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Starting Redis with and old CircleCI Image

Notes on dealing with a Redis issue on an old Ubuntu 14.04 docker image with CircleCI

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When I migrated some Ruby/Rails projects to CircleCI 2.0, the migration scripts recommended using an ubuntu-14.04-XXL-upstart-1189-5614f37 docker image.

Everything was working fine until 13-Aug-2019 when the redis-server start commands begain to fail. These are old, unmaintained images now, but they still have Redis installed correctly. They are just unable to start the redis server using the conventional service control commands.

I still don’t know what the root cause is, but it appears to be a new incompatibility between ubuntu upstart and redis. But I found a workaround for the short-term (better to probably move these applications to more recent and maintained docker images).

Testing the Image

To find out what was going on, I ran the images locally to see what was going on with the redis startup.

Pulling the docker image

$ docker image pull circleci/build-image:ubuntu-14.04-XXL-upstart-1189-5614f37
Digest: sha256:c43b32467f43bd1294541eebf65ac082a234d8f7261ff3312c8bbca80e948dc5
Status: Downloaded newer image for circleci/build-image:ubuntu-14.04-XXL-upstart-1189-5614f37

We have a valid image:

$ docker image ls | grep XXL
circleci/build-image                       ubuntu-14.04-XXL-upstart-1189-5614f37   38df34ab2dd8        2 years ago         22.9GB

And can start it up, start the PostgreSQL server etc…

$ docker run -it circleci/build-image:ubuntu-14.04-XXL-upstart-1189-5614f37 bash
# sudo service postgresql status
9.5/main (port 5432): down
# sudo service postgresql start
 * Starting PostgreSQL 9.5 database server

But the redis server can no longer startup as a service..

# sudo service redis-server status
initctl: Unable to connect to Upstart: Failed to connect to socket /com/ubuntu/upstart: Connection refused
redis-server: unrecognized service

Redis is installed:

# apt list --installed redis*
Listing... Done
redis-server/trusty,now 2:2.8.4-2 amd64 [installed]
redis-tools/trusty,now 2:2.8.4-2 amd64 [installed,automatic]

Configuration /etc/init/redis-server.conf is present (but not init.d):

# ls -al /etc/init.d/redis*
ls: cannot access /etc/init.d/redis*: No such file or directory
# ls /etc/init/redis-server.conf

Alternative upstart service control commands don’t work:

# sudo start redis-server
start: Unable to connect to Upstart: Failed to connect to socket /com/ubuntu/upstart: Connection refused

But it is possible to start the server directly:

# nohup sudo -u redis /usr/bin/redis-server /etc/redis/redis.conf > /dev/null 2>&1 &
# redis-cli ping

Getting Circle CI Building Again..

While it will be better to move to more moderna and maintained images, the following cicleci.yml fragments were enough to get our builds on the road again…

      - image: circleci/build-image:ubuntu-14.04-XXL-upstart-1189-5614f37
      - run:
          name: redis-server start (hacky way)
          command: '(nohup sudo -u redis /usr/bin/redis-server /etc/redis/redis.conf > /dev/null 2>&1 &)'
      - run:
          name: test redis
          command: 'ps auxf ; redis-cli -h -p 6379 ping'

Cleaning Up

Listing containers

$ docker container ls -a | grep XXL
6ef9a334bcce        circleci/build-image:ubuntu-14.04-XXL-upstart-1189-5614f37   "/sbin/init"             5 months ago        Exited (137) 5 months ago                            cit
f2b352b4e8af        circleci/build-image:ubuntu-14.04-XXL-upstart-1189-5614f37   "bash"                   5 months ago        Exited (0) 5 months ago                              mystifying_shirley
95684a6b7f3b        circleci/build-image:ubuntu-14.04-XXL-upstart-1189-5614f37   "bash"                   5 months ago        Exited (100) 5 months ago                            eager_kare

Removing containers by id or name:

$ docker container rm cit
$ docker container rm 95684a6b7f3b

Removing the image:

$ docker image rm circleci/build-image:ubuntu-14.04-XXL-upstart-1189-5614f37

Credits and References

About LCK#85 dockerubunturedisci
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This page is a web-friendly rendering of my project notes shared in the LittleCodingKata GitHub repository.

LittleCodingKata is my collection of programming exercises, research and code toys broadly spanning things that relate to programming and software development (languages, frameworks and tools).

These range from the trivial to the complex and serious. Many are inspired by existing work and I'll note credits and references where applicable. The focus is quite scattered, as I variously work on things new and important in the moment, or go back to revisit things from the past.

This is primarily a personal collection for my own edification and learning, but anyone who stumbles by is welcome to borrow, steal or reference the work here. And if you spot errors or issues I'd really appreciate some feedback - create an issue, send me an email or even send a pull-request.