🐳 Container Camp London 2015

Csaba Palfi, Sep 2015

Update: videos are up here.

I was at the amazing Container Camp (thanks to YLD!) and had a lot of fun. My raw notes are on github. See short talk summaries below.

Bryan Cantrill, Joyent - keynote ★

Bryan started the conference with an energetic keynote. Took us from the beginning of chroots to Solaris zones. Then he explained how hardware virtualization still became the de-facto standard and of course we ended up at docker.

Funny how we're still replaying history when running containers on VMs though. The future is containers on bare metal (container-native infrastructure) with multi-tenant security solved somehow.

Shannon Williams, Rancher

Shannon talked about organization adoption of docker. Most of them just want a container service abstracting away computing resources and orchestration.

Bryan Boreham, Weave - CRDTs ★

Achieving consensus is costly in distributed systems (network roundtrips, availability). Weave needs to deal with distributed state to handle IP allocation and service discovery with DNS. Turns out consensus (and using etcd, consul with raft) is not necessary and eventual consistency is enough for their case.

They use CRDTs. Just choose your data-structure well and make sure merging in updates can happen in any order.

Great talk highlighting how engineering is all about choosing the right trade-offs.

Mandy Waite, Google - Kubernetes

How to make compute resources available to engineers? Kubernetes is Google's answer. It reached 1.0 in July and let's you manage apps not machines.

Kubernetes scheduling and controller components are not highly-available yet (in progress). For now you can trust Google Container Engine to run them for you.

Stéphane Graber, LXD

LXD is a wrapper on top of LXC, simple REST API, command line tool. It's aimed at running full OS/system in container not app containers. Their idea is to run CoreOs or your docker host in an LXD container.

Arjan Schaaf - Networking Performance

Arjan Schaaf from Luminis was measuring networking performance of a Kubernetes and CoreOS setup. He compared various Azure and AWS instance types and Weave, Calico and Flannel SDNs.

qperf is great for quick tests. iperf3 is better for long running tests with parallel connections. Bandwidth, latency and CPU was measured and Flannel with VXLAN was the winner. Weave is also working on VXLAN backend which sounds promising.

Arjan advises against relying only on synthetic tests. You should really test using your application, too.

Alissa Bonas, Red Hat - OpenShift

OpenShift 3 is built on Kubernetes but also adds some higher level abstractions.

ManageIQ collects and correlates information about nodes, pods and the hosts running them. It also allows things like monitoring and security auditing.

Miek Gieben - SkyDNS, dinit ★

Miek showed how Improbable builds it's reactive - flexible, ops light and self-healing - infrastructure. Their stack includes etcd, SkyDNS, ELK, Prometheus.

SkyDNS can solve discovery, simple load balancing and basic health signals. It also integrates well with Prometheus.

dinit is a super-light init system. Solves the zombie-reaping problem. It can also be used to enable in-container registration.

Ben Hall - Container Security ★

Ben told us about lessons learnt while building scrapbook. It's training environments allow running arbitrary code by learners in containers.

Few interesting lessons included --ulimit nproc to disarm fork bombs. I also didn't know that --net=host allows shutting down the docker host from a container. It's worth watching out for ways how a container can fill your disks: logging, fallocate, truncate, dd. Also etc/hosts mounted from host and can be filled with garbage. Network bandwith -in and out- is also worth keeping an eye on.

Tools to help recognizing malicious activity include docker diff, bash_history or sysdig. Also The Warden is an upcoming tool from Ocelot Uproar.

Diogo Mónica - Docker Content Trust ★

Diogo is the security lead at docker and talked about new docker 1.8 feature. It's called content trust and allows verifying that an image is up-to-date and from the right publisher.

He started by describing The Update Framework (TUF) for secure software/content updates. It protects against:

Notary is an opinionated implementation of TUF by Docker Inc.

Docker Content Trust is built on top of notary. You can give it a go by setting DOCKER_CONTENT_TRUST=1 or specifying --disable-content-trust=false. In the future this will be on by default.

Loris Degioanni - Sysdig ★

Inspecting containers resource usage, network and disk stats is not easy. Resources can be monitored with standard command line tools but sometimes difficult to get the right bits of information. cAdvisor is easy to install but doesn't have too many metrics. The docker stats API is a bit richer but sometimes even that is not enough.

Sysdig requires a kernel module but it's super powerful. Metrics can be saved to a trace file and processed later (just like tcpdump). It also has a nice htop-like interface. You have to see a demo.

Juan Batiz-Benet - IPFS, starship ★

Juan from Protocol Labs talked about how centralized infrastructure is less than ideal. Companies rely on docker hub, github and we all saw what a DDoS attack can do. We're also wasting bandwidth by downloading the same content from these central sources.

IPFS is about switching the web to a peer-to-peer protocol. It borrows some ideas from git and bittorrent and removes the need for a central server altogether. See their blogpost here.

starship is a solution to make pulling and pushing images faster and more reliable by using IPFS.