Getting Started with a Free Trial of Mirantis Container Cloud

Eric Gregory - December 16, 2021 - , , , ,

In this guide, we’ll show you how to get started with a free hosted trial of Mirantis Container Cloud in just a few simple steps. By the end, you’ll have a Kubernetes cluster running a sample application, all manageable through the Lens integrated development environment. We’ll also walk you through scaling up with additional nodes and upgrading the cluster without disrupting service. You can watch the video or simply follow the steps outlined below to get started.

Signing up for the trial

To sign up for the free trial, head to mirantis.com/trial/ and click on the GET STARTED button. On the next page, you’ll click the “Sign up” tab, complete the form, and then click the SIGN UP button.

mirantis container cloud hosted trial sign up webpage  

After you sign up, you’ll need to verify your email address — once you push the verify account button from the email, you will be redirected straight to the Mirantis Container Cloud hosted trial dashboard.

mcc icon medium

Now you have two options — the first one is to start the hosted trial, where you will be able to use Container Cloud on hosted infrastructure. Currently, this trial is hosted on Equinix Metal, and you will get access to create one management cluster with three manager nodes and three worker nodes for 24 hours and there is an option to try on-prem by downloading the freemium license and following the guide to install on your own infrastructure.

start trial page for mirantis container cloud hosted trial  

Let’s start the trial — by clicking on the START TRIAL button, you will generate your personal hosted instance of Container Cloud, and you will have the credentials set up in Mirantis Container Cloud to create the management cluster.

Now, when you press LAUNCH TRIAL ENVIRONMENT, you’ll enter the main interface of Mirantis Container Cloud.

guided tour through mirantis container cloud gui  

If you’re using it for the first time, you’ll see a guided tour through the UI. You can click through these tips, and they will explain some of the main concepts of Mirantis Container Cloud such as project clusters and credentials.

Deploying a cluster

Let’s create a cluster now by clicking the CREATE CLUSTER button. On the next page, we can specify some details about our new cluster.

create new cluster dialog in mirantis container cloud gui  

We’ll name the cluster sl-trial-demo. We have credentials set up, as I mentioned before, and I’ll select not the latest but the previous release version, so we can show you how easy it is to upgrade later in the demo. For our provider, we can select which Equinix facility to use for our deployment.

We’ll choose an Equinix facility where there are machines available to deploy the cluster. Then we’ll click on our cluster and push CREATE MACHINE to add three manager nodes and two worker nodes to the cluster. It’s important to note that these are the minimum requirements for a cluster to deploy.

create new machine dialog in mirantis container cloud gui  

So now that we have satisfied the minimum requirements, Container Cloud will provision machines at Equinix and begin to create and configure the cluster, installing the necessary software like Mirantis Secure Registry, Mirantis Container Runtime, and Stacklight. This process will take about 20 or 30 minutes — at this point, you can take a short break and come back when the cluster is ready to continue from there.

Scaling up and adding to Lens

Once the cluster is ready, we’ll add a little bit more to it — in this case, an additional worker node, giving us a taste of a scale-up operation. Again, click CREATE MACHINE and add one more worker node.

While this node is being created and provisioned, we’ll add our cluster into Lens and deploy an application into it. You may already be using Lens — if you’re not familiar with it, this is the free and open source Kubernetes IDE project supported by Mirantis, which you can download here.

Lens logo_No text

With Lens installed, adding your cluster is a simple matter of opening the ellipsis menu for your cluster and clicking Add to Lens.

adding cluster to lens from mirantis container cloud gui  

Now our cluster is added to Lens. We have a live dashboard for the cluster as a whole, with a single-pane view of error messages, resource usage… all the big picture items we want to understand at a glance. We can take a look at our nodes for more detail, and drill down as needed.

cluster view in lens gui

Deploying an application with Helm

So we have a cluster and we can manage it in Lens — let’s start to put it to work by installing a Helm chart.

Our available repositories will depend on what we’ve used on our local machine — if this is a fresh Lens install on a machine that you haven’t used for a lot of Kubernetes development, you may need to add some repos. To do that, we’ll go to the menu bar, click on “Lens,” and then “Preferences.” In the Preferences menu, we’ll select “Kubernetes” and then scroll down to Helm charts and select the repositories we would like to add. For this demo, we’ll use the bitnami repository — if you don’t already have it, go ahead and add that.

add respositories for your clusters with lens  

Now we’re going to exit the Preferences menu and return to our cluster. Click on the “Apps” tab in the sidebar, and then select “Charts.” Here, you can search your available repositories for any Helm charts you’d like to use. Let’s search for Jenkins.

search for helm charts with lens  

This is a standard chart, and we will keep all the parameters as default — we’ll only change the Jenkins password so we can access the interface, and then we’ll push the Install button. Now Lens will deploy the Helm chart with Jenkins to the cluster.

deploy a helm chart with jenkins through lens  

If we click on the app in the Releases tab, we’ll see that this is a standard Helm chart — we have all the data stored in persistent volumes, and Container Cloud configures the load balancer to expose the services with type “load balancer,” which is used by this Helm chart to expose Jenkins.

As soon as the deployment is complete, we can click on the service and find the public IP that Jenkins is exposed on.

lens highlights the exposed jenkins ip  

We’ll just open to check…

jenkins sign in landing page  

Fantastic – Jenkins is up-and-running.

Before we move on, let’s check and see if our new node is ready.

status of new nodes within the lens gui  

Perfect, we can see that we have three managers and three workers now, and our new node has appeared in Lens automatically.

The next and final step for this demo will be to upgrade the cluster.

Upgrading the cluster

If we return to the main interface of Mirantis Container Cloud, we’ll find that we have an icon for cluster upgrade right under the release.

cluster upgrade available within the mirantis container cloud gui  

When we’re ready to upgrade, we’ll open the ellipsis menu and click Upgrade cluster.

upgrade cluster within the mirantis container cloud gui  

We can now initiate the cluster upgrade — which includes upgrading all of the software on the cluster such as Mirantis Kubernetes Engine, Stacklight, and so forth. So we will select the version, click the button, and the upgrade will be initiated within a few seconds.

choose release update version in mirantis container cloud gui  

Container Cloud will upgrade all the nodes one by one, keeping all the APIs and code up and running. We can check back in 15 or 20 minutes and see if Jenkins survived the upgrade.

welcome to jenkins landing page  

Perfect — it’s still working.

I hope this guide was helpful. If you’d like to get started with your own free trial, please visit mirantis.com/trial/.

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