Operator's Guide

How to configure and run VTAdmin

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Get Started #

This guide describes how to configure and build the VTAdmin API server (vtadmin) and front-end (vtadmin-web).

If you intend to use the Vitess operator to deploy VTAdmin please refer to Running with Vitess Operator.

The simplest VTAdmin deployment involves a single Vitess cluster. You can look at the local example for a minimal invocation of the vtadmin and vtadmin-web binaries.

Prerequisites #

1. Define the cluster configuration #

VTAdmin is mapped to one or more Vitess clusters two ways:

  • Add a clusters.yaml file and pass its path to vtadmin with the --cluster-config build flag
  • Set the --cluster and/or --cluster-defaults flags when running vtadmin, described in the next section.

When both command-line cluster configs and a config file are provided, any options for a given cluster on the command-line take precedence over options for that cluster in the config file.

For a well-commented example enumerating the cluster configuration options, see clusters.example.yaml.

2. Configure vtadmin #

Configure the flags for the vtadmin process. The full list of flags is given in the vtadmin reference documentation.

The following is from the local example showing a minimal set of flags. Here, we define the cluster configuration with the --cluster flag and use static (file-based) discovery configured in the local example's discovery.json file.

vtadmin \
  --addr ":14200" \
  --http-origin "https://vtadmin.example.com:14201" \
  --http-tablet-url-tmpl "http://{{ .Tablet.Hostname }}:15{{ .Tablet.Alias.Uid }}" \
  --tracer "opentracing-jaeger" \
  --grpc-tracing \
  --http-tracing \
  --logtostderr \
  --alsologtostderr \
  --no-rbac \
  --cluster "id=local,name=local,discovery=staticfile,discovery-staticfile-path=./vtadmin/discovery.json,tablet-fqdn-tmpl={{ .Tablet.Hostname }}:15{{ .Tablet.Alias.Uid }}" 

To optionally configure role-based access control (RBAC), refer to the RBAC documentation.

3. Configure and build vtadmin-web #

Environment variables can be defined in a .env file or passed inline to the npm run build command. The full list of flags is given in the vtadmin-web reference documentation.

The following is from the local example showing a minimal set of environment variables. $web_dir, in this case, refers to the vtadmin-web source directory but could equally apply to the web/vtadmin/ directory copied into a Docker container, for example. VITE_VTADMIN_API_ADDRESS uses the same hostname as the --addr flag passed to vtadmin in the previous step.

npm --prefix $web_dir --silent install

VITE_VTADMIN_API_ADDRESS="https://vtadmin-api.example.com:14200" \
  npm run --prefix $web_dir build

If you want to overwrite or set environment variables after the build you can use the $web_dir/build/config/config.js file. For example:

window.env = {
    'VITE_VTADMIN_API_ADDRESS': "https://vtadmin-api.example.com:14200",
    'VITE_READONLY_MODE': false,

After running build command, the production build of the front-end assets will be in the $web_dir/build directory. They can be served as any other static content; for example, Go's embed package or npm's serve package. Each filename inside of $web_dir/build/assets will contain a unique hash of the file contents.

Best Practices #

Now that you can build and run VTAdmin, there are a few best practices you should follow before deploying into production. Because VTAdmin by definition has access to potentially-sensitive information about your clusters, it's important to ensure that only the right people have access to those resources.

Use Role-based Access Control (RBAC) #

VTAdmin provides RBAC to provide administrators a mechanism for controlling who can perfom what actions across their clusters. Out of the box, having no RBAC configuration at all will allow anyone to do anything in any cluster, while an empty RBAC configuration will prevent anyone from doing anything in any cluster.

It is strongly recommended to provide at least some minimal RBAC configuration when deploying VTAdmin. When designing your particular configuration, it is best to apply the principle of least privilege. For example, you should avoid applying a * actor to a write action, or a * action to resources that are subject to write actions.

For further reading on VTAdmin's RBAC design, please refer to the reference page.

Deploy in a trusted environment #

There is no trust boundary between vtadmin-web and vtadmin-api, with deployment-specific authentication mechanisms being left to the operator to design for their specific environment. As such, you should deploy VTAdmin within a trusted environment, for example, behind a single sign-on (SSO) integration, such as okta.