Pushing Apps with Sidecar Processes

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This topic describes sidecar processes and how to include them when you push your app.

Note: This feature requires that your Cloud Foundry deployment uses capi-release 1.790 or later.

Overview

You can run additional processes in the same container as your app. These are called sidecar processes, or sidecars. An example of a sidecar is an Application Performance Monitoring (APM) tool.

When you provide a sidecar for your app, Cloud Foundry (CF) packages the required code and configuration needed to run the sidecar and app in the same droplet. It deploys this droplet in a single container on Diego. Both processes within the container undergo health checks independently.

You can push sidecar processes with your app by using one of two methods:

For additional information about sidecars, see Sidecars in the Cloud Foundry API (CAPI) documentation.

For sample apps that use sidecars, see the capi-sidecar-samples repository on GitHub. These sample apps use an app manifest.

Use Cases

You can use sidecars for processes that depend on each other or must run in the same container.

For example, you can use sidecars for processes that must:

  • Communicate over a Unix socket or through localhost
  • Share the same filesystem
  • Be scaled and placed together
  • Have fast interprocess communication

Limitations

Sidecars have these limitations:

  • The start and stop order of app processes and their sidecars is undefined.

  • App processes and sidecars are codependent. If either crashes or exits, the other does also.

  • Sidecars are currently not independently scalable. Sidecars share resources with the main app process and other sidecars within the container.

  • Sidecars only support PID-based health checks. HTTP health checks for sidecars are not currently supported.

Requirements for Java Apps

These sections describe several requirements that are specific to pushing sidecars with Java apps.

Reserving Memory

You must allocate memory to the sidecar. If you do not, the Java buildpack allocates all of the available memory to the app. As a result, the sidecar does not have enough memory and the app fails to start.

To allocate memory to the sidecar, use the memory property in the app manifest. For example:

sidecars:
- name: SIDECAR-NAME
    process_types: [ 'PROCESS-TYPES' ]
    command: START-COMMAND
    memory: 256MB

Where:

  • SIDECAR-NAME is a name you give your sidecar.

  • PROCESS-TYPES is a list of app processes for the sidecar to attach to, such as web or worker. You can attach multiple sidecars to each process type your app uses.

  • START-COMMAND is the command used to start the sidecar. For example, ./binary or java -jar java-file.jar.

You must also allocate memory to sidecars that you push with a custom buildpack. For more information, see Sidecar Buildpacks.

Packaging Binaries

If your sidecar is a binary file rather than a set of buildable source files, then you must package the binary file with your Java app.

In some cases, the Java buildpack requires you to push a .jar file. If this is the case with your app, you must include the sidecar binary in the .jar file.

To package the sidecar binary with the .jar file, run:

zip JAR -u SIDECAR-BINARY

Where:

  • JAR is your .jar file.

  • SIDECAR-BINARY is your sidecar binary.

For more information about packaging assets with your Java app, see Tips for Java Developers.

Push an App with a Sidecar Using an App Manifest

These sections explain how to push an app with a sidecar using an app manifest. For an example that you can try yourself, see Sidecar Tutorial below.

Note: When pushing a Java app, ensure that you follow the requirements listed in Requirements for Java Apps above.

Prerequisites

Before you can push an app with a sidecar with an app manifest, you must have:

  • An app that is currently running or ready to be pushed.

  • A file that CF can execute inside the app container as a sidecar process. For example, an executable binary, a Java .jar file, or Ruby scripts.

Procedure

To push an app with a sidecar:

  1. Create an app or use an existing app. To create an app:

    • If you are using cf CLI v7, run:

      cf create-app APP-NAME
      

      Where APP-NAME is the name you give your app.

    • If you are using cf CLI v6, run:

      cf v3-create-app APP-NAME
      

      Where APP-NAME is the name you give your app.

      Note: This command is experimental and unsupported. Consider upgrading to cf CLI v7 to use a supported version of this command. To upgrade to cf CLI v7, see Install cf CLI v7 in Upgrading to cf CLI v7.

  2. Create a manifest file in the root directory of your app, such as manifest.yml. Otherwise, use an existing manifest file for your app. For more information, see Deploying with App Manifests.

  3. Add the values below to your app manifest file under the applications key:

      sidecars:
      - name: SIDECAR-NAME
        process_types: [ 'PROCESS-TYPES' ]
        command: START-COMMAND
    

    Where:

    • SIDECAR-NAME is a name you give your sidecar.
    • PROCESS-TYPES is a list of app processes for the sidecar to attach to, such as web or worker. You can attach multiple sidecars to each process type your app uses.
    • START-COMMAND is the command used to start the sidecar. For example, ./binary or java -jar java-file.jar.

      This example manifest file includes multiple sidecars:
    ---
    applications:
    - name: my-app
      sidecars:
       - name: authenticator
         process_types: [ 'web', 'worker' ]
         command: bundle exec run-authenticator
       - name: performance monitor
         process_types: [ 'web' ]
         command: bundle exec run-performance-monitor
    
  4. To apply the manifest file to your app:

    • If you are using cf CLI v7, run:

      cf apply-manifest -f PATH-TO-MANIFEST
      

      Where PATH-TO-MANIFEST is the path to your manifest file.

    • If you are using cf CLI v6, run:

      cf v3-apply-manifest -f PATH-TO-MANIFEST
      

      Where PATH-TO-MANIFEST is the path to your manifest file.

      Note: This command is experimental and unsupported. Consider upgrading to cf CLI v7 to use a supported version of this command. To upgrade to cf CLI v7, see Install cf CLI v7 in Upgrading to cf CLI v7.

  5. To push your app:

    • If you are using cf CLI v7, run:

      cf push APP-NAME
      

      Where APP-NAME is the name of your app.

    • If you are using cf CLI v6, run:

      cf v3-push APP-NAME
      

      Where APP-NAME is the name of your app.

      Note: This command is experimental and unsupported. Consider upgrading to cf CLI v7 to use a supported version of this command. To upgrade to cf CLI v7, see Install cf CLI v7 in Upgrading to cf CLI v7.

Sidecar Tutorial

You can explore sidecars using the app in the capi-sidecar-samples repository on GitHub. The sections below describe the app, how to build and push the app, and some ways to observe the app and its processes after pushing.

Note: This tutorial assumes that you are pushing the Ruby sample app. You can also follow this tutorial for a Java app using the sidecar-dependent-java-app and push_java_app_with_binary_sidecar.sh in the samples repository. When pushing a Java app, ensure that you follow the requirements listed in Requirements for Java Apps above.

About the Sample App

The capi-sidecar-samples repository contains:

  • A simple Ruby app: This app is named sidecar-dependent-app. It includes a /config endpoint that calls to the sidecar and prints the response, as shown in this code snippet:

    get '/config' do
    puts "Sending a request to the config-server sidecar at localhost:#{ENV['CONFIG_SERVER_PORT']}/config/"
    response = Typhoeus.get("localhost:#{ENV['CONFIG_SERVER_PORT']}/config/")
    puts "Received #{response.body} from the config-server sidecar"
    response.body
    end
    
  • A Golang sidecar: The config-server-sidecar produces a config-server binary. It provides apps with their required configuration over its /config endpoint. It also accepts connections only over localhost on the CONFIG_SERVER_PORT port. This means the sidecar must be co-located in the same container as the app, so that it shares the same network namespace as the main app.

The diagram below illustrates the app architecture:

Sidecar Diagram

Push the App and Sidecar

To push the app and sidecar:

  1. In a terminal window, clone the Git repository to your workspace by running:

    git clone https://github.com/cloudfoundry-samples/capi-sidecar-samples.git
    
  2. Navigate to the config-server-sidecar directory.

  3. Build the binary for the sidecar by running:

    GOOS=linux GOARCH=amd64 go build -o config-server .
    

    Note: If you do not have Go installed, download the config-server_linux_x86-64 binary from Releases in the capi-sidecar-samples repository in GitHub.

  4. To create the app:

    • If you are using cf CLI v7, run:

      cf create-app sidecar-dependent-app
      
    • If you are using cf CLI v6, run:

      cf v3-create-app sidecar-dependent-app
      

      Note: This command is experimental and unsupported. Consider upgrading to cf CLI v7 to use a supported version of this command. To upgrade to cf CLI v7, see Install cf CLI v7 in Upgrading to cf CLI v7.

  5. Navigate to the sidecar-dependent-app directory.

  6. Open and review the manifest.yml file. Under sidecars, the sidecar is specified with a name, process type, and start command. Under env, there is an environment variable that defines the port on which the app and sidecar communicate.

  7. To apply the manifest to the app:

    • If you are using cf CLI v7, run:

      cf apply-manifest
      
    • If you are using cf CLI v6, run:

      cf v3-apply-manifest
      

      Note: This command is experimental and unsupported. Consider upgrading to cf CLI v7 to use a supported version of this command. To upgrade to cf CLI v7, see Install cf CLI v7 in Upgrading to cf CLI v7.

  8. To push the app:

    • If you are using cf CLI v7, run:

      cf push sidecar-dependent-app
      
    • If you are using cf CLI v6, run:

      cf v3-push sidecar-dependent-app
      

      Note: This command is experimental and unsupported. Consider upgrading to cf CLI v7 to use a supported version of this command. To upgrade to cf CLI v7, see Install cf CLI v7 in Upgrading to cf CLI v7.

After you push the app, you can further explore it in View the Processes Running in the Container and View the Web URL and App Logs below.

View the Processes Running in the Container

To view the app and sidecar process running in the container:

  1. SSH into the app container by running:

    cf ssh sidecar-dependent-app
    
  2. To see both the rackup process for the main app and config-server process for the sidecar, run:

    ps aux
    

    The output you see should resemble the output below:

    vcap@f00949bd-6601-4731-6f7e-e859:~$ ps aux
    USER         PID %CPU %MEM    VSZ      RSS   TTY   STAT   START TIME  COMMAND
    root           1 0.0  0.0     1120     0     ?     S      22:17 0:00  /tmp/garden-init
    vcap           7 0.0  0.0     106716   4508  ?     S      22:17 0:00  ./config-server
    vcap          13 0.0  0.1     519688   35412 ?     S      22:17 0:00  /home/vcap/deps/0/vendor_bundle/ruby/2.4.0/bin/rackup config.ru -p 8080
    vcap          24 0.0  0.0     116344   10792 ?     S      22:17 0:00  /tmp/lifecycle/diego-sshd --allowedKeyExchanges= --address=0.0.0.0:2222 --allowUnauthenticatedClients=false --inhe
    root          82 0.0  0.0     108012   4548  ?     S      22:17 0:00  /etc/cf-assets/healthcheck/healthcheck -port=8080 -timeout=1000ms -liveness-interval=30s
    vcap         215 0.3  0.0     70376    3756  pts/0 S      23:12 0:00  /bin/bash
    vcap         227 0.0  0.0     86268    3116  pts/0 R      23:12 0:00  ps aux
    
  3. To see that the sidecar is listening on the port specified by CONFIG_SERVER_PORT and that the main ruby process is connected to it, run:

    lsof -i | grep $CONFIG_SERVER_PORT
    

    The output you see should resemble the output below:

    vcap@f00949bd-6601-4731-6f7e-e859:~$ lsof -i | grep $CONFIG_SERVER_PORT
    config-se   7 vcap 3u  IPv4 17265901     0t0 TCP *:8082 (LISTEN)
    config-se   7 vcap 5u  IPv4 17265992     0t0 TCP localhost:8082->localhost:42266 (ESTABLISHED)
    uby       13 vcap 11u  IPv4 17274965    0t0 TCP localhost:42266->localhost:8082 (ESTABLISHED)
    

View the Web URL and App Logs

To view the Web URL and logs for the app:

  1. In a browser, navigate to the config endpoint of the sidecar-dependent-app. For example: https://sidecar-dependent-app.example.com/config.

  2. See that the browser displays Scope and Password information. This is the configuration that the app fetches from the config-server sidecar.

  3. In a terminal window, begin streaming logs for the app by running:

    cf logs sidecar-dependent-app
    
  4. In your browser, refresh the /config endpoint page and observe that the log stream in your terminal displays logs for both the sidecar and the main app process.

  5. In a separate terminal window from your log stream, SSH into the app container by running:

    cf ssh sidecar-dependent-app
    
  6. Terminate the sidecar process by running:

    kill -9 $(pgrep config-server)
    
  7. View the output in the terminal window where you are streaming the app logs. The app logs indicate that the sidecar process crashed and that Diego restarted the app container. For example:

    2019-04-17T16:48:55.41-0700 [API/0] OUT App instance exited with guid
    21df1eb8-f25d-43b2-990b-c1a417310553 payload:
    {"instance"=>"a8db0eed-7371-4805-5ad3-4596", "index"=>0,
    "cellid"=>"86808ce7-afc2-47da-9e79-522a62a48cff", "reason"=>"CRASHED",
    "exitdescription"=>"APP/PROC/WEB/SIDECAR/CONFIG-SERVER: Exited with status 137",
    "crashcount"=>1, "crashtimestamp"=>1555544935367052708,
    "version"=>"50892dcb-274d-4cf6-b944-3eda1e000283"}
    

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