Secure Jenkins Operator pipelines with Webhook Relay

In this tutorial, we will configure a Jenkins pipeline on Kubernetes that leverages Jenkins and Webhook Relay operators. Jenkins Kubernetes operator will be creating Jenkins instances with a predefined seed job. Webhook Relay operator will ensure that GitHub webhooks on push events trigger new Jenkins builds for a fast and efficient CI/CD experience.

Webhook Relay and Jenkins Operators

Advantages of this setup:

You can read about operator pattern in Kubernetes docs.

Prerequisites

Prerequisites:

Installation

The installation will consist of several steps:

Create a fresh namespace

Let’s start by creating a new namespace where we will put our Jenkins instance and run builds. I will call it ‘jenkins’ but you can choose any other name:

kubectl create namespace jenkins

And then switch to it:

kubectl config set-context $(kubectl config current-context) --namespace=jenkins

Jenkins Operator

We will install Jenkins operator using Helm. First, add the repository:

helm repo add jenkins https://raw.githubusercontent.com/jenkinsci/kubernetes-operator/master/chart
helm repo update

Once the repository has been added, install it:

helm install jenkins-operator jenkins/jenkins-operator

Official docs can be found here: https://jenkinsci.github.io/kubernetes-operator/docs/installation/. The operator is not the Jenkins itself so to get our Jenkins instance, we will have to create a Custom Resource.

Custom resources are extensions of the Kubernetes API. This page discusses when to add a custom resource to your Kubernetes cluster and when to use a standalone service. It describes the two methods for adding custom resources and how to choose between them.

Start Jenkins (using Custom Resource)

We will need to create a CR. You can either use Jenkins Operator docs to create one or you can fork this https://github.com/webhookrelay/jenkins-operator-example.git repository and clone it. Then:

  1. Update jenkins_cr.yaml file https://github.com/webhookrelay/jenkins-operator-example.git to your own repository fork (it will usually be https://github.com/<your username or organization>/jenkins-operator-example.git).
  2. Create it with kubectl:

    kubectl apply -f jenkins_cr.yaml

Main differences in this file from the stock example:

Creating this PR should result in two additional containers:

kubectl get pods
NAME READY STATUS RESTARTS AGE
jenkins-jenkins 1/1 Running 0 7m11s
jenkins-operator-6dbbc458c9-gmx6p 1/1 Running 0 18m
seed-job-agent-jenkins-65cc4bc684-9ztr5 1/1 Running 0 6m21s

Let’s connect to Jenkins. First, get username and password:

kubectl --namespace jenkins get secret jenkins-operator-credentials-jenkins -o 'jsonpath={.data.user}' | base64 -d
kubectl --namespace jenkins get secret jenkins-operator-credentials-jenkins -o 'jsonpath={.data.password}' | base64 -d

Then, in one terminal start port forwarding:

kubectl port-forward jenkins-jenkins 8080:8080

And then just open http://localhost:8080 in your browser.

Jenkins dashboard

Webhook Relay

Retrieve your access token key & secret pair from https://my.webhookrelay.com/tokens and set them as an environment variables:

export RELAY_KEY=xxxxxxxxxxxx
export RELAY_SECRET=xxxxx

Add Webhook Relay Operator Helm repository and install it:

helm repo add webhookrelay https://charts.webhookrelay.com
helm repo update
helm upgrade --install webhookrelay-operator --namespace=jenkins webhookrelay/webhookrelay-operator \
--set credentials.key=$RELAY_KEY --set credentials.secret=$RELAY_SECRET

Operator doesn’t forward webhooks on its own. Each created CR will ensure an agent deployment that is configured to route specific buckets.

From the operator example repository we will need to create Webhook Relay Custom Resource:

kubectl apply -f webhookrelay_cr.yaml

Note that if you have modified Jenkins CR name you will need to update webhookrelay_cr.yaml “destination” field from destination: http://jenkins-operator-http-jenkins:8080/github-webhook/ to whatever your current Jenkins service is. Typically it will be in a format jenkins-operator-http-<CR name>.

GitHub Configuration

This step could be automated by making Jenkins automatically configure Github repositories to forwarding to this endpoint, however for simplicity and so that it’s more clear how it works, we will add this URL manually.

Get your Webhook Relay public URL

To get your public endpoint you can either visit https://my.webhookrelay.com/buckets page or get it via CR status:

kubectl get webhookrelayforwards.forward.webhookrelay.com forward-to-jenkins -o 'jsonpath={.status.publicEndpoints[0]}'

Result should look something like:

$ kubectl get webhookrelayforwards.forward.webhookrelay.com forward-to-jenkins -o 'jsonpath={.status.publicEndpoints[0]}'
https://k0yv9ip5sxxp55ncsu936k.hooks.webhookrelay.com

Add public URL to GitHub repository settings

Take the public endpoint URL and add it to your GitHub repository:

GitHub configuration

Using the pipeline

First, when the pipeline is created, trigger the build manually. After that, any push to your GitHub repository will send a webhook through Webhook Relay to your Jenkins instance that’s running inside a Kubernetes cluster:

Jenkins pipeline