Azure, IaC

Azure ACI – SonarQube

After moving into a new role I found we needed a SonarQube server to perform code analysis. I thought of looking again at using ACI (Azure Container Instances) as when previously trying ACI with an external database I found that any version of SonarQube after 7.7 throws an error:

ERROR: [1] bootstrap checks failed
[1]: max virtual memory areas vm.max_map_count [65530] is too low, increase to at least [262144]

After doing some reading and investigation I found that this is due to elastic search being embedded into SonarQube. In order to fix this it would mean changing the host OS settings to increase the max_map_count, on a Linux OS this would be changing the /etc/sysctl.conf file to update the max_map_count

vm.max_map_count=262144

The problem with ACI is that there is no access to the host, so how can the latest SonarQube (latest version at the time of writing was 8.6.0) be ran in ACI If this cannot be changed.

In this article I am going to detail a way of running SonarQube in ACI with an external database.

What do we need to do?

The first thing is to address the max_map_count issue, for this we need a sonar.properties file that contains the following setting:

sonar.search.javaAdditionalOpts=-Dnode.store.allow_mmap=false

This setting provides the ability to disable memory mapping in elastic search, which is needed when running SonarQube inside containers where you cannot change the hosts vm.max_map_count. (See elastic search documentation)

Now we have our sonar.properties file we need to create a custom container so we can add that into the setup. A small dockerfile can achieve this:

FROM sonarqube:8.6.0-community
COPY sonar.properties /opt/sonarqube/conf/sonar.properties
RUN chown sonarqube:sonarqube /opt/sonarqube/conf/sonar.properties

This dockerfile can now be built using Docker and pushed to an ACR (Azure Container Registry) ready to be used. If you are not sure how to build a container and/or push to an ACR then have a look at the Docker and Microsoft documentation which have easy to follow instructions.

Build Infrastructure

So now that we have a container uploaded to a container server we can look at the rest of the configuration.

There are a number of parts to create:

  • File shares
  • External Database
  • Container Group
    • SonarQube
    • Reverse Proxy

Being a big advocate of IaC (Infrastructure as Code) I am going to use Terraform to configure the SonarQube deployment.

File Shares

The SonarQube documentation mentions setting up volume mounts for data, extensions and logs, for this we can use an Azure Storage Account and Shares.

To make sure that the storage account has a unique name a random string is created to be appended to the storage name.

resource "random_string" "random" {
  length  = 16
  special = false
  upper   = false
}

resource "azurerm_storage_account" "storage" {
  name                     = lower(substr("${var.storage_config.name}${random_string.random.result}", 0, 24))
  resource_group_name      = var.resource_group_name
  location                 = var.resource_group_location
  account_kind             = var.storage_config.kind
  account_tier             = var.storage_config.tier
  account_replication_type = var.storage_config.sku
  tags                     = var.tags
}

resource "azurerm_storage_share" "data-share" {
  name                 = "data"
  storage_account_name = azurerm_storage_account.storage.name
  quota                = var.storage_share_quota_gb.data
}

resource "azurerm_storage_share" "extensions-share" {
  name                 = "extensions"
  storage_account_name = azurerm_storage_account.storage.name
  quota                = var.storage_share_quota_gb.extensions
}

resource "azurerm_storage_share" "logs-share" {
  name                 = "logs"
  storage_account_name = azurerm_storage_account.storage.name
  quota                = var.storage_share_quota_gb.logs
}

External Database

For the external database part we can use Azure SQL Server, a SQL Database and setup a firewall rule to allow azure services to access the database. Normally you would add specific IP addresses but as the IP address is not guaranteed when a container is stopped and restarted it cannot be added here. If you want to create a static IP then this article might help.

SQL Server and Firewall configuration:

resource "azurerm_sql_server" "sql" {
  name                         = lower("${var.sql_server_config.name}${random_string.random.result}")
  resource_group_name          = var.resource_group_name
  location                     = var.resource_group_location
  version                      = var.sql_server_config.version
  administrator_login          = var.sql_server_credentials.admin_username
  administrator_login_password = var.sql_server_credentials.admin_password
  tags                         = var.tags
}

resource "azurerm_sql_firewall_rule" "sqlfirewall" {
  name                = "AllowAllWindowsAzureIps"
  resource_group_name = var.resource_group_name
  server_name         = azurerm_sql_server.sql.name
  start_ip_address    = "0.0.0.0"
  end_ip_address      = "0.0.0.0"
}

For the database we can use the serverless tier, this will provide scaling when needed. Check out the Microsoft Docs for more information.

# SQL Database
resource "azurerm_mssql_database" "sqldb" {
  name                        = var.sql_database_config.name
  server_id                   = azurerm_sql_server.sql.id
  collation                   = "SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CS_AS"
  license_type                = "LicenseIncluded"
  max_size_gb                 = var.sql_database_config.max_db_size_gb
  min_capacity                = var.sql_database_config.min_cpu_capacity
  read_scale                  = false
  sku_name                    = "${var.sql_database_config.sku}_${var.sql_database_config.max_cpu_capacity}"
  zone_redundant              = false
  auto_pause_delay_in_minutes = var.sql_database_config.auto_pause_delay_in_minutes
  tags                        = var.tags
}

Container Group

Setting up the container group requires credentials to access to the Azure Container Registry to run the custom SonarQube container. Using the data resource allows retrieval of the details without passing them as variables:

data "azurerm_container_registry" "registry" {
  name                = var.container_registry_config.name
  resource_group_name = var.container_registry_config.resource_group
}

For this setup we are going to have two containers the custom SonarQube container and a Caddy container. Caddy can be used as a reverse proxy and is small, lightweight and provides management of certificates automatically with Let’s Encrypt. Note: there are some rate limits with Let’s encrypt see the website for more information.

The SonarQube container configuration connects the SQL Database and Azure Storage Account Shares configured earlier.

The Caddy container configuration sets up the reverse proxy to the SonarQube instance.

resource "azurerm_container_group" "container" {
  name                = var.sonar_config.container_group_name
  resource_group_name = var.resource_group_name
  location            = var.resource_group_location
  ip_address_type     = "public"
  dns_name_label      = var.sonar_config.dns_name
  os_type             = "Linux"
  restart_policy      = "OnFailure"
  tags                = var.tags
  
  image_registry_credential {
      server = data.azurerm_container_registry.registry.login_server
      username = data.azurerm_container_registry.registry.admin_username
      password = data.azurerm_container_registry.registry.admin_password
  }

  container {
    name   = "sonarqube-server"
    image  = "${data.azurerm_container_registry.registry.login_server}/${var.sonar_config.image_name}"
    cpu    = var.sonar_config.required_vcpu
    memory = var.sonar_config.required_memory_in_gb
    environment_variables = {
      WEBSITES_CONTAINER_START_TIME_LIMIT = 400
    }    
    secure_environment_variables = {
      SONARQUBE_JDBC_URL      = "jdbc:sqlserver://${azurerm_sql_server.sql.name}.database.windows.net:1433;database=${azurerm_mssql_database.sqldb.name};user=${azurerm_sql_server.sql.administrator_login}@${azurerm_sql_server.sql.name};password=${azurerm_sql_server.sql.administrator_login_password};encrypt=true;trustServerCertificate=false;hostNameInCertificate=*.database.windows.net;loginTimeout=30;"
      SONARQUBE_JDBC_USERNAME = var.sql_server_credentials.admin_username
      SONARQUBE_JDBC_PASSWORD = var.sql_server_credentials.admin_password
    }

    ports {
      port     = 9000
      protocol = "TCP"
    }

    volume {
      name                 = "data"
      mount_path           = "/opt/sonarqube/data"
      share_name           = "data"
      storage_account_name = azurerm_storage_account.storage.name
      storage_account_key  = azurerm_storage_account.storage.primary_access_key
    }

    volume {
      name                 = "extensions"
      mount_path           = "/opt/sonarqube/extensions"
      share_name           = "extensions"
      storage_account_name = azurerm_storage_account.storage.name
      storage_account_key  = azurerm_storage_account.storage.primary_access_key
    }

    volume {
      name                 = "logs"
      mount_path           = "/opt/sonarqube/logs"
      share_name           = "logs"
      storage_account_name = azurerm_storage_account.storage.name
      storage_account_key  = azurerm_storage_account.storage.primary_access_key
    }   
  }

  container {
    name     = "caddy-ssl-server"
    image    = "caddy:latest"
    cpu      = "1"
    memory   = "1"
    commands = ["caddy", "reverse-proxy", "--from", "${var.sonar_config.dns_name}.${var.resource_group_location}.azurecontainer.io", "--to", "localhost:9000"]

    ports {
      port     = 443
      protocol = "TCP"
    }

    ports {
      port     = 80
      protocol = "TCP"
    }
  }
}

You have no doubt noticed that there are many variables used for the configuration, so here are all the ones and the defaults:

variable "resource_group_name" {
  type = string
  description = "(Required) Resource Group to deploy to"
}

variable "resource_group_location" {
  type = string
  description = "(Required) Resource Group location"
}

variable "tags" {
  description = "(Required) Tags for SonarQube"
}

variable "container_registry_config" {
    type = object({
        name           = string
        resource_group = string
    })
    description = "(Required) Container Registry Configuration"
}

variable "sonar_config" {
    type = object({
        image_name            = string
        container_group_name  = string
        dns_name              = string
        required_memory_in_gb = string
        required_vcpu         = string
    })

    description = "(Required) SonarQube Configuration"
}

variable "sql_server_credentials" {
    type = object({
        admin_username = string
        admin_password = string
    })
    sensitive = true
}

variable "sql_database_config" {
    type = object({
        name                        = string
        sku                         = string
        auto_pause_delay_in_minutes = number
        min_cpu_capacity            = number
        max_cpu_capacity            = number
        max_db_size_gb              = number
    })
    default = {
        name                        = "sonarqubedb"
        sku                         = "GP_S_Gen5"
        auto_pause_delay_in_minutes = 60
        min_cpu_capacity            = 0.5
        max_cpu_capacity            = 1
        max_db_size_gb              = 50
    }
}

variable "sql_server_config" {
   type = object({
        name    = string
        version = string
   })
   default = {
       name    = "sql-sonarqube"
       version = "12.0"
   }
}

variable "storage_share_quota_gb" {
  type = object({
    data       = number
    extensions = number
    logs       = number
  })
  default = {
      data       = 10
      extensions = 10
      logs       = 10
  }
}

variable "storage_config" {
    type = object({
        name = string
        kind = string
        sku  = string        
        tier = string
    })
    default = {
        name = "sonarqubestore"
        kind = "StorageV2"
        sku  = "LRS"
        tier = "Standard"
    }
}

To make this easy to configure I added all of this to a Terrform module and then the main terraform file would be something like:

terraform {  
  required_version = ">= 0.14"
  required_providers {
    azurerm = {
      source  = "hashicorp/azurerm"
      version = "=2.37.0"
    }
  }
}

provider "azurerm" {  
  features {}
}

# Create a resource group
resource "azurerm_resource_group" "instance" {
  name     = "test-sonar"
  location = "uksouth"
}

# Generate Password
resource "random_password" "password" {
  length = 24
  special = true
  override_special = "_%@"
}

# Module
module "sonarqube" {
    depends_on                        = [azurerm_resource_group.instance]
    source                            = "./modules/sonarqube"
    tags                              = { Project = "Sonar", Environment = "Dev" }
    resource_group_name               = azurerm_resource_group.instance.name
    resource_group_location           = azurerm_resource_group.instance.location
    
    sql_server_credentials            = {
        admin_username = "sonaradmin"
        admin_password = random_password.password.result
    }

    container_registry_config         = {
        name           = "myregistry"
        resource_group = "my-registry-rg"
    }

    sonar_config                      = {
        container_group_name  = "sonarqubecontainer"
        required_memory_in_gb = "4"
        required_vcpu         = "2"
        image_name            = "my-sonar:latest"
        dns_name              = "my-custom-sonar"
    }

    sql_server_config                = {
       name    = "sql-sonarqube"
       version = "12.0"
    }

    sql_database_config              = {
        name                        = "sonarqubedb"
        sku                         = "GP_S_Gen5"
        auto_pause_delay_in_minutes = 60
        min_cpu_capacity            = 0.5
        max_cpu_capacity            = 2
        max_db_size_gb              = 250
    }

    storage_share_quota_gb            = {  
        data       = 50
        extensions = 10
        logs       = 20
    }
}

By using the random_password resource to create a SQL password no secrets are included and there is no need to know the password as long as the SonarQube Server does.
The full code used here can be found in my GitHub repo.

I am sure there are still improvements that could be made to this setup but hopefully it will help anyone wanting to use ACI for running a SonarQube server.

Next Steps

Once the container instance is running you might not want it running 24/7 so using an Azure Function or Logic App to stop and start the instance when its not needed will definitely save money. I plan to run Azure Functions to start the container at 08:00 and stop the container at 18:00 Monday to Friday.

As this setup is public, a version that uses your own network and is private might be a good next step.

Azure Pipelines

Azure Pipelines – Running UI Tests on Multiple Agents Continued

In my previous article Azure Pipelines – Running UI Tests on Multiple Agents I focused on running UI tests using the VSTest task on windows agents. In this article I am going to look at splitting up the tests by using a PowerShell script and then running over multiple ubuntu agents.

As with the previous article the code is a  basic ASP.NET Core website project and a UI test project using Selenium and NUnit. Being built using .NET Core the tests can be ran on ubuntu agents instead of windows.

PowerShell Script

As I mentioned the split of the tests for this configuration is going to be done by a PowerShell script, so what does the script need to do:

  1. Get a list of tests
  2. Split the tests based on the number of agents
  3. Provide a way to get the list for a given agent
  4. Set a variable for the Azure Pipelines to use
  1. To get a list of tests I have used the dotnet test option –list-tests
$dotnetExe = Get-Command 'dotnet' -ErrorAction Stop
$Configuration = 'Release'

$testList = & $dotnetExe test --configuration $Configuration --no-build --list-tests | Select-String -Pattern Given

When running dotnet test a Microsoft header is added to the output e.g.

Microsoft (R) Test Execution Command Line Tool Version 16.7.0
Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.

The following Tests are available:

By using Select-String the header can be omitted. In my case all the test names start with Given so that is pattern I have added so the header is not added to the list of tests.

2. This part uses the modulus of count and number of agents to add the test to the list based on the output. Test one goes in list 0, Test two goes in list 1 and so on. I am also going to use dotnet test to run the code and so a filter is created using the filter property and the test name to be used later.

$testFilters = @{}
$count = 0

0..($agents-1) | ForEach-Object {
  $testFilters[$_] = New-Object System.Collections.ArrayList
}
   
$tests | ForEach-Object {      
  $item=$_.ToString().Trim()
  $filter = "$filterProperty=$item"
  [void]$testFilters[$count % $agents].Add($filter);
  $count++
}

3. The code above results in multiple lists in a hashmap so it can be accessed by index and then each filter can be joined with a pipe separator required by dotnet test filter option.

$filter = $testFilters[$agentNumber-1] -join "|"

4. As per the documentation for Azure Pipelines variables can be defined easily.

echo "##vso[task.setvariable variable=agentTestFilter]$filter"

The whole PowerShell script with parameters ends up like this:

param (    
    [Parameter(Mandatory=$true)][int]$agentNumber,
    [Parameter(Mandatory=$true)][int]$agents,
    [Parameter(Mandatory=$true)][string]$filterProperty = "Name"
)

function splitTests($tests, [int]$agents, $filterProperty) {

    if($null -eq $tests) {

        throw "There are no tests to split"
    }

    $testFilters = @{}
    $count = 0

    0..($agents-1) | ForEach-Object {
        $testFilters[$_] = New-Object System.Collections.ArrayList
    }
   
    $tests | ForEach-Object {      
        $item=$_.ToString().Trim()
        $filter = "$filterProperty=$item"
        [void]$testFilters[$count % $agents].Add($filter);
        $count++
    }
    
    return $testFilters
}

$dotnetExe = Get-Command 'dotnet' -ErrorAction Stop
$Configuration = 'Release'

$testList = & $dotnetExe test --configuration $Configuration --no-build --list-tests | Select-String -Pattern Given
$testFilters = splitTests -tests $testList -agents $agents -filterProperty $filterProperty
$filter = $testFilters[$agentNumber-1] -join "|"
echo "##vso[task.setvariable variable=agentTestFilter]$filter"

Azure Pipeline YAML

In the previous article I used multiple jobs but for this version I am going to use a single job that builds the tests, runs the PowerShell script defined above, I’ve called the script ‘split-tests.ps1’, and then execute the filtered tests on the given agent.

trigger:
  - master

variables:
  buildConfiguration: Release
  uiTestFolder: 'uitests'

jobs:
- job: RunTests
  displayName: Build and Run UI Tests
  pool:
    vmImage: ubuntu-latest
  strategy:
    parallel: 5
  variables:
      siteName: mytest-app
      baseSiteUrl: 'https://$(siteName).azurewebsites.net/'
  steps:
  - task: DotNetCoreCLI@2
    displayName: Restore Packages
    inputs:
      command: 'restore'
      projects: 'mytests/*.csproj'
  - task: DotNetCoreCLI@2
    displayName: Build Tests
    inputs:
      command: 'build'
      projects: '**/mytests.csproj'
      arguments: '--configuration $(buildConfiguration)'
  - task: FileTransform@2
    displayName: Configure Test Run
    inputs:
      folderPath: '$(Build.SourcesDirectory)'
      xmlTransformationRules: ''
      jsonTargetFiles: '**/*settings.json'
  - task: PowerShell@2
    displayName: Check File Substitution
    inputs:
      targetType: 'inline'
      script: 'Get-Content -Path $(Build.SourcesDirectory)/**/testsettings.json'
      pwsh: true
  - task:  PowerShell@2
    displayName: Split UI Tests
    inputs:
     filePath: 'split-tests.ps1'
     workingDirectory: $(Build.SourcesDirectory)
     arguments: '-agentNumber $(System.JobPositionInPhase) -agents 5 -filterProperty "Name"'
     pwsh: true
  - task: DotNetCoreCLI@2
    displayName: Run UI Tests
    inputs:
      command: 'test'
      projects: '**/*tests.csproj'
      arguments: '--configuration $(buildConfiguration) --no-build --filter $(agentTestFilter)'

So the results in the Azure DevOps UI show each of the jobs and seemed to run quite quickly.

Conclusion

The tests running on ubuntu and split by PowerShell seemed to be significantly faster than using the VSTest task on Windows even though there are very few tests.

This has been a fun to workout how to run C# UI tests using Azure Pipelines across multiple agents and trying different techniques. I hope that this is useful for others writing Azure Pipelines for their UI tests.