APPUiO Cloud Tech

VSHN HackDay – Tailscale on APPUiO Cloud

21. Okt 2022

As part of the fourth VSHN HackDay taking place yesterday and today (October 20th and 21st, 2022), Simon Gerber and I (Tobias Brunner) worked on the idea to get Tailscale VPN running on APPUiO Cloud.

tailscale logo

Tailscale is a VPN service that makes the devices and applications you own accessible anywhere in the world, securely and effortlessly. It enables encrypted point-to-point connections using the open source WireGuard protocol, which means only devices on your private network can communicate with each other.

The use cases we wanted to make possible are:

  • Access Kubernetes services easily from your laptop without the hassle of „[kubectl|oc] port-forward“. Engineers in charge of development or debugging need to securely access services running on APPUiO Cloud but not exposed to the Internet. That’s the job of a VPN, and Tailscale makes this scenario very easy.
  • Connect pods running on APPUiO Cloud to services that are not directly accessible, for example, behind a firewall or a NAT. Routing outbound connections from a Pod through a VPN on APPUiO Cloud is more complex because of the restricted multi-tenant environment.

We took the challenge and found a solution for both use cases. The result is an OpenShift template on APPUiO Cloud that deploys a pre-configured Tailscale pod and all needed settings into your namespace. You only need a Tailscale account and a Tailscale authorization key. Check the APPUiO Cloud documentation to know how to use this feature.

We developed two new utilities to make it easier to work with Tailscale on APPUiO Cloud (and on any other Kubernetes cluster):

  • tailscale-service-observer: A tool that lists Kubernetes services and posts updates to the Tailscale client HTTP API to expose Kubernetes services as routes in the VPN dynamically.
  • TCP over SOCKS5: A middleman to transport TCP packets over the Tailscale SOCKS5 proxy.

Let us know your use cases for Tailscale on APPUiO Cloud via our product board! Are you already a Tailscale user? Do you want to see deeper integration into APPUiO Cloud?

Tobias Brunner

Tobias Brunner arbeitet seit über 20 Jahren in der Informatik und seit bald 15 Jahren im Internet Umfeld. Neue Technologien wollen ausprobiert und darüber berichtet werden.

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