Install Pre-requisites

Before we begin, if you haven’t already done so, you may wish to check that you have all the prerequisites below installed on the platform(s) on which you’ll be deploying blockchain networks from and/or operating the Blockchain Automation Framework.

Git Repository

As you may have read in the key concepts, the Blockchain Automation Framework (BAF) uses GitOps method for deployment to Kubernetes clusters, so a Git repository is needed for BAF (this can be a GitHub repository as well). Fork or import the BAF GitHub repo to this Git repository.

The Operator should have a user created on this repo with full access to the Git Repository.


NOTE: Install Git Client Version > 2.31.0


Kubernetes

The Blockchain Automation Framework (BAF) deploys the DLT/Blockchain network on Kubernetes clusters; so to use BAF, at least one Kubernetes cluster should be available. BAF recommends one Kubernetes cluster per organization for production-ready projects. Also, a user needs to make sure that the Kubernetes clusters can support the number of pods and persistent volumes that will be created by BAF.


NOTE: For the current release BAF has been tested on Amazon EKS with Kubernetes version 1.16.

Also, install kubectl Client version v1.16.13


Please follow Amazon instructions to set-up your required Kubernetes cluster(s). To connect to Kubernetes cluster(s), you will also need kubectl Command Line Interface (CLI). Please refer here for installation instructions, although the Blockchain Automation Framework configuration code (Ansible scripts) installs this automatically.

HashiCorp Vault

In this current release, Hashicorp Vault is mandatory for the Blockchain Automation Framework (BAF) as the certificate and key storage solution; so to use BAF, at least one Vault server should be available. BAF recommends one Vault per organization for production-ready projects.

Follow official instructions to deploy Vault in your environment.


NOTE: Recommended approach is to create one Vault deployment on one VM and configure the backend as a cloud storage.

Vault version should be 1.7.1


Ansible

The Blockchain Automation Framework configuration is essentially Ansible scripts, so install Ansible on the machine from which you will deploy the DLT/Blockchain network. This can be a local machine as long as Ansible commands can run on it.

Please note that this machine (also called Ansible Controller) should have connectivity to the Kubernetes cluster(s) and the Hashicorp Vault service(s). And it is essential to install the git client on the Ansible Controller.


NOTE: Minimum Ansible version should be 2.10.5 with Python3

Also, Ansible’s k8s module requires the openshift python package (>= 0.6).

NOTE (MacOS): Ansible requires GNU tar. Install it on MacOS through Homebrew brew install gnu-tar


Configuring Ansible Inventory file

In the Blockchain Automation Framework, we connect to Kubernetes cluster through the Ansible Controller and do not modify or connect to any other machine directly. The Blockchain Automation Framework’s sample inventory file is located here.

Add the contents of this file in your Ansible host configuration file (typically in file /etc/ansible/hosts).

Read more about Ansible inventory here.


NPM

Blockchain Automation Framework provides the feature of automated validation of the configuration file (network.yaml), this is done using ajv (JSON schema validator) cli. The deployment scripts install ajv using npm module which requires npm as prerequisite.

You can install the latest NPM version from offical site.


Docker

The Blockchain Automation Framework provides pre-built docker images which are available on Docker Hub. If specific changes are needed in the Docker images, then you can build them locally using the Dockerfiles provided. A user needs to install Docker CLI to make sure the environment has the capability of building these Dockerfiles to generate various docker images. Platform specific docker image details are mentioned here.


NOTE: The Blockchain Automation Framework uses minimum Docker version 18.03.0


You can check the version of Docker you have installed with the following command from a terminal prompt:

    docker --version

For storing private docker images, a private docker registry can be used. Information such as registry url, username, password, etc. can be configured in the configuration file like Fabric configuration file.

Docker Build for dev environments

The Blockchain Automation Framework is targetted for Production systems, but, in case, a developer environment is needed, you can create a containerized Ansible machine to deploy the dev DLT/Blockchain network using docker build.

The details on how to create a containerized Ansible machine is mentioned here.


NOTE: This containerized machine (also called Ansible Controller) should have connectivity to the Kubernetes cluster(s) and the Hashicorp Vault service(s).


Internet Domain

As you may have read in the Kubernetes key concepts, the Blockchain Automation Framework uses Ambassador or HAProxy Ingress Controller for inter-cluster communication. So, for the Kubernetes services to be available outside the specific cluster, at least one DNS Domain is required. This domain name can then be sub-divided across multiple clusters and the domain-resolution configured for each. Although for production implementations, each organization (and thereby each cluster), must have one domain name.


NOTE: If single cluster is being used for all organizations in a dev/POC environment, then domain name is not needed.