Mixing NRELab’s Antidote and Eclipse Che on the same k8s cluster

You may have heard of my search for Cloud solutions to run labs in an academic context, with a focus on free an open source solutions . You may read previous installments of this blog, or for a shorter, check the presentation I’ve recorded last week.

I’ve become quite interested, in the latest month, in 2 projects: NRELab’s Antidote and  Eclipse Che.

Antidote is the software that powers NRELabs, a labs platform for learning network automation, which runs on top of Kubernetes (k8s). The interesting thing is that for each learner, there can be a dedicated k8s namespace with multiple virtual nodes running on a separate network. This can be used in the context of virtual classes/labs where our students will perform network labs in parallel on the same cluster.

Eclipse Che powers Eclipse “on the Cloud”, making available software development environments, for developers, on a Kubernetes Cloud. Developers typically work from a Web page instead of installing local development tools.

Both projects seem quite complementary. For one, we both teach networks and software developments. So that would naturally appeal for many professors.

Furthermore, Eclipse Che provides a few features that Antidote is lacking : authenticating users (with keycloak), and persisting their work in workspaces, between work sessions. Typically what we need in our academic context where students will work on the same labs during scheduled classes, week after week, during or off-hours.

Thus it would be great to have more integration between the 2 environments.

I intend to work on that front, but that takes time, as running stuff on Kubernetes isn’t exactly trivial, at least when you’re like me and want to use a “vanilla” kubernetes.

I’ve mainly relied on running k8s inside VMs using Vagrant and/or minikube so far.

A first milestone I’ve achieved is making sure that Antidote and Eclipse Che aren’t incompatible. Antidote’s “selfmedicate” script was actually running inside a Vagrant VM, where I had difficulties installing Eclipse Che (probably because of old software, or particular networking setup details). I’ve overcome this hurdle, as I’m now able to install both environments on a single Kubernetes VM (using my own Vagrant setup).

Running Eclipse Che (alongsite Antidote) on a k8s Vagrant VM.

This proves only that there’s no show stopper there, but a lot of work remains.

Stay tuned.

Update: I’ve finally managed to get it to work on the antidote-selfmedicate base too. See my branch at: https://github.com/olberger/antidote-selfmedicate/tree/che

Experimenting on distant labs and labs on the Cloud

I have delivered a speech last week about some ideas and experiments I have about the use of remote access and Cloud technologies for labs. I have collected the speech recording and stuff, in french, in another post.

The presentation was in french originaly, so I’ve quickly translated my slides and recorded an english version.

I mention tools like Guacamole, MeshCentral, NRELab’s Antidote, Eclipse Che and Labtainers, as well as k8s and Docker, as interesting tools that may allow us to continue teaching in labs while allowing more flexibility, distant learning, and hopefully improved quality.

You can find the slides here: https://speakerdeck.com/oberger/experimenting-on-distant-labs-and-labs-on-the-cloud, and the recording is here:

Experimenting on distant labs and labs on the Cloud.

Expérimentations autour de TPs en distanciel, TPs sur le Cloud

J’ai participé au colloque IMT4ET de l’IMT, pour faire une courte présentation sur le thème des Travaux Pratiques à distance et des expérimentations sur les TP “virtuels” sur le Cloud sur lesquelles je travaille en ce moment.

Update: a version in english is also available.

J’y parle de Guacamole et MeshCentral, d’Antidote, de Eclipse Che et de Labtainers, les différents trucs excitants du moment, mais aussi de kubernetes, docker et de trucs louches comme du DevOps académique 😉

Les slides sont disponibles en ligne, et voici une vidéo ou j’expose mes idées sur la question :

Update : une version rédigée de mon propos est parue sur le site “Innovation pédagogique”, si vous préférez une version textuelle.

N’hésitez pas à me contacter si vous voulez creuser les sujets présentés, pour collaborer sur tous ces outils en logiciel libre.