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Efficiently deploying Django

Efficiently deploying Django

ChiPy: Chicago's Official Python User Group – ChiPy WebDev / DevOps SIG – Chicago, 2.6.2020.
(video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvnR15IJnMI )

Python Croatia Meetup – Zagreb, 10.3.2020.

Dražen Lučanin

June 03, 2020

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  1. Efficiently deploying
    Dražen Lučanin



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  2. So, you wrote a Django
    web app…
    • Followed something like the polls tutorial

    • Created your own web app

    • e.g. for keeping track of your family culinary recipes

    • everything is running nicely on http://localhost:8000

    • now how do you let your users access the app?

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  3. … just need to deploy it
    • Should be easy, right…

    • hm… What’s Apache?

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  4. Ch. 1 Self-hosting

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  5. OK, let's take a step back
    • Core components

    • web server

    • domain

    • database(s)

    • Core actions

    • start everything

    • keep things running

    • Security

    • log errors & warnings

    • encryption

    • backups
    Ready to jump down the rabbit hole?

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  6. Web server
    • No, we’re not gonna use Apache

    • We’d go for nginx

    • Now a problem is nginx (or Apache) doesn’t support Django directly

    • python manage.py runserver ?

    • We need to set up a production-ready application server like uWSGI
    (or gunicorn) that knows how to run our Django app

    • Then we need to configure nginx as a passthrough for this
    server… except for static / media files… those need to be served
    by nginx

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  7. Connect the domain
    • Namecheap a decent domain registrar

    • A record if you have a fixed IP

    • CNAME if you’re forwarding to another domain

    • just note that CNAME on the root domain doesn’t always
    play nicely with MX rules

    • check if there is ANAME / ALIAS support

    • or connect your app via a subdomain like

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  8. Database(s)
    • Postgres for your relational database

    • You might need a task queue like Celery

    • Redis is a good option for the backend

    • Follow the tutorials and get everything set up

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  9. Start & keep running
    • So how do you start everything?

    • nginx, postgres and redis will start automatically via a
    systemd service

    • What about uwsgi?

    • You could write your custom systemd service

    • You could also use something like Supervisor

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  10. Yeah another one of those…

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  11. Logging & monitoring
    • Logging errors – https://sentry.io/

    • Monitoring – https://newrelic.com/

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  12. Security
    • Oh yeah, we need to encrypt our traffic otherwise

    • Let’s encrypt is a free TLS certificate issuer – decent tutorial

    • but we need to set up the certbot

    • update our nginx config

    • set up a periodic task to auto-upgrade our certificate

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  13. OS upgrades
    • Hope you’re upgrading your OS

    • Ubuntu has unattended upgrades for important security
    patches – off by default

    • My little Ansible script for turning this on for my servers

    • https://github.com/punkrockdev/server

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  14. uwsgi
    namecheap letsencrypt

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  15. Summary
    • We have a bunch of services

    • We’re responsible for maintaining them

    • They will break and change over time

    • We need to keep our Django app configured to know where everything is

    • Can this be automated?

    • To an extent, yes – there are config management tools like Ansible

    (of Salt, Chef, Puppet)

    • But there are better ways…

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  16. Ch. 2 The twelve-
    factor app

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  17. You have a problem?
    • Start throwing money at it!

    • Platform-as-a-service

    • Heroku the most popular example

    • At $7 / month you can get a “dyno”

    • a thing that knows how to run your Django app

    • what’s under the hood? Someone else’s problem!

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  18. Remember all those
    • Well, in Heroku they come fully integrated

    • You can easily enable something like Postgres or Redis

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  19. A whole marketplace

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  20. Is there a catch?
    • Well, there is still a fair amount of configuration necessary

    • Heroku integrates all the services through the twelve-
    factor app methodology

    • But don’t worry, you’ll see it’s a good thing!

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  21. The twelve factors
    • I. Codebase – One codebase tracked in revision control, many deploys

    • II. Dependencies – Explicitly declare and isolate dependencies

    • III. Config – Store config in the environment

    • IV. Backing services – Treat backing services as attached resources

    • V. Build, release, run – Strictly separate build and run stages

    • VI. Processes – Execute the app as one or more stateless processes

    • VII. Port binding – Export services via port binding

    • VIII. Concurrency – Scale out via the process model

    • IX. Disposability – Maximize robustness with fast startup and graceful shutdown

    • X. Dev/prod parity – Keep development, staging, and production as similar as possible

    • XI. Logs – Treat logs as event streams

    • XII. Admin processes – Run admin/management tasks as one-off processes

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  22. So how do we start?
    • You can follow the official Heroku tutorial

    • You can also use my Yeoman generator

    • https://github.com/metakermit/generator-django-rest

    • Yeoman – a JavaScript-based (sssh ) code generator

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  23. Very quick to start
    npm install -g yo
    npm install -g generator-django-rest
    mkdir aviato
    cd aviato
    yo django-rest

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  24. … and it’s live

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  25. How does it work?

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  26. Ch. 3 The self-hosted
    twelve-factor app

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  27. Now, Heroku can get
    • Those $7 / month can easily become $14 / month if you
    need periodic tasks – where you need a scheduler

    • If you have more than one project running these things
    add up

    • If you’re not making money from those apps, that cost
    could be difficult to justify

    • Luckily the open source world has our back!

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  28. Dokku
    • http://dokku.viewdocs.io/dokku/

    • An open source Heroku alternative

    • Can be self-hosted on a $5 / month Digital Ocean droplet

    • Or a €3 / month Scaleway VM if you prefer something inside
    the EU

    • Dokku has some of the drawbacks of self-hosting, but it respects
    the 12-factor methodology so it’s much easier to maintain

    • Treat your servers as cattle, not as pets!

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  29. Easy from
    dokku plugin:install https://github.com/dokku/dokku-letsencrypt.git
    dokku plugin:install https://github.com/dokku/dokku-postgres.git
    dokku plugin:install https://github.com/dokku/dokku-redis.git
    dokku apps:create aviato
    dokku postgres:create aviatodb
    dokku postgres:link aviatodb aviato
    dokku redis:create aviatoredis
    dokku redis:link aviatoredis aviato
    dokku config:set --no-restart aviato \
    [email protected]
    dokku letsencrypt aviato
    dokku letsencrypt:auto-renew aviato
    dokku letsencrypt:cron-job --add

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  30. Aside – what about
    production production?

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  31. The “real” production
    • It’s all fun and games when you only have a small number
    of users (if any)

    • Eventually, your app might start getting serious traffic

    • Scaling of Django apps

    • a separate topic

    • lots of good talks on https://pyvideo.org/ (old PyCons)

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  32. Some pointers
    • Fully Docker-based deployments

    • Amazon ECS

    • Other AWS services – RDS etc.

    • Hosted Kubernetes solutions

    • Serverless

    • Serve a Django App from AWS Lambda

    • Different architecture

    • Are these the best approaches when you’re getting started

    • Probably not – you’re exploring what app your users might like

    • Only when you’ve found something worthwhile does it make sense to put more energy into scalability

    • When you do, however, find the right help – good DevOps engineers

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  33. Conclusion
    • Don’t go reinventing the wheel

    • The twelve-factor methodology rocks!

    • Heroku and Dokku rock!

    • Get out and have fun working on your side-projects!

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  34. Thanks!
    Dražen Lučanin


    Expect slides on http://metakermit.com/talks

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