RabbitMQ is a messaging broker that transports messages between data producers and data consumers. Data producers can be just about any application, host, or device that emits data that needs to be consumed by other applications for aggregation, processing, or analysis.
RabbitMQ is easy to set up, use, and maintain. It can be scaled to handle large numbers of messages between many different data producers and consumers in a variety of application use cases.
Rancher provides a container platform that eases managing clusters of container-based applications. It works natively with Kubernetes, Mesos, and Docker Swarm, as well as its own container orchestration and scheduling tool, which is called Cattle.
In this article, we are going to discuss setting up a simple RabbitMQ installation in a container using Rancher Server. Connecting to the RabbitMQ management interface, as well as sending and receiving your first message, will be covered.
For the purposes of this tutorial, I assume you already have a Rancher Server instance set up, and that you have added at least one host to it where you can deploy containers. If you haven’t already done this, Rancher provides excellent documentation in their Quick Start Guide that explains how to set up Rancher Server.
If you’re not familiar with Rancher Server at all, consider watching the latest Rancher Overview Training on YouTube before proceeding with the Rancher installation. This will help you to understand certain key concepts about Rancher.
It’s all right if the only host you have added to Rancher Server is that which has the Rancher Server container running on it. Rancher normally recommends adding containers in the context of a new service or via Rancher catalog (which includes scaling capabilities), in which case launching RabbitMQ is as simple as selecting its entry from the community catalog within Rancher. However, in some cases it is useful to launch just a single container for RabbitMQ, without clustering. Only one RabbitMQ container will be deployed during this demonstration.
For this article, I used a host with 2 vCPU, 4GB of RAM, and 20GB of disk space to ensure enough system level resources to host both the Rancher Server and RabbitMQ containers. The Rancher Server and RabbitMQ containers are both instantiated on the same host.
You will also need a Linux workstation or other host with a web browser to connect to the Rancher Server UI, as well as to the RabbitMQ web management interface. In addition, your workstation host will need Python 2.6 or later, but not Python 3.
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For the workstation, I used a Macbook running OS X El Capitan, with Chrome as the browser and Python 2.6 installed to connect to Rancher Server and RabbitMQ.
While performing the steps described in this article, a network or Internet connection with TCP ports 5672, 8080, and 15672 will need to be accessible from your workstation to the host running Rancher and RabbitMQ. Ideally this would be running on a private network, but it could be done over the Internet if you restrict access to only trusted hosts such as your workstation.
Note that it is not recommended to leave the above ports open to the Internet. When initially configuring Rancher Server and RabbitMQ, they start up in an insecure manner, and they must be locked down before exposing these services to the Internet.
If you have all of the prerequisites in place, you should have a host with a running Rancher Server container to which you can connect from your workstation using the management URL on port 8080, as well as TCP ports 5672, 15672.
Now you’re ready to set up your first RabbitMQ container using Rancher via the following steps:
Using your browser, connect to the Rancher Server management URL at http://<SERVER_IP>:8080, where <SERVER_IP>; is the IP address that is accessible by your workstation.
Select INFRASTRUCTURE; then Containers
Click the Add Container button
Set the following parameters on the Add Container page (note that by default, Rancher pulls container images from Docker Hub, which is what we’re doing here):
Description: My RabbitMQ installation
Select image: rabbitmq:management
Click +Port Map, and add the following port mapping:
Public Host[IP:]Port 5672
Private Container Port: 5672
Click +Port Map again, and add the following port mapping:
Public Host[IP:]Port 15672
Private Container Port: 15672
You should have settings like those illustrated in the image below:
RabbitMQ container settings
Leave all the other settings at default:
Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Create
You will now be taken to the container monitoring page for the container you just created. It should look something like the following:
RabbitMQ Container running on Rancher
Your RabbitMQ container is now up and running. The next step is to configure and test it.
Now that your container is running, you’ll want to take a moment to create a secure login that you can use to connect to RabbitMQ. To do this, follow these steps:
Open a new table in your browser and connect to the RabbitMQ management URL at http://<SERVER_IP>:15672, where <SERVER_IP> is the IP address that is accessible by your workstation.
You should be greeted by a login page. The credentials to log in are as follows:
The first thing that you’ll want to do is to create a user other than the guest user, and set a secure password.
Click the Admin tab, then Add a user
Enter a username and secure password in their respective fields
Click Add User
You should now see your user added on the Users page.
On the Users page, click the username you just added. You will see that your user has not yet been granted any permissions to access virtual hosts.
Under Permissions, leave the default parameters set, and click Set permission
Click the Admin tab again, and verify that your newly added user has been granted permission to access the “ / ” virtual host.
Log out of the management interface, then log in with your new username.
Navigate back to the Admin tab.
Click the guest user, and then Delete this user at the bottom of the page.
Delete the guest user and confirm.
The next step will be to test connecting to the RabbitMQ container to verify that everything is working as expected. First, be sure you have Python 2.6 or later (not Python 3) installed on your workstation.
Open a new tab in your browser, and connect to the RabbitMQ management URL at http://<SERVER_IP>:15672/cli.
Download rabbitmqadmin from the link provided on the page, place it in your path if you haven’t already done so, and make it executable.
Open a terminal window, and from the command line, input the following:
rabbitmqadmin -H -u -p list vhosts
Replace SERVER_IP, USERNAME and PASSWORD with the correct parameters you’ve already set prior to this. You should see output similar to the following:
You’ve now sent and retrieved your first message using RabbitMQ.
For help using rabbitmqadmin, see the RabbitMQ Management CLI documentation, or you can type rabbitmqadmin –help from the CLI.
In this article, we’ve learned how to set up a simple RabbitMQ installation in a container using Rancher Server, as well as how to connect to the RabbitMQ management interface and send and receive messages using rabbitmqadmin.
If you’re interested in proceeding further with your new RabbitMQ installation, or trying out RabbitMQ in general, you might consider trying out the new RabbitMQ Tutorials.
Steve Tidwell has been working in the tech industry for over two decades, and has done everything from end-user support to scaling a global data ingestion and analysis platform to handle data analysis for some of the largest streaming events on the Web. He is currently Lead Architect for a well-known tech news site, where he plots to take over the world with cloud based technologies from his corner of the office.
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