinOps

  1. 1. BUILDING AN IMAGE BAKERY WITH PACKER.IO Ricard Clau - London WinOps - February 2016
  2. 2. PROBLEMSTRIEDTO SOLVE • Need to automate creation of servers both Windows (2008 & 2012) and Linux (mostly Ubuntu 14.04) • Hybrid infrastructure AWS / Datacenter • Provisioning tools work well but a reliable and reproducible common initial state is useful
  3. 3. WHAT IS PACKER?
  4. 4. EXTRA BENEFITS • Massive boost at spinning servers • Easy to share provisioning scripts • Easier to understand than Chef / Puppet / Ansible (different domain) • Works on Windows, Mac and Linux! • Significantly reduce manual patching
  5. 5. NO MORE PATCHING??? • You should create stateless applications so that replacing servers by patched ones is not an issue • Subscribe to these 2 AWS SNS topics: • arn:aws:sns:us-east-1:801119661308:ec2-windows-ami-update • arn:aws:sns:us-east-1:801119661308:ec2-windows-ami-private • In VMWare, you can start from updated ISOs or other existingVMWare machines
  6. 6. AWS EBS BUILDER • Start from an existing patched AMI • Initial userdata to allow WinRM and remote PS • Packer can retrieve the random Admin password! • Provision your box (and tag your final AMI) • Sysprep to allow new userdata in EC2 instances
  7. 7. AWS EBS OUTPUT
  8. 8. AWS EBS OUTPUT (II)
  9. 9. VMWARE BUILDER (I) • Start from an ISO or an existingVMWare box • autounattend.xml files to automate installation, Administrator password, initial PowerShell and WinRM config, Power plan… • You can add other initial provisioning scripts (before 1st reboot) in the floppy_files array
  10. 10. VMWARE BUILDER (II) • You need to install VMWare Fusion (MacOSx) or Workstation (Linux / Windows) • disk_type_id for differentVMDK options • After reboot, you can use the same provisioners we had in the AWS builder
  11. 11. VMWARE FUSION WORKING
  12. 12. WONGA BAKERY MODEL Automation Team Development Team
  13. 13. STILL ITERATING • Feedback from different dev teams • Spawn scripts / more automation around the bakery • Add some CI/CD tools around it • Using generated AMIs /VMWare boxes in a Terraform setup • Trying to find out the best way to generate and use the VMWare images in the datacenter
  14. 14. GIVE PACKER ATRY! • Before 2016, I had never written any PS • I had never used Packer before either • In fact, I did not even know all this was possible! • We produced working images in a week spike!
  15. 15. SPECIALTHANKS • Mitchell Hashimoto for building Packer and the rest of the HashiCorp stack • Andrew Hardie for his talk “Don't go Packer in anger” at London DevOps last October • Peter Mounce for sharing his experiences automating Windows at Just Eat
  16. 16. BTW… INCIDENTALLY • We are hiring, like everybody else :) • Does the HashiCorp toolset sound interesting? • Do you like automating all-the-things? • Do you want to work with us in these offices?
  17. 17. QUESTIONS? • Twitter: @ricardclau • E-mail: ricard.clau@gmail.com • Github: https://github.com/ricardclau/packer- demos

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