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Atulpriya Sharma
Atulpriya Sharma

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at

Setting Up Paralus on DigitalOcean

One of the cloud platforms that I absolutely enjoy working with is DigitalOcean - the sheer ease of use & the helpful #community makes it a preferred choice for me. Along with the various options it gives to developers like to me try things quickly makes it a platform that I'd recommend.

In this blog post, I'll take you through the steps to setup Paralus on Digital Ocean (DO) using a custom domain and import a local cluster into it.

Paralus is a free, open source tool that enables controlled, audited access to Kubernetes infrastructure. It comes with just-in-time service account creation and user-level credential management that integrates with your RBAC and SSO. Ships as a GUI, API, and CLI.

Let's get started!

Table Of Content:

Note: Before you start the installation process, do check out the pre-requisites for installing Paralus.

Pre Requisites

To setup Paralus on Digital Ocean there are a few things that need to done:

We'll start with setting up a cluster on Digital Ocean, followed by deploying Paralus to it using helm charts. Once the installation is done, we'll configure the DNS settings for the domain for Paralus to work. After that we'll login to the Paralus dashboard and import a Kubernetes cluster that is running on a local laptop.

Creating Digital Ocean Cluster

Creating a Kubernetes cluster on DO is quite simple. DO offers just one type of Kubernetes cluster and not a variety of offerings like GKE, AWS or AKS. They provide two types of plans when it comes to Nodes - Basic and Professional plans, each of them offering a different configuration.

You need to choose the professional node plan with 3 nodes at the minimum for Paralus to run smoothly.

Login to your DO account and choose Kubernetes -> Create Kubernetes Cluster and provide details like cluster name, region, Kubernetes version, capacity etc.

Creating Kubernetes cluster on Digital Ocean

To know more about how to choose a plan or resize a Kubernetes cluster, check out this document.

Connecting to Digital Ocean Cluster

To connect to your newly created Kubernetes cluster there are two things that you need to do:

  1. Create API Token
  2. Configure doctl

1. Create API Token

You need to generate an API key to be able to access your Kubernetes cluster. You can follow this guide to create a personal access token.

2. Configure doctl

The next step is to configure doctl - a CLI tool provided by DO to interact with their API via command line.

We used a snap package to install the doctl package on our Ubuntu laptop.

Refer to doctl installation document to install it on different environment.

sudo snap install doctl

Create new context by providing the API token generated in the earlier step and switch to this newly created context

doctl auth init --context <NAME> followed by doctl auth switch --context <NAME>

Allow doctl to access the kube-config that will allow you to communicate with the Kubernetes cluster.

sudo snap connect doctl:kube-config

The next step is to configure a certificate to your kubectl configuration. You will get this certificate details after your cluster has been provisioned.

Adding certificate for doctl

doctl kubernetes cluster kubeconfig save f4739f01-1433-48e1-b991-742a53769fe7

Notice: Adding cluster credentials to kubeconfig file found in "/home/atulpriya/.kube/config"
Notice: Setting current-context to do-ams3-paralus-demo
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Once done, you can validate the connectivity using the following command

kubectl get nodes

NAME                   STATUS   ROLES    AGE   VERSION
pool-lhosbqych-7fomd   Ready    <none>   16m   v1.23.9
pool-lhosbqych-7fomi   Ready    <none>   16m   v1.23.9
pool-lhosbqych-7fomv   Ready    <none>   16m   v1.23.9
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At this point, you have successfully created a Kubernetes cluster & configured access to it using doctl. The next steps include installing Paralus and importing a local cluster on to it.

Installing Paralus

In the same terminal, you can follow the below steps to deploy Paralus to your DO cluster.

  1. Add helm repo

helm repo add paralus

  1. Install Paralus
   helm install myrelease paralus/ztka \
    -f \
    --set fqdn.domain="" \
    -n paralus \
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Note: If you're installing this in a production environment, please use values.yaml and configure the values mentioned here as required.

  NAME: myrelease
  LAST DEPLOYED: Mon Aug 29 17:29:54 2022
  NAMESPACE: paralus
  STATUS: deployed
    Access the application URL by running these commands:
    Get the EXTERNAL-IP value using following command:
    kubectl get service myrelease-contour-envoy -n paralus

    Add DNS records of following domains such that it resolves to above address:
    - *
    - *

    Open in browser.

    Note: If you are using a cluster with no load-balancer, then the address will be "<pending>".
          If it is Kind or Minikube cluster, check out respective docs to get the external address.

  You can view the recovery link for admin user by running the following command once all the pods are running:

  kubectl logs -f --namespace paralus $(kubectl get pods --namespace paralus -l'paralus' -o jsonpath='{ .items[0] }') initialize | grep 'Org Admin signup URL:'
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Note: It can take upto a few minutes before all the pods are running and you can access the dashboard. You can check the status using watch kubectl get pods -n paralus

Configuring DNS Settings

Once the installation is complete, you need to first get the external IP address provided by the loadbalancer. You can do so by executing the following command:

kubectl get svc myrelease-contour-envoy -n paralus

NAME                      TYPE           CLUSTER-IP     EXTERNAL-IP      PORT(S)                      AGE
myrelease-contour-envoy   LoadBalancer   80:32722/TCP,443:32656/TCP   2m32s

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It may take some time for the loadbalancer to assign the IP address.

Note down the EXTERNAL-IP address for the <releasename>-contour-envoy service.

Navigate to your domain's DNS setting page. The steps for changing DNS settings will vary based on your domain name provider.

While you are on your DNS Setting page, for the selected domain name, you need to add three A records. These will be based on the subdomains provided in the notes section post installation.

Type Address Resolves To TTL
A 1 Hour
A * 1 Hour
A * 1 Hour

Accessing The Dashboard

Paralus is installed with a default organization and an admin user. Hence, after installation, you need to set a password for the user. To do so, execute the command that you get after installing Paralus.

kubectl logs -f --namespace paralus $(kubectl get pods --namespace paralus -l'paralus' -o jsonpath='{ .items[0] }') initialize | grep 'Org Admin signup URL:'

Org Admin signup URL:

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Note: The password recovery link generated while deploying Paralus is valid only for 10 minutes. For any reason if the link is expired, refer to our troubleshooting guide to re-generate the password reset link.

Access the URL in a browser, and provide a new password. In a new browser window/tab navigate to and log in with the following credentials:

  • username: admin@paralus.local - or the one you specified in values.yaml
  • password: <The one you entered above>

You'll be taken to the projects page where you'll see a default project.

Paralus default project screen

Importing Existing Cluster

Everything in Paralus is grouped into Projects. Each project will have clusters, users and groups associated with it. Hence the first step it to create a new project.

Click on New Project to create a new project and then import a cluster in that project. The cluster we are importing is a minikube cluster hosted on my laptop.

Create New Cluster

Click Continue and download the bootstrap yaml file by clicking Import Bootstrap YAML. This will download the YAML file that is required to connect your cluster with Paralus.

Download Bootstrap YAML file

Apply the bootstrap configuration yaml file

kubectl apply -f mylocalcluster.yaml
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Wait for the changes to take place. On the dashboard you will see that the cluster is imported successfully. It usually takes 3-5 minutes for the status to update.

Import Cluster Success

Select your newly imported cluster and click on kubectl to access the prompt and interact with your cluster from the dashboard.

A kubectl console will open in the bottom half of the screen, enter your kubectl commands to interact with your cluster.

Accessing imported cluster via kubectl

Congratulations! You've successfully deployed Paralus on Digital Ocean Kubernetes cluster and imported a local cluster.

If you have any issues with Paralus, feel free to reach out to me :)

Top comments (2)

styren profile image
Buster Styren

Wouldn't mind a line or two on what Paralus is and why I'd want to install it in the first place.

techmaharaj profile image
Atulpriya Sharma

Nice catch. Updated it.