Install Dash Enterprise on Azure Kubernetes Service (Multi-node)

This guide can help you if you are a new Dash Enterprise customer looking to start with a Dash Enterprise 5 installation, or if you are upgrading from Dash Enterprise 4.X.

For Dash Enterprise 4 installation instructions, see the Dash Enterprise 4 version.

About the Installation

Dash Enterprise 5 runs on Kubernetes, an open-source system that automates application lifecycles. Several managed services allow you to get started with Kubernetes-based software quickly. In this guide, you’ll learn how to install Dash Enterprise on Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), available with an Azure subscription.

In AKS, you work with an AKS cluster, which consists of multiple worker machines that are also called nodes. You host your AKS cluster inside an Azure virtual network (VNet), a virtual network dedicated to your Azure subscription.

View diagram

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Installing Dash Enterprise is an automated process. You use a bootstrap node to run Plotly-provided scripts that provision the infrastructure and install Dash Enterprise on it. A bootstrap node is a virtual machine (VM) whose only purpose is to run the scripts. After Dash Enterprise is installed, you can decommission it. Using fresh VMs is the best practice because the scripts are unlikely to run into errors caused by other installed software. This guide describes how to provision an Azure VM to serve as your bootstrap node (please reach out to our Customer Success team if you’re unable to use Azure VMs).

As part of the automated infrastructure provisioning, the AKS cluster is provisioned with the Azure CLI az aks create command. A VNet is created if you don’t already have one, and a load balancer is created as the main point of entry for all traffic directed towards Dash Enterprise.

Remember that these resources count towards your Azure quotas. Review your Azure billing and quotas if necessary.

The cluster nodes belong to a single availability zone (AZ). The Dash Enterprise core system isn’t currently configured for high availability; however, as long as the core system is available, Dash app developers can take advantage of features like app replicas to increase the availability of deployed apps. High availability for the core system may be supported in the future.

You’ll be installing Dash Enterprise as the single tenant on the AKS cluster—that is, no other software is installed on the cluster (except mandatory supporting software). Single-tenancy is well-suited for Dash Enterprise because it is a complex platform: Dash Enterprise interacts with the Kubernetes API to organize resources on the fly when developers perform tasks like deploying Dash apps and creating databases. Multi-tenancy is not currently supported.

Plotly uses Replicated to package and deliver Dash Enterprise. You’ll be interacting with the KOTS Admin Console, part of the Replicated toolset, in the configuration step of this installation. After the installation, you’ll continue to use the KOTS Admin Console for system administration such as performing Dash Enterprise upgrades.

Prerequisites

Here’s what you’ll need before you can start your Dash Enterprise installation:

If you don’t already have a custom role that meets this prerequisite, create a role named “install-dash-enterprise” with:
az role definition create --role-definition '{"Name": "install-dash-enterprise","Description": "Role for Dash Enterprise installation","Actions": ["Microsoft.Resources/subscriptions/resourcegroups/read","Microsoft.Resources/subscriptions/resourcegroups/write","Microsoft.Resources/subscriptions/resourcegroups/delete","Microsoft.ContainerService/managedClusters/write","Microsoft.ContainerService/managedClusters/read","Microsoft.ContainerService/managedClusters/agentPools/write","Microsoft.ContainerService/managedClusters/agentPools/read","Microsoft.ContainerService/managedClusters/listClusterUserCredential/action"],"AssignableScopes": ["/subscriptions/'&lt;subscription-id&gt;'"]}'
where &lt;subscription-id&gt; is the ID of your Azure subscription. Change install-dash-enterprise if you want to use a different role name.

Note: If you’re running this command in Git Bash on Windows, you’ll need to disable POSIX-to-Windows path conversion by adding MSYS_NO_PATHCONV=1 to the command.

A service principal cert is generated. Note the appId and tenant in the output.

Domain/Port Purpose When I/O
replicated.com 443 Validate license Installation, upgrade, license validation Outbound
proxy.replicated.com 443 Download Plotly Docker image stored privately on quay.io Installation, upgrade Outbound
registry.opensource.zalan.do 443 Download Docker image for Postgres operator Installation, upgrade Outbound
 ghcr.io 443 Download Docker image for Harbor Installation, upgrade Outbound
 gcr.io 443 Download Docker image for Kpack Installation, upgrade Outbound
 docker.io 443 Download Docker image for Kpack Installation, upgrade Outbound
quay.io 443 Download inta images Installation, upgrade Outbound
pypi.org 443 Download public Python packages when building Dash app images Runtime Outbound
anaconda.org 443 Download Conda packages when building Dash app images Runtime Outbound
*.ubuntu.com 443 Download APT packages when building Dash app images Runtime Outbound
*.launchpad.net 443 Download APT packages when building Dash app images Runtime Outbound
*.&lt;base-domain&gt; Access Harbor (registry) when building Dash app images Runtime Outbound

where &lt;base-domain&gt; is the base domain you chose for Dash Enterprise.

Calculating a more accurate IP requirement: Kubernetes needs one IP address for each service or pod. The Dash Enterprise core system uses 37 services and 97 (Standard) or 140 (Premium) pods. In addition, pods are created when Dash app developers perform certain actions. If you know about your organization’s intended usage of Dash Enterprise, such as how many apps and workspaces developers plan to create, you can calculate a more accurate IP requirement than the rule of thumb above.

Preparing Your Installation

Contact our Customer Success team to get started. We’ll ask you:

Obtaining Your Installation Plan

When we have all the information we need, we’ll send you a zipped folder called your Installation Plan. Your Installation Plan is tailor-made based on your conversation with Customer Success and contains everything you need to install Dash Enterprise for your organization.

Your Installation Plan contains:

Defining Variables in the Scripts

Open the infrastructure provisioning script. At the top, edit the following variable values:

Next, open the installation script. At the top, edit the following variable values:

About storing and resetting this password: We recommend storing this password in your organization’s password manager, and giving access to any other members of your team who will be managing the Dash Enterprise system (notably performing upgrades and obtaining support bundles). This password is not retrievable with a kubectl command. It can be changed in the Admin Console UI by anyone who is able to log in with the current password. If lost, reset it by downloading the KOTS CLI and running kubectl kots reset-password plotly-system.

Preparing Your Bootstrap Node

In this step, you’ll create an Azure VM that runs on Ubuntu 20. This VM will serve as your bootstrap node.

To create an Azure VM:

  1. In the Azure Portal, go to the Virtual machines service.

  2. Select Create > Azure virtual machine.

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  1. Under Project details, select the subscription and resource group that you want to use.

  2. Configure the instance details:

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  1. Configure the administrator account:

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  1. Add a data disk:

  2. Go to the Disks tab.

  3. Under Data disks, select Create and attach a new disk.
  4. For Size, select Change size, browse to the Standard SSD SKU, select the 16 GiB size, and then select OK.
  5. Select Delete disk with VM.
  6. Use the defaults for the other options and select OK.

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  1. Use the default settings for everything else or adjust them to your preference. We recommend keeping the default inbound port rules, which opens port 22. If you delete this rule, you’ll need to add it back in a later
    step in order to be able to SSH into the VM.

  2. Select Review + create.

  3. Select Create. You are prompted to generate the new key pair.

  4. Select Download private key and create resource. The private key is downloaded as a .pem file.

  5. When the deployment is complete, select Go to resource.

  6. Under Networking, note the Public IP address. You’ll need this to SSH into the VM in a later step.

  7. Select Networking to go to the networking settings. Add an inbound port rule for port 8800 (required to port-forward the KOTS Admin Console) and, if not already present, an inbound port rule for port 22 (required to SSH into the VM).
    In the example below, we’ve named our rule for port 8800 “PortForwardAdminConsole”.

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If your organization uses outbound rules, then you’ll also need to add the following rules in the Outbound port rules tab.

Domain Purpose I/O
aka.ms Download the Azure CLI  Outbound
dl.k8s.io Download kubectl Outbound
github.com Download Cert Manager  Outbound
install.istio.io Download Istio  Outbound
kots.io Download the KOTS plug-in Outbound
ubuntu.com apt-get packages from Ubuntu Outbound
launchpad.net apt-get packages from Debian Outbound
 

Moving Files to Your Bootstrap Node

In this step, you’ll move your infrastructure provisioning script, Dash Enterprise install script, and service principal cert to the bootstrap node you’ve prepared. One way to do this is to use secure copy protocol (SCP).

To transfer your infrastructure provisioning script, Dash Enterprise install script, and service principal cert from your workstation to your bootstrap node using SCP:

  1. Move the downloaded SSH private key to your .ssh directory:
    sh mv /path/to/downloaded/private/key ~/.ssh/
    where /path/to/downloaded/private/key is the path to the current location of the private key.

  2. Ensure you have read-only access to the private key (note this command has no output):
    sh chmod 0400 ~/.ssh/dash-enterprise-bootstrap_key.pem
    changing dash-enterprise-bootstrap_key.pem if your key has a different name.

  3. On your workstation, unzip your Installation Plan if it isn’t already.

  4. Transfer the infrastructure provisioning script, Dash Enterprise install script, and service principal cert to your bootstrap node’s home directory:

sh scp -i ~/.ssh/dash-enterprise-bootstrap_key.pem path/to/installation/plan/{provision_infra_az,install_de_az}.sh path/to/service/principal/cert azureuser@&lt;bootstrap-ip&gt;:
where path/to/installation/plan is the path to your Installation Plan folder containing the provision_infra_az.sh and install_de_az.sh scripts, path/to/service/principal/cert is the path to the service principal cert, and &lt;bootstrap-ip&gt; is the public IP address of your bootstrap node. Change dash-enterprise-bootstrap_key.pem if your private key has a different name.

Provisioning and Installation

To provision the AKS cluster and install Dash Enterprise on it:

  1. SSH into your bootstrap node:
    sh ssh -i ~/.ssh/dash-enterprise-bootstrap_key.pem azureuser@&lt;bootstrap-ip&gt;
    where &lt;bootstrap-ip&gt; is the public IP address of your bootstrap node. Change dash-enterprise-bootstrap_key.pem if your private key has a different name.

  2. In the home directory of your bootstrap node, run the infrastructure provisioning script:
    bash provision_infra_az.sh

The script takes several minutes to complete. Continue when you are returned to the command prompt.

  1. In the home directory of your bootstrap node, run the Dash Enterprise installation script:
    bash install_de_az.sh

  2. When you are prompted for the kots install location by Enter installation path (leave blank for /usr/local/bin), press Enter to accept the default.

  3. When you are prompted to grant write permissions to /usr/local/bin, press y (you will not be prompted for a password).

The script takes several minutes to complete. Continue when you see the message Forwarding from 0.0.0.0:8800 -> 3000 (do not exit yet).

If you exit by mistake, restart the port-forward with kubectl port-forward -n plotly-system svc/kotsadm --address 0.0.0.0 8800:3000.

Configuration

Now that your AKS cluster is provisioned and Dash Enterprise is installed on it, you’re ready for configuration. The KOTS Admin Console will take you through uploading your Dash Enterprise license as well as your TLS/SSL certificate and key.

To access the KOTS Admin Console and configure Dash Enterprise:

  1. On your workstation, go to http://&lt;bootstrap-ip&gt;:8800, where &lt;bootstrap-ip&gt; is the public IP address of your bootstrap node.
  2. Enter the password that you set for ADMIN_PASSWORD in Defining Variables in the Scripts; then select Log in. You are prompted to upload your license.
  3. Drag or browse to the license file in your Installation Plan; then select Upload license. The Admin Console opens to the Configure Dash Enterprise page.
  4. Upload your TLS/SSL certificate and key.
  5. Select Continue. The Admin Console runs preflight checks, which can take up to a few minutes.
  6. Wait for the preflight checks to complete. If the results are all successful, select Continue. If you encounter an error, contact Customer Success.
    The Admin Console opens to the dashboard, where the status of the system is displayed. The system is not ready until DNS entries are created, so it is normal for the status to display “Missing” or “Unavailable”.
  7. On your bootstrap node, press Ctrl+C to disconnect from the Admin Console for now (you can reconnect with kubectl port-forward -n plotly-system svc/kotsadm --address 0.0.0.0 8800:3000).

Creating DNS Entries

In this step, you’ll create the DNS entries according to your organization’s best practices.

To create the DNS entries for Dash Enterprise:

  1. On your bootstrap node, get the load balancer IP:

sh kubectl get service -n plotly-system ingress-nginx-controller -o jsonpath='{.status.loadBalancer.ingress[0].ip}' && echo

  1. Create the DNS entries according to the table below.
Name Type Value
&lt;base-domain&gt; A Record &lt;load-balancer-ip&gt;
api-&lt;base-domain&gt; CNAME &lt;base-domain&gt;
ws-&lt;base-domain&gt; CNAME &lt;base-domain&gt;
git-&lt;base-domain&gt; CNAME &lt;base-domain&gt;
registry-&lt;base-domain&gt; CNAME &lt;base-domain&gt;
auth-&lt;base-domain&gt; CNAME &lt;base-domain&gt;
admin-&lt;base-domain&gt; CNAME &lt;base-domain&gt;

Your base domain is an A record whose value is the IP of the load balancer that you obtained in step 1. The sub-domains required for Dash Enterprise are CNAMES whose values are your base domain.

  1. Once the DNS entries are created and propagated, go to the Admin Console using its sub-domain: https://admin-&lt;your-dash-enterprise-server&gt;.

Continue when the status in the Admin Console is Ready.

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Accessing Dash Enterprise

Before you can log in to Dash Enterprise at https://&lt;your-dash-enterprise-server&gt;, you’ll need to create a Dash Enterprise user in Keycloak. Keycloak is the identity and access management solution for Dash Enterprise.

You’ll be returning to Keycloak when you’re ready to configure authentication for Dash Enterprise. To learn about important settings and choose between different identity provider modes, go to Using Keycloak.

Obtaining and Storing the Keycloak Password

In this step, you’ll retrieve the Keycloak password that is stored as a secret in your cluster and save it according to your organization’s best practices.

To obtain and store the Keycloak password:

  1. On your bootstrap node, retrieve the password to Keycloak (this displays the password in plain text):

sh kubectl get secret keycloak-secrets -n plotly-system -o jsonpath='{.data.KEYCLOAK_PASSWORD}' | base64 -d && echo

Note about recovering the Keycloak password: If you change this password via the Keycloak interface, it will no longer correspond to what is
stored in your cluster. We recommend keeping it as is so that you can always recover it with this kubectl get secret command.

  1. Copy the password.
  2. Add the password to your organization’s password manager or other secure storage, along with the username admin. You can share these credentials with other members in your organization who need to access Keycloak.

Creating Your Dash Enterprise Admin User

In this step, you’ll log in to Keycloak using the stored credentials and create a new user with the admin role. The admin role grants access to the Admin section of the Dash Enterprise App Manager, which you’ll use to configure system limits
in a later step. Learn more about the admin role.

To access Keycloak and create your admin user:

  1. Go to https://auth-&lt;your-dash-enterprise-server&gt;
  2. Select Administration Console.
  3. Enter the Keycloak credentials that you obtained and stored.

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  1. Select Sign In.
  2. Make sure Dash is selected in the realm list in the top left corner.

    Dash realm

  3. Select Users > Add User.

  4. In Username, enter the username you want to use.
  5. Select Save. Additional settings become available.
  6. Go to Credentials.
  7. In Password and Password Confirmation, enter the password you want to use.
  8. Select Set Password; then set password again to confirm.
  9. Assign the admin role:
    1. Go to Role Mappings.
    2. In Client Roles, select dash.
    3. In Available Roles, select admin; then select Add selected. Note that if you intend on deploying Dash apps, you’ll also need the licensed_user role, and assigning this role consumes a license seat.

To log into Dash Enterprise with this user, go to https://&lt;your-dash-enterprise-server&gt; and enter the credentials that you saved in Keycloak. Dash Enterprise opens to the Portal. Go to the App Manager by selecting Apps > App Manager.

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You can now safely delete the Azure VM that you used as your bootstrap node and delete its SSH private key from your workstation.

Setting System Limits

In this step, you’ll safeguard Dash Enterprise against usage that would cause the Kubernetes cluster to exceed the resources it can support. Specifically, you’ll add limits to the amount of pods and volumes (PVC) that can exist, temporarily preventing Dash app developers from performing actions that would create more pods and volumes on the cluster when the limit is reached. To do so, you’ll use the System Limits setting in the Admin section of the App Manager. To learn how to calculate and set limits that are appropriate for your cluster, go to Pod and Volume Limits.