What about this Bicep?

You’ve probably heard about Azure Resource Manager (ARM) – the deployment and management service/layer of Azure, which enables you to manage (create, configure, delete) your Azure resources.¬†Also, you are probably aware that ARM uses so called ARM templates – basically, JSON files that actually define the infrastructure and configuration you want to deploy to Azure (think Infrastructure as Code, IaC).

So, if you have dealt with ARM/JSON in the past, you may have been finding it difficult to start with, and somewhat complex.

Bicep is here to help.

Here is a short overview of Bicep – basically, it’s a language which enables you easier deployment of Azure resources, without messing around (too much) with JSON. To be frank, it somehow reminds of Terraform, but it’s also different. It has many cool features, immediately supports all new Azure features and APIs, can be built (converted) into .json and deployed as such or it can be deployed straight away as .bicep, doesn’t require state file, it’s open and free, has great support in Visual Studio Code and much more. And it’s still in active development!

If you’re dealing with IaC and Azure, try it.

To show you the power (and simplicity) of Bicep, here is a short example of deploying Linux virtual machine in Azure (together with a resource group, virtual network, virtual network subnet, virtual NIC and network security group), done “the old way” (in JSON, which was actually converted from Bicep… it’s easier than writing JSON from the scratch) and then done via Bicep (“the right way”? ūüėÄ).

Additionally, you’ll see that I’ve tried to break stuff into modules – with more or less sucess. ūüėÄ

The ARM/JSON way (could be done nicer/shorter, with parameters inside .parameters.json… if you know what you’re doing – this is converted from Bicep and serves just for illustrative purposes):


The Bicep way:

Bicep seems a bit easier to read and shorter, right (while still doing basically the same thing)? ūüėÄ

If we deploy the .bicep files above (note that I’m deploying the “raw” .bicep file directly – which is cool!):

We finally get our resources:

So, where should you start if you’re new to Bicep?

I would certainly recommend starting with free and official Deploy and manage resources in Azure by using Bicep learning path on Microsoft Learn.

After that, you can probably pick up Freek Berson’s book Getting started with Bicep: Infrastructure as Code on Azure (first and only book on Bicep that I know of – really liked it because of the simple (yet effective) examples with storage accounts, it connects everything and flows naturally – building up “brick by brick” and not “jumping around”, just to show off what Bicep can do).

Another great resource are also the Bicep examples – there’s plenty to learn from them too!

Of course, you’ll also need to practice – install the Azure CLI or Azure PowerShell module, add Bicep and use Visual Studio Code for your first steps with creating, deleting, configuring and breaking stuff… powered by Bicep! ūüėÄ


Yet another “Kubernetes with Raspberry Pi” post

There’s a ton of the tutorials on how to get Kubernetes installed onto your Raspberry Pi, so… let’s write another one. ūüėä

As mentioned in my last post, I’ve found my forgotten Raspberry Pi, and played around with installing and configuring Raspbian Buster on it.

Today, I wanted to check if it will be possible to install Kubernetes onto such small machine – they are many articles on the “widest of the world’s webs” that say “Yes, it can be done!“, so I’ve decided to give it a try! And I chose to follow one of them (seemed like a nice reference).

As you remember, I’m starting with a cleanly installed (and just slightly customized) Raspbian Buster and building it from there.

And I’ll be using kubeadm for installing my cluster.

So, once I had at least two machines (my Raspberry Pi for the “control plane” and Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Hyper-V virtual machine as the “node” – you can read more about it here), I prepared them like this:

  • install Docker (in my case)
  • change the default cgroups driver for Docker to systemd
  • add cgroups limit support (for my Raspberry Pi 3)
  • configure iptables
  • disable swap (this one was a bit challenging)
  • prepare for Kubernetes installation (source, keys, kubeadm)
  • install Kubernetes “control plane”
  • add flannel
  • add a node to the cluster
  • test with some workload

One thing that bothered me (on Buster) was disabling swap in a way that it also stays disabled after a reboot (I know, it’s the details that eventually get you) – after a while, I’ve stumbled on this forum post and the solution provided by powerpetedid the trick! Thank you, @powerpete! ūüėä

And finally, details about the each step are here (outputs are commented and somewhat redacted/condensed):

Seems to be working (ūüėä):


P.S. I’ve read about some having issues with flannel and using other network options (didn’t have this one). Also, if you’ll have issues with iptables (v1.8+), maybe you’ll need to switch to legacy version (didn’t have this one either).