Deploy CHT Core on Medic hosted EKS

Setting up a cloud hosted deployment of CHT Core on Medic’s AWS EKS infrastructure

While not directly available to the public who might be doing CHT Core development, having Medic’s process for using our Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (AWS EKS) publicly documented will help Medic employees new to EKS. As well, hopefully external developers looking to re-use Medic tools and process to use EKS will find it helpful.

While these instructions assume you work at Medic and have access to private GitHub repositories, many of the tools are fully open source.


Command Line

Be sure you have these tools installed and repos cloned:

  • awscli: version 2 or newer
  • kubectl: Must be within one minor version of cluster. If cluster is 1.24.x, use 1.23.x, 1.24.x or 1.25.x.
  • helm
  • jq
  • Medic Infra repo cloned

Optional: Autocomplete

Both helm and kubectl have autocomplete libraries. For power users and beginners alike, it adds a lot of discoverability. This code is for zsh, but bash, fish and powershell are supported as well:

source <(kubectl completion zsh)
source <(helm completion zsh)

See helm and kubectl docs to automatically loading these on every new session.

Request permission

By default, Medic teammates do not have EKS access and must file a ticket to request it:

  1. Create a ticket to get your DNS and Namespace created for EKS, which should match each other. As an example, a mrjones-dev name space would match DNS. The ticket should include requesting EKS access to be granted.
  2. Once the ticket in step one is complete, follow the CLI setup guide.

NB - Security key (e.g. Yubikey) users need to add a TOTP MFA (Time-based, One-Time Password Multi-Factor Authentication) too! CLI requires the TOTP values (6-digit number) and security keys are not supported. Security keys can only be used on web logins.

First time setup

These steps only need to be run once!

After you have created a ticket per “Request permission” above, you should get a link to sign up for AWS. Click the link and:

  1. Create new password ensure it’s 10+ characters including one alpha (a-z) and one special (~!@#$%^&*_-+=`|\(){}[]:;"'<>,.?/) character.

  2. Setup MFA. In top-right corner of browser, there is a drop-down menu with your username @ medic. Click that and then on “My Security Credentials”

  3. Assign an MFA device and give it the same name as your username: In AWS web GUI, click your name in upper right:

    1. Security Credentials
    2. scroll down to “Multi-factor authentication (MFA)”
    3. click “Assign MFA device”
    4. enter a “Device name” (should match username)
    5. “Select MFA device” that you’re using
  4. Create Access Keys for Command Line Interface: In AWS web GUI, click your name in upper right -> Security Credentials -> scroll down to “Access keys” -> click “Create access key” -> for use case choose “Command Line Interface” -> click “Next” -> enter description and click “Create access key”

  5. Run aws configure and place appropriate access keys during prompts. Use eu-west-2 region. It should look like this:

    $ aws configure
    AWS Access Key ID [None]: <ACCESS-KEY-HERE>
    AWS Secret Access Key [None]: <SECRET-HERE>
    Default region name [None]: eu-west-2
    Default output format [None]:
  6. Run the Update Kubeconfig command, assuming username is mrjones and namespace is mrjones-dev - be sure to place these with yours: aws eks update-kubeconfig --name mrjones-dev --profile mrjones --region eu-west-2

Starting and stopping (aka deleting)

  1. Login with eks-aws-mfa-login script in the infra repo:
    ./eks-aws-mfa-login USERNAME  TOTP_HERE
  2. Ensure you’re using dev EKS cluster:
    kubectl config use-context arn:aws:eks:eu-west-2:720541322708:cluster/dev-cht-eks
  3. Create a new values.yaml file by copying this one. Be sure to update these values after you create it:
    • alpha-dev values to USERNAME-dev
    • Update certificate to the latest value from SRE - currently it’s arn:aws:iam::720541322708:server-certificate/2024-wildcard-dev-medicmobile-org-chain
    • Add a strong password - this instance is exposed to the Internet!
    • Put a UUID in secret - the command uuidgen is great for this
    • Update host to be your username. For example:
  4. Use uuidgen to fill in the secret in values.yaml
  5. Use a good passphrase (diceware!) to fill in password in values.yaml. Please note that a few special characters are unsupported in this field like :, @, ", ', etc. Also, do not use quotes "" to enclose your password, and do not use spaces in your password. This will not impact the deployment but will not let you log in to the CHT instance.
  6. Ensure you have the latest code of cht-core repo:
    git checkout master;git pull origin
  7. Deploy!:
    cd scripts/deploy;./cht-deploy -f PATH_TO/values.yaml
  8. Delete it when you’re done:
    helm delete USERNAME-dev --namespace USERNAME-dev

References and Debugging

More information on cht-deploy script is available in the CHT Core GitHub repository which includes specifics of the values.yaml file and more details about the debugging utilities listed below.


A summary of the utilities in cht-core/scripts/deploy directory, assuming mrjones-dev namespace:

  • list all resources: ./troubleshooting/list-all-resources mrjones-dev
  • view logs, assuming cht-couchdb-1 returned from prior command: ./troubleshooting/view-logs mrjones-dev cht-couchdb-1
  • describe deployment, assuming cht-couchdb-1 returned from 1st command: ./troubleshooting/describe-deployment mrjones-dev cht-couchdb-1
  • list all deployments: ./troubleshooting/list-all-resources mrjones-dev

Getting shell

Sometimes you need to look at files and other key pieces of data that are not available with the current troubleshooting/view-logs script. In this case, getting an interactive shell on the pod can be helpful.

  1. First, get a list pods for your namespace: kubectl -n NAMESPACE get pods
  2. After finding the pod you’re interested, connect to the pod to get a shell: kubectl -n NAMESPACE exec -it PODNAME/CONTAINERNAME -- /bin/bash

invalid apiVersion Error

If you get the error:

exec plugin: invalid apiVersion “” when running kubectl version

You might be using an version of kubernetes api which is not supported by your kubectl client. This can sometimes happen in EKS clusters if aws cli is an older version, in most cases you need at least version 2 of aws cli. Check version by running: aws --version and note that version 2 cannot be installed through pip (See Command Line section above for installation instructions)

SRE Steps for granting users access to a namespace

If you’re on the SRE/Infra team and want to grant a Medic teammate access to EKS:

  1. Tools required: aws, eksctl, kubectl
  2. Create AWS User.
    • Attach IAM policy: Force_MFA and share auto-generated password safely
    • Have user log in and finish MFA, access key setup
    • SRE adds you to mfa-required-users group
  3. Add the namespaces and users to tf/eks/dev/access/
  4. Run tofu apply in the folder tf/eks/dev/access
  5. Create identitymapping if needed:

Reading the AWS guide for principal access may help here!