Community Blog Tutorial about Setting Up Server Manager on Ubuntu 18.04

Tutorial about Setting Up Server Manager on Ubuntu 18.04

This tutorial introduces you how to deploy different kinds of server managers on Ubuntu 18.04, including Cockpit, Apache OpenWhisk and Fn Project.

Parameterization is one of the most important segments of automation. Parameterization can help you reuse the script and file without rewriting the complete solution again.

People frequently ask, "I have only one VPS, will I get any benefits using Ansible?" the answer is yes, whether one VPS or multiple VPS servers. Ansible scripts can be used to manage all servers. This will not only retain the configuration but also help in configuring new servers, applying changes to the SSL, and also can help to configure and deploy websites on new cloud hosting provider.

For this blog post we will implement the following solution with Ansible where:

solution with Ansible

  1. Website Domain is using DNS service from Cloudflare
  2. Website is hosted on Alibaba Cloud Elastic Compute Service (ECS)
  3. The web server is configured with the following

    1. Custom SSH port 1992
    2. PHP version 7.2
    3. MySQL
    4. Fail2Ban
    5. Swap size 1 GB
    6. NginX WebServer
    7. SSH for root is blocked
    8. Firewall to allow only SSH , HTTP
      and HTTPS
    9. SSL from CloudFlare

To achieve above, the blog is divided into two segments

  1. Prepare LEMP server on Ubuntu 18.04 (Linux, Nginx, MySQL, PHP)
  2. Prepare server for one domain with Cloudflare SSL

You can refer to Preparing a LEMP Ubuntu 18 Server with WordPress using Ansible for the following to cover parameterization and the use of the Ansible Galaxy to configure the servers by automation.

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How to Install Fn Project on ECS Ubuntu 18.04

In this article, we will show you how to install and set up a serverless Fn project on an Alibaba Cloud ECS instance installed with Ubuntu 18.04.

Fn project is an event-driven, open-source serverless computing platform that you can use and run anywhere. With Fn, you can deploy your functions to an Fn server, which automatically executes and manages these functions. Each function is run in a Docker container enabling the platform to provide a broad range of support for development languages such as Java, JavaScript (Node), Go, and Python. You can run the server locally on your computer, or on a server at your on-premises data center or in the cloud. The Fn project has a strong enterprise focus with an extended emphasis on security, scalability, and observability.

There are several components to an Fn Project.

· Fn Server: This is a Function as a Service (FaaS) system that helps to developers to create, build and deploy functions. It is fast, reliable, and is container-native.

· The Fn Load Balancer: This is very important for the serverless functions to scale and route traffic. Fn Load balancer is responsible for scaling in or out a particular function and ensuring the optimal performance

· Fn FDK: FDK stands for Function Development Kit. It can used to help with developing functions very quickly in all languages and testing them.

· Fn Flow: Flow simplifies the orchestration of the higher level workflows of functions by helping in handling complicated models and building with long JSON and YAML templates. Flow also helps in visualization of all the function calls in the dashboard, stack logs, and to name a few.

How to Install Cockpit on Ubuntu 18.04

In this tutorial, we will be installing Cockpit on an Alibaba Cloud ECS instance with Ubuntu 18.04.

Cockpit is a server manager that makes it easy to administer your GNU/Linux servers via a web browser. It makes Linux discoverable, allowing sysadmins to easily perform tasks such as starting containers, storage administration, network configuration, inspecting logs and so on.

Cockpit provides convenient switching between the terminal and the web tool. A service started via Cockpit can be stopped via the terminal. Likewise, if an error occurs in the terminal, it can be seen in the Cockpit journal interface. Using Cockpit you can monitor and administer several servers at the same time. Just add it easily and your server will look after its buddies.

Cockpit is released under the LGPL v2.1+, and it is available for Redhat, CentOS, Debian, Ubuntu, Atomic, and Arch Linux. Cockpit is compatible and works well with Alibaba Cloud Elastic Compute Service (ECS) servers. In this tutorial, I will be installing Cockpit on an ECS with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS installed on it. Until Ubuntu 18.04 matures and is included in Alibaba Cloud's library of operating system images, we can upgrade Ubuntu 16.04 to Ubuntu 18.04 by using the do-release-upgrade utility.

How to Set Up Apache OpenWhisk on Ubuntu 18.04 – Part I

This tutorial aims at detailing the installation process of Apache OpenWhisk onto an Alibaba Cloud Elastic Compute Service (ECS) Ubuntu 18.

Many organizations today are looking at adopting serverless computing to improve efficiency and reduce costs. The significant feature of serverless computing is that it supports event-based programming, which is the heart of the entire Internet of Things (IoT) industry. Serverless computing is capable of handling burstable workloads while supporting virtually infinite scalability.

Serverless is not for everyone because of the potential latency increase in the request-response times. However, even though serverless may not be for everyone, it has played a prominent role in the newer architectures. The reason behind that is because event-based programming helps us save a considerable amount of cost when you compare with the workloads on virtual servers. Plus, there are a lot of applications out there that are not latency sensitive.

There are several open source technologies built by the support of different organizations concentrated on different use-cases. Every open source serverless framework have their uniqueness, which we cannot compare. This tutorial aims at detailing the installation process of Apache OpenWhisk onto your Alibaba Cloud Elastic Compute Service (ECS) Ubuntu 18.04(64-bit) machine.

What Is Apache OpenWhisk?

Apache OpenWhisk (Incubating) is an open source, distributed serverless platform that executes functions (fx) in response to events at any scale. OpenWhisk manages the infrastructure, servers and scaling using Docker containers so you can focus on building amazing and efficient applications.

The OpenWhisk platform supports a programming model in which developers write functional logic (called Actions), in any supported programming language, that can be dynamically scheduled and run in response to associated events (via Triggers) from external sources (Feeds) or HTTP requests. The project includes a REST API-based Command Line Interface (CLI) along with another tooling to support packaging, catalogue services and many popular container deployment options.

If you didn't understand any of the terms, don't worry. Let's look at the definitions of several important terms.

Feeds: A feed is a stream of events which all belong to some trigger T. A feed is controlled by a feed action which handles creating, deleting, pausing, and resuming the stream of events which comprise a feed. The feed action typically interacts with external services which produce the events, via a REST API that manages notifications.

Triggers: A trigger is technically a name for a class of events. Each event belongs to precisely one trigger; by analogy, a trigger resembles a topic in topic-based pub-sub systems. A rule T -> A means "whenever an event from trigger T arrives, invoke action A with the trigger payload.

Actions: Actions are stateless functions that run on the OpenWhisk platform. For example, an action can be used to detect the faces in an image, respond to a database change, react to an API call, or post a Tweet. In general, an action is invoked in response to an event and produces some observable output.

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FAQ about fixing vulnerabilities with Ubuntu kernel patches

After performing the Fix operation on a server that uses the Ubuntu kernel, the latest kernel is not used when the system is restarted. This is because kernel selection order is modified. During the Fix operation, the system will ask you whether you want to keep the existing modifications on the GRUB menu when installing the latest kernel. You must use the silent installation in which the latest kernel is prioritized during startup.

Problem description

When you fix Linux kernel vulnerabilities in the Security Center console, the vulnerabilities are successfully fixed only after the system is restarted. When the system or ECS instance is restarted, the system will not automatically create a boot menu for the latest kernel if your GRUB boot menu has been modified. The system or instance will still be in the Handled (To Be Restarted) state even after restart. In this case, you cannot verify whether vulnerabilities are fixed successfully.


If you choose the default settings of the latest kernel over original GRUB menu configurations, you can set the following environment variable before executing the vulnerability fix command to make the installation system automatically select the default settings.

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