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Mist Cloud Management Platform - Community Edition

Mist simplifies multicloud management. It offers a unified interface from where you can manage public clouds, private clouds, hypervisors, containers and bare metal servers.

With Mist you can perform common management tasks like provisioning, orchestration, monitoring, automation and cost analysis.

It comes with a RESTful API and a CLI, so you can easily integrate it into your existing workflows.

Mist users include organizations like Juniper Networks, SevOne, Windstream, National Bank of Greece, Shoprite and more. They all report faster roll-outs while reducing their bills and management overheads by 40%-60%.

Mist Community Edition (CE) is licensed under the Apache License v2. It is ideal for teams with a DIY approach.

Mist Enterprise Edition (EE) and Hosted Service (HS) are commercial editions which offer additional plugins for governance, role-based access control & cost insights. You can check them out on our website.

The easiest way to try Mist is to sign up for a 14-day free trial at https://mist.io/sign-up.

Table of Contents

Features

Mist's features include:

  • Support for more than 20 infrastructure technologies.
  • Instant visibility of all the available resources across clouds, grouped by tags.
  • Instant reporting/estimation of the current infrastructure costs.
  • Compare current & past costs, correlate with usage, provide right-sizing recommendations (EE & HS only).
  • Provision new resources on any cloud including machines, clusters, volumes, networks, zones and DNS records.
  • Deploy and scale Kubernetes clusters on any supported cloud.
  • Perform lifecycle actions on existing resources, e.g. stop, start, reboot, resize, destroy, etc.
  • Upload scripts and run them on any machine while enforcing audit logging and centralized control of SSH keys.
  • SSH command shell on any machine within the browser or through the CLI, enforcing audit logging and centralized control of SSH keys.
  • Instant audit logging for all actions performed through Mist or detected through continuous polling.
  • Monitor machines, display real time system & custom metrics and store them for long term access.
  • Set rules on metrics or logs that trigger notifications, webhooks, scripts or lifecycle actions.
  • Set schedules that trigger scripts or machine lifecycle actions.
  • Set fine-grained access control policies per team, tag, resource and/or action (EE & HS only).
  • Set governance constraints: e.g. quotas on cost per user/team, required expiration dates (EE & HS only).
  • Upload infrastructure templates that may describe complex deployments and workflows (EE & HS only).

Terminology

Some terms are used very often in Mist. Below is a list of the most basic ones to help you avoid any confusion:

  • Cloud. Any service that provides on-demand access to resources, e.g. public clouds, private clouds, hypervisors, container hosts, Kubernetes clusters, bare metal servers, etc.
  • Machine. Any computing resource. There are many types of machines and some machines may contain other machines.
  • Volume. Any physical or virtual data storage device, e.g. physical HDD/SSD, cloud disks, EBS volumes etc. Volumes may be attached on machines. Volumes may be provisioned along with machines or independently.
  • Network. Private network spaces that machines can join, e.g. AWS VPCs.
  • Script. An executable (e.g. bash script) or an Ansible playbook that can run on machines over SSH. Scripts may be added inline or by a reference to a tarball or a Git repository.
  • Template. A blueprint that describes the full lifecycle of an application that may require multiple computing resources, network, storage and additional configurations. For example, the provided Kubernetes template enables the deployment of a Kubernetes cluster on any cloud and provides workflows to easily scale the cluster up or down. Currently, Mist supports Cloudify blueprints. Helm and Terraform support is coming soon.
  • Stack. The deployment of a template is a stack. A stack may include resources (e.g. machines, networks, volumes etc) and provides a set of workflow actions that can be performed. A stack created by the Kubernetes template refers to a Kubernetes cluster. It includes references to all control and data plane nodes. It provides scale up & down workflows that can be applied to the cluster.
  • Tunnel. A secure, point-to-point VPN tunnel enabling Mist to access infrastructure that is not on a publicly addressable network space.

Architecture

Mist is a cloud native application split into microservices which are packaged as Docker containers. It can be deployed on a Kubernetes cluster using Helm or a single host with Docker Compose.

The most notable components are the following:

  • Mist UI, a web application built with Web Components and Polymer.
  • REST API that serves requests from clients.
  • WebSocket API, sends real-time updates to connected clients and proxies shell connections.
  • Hubshell service, opens SSH connections to machines or shell connections using the Docker API.
  • Dramatiq workers, running asynchronous jobs.
  • APScheduler based scheduler that schedules polling tasks, rule checks, as well as user defined scheduled actions.
  • RabbitMQ message queue service.
  • MongoDB as the main database.
  • Elasticsearch for storing and searching logs.
  • Logstash for routing logs to Elasticsearch.
  • Telegraf as a data collection agent, installed on monitored machines.
  • Gocky as the relay to receive and pre-process monitoring metrics.
  • InfluxDB or VictoriaMetrics as a time series database.

Architecture.svg

The user interacts with the RESTful Mist API through client apps like the Mist UI in the browser or command line tools (e.g. cURL, Mist CLI, etc.).

The Mist UI, apart from invoking the RESTful API, also establishes a WebSocket connection. This is used to receive real time updates and to proxy shell connections to machines.

The Mist API server interacts with the respective API's of the target clouds, either directly, or by adding tasks that get executed asynchronously by Dramatiq workers. The messaging is following the AMQP protocol and gets coordinated by RabbitMQ.

The main data store is MongoDB. Logs are being stored in Elasticsearch. Time series data go to either VictoriaMetrics or InfluxDB, depending on the installation.

Rule checks, polling tasks & user tasks are triggered by the scheduler service. Whenever a shell connection is required (e.g. SSH, Docker shell, etc.), Sheller establishes the connection and makes it available through the WebSocket API.

Installation

You can install Mist in several ways, depending on your needs:

Kubernetes

To get started, you will need:

  1. A working and up-to-date Kubernetes cluster, able to allocate 8 CPUs and 16GB of RAM to Mist.
  2. Access rights to run Helm on your cluster.

Run the following commands to install Mist:

helm repo add mist https://dl.mist.io/charts
helm repo update
helm install mist-ce mist/mist-ce

Finally, follow the on-screen instructions after the installation is completed to configure an ingress IP and create the required Mist admin user.

Linode and Vultr users can find detailed installation videos in the respective, official YouTube channels.

Important configuration options

Domain and TLS

The quick installation method described above does not set up TLS. This is done in order to keep things simple and get you to test Mist quickly. However, we strongly recommend using TLS. This requires a domain for your Mist installation.

First, configure your DNS to point to your cluster's IP.

If you want to issue a new certificate, configure the cluster issuer that will be used, e.g.:

helm install mist-ce mist/mist-ce --set http.host=foo.bar.com  \
  --set http.tlsClusterIssuer=letsencrypt-prod \
  --set http.tlsSecret=secretName

For instructions on how to install and configure cert-manager read the docs here.

If you have configured a TLS certificate for this hostname as a Kubernetes secret, you should use the http.tlsSecret option, e.g.:

helm install mist-ce mist/mist-ce --set http.host=foo.bar.com \
  --set http.tlsSecret=secretName
Email

In some cases, such as user registration, forgotten passwords, user invitations etc., Mist needs to send emails. By default, Mist uses a mock mailer.

To see emails sent by Mist, get the relevant pod name:

kubectl get pods -l app=mailmock

Now, view the logs of this pod, e.g.:

kubectl logs -f mailmock-pod-name

If you wish to use an SMTP server, do something like this:

helm install mist-ce mist/mist-ce --set smtp.host=smtp.foo.bar.com \
  --set smtp.username=foo
  --set smtp.password=bar
  --set smtp.port=25
  --set smtp.tls=false
  --set smtp.starttls=true
External Docker host

Mist's orchestration plugin needs to deploy Docker containers. By default, Mist deploys an in-cluster dockerhost pod in privileged mode.

To use an external Docker host, set the following:

helm install mist-ce mist/mist-ce --set docker.host=dockerIP \
  --set docker.port=dockerPort \
  --set docker.key=TLSKey \
  --set docker.cert=TLSCert \
  --set docker.ca=TLSCACert

All configuration options

To review and customize all available configuration options:

  1. Export the default chart values.
helm show values mist/mist-ce > values.yaml
  1. Edit the exported values.yaml.
  2. Run helm install with values.yaml as input.
helm install mist-ce mist/mist-ce -f values.yaml

The following table lists all the configurable parameters in Mist's Helm chart and their default values.

Parameter Description Default
http.host FQDN or IP of Mist installation. localhost
http.http2 Use HTTP/2. false
http.tlsSecret Kubernetes secret containing the tls.crt and tls.key data. ''
http.tlsHosts Array of TLS hosts for ingress record. []
http.tlsAnnotations {}
http.tlsClusterIssuer TLS cluster issuer. ''
smtp.host SMTP mail server address. ''
smtp.port SMTP port. 8025
smtp.username SMTP username. ''
smtp.password SMTP password. ''
smtp.tls Use TLS with SMTP. false
smtp.starttls Send the starttls command. Typically, it is not used with smtp.tls=true. false
portalAdmin.enabled Create a Mist admin user upon chart installation. true
portalAdmin.organization Mist organization name. example.com
portalAdmin.mail Mist admin's email address. [email protected]
portalAdmin.password Mist admin's password. example.com
portalAdmin.createApiToken Create an API token upon chart installation. true
docker.deploy Deploy a dockerhost pod in-cluster. The pod will run in privileged mode. true
docker.host External Docker host address. ''
docker.port External Docker host port. 2375
docker.key External Docker host SSL private key. ''
docker.cert External Docker host SSL certificate. ''
docker.ca External Docker host CA certificate. ''
vault.address HashiCorp Vault address to use. http://vault:8200
vault.token Authentication token for HashiCorp Vault. ''
vault.roleId HashiCorp Vault RoleID. ''
vault.secretId HashiCorp Vault SecretID. ''
vault.secret_engine_path {}
vault.clouds_path Default HashiCorp Vault path for Mist cloud credentials. mist/clouds/
vault.keys_path Default HashiCorp Vault path for Mist key credentials. mist/keys
elasticsearch.host ElasticSearch host. ''
elasticsearch.port ElasticSearch port. 9200
elasticsearch.username Username for ElasticSearch with basic auth. ''
elasticsearch.password Password for ElasticSearch with basic auth. ''
elasticsearch.tls Connect to ElasticSearch using TLS. false
elasticsearch.verifyCerts Verify ElasticSearch TLS. false
influxdb.host InfluxDB host. ''
influxdb.port Verify InfluxDB TLS. 8086
influxdb.db InfluxDB database to use. telegraf
influxdb.monitoring true
influxdb.storageSize Size of the InfluxDB pvc. 1024Mi
victoriametrics.enabled true
victoriametrics.deploy Deploy a VictoriaMetrics cluster. true
victoriametrics.readEndpoint External VictoriaMetrics cluster read endpoint. ''
victoriametrics.writeEndpoint External VictoriaMetrics cluster write endpoint. ''
victoriametrics.vmstorage.persistentVolume.storageClass StorageClass of the VictoriaMetrics pvc. standard
victoriametrics.vmstorage.persistentVolume.size Size of the VictoriaMetrics pvc. 1024Mi
rabbitmq.deploy Deploy RabbitMQ cluster. true
rabbitmq.replicaCount RabbitMQ replicas to deploy. 1
rabbitmq.replicationFactor Default replication factor for queues. 1
rabbitmq.auth.username RabbitMQ username. guest
rabbitmq.auth.password RabbitMQ password. guest
rabbitmq.auth.erlangCookie Erlang cookie to determine whether nodes are allowed to communicate with each other. guest
rabbitmqExternal.host External RabbitMQ address. Only used when rabbitmq.deploy is false. ''
rabbitmqExternal.port External RabbitMQ port. 5672
rabbitmqExternal.username External RabbitMQ username. guest
rabbitmqExternal.password External RabbitMQ password. guest
mongodb.deploy Deploy MongoDB cluster. true
mongodb.host External MongoDB address. Only used when mongodb.deploy is false. ''
mongodb.port External MongoDB port. 27017
memcached.host Memcached host in the format {host}:{port}. ''
monitoring.defaultMethod Available options: telegraf-victoriametrics and telegraf-influxdb telegraf-influxdb
auth.email.signup Allow signups with email & password. false
auth.email.signin Allow signins with email & password. true
auth.google.signup Allow signups with Google oAuth. false
auth.google.signin Allow signins with Google oAuth. false
auth.google.key Google oAuth client ID. ''
auth.google.secret Google oAuth client Secret. ''
auth.github.signup Allow signups with Github oAuth. false
auth.github.signin Allow signins with Github oAuth. false
auth.github.key Github oAuth client ID. ''
auth.github.secret Github oAuth client secret. ''
backup.key AWS API key. ''
backup.secret AWS API secret. ''
backup.bucket AWS S3 bucket name used to store backups. ''
backup.region AWS S3 bucket region. ''
backup.gpg.recipient Email recipient of the encrypted backup. ''
backup.gpg.public GPG public key. ''
githubBotToken ''
deployment.gocky.replicas Replicas in Gocky deployment. 1
deployment.api.replicas Replicas in API server deployment. 2
deployment.sockjs.replicas Replicas in sockjs deployment 1
deployment.ui.replicas Replicas in Mist UI deployment. 1
deployment.nginx.replicas Replicas in NGINX deployment. 1
deployment.landing.replicas Replicas in Mist's landing webpage deployment. 1
deployment.dramatiq.dramatiq.enabled Enable Dramatiq consumers for all queues. true
deployment.dramatiq.dramatiq.replicas 2
deployment.dramatiq.default.enabled Enable Dramatiq consumers for default queue. false
deployment.dramatiq.default.replicas 1
deployment.dramatiq.provisioning.enabled Enable Dramatiq consumers for dramatiq_provisioning queue. false
deployment.dramatiq.provisioning.replicas 1
deployment.dramatiq.polling.enabled Enable Dramatiq consumers for dramatiq_polling queue. false
deployment.dramatiq.polling.replicas 1
deployment.dramatiq.machines.enabled Enable Dramatiq consumers for dramatiq_machines queue. false
deployment.dramatiq.machines.replicas 1
deployment.dramatiq.clusters.enabled Enable Dramatiq consumers for dramatiq_clusters queue. false
deployment.dramatiq.clusters.replicas 1
deployment.dramatiq.networks.enabled Enable Dramatiq consumers for dramatiq_networks queue. false
deployment.dramatiq.networks.replicas 1
deployment.dramatiq.zones.enabled Enable Dramatiq consumers for dramatiq_zones queue. false
deployment.dramatiq.zones.replicas 1
deployment.dramatiq.volumes.enabled Enable Dramatiq consumers for dramatiq_volumes queue. false
deployment.dramatiq.volumes.replicas 1
deployment.dramatiq.buckets.enabled Enable Dramatiq consumers for dramatiq_buckets queue. false
deployment.dramatiq.buckets.replicas 1
deployment.dramatiq.mappings.enabled Enable Dramatiq consumers for dramatiq_mappings and dramatiq_sessions queues. false
deployment.dramatiq.mappings.replicas 1
deployment.dramatiq.scripts.enabled Enable Dramatiq consumers for dramatiq_scripts queue. false
deployment.dramatiq.scripts.replicas 1
deployment.dramatiq.probe.enabled Enable Dramatiq consumers for dramatiq_ssh_probe queue. false
deployment.dramatiq.probe.replicas 1
deployment.dramatiq.ping.enabled Enable Dramatiq consumers for dramatiq_ping_probe queue. false
deployment.dramatiq.ping.replicas 1
deployment.dramatiq.rules.enabled Enable Dramatiq consumers for dramatiq_rules queue. false
deployment.dramatiq.rules.replicas 1
deployment.dramatiq.schedules.enabled Enable Dramatiq consumers for dramatiq_schedules queue. false
deployment.dramatiq.schedules.replicas 1
deployment.scheduler.scheduler.enabled Enable scheduler for all polling schedules. true
deployment.scheduler.scheduler.replicas 1
deployment.scheduler.builtin.enabled Enable scheduler for builtin schedules. false
deployment.scheduler.builtin.replicas 1
deployment.scheduler.user.enabled Enable scheduler for user schedules. false
deployment.scheduler.user.replicas 1
deployment.scheduler.polling.enabled Enable scheduler for polling schedules. false
deployment.scheduler.polling.replicas 1
deployment.scheduler.rules.enabled Enable scheduler for rules schedules. false
deployment.scheduler.rules.replicas 1

Single host

To get started, you will need:

  1. A machine with at least 4 CPU cores, 8GB RAM and 10GB disk (accessible to /var/lib/docker/).
  2. The OS should be the latest stable Debian or Ubuntu.
  3. The OS should include openssh-server, docker and docker-compose packages.

First, download docker-compose.yml from the latest stable release as shown here.

Make sure you're inside the directory containing the docker-compose.yml file and run:

docker-compose up -d

Then, run docker-compose ps and verify that all containers are in the UP state, except the short-lived container elasticsearch-manage.

Now, you need to create an admin user. Drop in shell with:

docker-compose exec api sh

and add a new user with:

./bin/adduser --admin [email protected]

Try running ./bin/adduser -h for more options. For example, the --docker-cloud flag will add the docker daemon hosting the Mist installation as a docker cloud in the created account.

You can now visit http://localhost and login with the email and password you specified above.

Alternatively, you can also deploy Mist directly from your cloud provider's marketplace:

  • Linode users can find Mist here and a video about how it works here.
  • Vultr users can find Mist here.
  • DigitalOcean users can find Mist here.
  • Microsoft Azure users can find Mist here.

Important configuration options

After the initial docker-compose up -d, you will see that a configuration file is created in ./settings/settings.py. Edit this file to modify Mist's configuration.

Any changes to ./settings/settings.py will take effect after a restart with:

docker-compose restart
URL

If running on anything other than localhost, you will need to set the PORTAL_URI setting in ./settings/settings.py.

For example:

PORTAL_URI = "http://198.51.100.12"
Email

In some cases, such as user registration, forgotten passwords, user invitations etc., Mist needs to send emails. By default, Mist uses a mock mailer. To see emails sent by Mist, run:

docker-compose logs -f mailmock

If you wish to use an SMTP server, edit ./settings/settings.py and modify MAILER_SETTINGS.

TLS

We strongly recommend using TLS. Assuming a certificate cert.pem and private key file key.pem in the same directory as the docker-compose.yml file, create a docker-compose.override.yml file with the following contents:

version: '2.0'
services:
  nginx:
    volumes:
      - ./nginx-listen.conf:/etc/nginx/nginx-listen.conf:ro
      - ./cert.pem:/etc/nginx/cert.pem:ro
      - ./key.pem:/etc/nginx/key.pem:ro
    ports:
      - 443:443

Then, create a nginx-listen.conf in the directory of docker-compose.yml, with the following contents:

    listen 80;
    listen 443 ssl;
    server_name www.example.com;
    ssl_certificate     /etc/nginx/cert.pem;
    ssl_certificate_key /etc/nginx/key.pem;
    if ($scheme != "https") {
        rewrite ^ https://$host$uri permanent;
    }

Finally, update PORTAL_URI in Mist's settings and restart it.

Monitoring methods

Mist stores monitoring metrics in InfluxDB by default. Since Mist v4.6, it is possible to use VictoriaMetrics instead. You can configure that in settings/settings.py:

DEFAULT_MONITORING_METHOD = 'telegraf-victoriametrics'

Restart docker-compose for the changes to take effect and then run the respective migration script:

docker-compose exec api python migrations/0016-migrate-monitoring.py

The above script will update all monitored machines to use the configured monitoring method. It will also update all rules on metrics to use the appropriate query format. However, this will not migrate old monitoring data to the new time series database.

Upgrade

To upgrade to a new Mist version:

  1. Stop your current Mist by running docker-compose down.
  2. Download the docker-compose.yml file of the latest release and place it in the same directory as before. This way the new installation will use the same Docker volumes.
  3. Run docker-compose up -d to bring up the new version.
  4. Check that everything is in order by running docker-compose ps.

Backup

Mist can automatically take and store backups in an S3-compatible bucket. To set this up, first create a bucket on your S3 provider, e.g. AWS, MinIO, etc.

Then, go to settings/setting.py and edit the following part accordingly:

BACKUP_INTERVAL = 24  # hours between each backup
BACKUP = {
    'host': '',  # eg s3.amazonaws.com
    'key': '',
    'secret': '',
    'bucket': '',
    'gpg': {
        'recipient': '',
        'public': '',
        'private': '',
    }
}

Providing a GPG key is optional but strongly recommended. If you provide it, your backups will be encrypted before getting uploaded to your bucket.

Mist also offers a set of manual commands for backing up, listing backups and restoring backups:

docker-compose exec api ./bin/backup
docker-compose exec api ./bin/list-backups
docker-compose exec api ./bin/restore {{myBackupName}}

Backups on time series data stored on VictoriaMetrics will be incremental by default. To perform a full backup, use the --no-incremental flag:

docker-compose exec api ./bin/backup --db victoria --no-incremental

Finally, please keep in mind that backups include MongoDB, InfluxDB & VictoriaMetrics data. Mist logs are stored in Elasticsearch. If you would like to back up these as well, please check out this doc.

Staging version

If you want to install the latest bleeding edge build of Mist, run the following:

mkdir mist-ce && cd mist-ce && echo 'MIST_TAG=staging' > .env
wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/mistio/mist-ce/staging/docker-compose.yml
docker-compose up -d

Development environment

If you plan to modify Mist's source code, clone this git repo and all its submodules. Then, bring it online. For example:

git clone --recursive https://github.com/mistio/mist-ce.git
cd mist-ce
docker-compose up -d

This will mount the checked out code into the containers and may take some time.

By cloning the directory, there is also a docker-compose.override.yml file in the current directory in addition to docker-compose.yml. This is used to modify the configuration for development mode.

If you are not interested in front-end development, you can comment out the UI & landing sections within the docker-compose.override.yml file and re-run docker-compose up -d.

Otherwise, you will also need to install the UI & landing page dependencies before you can access the Mist UI.

Install all front-end dependencies with the following commands:

docker-compose exec landing npm install
docker-compose exec ui npm install

And then build the landing & UI bundles with:

docker-compose exec landing npm run build
docker-compose exec ui npm run build

When doing front-end development, it is usually more convenient to serve the source code instead of the bundles. To do that, edit settings/settings.py and set JS_BUILD = False. Restart the api container for the changes to take effect with:

./restart.sh api
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