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Image/Container Components and Configuration

Container data flows and running state

The diagram below shows the topology of a container with flows of data into the container and how it transitions to the eventual running state.

DevOps Image/Container Anatomy

Data Class Default Location Use Description
VAULT ext Secret information from external Vault (i.e. HashiCorp Vault). Items like passwords, certificates, keys, etc...
ORCH ext Environment variables from secrets, configmaps and/or env/envfile resources from orchestration (i.e. docker, k8s.
SERVER PROFILE ext Product server profile from either an external repository (i.e. git) or external volume (i.e. aws s3).
SERVER BITS /opt/server ro Uncompressed copy of the product software. Provided by image.
SECRETS /run/secrets ro Read Only secrets residing on non-persistent storage (i.e. /run/secrets).
IN /opt/in ro Volume intended to receive all incoming server-profile information.
ENV /opt/staging/.env mem Environment variable settings used by hooks and product to configure container.
STAGING /opt/staging tmp Temporary space used to prepare configuration and store variable settings before being moved to OUT
OUT /opt/out rw Combo of product bits/configuration resulting in running container configuration.
PERSISTENT VOLUME rw Persistent location of product bits/configuration in external storage (i.e. AWS EBS)

Because of these many factors affecting how an image is deployed, the configuration options for use of the elements in the previous table can vary greatly, depending on factors such as:

  • Deployment Environment - Kubernetes, Cloud Vendor, Local Docker
  • CI/CD Tools - Kubectl, Helm, Kustomize, Terraform
  • Source Maintenance - Git, Cloud Vendor Volumes
  • Customer Environment - Development, Test, QA, Stage, Prod
  • Security - Test/QA/Production Data, Secrets, Certificates, Secret Management Tools


File flowchart example

The following diagram shows how files can enter and flow through the container:

File Flowchart Example

There is a video that goes through the above image in more detail here.

Production Example

The following diagram shows an example in a high-level production scenario in an Amazon Web Services (AWS) EKS environment, where:

  • HashiCorp Vault is used to provide secrets to the container.
  • Helm is used to create k8s resources and deploy them.
  • AWS EBS volumes is used to persist the state of the container.

Production Tools Example

Development Example

The following diagram shows an example in a high-level development scenario in an Azure AKS environment, where:

  • No secrets management is used.
  • Simple kubectl is used to deploy k8s resources.
  • AWS EBS volumes is used to persist the state of the container.

Development Tools Example

Customizing the Containers

You can customize our product containers by:

  • Customizing server profiles

    The server profiles supply configuration, data, and environment information to the product containers at startup. You can use our server profiles as-is or as a baseline for creating your own.

    You can find these profiles in Baseline server profiles in our pingidentity-server-profiles repository.

  • Environment substitution

    You can deploy configurations in multiple environments with minimal changes by removing literal values and replacing them with environment variables.

  • Using DevOps hooks

    Hooks are shell scripts used to automate operations during the lifecycle of a product container. These hook scripts are built into our images: some are common across all products, while others are product-specific. For more information about the repository that houses these scripts, visit the docker-builds repository overview.

  • Using release tags

    We use sets of tags for each released build image. These tags identify whether the image is a specific stable release, the latest stable release, or current (potentially unstable) builds. You can find the release tag information in Docker images.

    You can try different tags in either the standalone startup scripts for the deployment examples or the YAML files for the orchestrated deployment examples.

  • Adding a message of the day (MOTD)

    You can use a motd.json file to add message of the day information for inclusion in the images.