Step-by-step guide of building back-end services for car washing web application using @imqueue.

For those who prefer to learn by example.

Chapter 6. Deployment

In this chapter we are covering different aspects and possibilities related to @imqueue based services deployment.

There is a variety of ways to deploy services depending on the needs. The first need you might have is, of course, development deployment. Another case is when you need to deploy production packages.

Contrastingly, the deployment scheme may be different for different types of environments, like you may need to utilize all physical cores of some physical or virtual server or you may need to spread across network many small containerized images.

Services based on @imqueue are ready to satisfy any of those needs, but it is up to DevOps and Developer to decide how it should be organized.

By the way, @imqueue/cli default boilerplate template provides some ready-to-use functionality related to deployment out-of-the-box.

To have services ready for any kind of scaling they should be either stateless, or there should be provided corresponding synchronization mechanisms to share the state between different service processes or network instances. This should be kept in mind by a developer during the implementation.

What does that mean on practice?

Let’s imagine our service will store in memory some state data, like the list of authenticated users:

import { IMQService } from '@imqueue/rpc';

class MyService extends IMQService {
    private usersList: any[] = [];

    public addUser(data: any) {

Now each time addUser() is called by a remote client, our service will change its internal in-memory state. Unless we have only one instance of service running, everything will work as expected. By the way, if we launch several copies of such service we will get into trouble. As far as after several calls of addUser() by remote clients, the internal state of different running copies of the service will be different. Different unpredictably.

Such kind of behavior is undesired, so either we have to implement some mechanism allowing us to share state between service copies, or we have to use some external tool to store and change the state, for example, it could be a database. Usually, own implementation of state sharing is non-trivial and may fall into causing a lot of side-effects. Unless you are experienced to understand how it works, we would recommend to design your services as stateless. In this case you won’t have any unexpected behavior of your system during different deployment needs.

For example, in this tutorial, we suggested to implement Car Service as a service with in-memory car database storage, which is stateful service by design. However, the car database is predominantly static data, which we decided to try to update once per 24 hours, and that action should be done by all running copies almost at the same time and we never change the stored in-memory data in any other way, only reading from it. By the way, there are some small side-effects, but we may agree they are not significant for our system work. It’s neither good, nor bad, you just need to understand what you’re doing and which consequences this can have.

Scaling Options

Services are ready by design to run in multi-process environments. As we know JavaScript running under NodeJS by its nature is single-threaded, so one process will utilize only the power of one core. If you deploy the service on multi-core environment you may want to utilize all available resources. So, this could be done using corresponding configuration options. Those options are related to either service, or client configuration and can be defined via config.ts file:

export const serviceOptions: Partial<IMQClientOptions> = { // or client options as well
    multiProcess: true, // by default is false - turned off
    childrenPerCore: 2, // by default is 1

To enable multi-process run you can set miltiProcess: true for your service or manage this value via external environment variables. In this case, by default, it will fork a number of service workers equal to the number of available cores in the system, 1 worker per core. As a fact, in a real-world launch, it may be found that to utilize all available power you may need to increase the number of processes running per core. Despite the fact that it will increase the number of context switching on each core you may gain overall performance boost of your system. As a recommendation, you can try to play with childrenPerCore values to experimentally detect the most valuable number of child processes.

Of course, those values can be set either directly on config.ts or managed externally by environment variables.

If your deployment schema is based on a small single-core containers, there is, probably, no need to modify multi-process related configuration. Anyway, exact implementation requires exact testing and experiments.

Building Containers

Out-of-the-box @imqueue/cli default boilerplate template can be tuned to build Docker images for your services. This either can be done locally by using corresponding script commands for npm inside service or managed by TravisCI-based continuous integration processes, or both.

These commands are docker-related and should be available for the service created by @imqueue/cli:

npm run docker:build
npm run docker:run
npm run docker:stop
npm run docker:ssh

For local builds it is required, of course, to have docker engine installed in your system.

Continuous integration builds are enabled if your service was created using --dockerize option and provides correct docker namespace on DockerHub within --docker-namespace option. Those can be pre-set as a part of imq command line tool global configuration.

TravisCI is configured to build-up a docker image on any commit to verify if there is no errors.

Image is going to be published to a configured DockerHub namespace in case a version tag was set on a github repository. Dev versions are usually treated as those which match X.X.X-X semver version format. Those images will obtain docker dev tag. Docker images tagged as release versions are made from a builds triggered on a special release branch of git repository.

Usually pre-build docker images can be easily pulled and deployed in many different cloud environments like AWS, Azure or Google Cloud Platform. Now it is just a matter of tuning your cloud environment enabling auto-scaling features and whatever you need else.

There is one important thing to note about running @imqueue clients in a docker containers. If you’re not using custom naming of your clients, each time client is created, it will try to generate a client unique name based on operating system UUID. As far as all docker images, out-of-the-box, will obtain the same OS UUID, you should set it on the first image build to a unique value. That should be usually done in /etc/machine-id or /var/lib/dbus/machine-id, etc. Please, refer to a documentation related to an OS used as a base image of your container to find a proper location.

Environment Variables

Environment variables is a powerful way to separate configuration for different environments without a need to maintain different configs codebase. On cloud platforms, like AWS, you may suggest to utilize Parameter Store to provide environment configuration for your services, on local development deployments you may utilize .env files to configure your services specific options.

All that needs some specific configuration to be set on service’s config.ts. You can configure available options in a way, when you are trying initially to read from environment variables first (which you are supposed to define yourself) and as a fallback, use some default values. We already discussed these possibilities in chapter 2 of this tutorial.

We strongly recommend to follow the same way any time you want to introduce some specific configuration to your real-world services, providing detailed description of which environment vars service is expected to be provided in your README files, so later during deployment to different environments anyone can easily tune their setups.

Development Run

So, we have discussed about various different options available during @imqueue services deployment. As you may see, it is very flexible solution, allowing you to satisfy any deployment needs to cover any system load needs, suitable for horizontal scaling, cloud platforms deployments, etc.

In this tutorial we are focusing only on a default development environment just to make sure you are able to launch the services, which we deliver as an example from our codebase. And make them available to you for learning and experiments.

First what you will need is to clone all repos locally. Let’s assume you will clone all repos in some dedicated local directory, for example, ~/imqueue-sandbox:

mkdir ~/imqueue-sandbox
git clone [email protected]:imqueue-sandbox/api.git
git clone [email protected]:imqueue-sandbox/auth.git
git clone [email protected]:imqueue-sandbox/car.git
git clone [email protected]:imqueue-sandbox/time-table.git
git clone [email protected]:imqueue-sandbox/user.git
git clone [email protected]:imqueue-sandbox/web-app.git

Now you need to make sure you have Redis, MongoDB and PostgreSQL running locally on your development machine.

You also will need to create database in PostgreSQL with the name tutmq owned by a user tutmq identified by a password tutmq. Or you would need to change the configuration of time-table service if you wish to use other names.

After that, simply run the services, each in a new terminal window, or use screen if you prefer and have it available on your OS.

cd ~/imqueue-sandbox
cd [service_dir]
npm run dev

where [service_dir] would be one of user|auth|car|time-table|api. As we remember, we have cross-communication between user and auth services, with dynamic client build on run-time, so you have to launch user service before starting auth service, or you may catch errors.

After launching API service, graphiql web interface should be available to you at http://localhost:8888/

And we are ready to start React-based web interface for our application.

cd ~/imqueue-sandbox/web-app
npm start

Now you can play with it at http://localhost:3000/

Happy hacking!