Introducing Jetstack Flightdeck

We are pleased to announce Flightdeck, our online Jetstack Subscription portal. In this first release, customer teams can now run Operational Wargaming exercises from their browsers - self-paced and on-demand.

If you’ve attended one of our in-person Operational Wargaming workshops, you’ll be familiar with the format. We provision Kubernetes clusters and then break them, in order to simulate production issues and cluster failures.

With Flightdeck, these same exercises are now available on-demand, so operations teams can become familiar with troubleshooting cluster failures and drill themselves on effective response and resolution.

Let the wargames begin!

Screenshot 1

Flightdeck guides you through the deployment of a sample ‘goldengoose’ application before breaking it… sometimes subtly, sometimes catastrophically…the task is to then get the ‘goldengoose’ back online.

We encourage you to devise both an expedient solution and then, once you have brought the fire under control, we ask you to consider ways to prevent the problem occurring again. If you get stuck don’t worry - you can click ‘Next’ to see step-by-step solutions to each of the scenarios.

A small Kubernetes cluster is launched and you are presented with web based terminals with which to interact with the Kubernetes nodes.

Our aim is to ensure that your organisation sidesteps common Kubernetes problems because your engineers have already practised in the sandboxed environment of the Flightdeck.

Here’s how it works:

Courses and Scenarios

When you first log in you will be presented with a list of courses and scenarios. A scenario is a single Kubernetes cluster exercise and a course is a logical grouping of these scenarios in order of difficulty: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

In the ‘Operations’ course you will progress through the scenarios learning about various ways to secure and harden a Kubernetes cluster.

Screenshot 2

A Typical Scenario

Each scenario launches a small but realistic Kubernetes cluster and then simulates a real-world problem that has been encountered in the field by Jetstack Customer Reliability Engineers (CREs). New scenarios are periodically added, and existing scenarios updated, so you can be rest assured that you’re up-to-date.

Screenshot 3

Step-by-step Instructions

In each scenario you are presented with instructions and narrative on the left, alongside web based terminals on the right. You are guided through a sequence of steps, and each step introduces commands that you can run in the terminals.

The first step helps you launch an application on the cluster; the ‘goldengoose’. At this point you should take some time to explore and learn the cluster configuration so that you are prepared for what comes next.

Screenshot 4

Solve yourself

Now, behind the scenes, Flightdeck will break your Kubernetes cluster…somehow. The breakage may be subtle, but it will quickly degrade the ‘goldengoose’ service.

Now is your chance to dive in and figure out what’s gone wrong. Your job is to bring the ‘goldengoose’ service back online quickly…with every second you are losing customers and money!

Once the situation has stabilised, you should perform a post-mortem. What went wrong? What steps can you take to prevent this problem reoccuring?

Screenshot 5

Guided solutions

Finally, you can click ‘Next’ to read and try out various solutions. This is where you’ll learn how a Jetstack Customer Reliability Engineer would solve this problem. Where there are multiple solutions, you will also learn which is most appropriate for the current situation, and about the advantages and tradeoffs of each solution. Jetstack Subscription customers can also refer to Playbooks, maintained by our CRE team, for processes to follow for common operational issues (e.g. backup/restore etcd, upgrades, etc).

Screenshot 6

Conclusion

Flightdeck is available now to all Jetstack Subscription customers. Over the next few months we will be adding more courses, designed for Tarmak cluster administrators, Kubernetes application developers, Istio users, stateful application users and more. We will also be steadily consolidating all our training materials under the Flightdeck portal, with all our training available on-demand.

We look forward to your feedback. Fill out our contact form to learn more about how Jetstack can become your partner as you embrace and operationalise Kubernetes and cloud native in your organisation.

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