Accessing services with SSH

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You can gain direct command line access to your deployed service instance using SSH. This allows you to, for example, access your database to run raw SQL commands to edit the schema, import and export data, or debug app data issues.

To establish direct command line access to a service, you deploy a host app and use its SSH and port forwarding features to communicate with the service instance through the application container. The technique described here works with TCP services such as MySQL or Redis.

This topic requires Cloud Foundry Command Line Interface (cf CLI) v6.15.0 or later, but at least v7 is recommended.

Note: If you have mutual TLS between the Gorouter and app containers, app containers accept incoming communication only from the Gorouter. This disables cf ssh. For more information, see the TLS to Apps and Other Back End Services section of the HTTP Routing topic.

Important The procedure in this topic requires use of a service key, and not all services support service keys. Some services support credentials through app binding only.

Create a service instance

  1. In your terminal window, log in to your deployment with cf login.

  2. Run cf marketplace to list the marketplace services available.

    $ cf marketplace
    mysql  100mb MySQL databases on demand
  3. Create your service instance. As part of the create-service command, indicate the service name, the service plan, and the name you choose for your service instance.

    $ cf create-service MySQL 100mb MY-DB

Push your host app

To push an app that acts as the host for the SSH tunnel, push any app that is deployed to Cloud Foundry. Your app must be prepared before you push it. See Pushing an app for details about preparing apps for pushing.

  1. Push your app:

    cf push YOUR-HOST-APP
  2. Activate SSH for your app:

    cf enable-ssh YOUR-HOST-APP

To activate SSH access to your app, SSH access must also be activated for both the space that contains the app and Cloud Foundry. For more information, see App SSH Overview.

Create your service key

To establish SSH access to your service instance, you must create a service key that contains critical information for configuring your SSH tunnel.

  1. Create a service key for your service instance using the cf create-service-key command.

    cf create-service-key MY-DB EXTERNAL-ACCESS-KEY
  2. Retrieve your new service key using the cf service-key command.

    cf service-key MY-DB EXTERNAL-ACCESS-KEY

    For example:

    $ cf service-key MY-DB EXTERNAL-ACCESS-KEY
    Getting key EXTERNAL-ACCESS-KEY for service instance MY-DB as
    "hostname": "",
    "jdbcUrl": "jdbc:mysql://\_b2fca6t49704585d?user=b5136e448be920\u0026password=231f435o05",
    "name": "ad\_b2fca6t49704585d",
    "password": "231f435o05",
    "port": "3306",
    "uri": "mysql://\_b2fca6t49704585d?reconnect=true",
    "username": "b5136e448be920"

Configure your SSH tunnel

Configure an SSH tunnel to your service instance using cf ssh. Tailor the following example command with information from your service key.

$ cf ssh -L YOUR-HOST-APP

  • You can use any available local port for port forwarding; for example, 63306.
  • is the address provided under hostname in the service key retrieved earlier.
  • 3306 is the port provided under port.
  • YOUR-HOST-APP is the name of your host app.

After you enter the command, open another terminal and follow the steps in Access your service instance.

Access your service instance

To establish direct command line access to your service instance, use the relevant command line tool for that service. This example uses the MySQL command line client to access the MySQL service instance.

$ mysql -u b5136e448be920 -h 0 -p -D ad_b2fca6t49704585d -P 63306
  • Replace b5136e448be920 with the user name provided under username in your service key.
  • -h 0 instructs mysql to connect to your local machine (use -h for Windows).
  • -p instructs mysql to prompt for a password. When prompted, use the password provided under password in your service key.
  • Replace ad_b2fca6t49704585d with the database name provided under name in your service key.
  • -P 63306 instructs mysql to connect on port 63306.
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