Jenkins and Docker – Part 1 of 3

This post is the first in a series of 3 introducing the combined power of Jenkins, Docker, and the Jenkins DSL.

They should hopefully provide enough information to get to grips with both Docker and Jenkins – what they both do and how to use them – by showing some practical examples of them working together.

The first step, if you haven’t already, is to download and install Docker on your platform – the Docker website covers this in good detail for most platforms…

Docker for Mac

Docker for Windows

Docker for Linux

Once that’s done, you can try it out with the customary “Hello World” example…

I’m running Docker on an Ubuntu VM, but the commands and the results are the same regardless of platform – that’s one of the main Docker concepts.

You can then check which processes (docker containers) are running using the “docker ps” command – in my example you can see that there’s one Jenkins image running. If you run “docker ps -a” you will see all containers (including stopped ones, of which I have a few on this host):

and you can check your Docker version with:

root@ubuntud:~# docker --version
Docker version 1.13.0, build 49bf474

Now that the basic setup is done, we can move on to something a little more interesting – downloading and running a “Dockerised” Jenkins container.

I’m going to use my own Dockerised Jenkins Image, and there will be more detail on that in the next post – you’re welcome to try it out too, just run this command in your terminal:

docker run -d -p 8080:8080 donaldsimpson/dockerjenkins

if you don’t happen to have my docker image cached locally (like I do) then docker will automatically download it for you from Docker Hub then run it:

That command did a quite few important things, here’s a quick explanation of them all:

docker run -d

tells docker that we want to run the container in the background so that we can carry on and do other things while it runs. The alternative is -it, for an interactive/foreground session.

docker run -d -p 8080:8080

The -p 8080:8080 tells docker to map port 8080 on the local host to port 8080 in the running container. This means that when we visit localhost:8080 the request will be passed through to the container.

docker run -d -p 8080:8080 donaldsimpson/dockerjenkins

and finally, we have the namespace and name of the Docker image we want to run – my “donaldsimpson/dockerjenkins” one – more on this later!

You can now visit port 8080 on your Docker host and see that Jenkins is up and running….


That’s Jenkins up and running and being happily served from the Docker container that was just pulled from Docker Hub – how easy was that?!

And the best thing is, it’s entirely and reliably repeatable, it’s guaranteed to work the same on all platforms that can run Docker, and you can quickly and easily update, delete, replace, change or share it with others! Ok, that’s more than one thing, but the point is that there’s a lot to like here 🙂

That’s it for this post – in the next one we will look in to the various elements that came together to make this work – the code and configuration files in my Git repo, the automated build process on Docker Hub that builds and updates the Docker Image, and how the two are related.

Using ngrok to work around Carrier Grade NAT (CGNAT)

I wrote a while back about my troubles with Carrier Grade Nat (CGNAT), and described a solution that involved tunneling out of CGNAT using a combination of SSH and an AWS server – the full article is here.

That worked ok, but it was pretty fragile and not ideal – connections could be dropped, sessions expired, hosts rebooted etc etc. Passing data through my EC2 host is also not ideal.

My “new and improved” solution to this is to use a local tool like ngrok to create the tunnel for me. This is proving to be far simpler to manage, more reliable, and ngrok also provides a load of handy additional features too.

Here’s a very quick run through of getting it up and running on my Ubuntu VM, which sits behind CGNAT and hosts a webserver I’d like to be able to access from the outside occasionally. This is the front end to my ZoneMinder CCTV interface, but it could be anything you want to host and on any port.

First off, don’t use the default Ubuntu install, that will give you version 1.x which is out of date and didn’t work for me at all – it’s better, quicker and easier to get the latest binary for your platform directly from the ngrok website, extract that on your host and run it directly or add it to you PATH.

wget http://<YourDownloadURL>/


once that’s downloaded and extracted, you can (optionally) add your auth token, which you get when you register on the ngrok site. This is optional, but you get some worthwhile features from doing so.

./ngrok authtoken <YourAuthTokenFromTheNgrokWebsite>

Then you simply run ngrok like so:

./ngrok http 80

which should give you a console something like this:

from here you can get the Forwarding URL (http://<uniqueid> in this example) and your local port 80 should be available on that from anywhere on the internet.

Note I’m using this command:

screen ./ngrok http -region eu 80

to start up ngrok using screen, so I can CTRL+A+D out of that and resume it when I want using screen -r,

Here’s a pic of the console running, showing requests, and Apache being served by the ngrok URL:

That’s it – quick and easy, more stable, and far less faffing too.


There are tons of other options worth exploring, like specifying basic HTTP auth, saving your config to a local file, running other ports etc, all of them are explained in the documentation.

There’s a handy review of ngrok and several very similar tools here:

And some good tips & tricks with ngrok here:
as noted in the comments on that page: you obviously need to be safe and sensible when opening up ports to the internet…



Tunneling out of Carrier Grade Nat (CGNAT) with SSH and AWS

Update: there’s a new & improved solution here too.

After switching to a 4G broadband provider, who shall (pretty much) remain nameless, I discovered they were using Carrier-Grade  NAT (aka CGNAT) on me.

There are more details on that here and here but in short, the ISP is ‘saving’ IPv4 addresses by sharing them out amongst several users and NAT’ing their connections – in much the same way as you do at home, when you port forward multiple devices using one external IP address: my home network is just one ‘device’ in a pool of their users, who are all sharing the same external IP address.

The impact of this for me is that I can no longer NAT my internal network services, as I have been given a shared pubic-facing IPv4 address. This approach may be practical for a bunch of mobile phone users wanting to check Twitter and Facebook, but it sucks big time for gamers or anyone else wanting to connect things from their home network to the internet. So, rather than having “Everything Everywhere” through my very expensive new 4G connection – with 12 months contract – it turns out I get “not much to anywhere“.

The Aim

Point being; I would like to be able to check my internal servers and websites when I’m away – especially my ZoneMinder CCTV setup – but my home broadband no longer has its own internet address. So an alternative solution had to be found…

The “TL; DR” summary

I basically use 2 servers, the one at home (unhelpfully now stuck behind my ISPs CGNAT) and one in the Amazon Cloud (my public facing AWS web server with DNS), and create a reverse SSH Tunnel between them. Plus a couple of essential tweaks you wont find out about if you don’t read any further 🙂

The Steps
Step 1 – create the reverse SSH tunnel:

This is initiated on the internal/home server, and connects outwards to the AWS host on the internet, like so.

ssh -N -R 8888:localhost:80 -i /home/don/DonKey.pem

Here is an explanation of each part of this command:

-N (from the SSH man page) “Do not execute a remote command.  This is useful for just forwarding ports.”

-R (from the SSH man page)  “Specifies that connections to the given TCP port or Unix socket  on the remote (server) host are to be forwarded to the given host and port, or Unix socket, on the local side.”

8888:localhost:80 – means, create the reverse tunnel from localhost port 80 (my ZoneMinder web app) to port 8888 on the destination host. This doesn’t look right to me, but it’s what’s needed for a reverse tunnel

the -i and everything after it is just me connecting to my AWS host as my user with an identity file. YMMV, whatever you nornally do should be fine.

When you run this command you should not see any issues or warnings. You need to leave it running using whatever method you like – personally I like screen for this kind of thing, and will also be setting up Jenkins jobs later (below).

Step 2 – check on the AWS host

With that SSH command still running on your local server you should now be able to connect to the web app from your remote AWS Web Server, by reading from port 8888 with curl or wget.

This is a worthwhile check to perform at this point, before moving on to the next 2 steps – for example:

don@MyAWSHost:~$ wget -q -O- localhost:8888/zm | grep -i ZoneMinder
      <h1>ZoneMinder Login</h1>

This shows that port 8888 on my AWS server is currently connected to the ZoneMinder application that’s running on port 80 of my home web server. A good sign.

Step 3 – configure AWS Security & Ports

Progress is being made, but in order to be able to hit that port with a browser and have things work as I’d like, I still need to configure AWS to allow incomming connections to the newly chosen port 8888.

This is done through the Amazon EC2 Management Console using the left hand menu item “Network & Security” then “Security Groups”:

awsmenuThis should load your current Security Groups, which you can click on to Edit. You may have a few to check.

Now select Add and configure a new Inbound rule something like so:

awsinboundruleIt’s the “Custom TCP Rule” second from the bottom, with port 8888 and “Anywhere” and “” as the source in my picture. Don’t go for the HTTP option – unless you’re sure that’s what you want 🙂

Step 4 – configure SSH on AWS host

At this point I thought I was done… but it didn’t work and I couldn’t immediately see why, as the wget check was all good.

Some head scratching and checking of firewalls later, I realised it was most likely to be permissions on the port I was tunneling – it’s not very likely to be exposed and world readable by default, is it? Doh.

After a quick google I found a site that explained the changes I needed to make to my sshd_config file, so:

vim /etc/ssh/sshd_config

and add a new line that says:

GatewayPorts yes

to that file, checking that there’s no existing reference to GatewayPorts – edit this file carefully and at your own risk.

As I understand it – which may best be described as ‘loosely’ – the reason this worked when I tested with wget earlier is because I was connecting to the loopback interface; this change to sshd binds the port to all interfaces. See the detailed answer on this post for further detail, including ways to limit this to specific users.

Once that’s done, restart sshd with

service ssh restart

and you should now be able to connect by pointing a web browser at port 8888 (or whatever you set) of your AWS web server and see your app responding from the other end:

Step 5 – automate it with Jenkins

The final step for me is to wrap this (the ssh tunnel creation part) up in a Jenkins job running on my home server.

This is useful for a number of reasons, such as avoiding and resetting defunct/stale connections and enabling scheduling – i.e. I can have the port forwarded when I want it, and have it shutdown during the hours I don’t.

Extending Jenkins book

My new book, Extending Jenkins by Donald Simpson, has been published!

Here’s a free sample: Chapter 8 – Testing and Debugging Jenkins Plugins

You can buy the full book in either electronic or paperback format direct from the publishers or through Amazon here in the UK or Amazon in the US

About This Book

  • Find out how to interact with Jenkins from within Eclipse, NetBeans, and IntelliJ IDEA
  • Develop custom solutions that act upon Jenkins information in real time
  • A step-by-step, practical guide to help you learn about extension points in existing plugins and how to build your own plugin

Who This Book Is For

This book is aimed primarily at developers and administrators who are interested in taking their interaction and usage of Jenkins to the next level.

The book assumes you have a working knowledge of Jenkins and programming in general, and an interest in learning about the different approaches to customizing and extending Jenkins so it fits your requirements and your environment perfectly.

Table of Contents

1: Preparatory Steps
2: Automating the Jenkins UI
3: Jenkins and the IDE
4: The API and the CLI
5: Extension Points
6: Developing Your Own Jenkins Plugin
7: Extending Jenkins Plugins
8: Testing and Debugging Jenkins Plugins
9: Putting Things Together

What You Will Learn

  • Retrieve and act upon Jenkins information in real time
  • Find out how to interact with Jenkins through a variety of IDEs
  • Develop your own Form and Input validation and customization
  • Explore how Extension points work, and develop your own Jenkins plugin
  • See how to use the Jenkins API and command-line interface
  • Get to know how to remotely update your Jenkins configuration
  • Design and develop your own Information Radiator
  • Discover how Jenkins customization can help improve quality and reduce costs

In Detail

Jenkins CI is the leading open source continuous integration server. It is written in Java and has a wealth of plugins to support the building and testing of virtually any project. Jenkins supports multiple Software Configuration Management tools such as Git, Subversion, and Mercurial.

This book explores and explains the many extension points and customizations that Jenkins offers its users, and teaches you how to develop your own Jenkins extensions and plugins.

First, you will learn how to adapt Jenkins and leverage its abilities to empower DevOps, Continuous Integration, Continuous Deployment, and Agile projects. Next, you will find out how to reduce the cost of modern software development, increase the quality of deliveries, and thereby reduce the time to market. We will also teach you how to create your own custom plugins using Extension points.

Finally, we will show you how to combine everything you learned over the course of the book into one real-world scenario.

Beginning Docker video course

Blog updates have been scarce recently as I have been busy working on a couple of publications… the first of which has just been released:

This is a hands-on video course packed with practical examples to get you started with Docker.

Here is the course overview video:


And here is a free sample video from Section 2, “Docker Basics” where we take a look at running containers and the 3 different types of “containerized” commands:


and this final sample video is taken from Section 5 – “Running a Web Application with Docker“.

In this clip we build our own web application using Python, pip and Redis, which we will then “dockerize” and ship to “production”:


More detail from the Packt website:

About This Video

  • Master Docker commands by creating and publishing a sample web application
  • Build and manage your own custom Docker Containers to set up data sources, filesystems, and networking
  • Build your own personal Heroku PaaS with Dokku

Who This Video Is For

If you’re a developer who wants to learn about Docker, a powerful tool to manage your applications effectively on various platforms, this course is perfect for you! It assumes basic knowledge of Linux but supplies everything you need to know to get your own Docker environment up and running.

What You Will Learn

  • Build new Docker containers and find and manage existing ones
  • Use the Docker Index, and create your own private one by using containers
  • Discover ways to automate Docker, and harness the power of containers!
  • Build your own Docker powered mini-Heroku Paas with Dokku
  • Set up Docker on your environment based on your application’s custom requirements
  • Master Docker patterns and enhancements using the Ambassador and Minimal containers

In Detail

One of the major challenges while creating an application is adapting your application to run smoothly on all of the plethora of operating systems available. Docker is an extremely efficient technology that allows you to wrap all your code along with its supporting files into a single bundle; it also guarantees that your application will behave in the same way on any host powered by Docker. You can also easily reuse existing Docker containers or create and publish your own. Unlike Virtual Machines, Docker containers are lightweight and more efficient.

Beginning Docker starts with the fundamentals of Docker—explaining how it works, how to set it up, and how to get started on leveraging the benefits of this technology. The course goes on to cover more advanced features and shows you how to create and share your own Docker images.

You will learn how to install Docker on your own machine, then how to manage it effectively, and then progress to creating and publishing your very own application. You will then learn a bit more about Docker Containers; built-in features and commands such as volumes, mounts, ports, and linking and constraining containers; before diving into running a web application.

Docker has functionality such as the Docker web API to handle complex automation processes which will be explained in detail. You will also learn how to use the Docker Hub to fetch and share containers, before running through the creation of your own Docker powered mini-Heroku

Beginning Docker covers everything required to get you up and running with Docker, with detailed real-world examples and helpful tips to make sure you get the most from it.

Style and Approach

An easy-to-follow and structured video tutorial with practical examples of Docker to help you get to grips with each and every aspect.

The course will take you on a journey from the basics to the advanced application of Docker containers, and includes several real-world scenarios to learn from.




Jenkins and Docker – Part One

This post lists the steps taken to get started with Docker – the basic install and getting a Docker container up and running on Ubuntu.

There’s nothing new or unusual in this section, but it forms the background of the next post(s) where I plan to go in to detail on different approaches to using Docker with Jenkins (and vice versa).

If you’re unfamiliar with Docker here is a good introduction:

and you can try Docker out easily on the docker site:



In my case the Ubuntu is a pretty ordinary “ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS (GNU/Linux 3.13.0-35-generic x86_64)” running as a guest VM on my Development VM Ware ESXi Server.

Installing docker on Ubuntu is trivial – here are the commands I found via a quick google, there were no issues…

apt-get -y install

(FYI it’s called as there’s a previous/existing package with the name docker)

fix path issues:

ln -sf /usr/bin/ /usr/local/bin/docker
sed -i '$acomplete -F _docker docker' /etc/bash_completion.d/

have docker start up at boot:

update-rc.d defaults

and that’s that done – all very simple, quick and straightforward, now it’s time to pull down an Ubuntu image…

docker pull ubuntu

once that’s done, you are ready to run a command (bash in the case of this quick test I found suggested elsewhere) in a docker container like so:

docker run -i -t ubuntu /bin/bash

(-i attaches stdin & stdout and -t allocates a terminal)

That’s it for this post – the next will look at dynamic Jenkins Slave provisioning using Docker Containers, Jenkins plugins for Docker and ways to use Docker for a variety of Jenkins build, deployment and test tasks for Continuous Integration, Continuous Build and DevOps purposes.







Extracting data from Jenkins



In Part I,  Information Radiators, I covered what they are, what the main benefits are, and the approach I usually use to set them up. This post goes in to more technical detail on how I extract this data from Jenkins.

My usual setup/architecture for Jenkins Information Radiators goes something along these lines:

  • TV screens running Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome in Kiosk Mode, and Tab Mix Plus set up to rotate tabs (if required)
  • JSP Pages served via Tomcat on Linux server (which also runs the data extracting script described below)
  • MySQL database on Linux server – contains tables with data pulled from Jenkins and other sources, and the config data too (which URL’s to monitor)

And you’ll need some Jenkins instances/jobs to monitor too, obviously 🙂

The Jenkins XML API is very useful for automating tasks like this – if you simply append “/api/xml” to a
Jenkins job URL, it will serve up an XML version – note there is also a JSON API and a CLI and plenty of other options, but I’m using what suits me.

The Jenkins XML API

For example, if you go to one of your Jenkins jobs and add /api/xml like this:


you should get back some XML, possibly roughly like this example:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
 <shortDescription>Started by timer</shortDescription>
 <fullDisplayName>MyJob #580</fullDisplayName>

That XML contains loads of very useful information inside handy XML tag descriptions – you just need a way to get at that data and then you can present it as you like…

XPAth queries and the Jenkins XML API

so to automate that, I used to extend that approach a to query Jenkins via the XML API using XPAth queries to bring back just the data I actually wanted, quite like querying a database.

For example, wget’ing this URL would return just the current value of the <building> tag in the above XML:


e.g. “true” or “false” – this was very useful and easy to do, but the functionality was removed/disabled in recent versions of Jenkins for security reasons, meaning that my processes that used it needed rewritten 🙁

Extracting the data – Plan B…

So, here’s the new solution I went for – the real scripts/methods do some error handling and cleaning up etc but I’m just highlighting the main functions and the high level logic behind each of them here;

get_url’s method:

query a table in MySQL that contains a list of the job names and URL’s to monitor
for each $JOB_NAME found, it calls the get_file method, passing that the URL as a parameter.

get_file method:

this takes a URL param, and uses curl to fetch and save the XML data from that URL to a temporary file (“xmlfile”):

curl -sL "$1" | xmllint --format - > xmlfile

Note I’m using “xmllint –format” there to nicely format the XML data, which makes processing it later much easier.

get_data method:

this first calls “get_if_building” (see below) to see if the job is currently running or not, then it does:

 if [[ "$IS_BUILDING" == "$TRUE_VAR" ]]; then
 RESULT_TEXT=`grep "result>" xmlfile | awk -F\> '{print $2}' | awk -F\< '{print $1}'`

get_if_building method:

this simply checks and sets the IS_BUILDING var like so:

IS_BUILDING=`grep building xmlfile | awk -F\> '{print $2}' | awk -F\< '{print $1}'`

Putting it all together

My script then updates the MySQL database with the results from each check: success/failure, date, build number, user, change details etc

I then have JSP pages that read data from that table, and translate things like true/false in to HTML that sets the background colours (Red, Amber, Green), and shows the appropriate blocks and details per job.

If you have a few browsers/TV’s or Monitors showing these strategically placed around the office, developers get rapid feedback on the result of their code changes which speeds up development, increases quality and reduces development time and costs – and they can be fun to watch and set up too 🙂



DIY Information Radiator



Information Radiators are used to provide people with feedback on the current status of code builds and automated tests in Continuous Integration and Agile development environments.

The basic idea is that when developers commit a code change, they can easily and quickly see that it has been picked up by the automated build process, and then (ideally within 10 minutes) see the result of their change; did the build succeeded and did the automated tests pass?

Martin Fowler’s description goes in to more detail on the ideas behind this approach and the function that Information Radiators serve.

The normal convention for these is to use colour coded blocks per build, using:

  • Green for good/passing jobs
  • Amber for either currently building/running jobs (or sometimes for unstable ones)
  • Red for failed jobs

Generally you want to keep things as clean, simple and uncluttered as possible, but sometimes it is helpful to add in a bit more info.

Details I have occasionally found worth adding include things like;

  • name and/or picture of the user who triggered (or broke!) the build
  • commit message from the code change that triggered the build
  • build number
  • history – number of recent fails or passes
  • date/time last failed and last checked

if you use amber for “unstable” rather than “build in progress”, you may want to add text to say if the job is currently building – I often use the “spinning wheel” icon thingy from jenkins itself :


Why build your own?

There are tons of readily available plugins that allow you to quickly and easily produce a Radiator or Wall panel from Jenkins, so why go to the bother of making your own?

Plugins are usually linked to one Jenkins instance (the one they are running on) and I have often found that alone to be too restrictive – having too many different radiators all over the place makes things too cluttered and uncertain, and people can easily start to “switch off” from them all – having one screen that people can understand at a glance usually works best.

Changing requirements – developers are constantly wanting/looking to improve processes and often come up with ideas and requests for things to try that may help them do their jobs – adding a bit of information from another source, for example, or changing the colours used to a different shade, or adding curved borders etc etc…

What I have found often works best, is to get all of the data I am interested in inside a database then write my own simple but flexible presentation layer from scratch – this gives me all the flexibility I could want (or may find myself wanting or needing later…) and importantly, it also allows me to leverage additional benefits by combining data from Jenkins with data from elsewhere – this means I can easily produce reports, charts, metrics etc that present a view comprised from multiple data sources throughout an organisation – for example, you can then easily create reports that combine:

  • jenkins – live information on the current state of builds and tests
  • defects – data on bugs and changes pulled from bug tracking apps (usually via jenkins jobs)
  • version control – the actual code change can be extracted from version control and linked to both the developer and bug details – the “svn log” command is useful for this
  • environment monitors – state and health of environments; database and app server health, deployed patch and code levels etc (again, these are usually other Jenkins jobs!)

and you can add in anything else you can get your hands on 🙂

This allows you to track the flow of a change right through the development life cycle – from the initial change/requirement/defect to the change itself at the code/file level, then the testing and building of it and the eventual release. This is far more than you need for a simple Information Radiator, but using this approach means that you can easily reuse much of the work in different ways.

Part II covers the technical approach I use for Extracting data from Jenkins

Jenkins Slave Nodes – using the Swarm Plugin



I’ve been trying out a new (to me at least) way to add a Jenkins Slave Node – using UDP auto discovery via the Jenkins Swarm Plugin

This is a very easy and nice way to do it, with minimal configuration/hassle required so you can quickly and easily add new Jenkins Slave Nodes to your Master Jenkins instance as and when they are required.

Here are my notes from setting this up – it’s pretty simple to do and worked well for me out of the box…

Set up a new instance of Jenkins:

  • Make & cd to a working directory

mkdir jenkinsswarm; cd jenkinsswarm

  • Fetch jenkins.war

curl -O

  • Start Jenkins

{/path/to/java/bin/}java -jar jenkins.war

After that, you should get console output along these lines…

Running from: /root/jenkinsswarm/jenkins.war
webroot: $user.home/.jenkins
18-Mar-2013 15:19:26 winstone.Logger logInternal
INFO: Beginning extraction from war file
Jenkins home directory: /root/.jenkins found at: $user.home/.jenkins
18-Mar-2013 15:19:33 winstone.Logger logInternal
INFO: HTTP Listener started: port=8080
18-Mar-2013 15:19:33 winstone.Logger logInternal
INFO: Winstone Servlet Engine v0.9.10 running: controlPort=disabled
18-Mar-2013 15:19:34 jenkins.InitReactorRunner$1 onAttained
INFO: Started initialization
18-Mar-2013 15:19:35 jenkins.InitReactorRunner$1 onAttained
INFO: Listed all plugins
18-Mar-2013 15:19:35 jenkins.InitReactorRunner$1 onAttained
INFO: Prepared all plugins
18-Mar-2013 15:19:35 jenkins.InitReactorRunner$1 onAttained
INFO: Started all plugins
18-Mar-2013 15:19:41 jenkins.InitReactorRunner$1 onAttained
INFO: Augmented all extensions
18-Mar-2013 15:19:41 jenkins.InitReactorRunner$1 onAttained
INFO: Loaded all jobs
18-Mar-2013 15:19:44 org.jenkinsci.main.modules.sshd.SSHD start
INFO: Started SSHD at port 25133
18-Mar-2013 15:19:44 jenkins.InitReactorRunner$1 onAttained
INFO: Completed initialization
18-Mar-2013 15:19:44 hudson.TcpSlaveAgentListener <init>
INFO: JNLP slave agent listener started on TCP port 41790
18-Mar-2013 15:19:44 hudson.WebAppMain$2 run
INFO: Jenkins is fully up and running

– that looks happy enough, and as you can see from the line “HTTP Listener started: port=8080” it’s running on the default port, so connect to http://yourhost:8080 and you should see something like this…


the next step is to install the Swarm Plugin ( on this Jenkins Master instance so that Swarm Clients can connect to it.

Do this by going to “Manage Jenkins > Manage Plugins > Available” then selecting to install the “Swarm Plugin“.

Once that’s done you should see that the plugin has been installed…

Now that your new Jenkins server is set up and ready, hop over to your other Jenkins Slave/Client host and do the following…

mkdir for the swarm client

mkdir swarmclient; cd swarmclient/

Get the Swarm Client jar file from the ‘net

curl -O

Start up the Client

java -jar swarm-client-1.8-jar-with-dependencies.jar
Found 1 eligible Jenkins.
Connecting to
Attempting to connect to a2721b16-04e4-0d962
18-Mar-2013 15:33:22 org.apache.commons.httpclient.HttpMethodDirector authenticateHost
WARNING: Required credentials not available for BASIC <any realm>
18-Mar-2013 15:33:22 org.apache.commons.httpclient.HttpMethodDirector authenticateHost
WARNING: Preemptive authentication requested but no default credentials available
18-Mar-2013 15:33:23 hudson.remoting.jnlp.Main$CuiListener <init>
INFO: Hudson agent is running in headless mode.
18-Mar-2013 15:33:23 hudson.remoting.jnlp.Main$CuiListener status
INFO: Locating server among []
18-Mar-2013 15:33:23 hudson.remoting.jnlp.Main$CuiListener status
INFO: Connecting to
18-Mar-2013 15:33:23 hudson.remoting.jnlp.Main$CuiListener status
INFO: Handshaking
18-Mar-2013 15:33:23 hudson.remoting.jnlp.Main$CuiListener status
INFO: Connected

Now take a look at your browser and you should see a new Node automatically added to the Master Jenkins instance…


A very handy and flexible approach to adding/managing Nodes and workload – many thanks to the developers behind this!




New Home/lab ESXi 5 Server – Part 1

I wrote a while ago about my plans to set up a home VM Ware ESXi 5 server… and although you can’t tell the difference, this site is now happily running on it 🙂


The server I went for is an HP ProLiant ML110 G6. It’s got a single socket Xeon Quad Core X3430 processor, 16GB of RAM and at the moment 2TB of SATA3 disk – I will add more when I finish migrating data off the old servers.

There are some limits on the spec you can use with the free version of ESX – I think it’s currently one physical processor and 32G RAM, which means this server is fine.

Install and setup:

The ML110 is a compact and well-made server and is very quiet when up and running – it sounds like a hovercraft for the first few seconds, but quickly calms down to run not much louder than a normal desktop PC. The chassis isn’t large but it’s well laid out and there’s room for 4 HDD’s in there, maybe more if required if the DVD drive was removed (it’s not on the ESX compatibility list anyway so I can’t use it for this).

I installed ESXi 5 from a 2GB USB drive which is attached to the USB socket directly on the motherboard – the BIOS boots from this no problem, and gave me the option to install ESXi 5 on to the USB drive, leaving my HDD(‘s) free to use as 100% dedicated ESX Datastores, and also meaning I can exchange them when I need to without having to reinstall or worry about the VM Ware OS.

The server-side installation of ESXi 5 is a breeze – I rehearsed and wrote about it on my ESXi 5 on an iMac under Fusion post  and it was no different here – it took about 10 minutes or so and there were no tricky questions. Specify the user name and password, tell it to use all of the available HDD and there’s not much more to it. Once you have set up networking the way you want it (the DHCP setup should be fine for most installs) you don’t really need to go near the server again – it’s all managed remotely via the client applications and SSH (more on that in Part 2) from then on.

Creating VMs:

Once you have the vSphere client install done (it’s far more trouble than the server install – plus it requires .Not and J# runtimes – argh! – so it requires Windows – double-argh! – so had to be done initially on a Windows VM running on my iMac in my case… triple-argh!) you can connect to your ESXi 5 server using the IP address, User Name and Password that you set up and start creating some VMs.

To get the first VM created (in my case this had to be a Windows one that I could then use to run the vSphere client on and RDP over to instead of having to run a VM on my Mac all the time), I uploaded an ISO image to the datastore that I had created, then added a new VM in the vSphere Client and set that ISO as the CD image it should load at boot time. You just specify the OS type, RAM, CPU, Networking and disk(s) you want and power it on – all very easy and quick.

Converting a VM Ware Workstation VM in to a VM Ware ESX Guest

I also wanted to convert the Ubuntu VM Ware Workstation image that this web site runs on, so I could move it off the old server and have it running on ESX as a “proper” ESX guest/host. This was really easy too; the VM Ware Converter allows you to specify a local VM of pretty much any type and supply the details of the target ESX server, and it then converts and loads it all for you – it took quite a while to complete but it worked without issues, and I was then able to power on my Ubuntu website VM under ESXi 5, where it’s happily running right now. No need to reinstall WordPress, Postfix, PHP, Java, Jenkins, MySQL etc etc – happy days.

Here are some Pics of the ESXi5 console shortly after set-up…


1. General info on the reported spec and current overall resource usage of the HP ProLiant ML110 G6:

ESXi 5 console general information


2. Some of the Health Monitoring and General Configuration options:

Inventory and general settings and diagnostics pic

3. Overview of Guest and Host resources:

Guest and Host resources



I did a fair bit of research beforehand to make sure the install and hardware would be ok, which meant the actual set up was trivial – once it’s done all you need to do is create VMs and allocate resources; there is very little work or maintenance required – especially compared to what would be needed to run multiple physical servers all with their own hardware. Creating new VMs is very easy, and the performance is good so far – the processor is not stressed at all, and the ESX memory management does a good job – I’ve had up to 6 VMs running at the same time and still have about half the memory free!

Next plans:

One of my main reasons for doing this was to provide a test platform for automating, creating and managing Linux VMs using Jenkins as a front end and DNS records to control what is deployed where and when – I want to be able to select a few options, then click a button and have my new host created in minutes and to the right spec, similar to the Amazon EC2 set up but code deployment linked in too, and I will write more on this when I’ve done it.

Plans include a mixture of: VM Ware Templates, Perl, Jenkins jobs, Jenkins Nodes, Puppet, Tomcat, etc

Next Post:

There are a few other things I have already done that I’d like to document too including…

Accessing ESXi 5 via SSH – how to and a summary of useful commands etc
More detail on Remote desktop via ssh tunnels etc
VM Ware command line tools
DNS and AD/LDAP servers