Performance Tweaks: Kibana

Saurabh Sharma

The performance I was getting after deploying Elasticsearch 7.6.2 and Kibana in my local VM’s was not satisfactory, so I thought of deploying a front proxy Nginx in front and enabling static resources caching.

The journey starts at installing NGINX the steps are very much simple and covered here in detail.

My /etc/yum.repos.d/nginx.repo looks like below

[nginx-stable]
name=nginx stable repo
baseurl=http://nginx.org/packages/centos/$releasever/$basearch/
gpgcheck=1
enabled=1
gpgkey=https://nginx.org/keys/nginx_signing.key
module_hotfixes=true

[nginx-mainline]
name=nginx mainline repo
baseurl=http://nginx.org/packages/mainline/centos/$releasever/$basearch/
gpgcheck=1
enabled=1
gpgkey=https://nginx.org/keys/nginx_signing.key
module_hotfixes=true
nginx -v
nginx version: nginx/1.19.1
nginx -V
nginx version: nginx/1.19.1
built by gcc 4.8.5 20150623 (Red Hat 4.8.5-39) (GCC) 
built with OpenSSL 1.0.2k-fips  26 Jan 2017
TLS SNI support enabled
configure arguments: --prefix=/etc/nginx --sbin-path=/usr/sbin/nginx --modules-path=/usr/lib64/nginx/modules --conf-path=/etc/nginx/nginx.conf --error-log-path=/var/log/nginx/error.log --http-log-path=/var/log/nginx/access.log --pid-path=/var/run/nginx.pid --lock-path=/var/run/nginx.lock --http-client-body-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/client_temp --http-proxy-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/proxy_temp --http-fastcgi-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/fastcgi_temp --http-uwsgi-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/uwsgi_temp --http-scgi-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/scgi_temp --user=nginx --group=nginx --with-compat --with-file-aio --with-threads --with-http_addition_module --with-http_auth_request_module --with-http_dav_module --with-http_flv_module --with-http_gunzip_module --with-http_gzip_static_module --with-http_mp4_module --with-http_random_index_module --with-http_realip_module --with-http_secure_link_module --with-http_slice_module --with-http_ssl_module --with-http_stub_status_module --with-http_sub_module --with-http_v2_module --with-mail --with-mail_ssl_module --with-stream --with-stream_realip_module --with-stream_ssl_module --with-stream_ssl_preread_module --with-cc-opt='-O2 -g -pipe -Wall -Wp,-D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2 -fexceptions -fstack-protector-strong --param=ssp-buffer-size=4 -grecord-gcc-switches -m64 -mtune=generic -fPIC' --with-ld-opt='-Wl,-z,relro -Wl,-z,now -pie'

My Kibana is deployed on the same host and listening on 5601

  • Handy commands
    1. nginx -t to test the changes are syntactically correct before loading the nginx.
    2. systemctl reload nginx reloads the nginx configurations.

Let’s get started with the configuration definition and I will explain as I do it. The default configuration for me looks like below

user  nginx;
worker_processes  1;

error_log  /var/log/nginx/error.log warn;
pid        /var/run/nginx.pid;


events {
    worker_connections  1024;
}


http {
    include       /etc/nginx/mime.types;
    default_type  application/octet-stream;

    log_format  main  '$remote_addr - $remote_user [$time_local] "$request" '
                      '$status $body_bytes_sent "$http_referer" '
                      '"$http_user_agent" "$http_x_forwarded_for"';

    access_log  /var/log/nginx/access.log  main;

    sendfile        on;
    #tcp_nopush     on;

    keepalive_timeout  65;

    #gzip  on;

    include /etc/nginx/conf.d/*.conf;
}
  • Notice the line include /etc/nginx/conf.d/*.conf; this allows you to define multiple configurations within the http context.
  • Server block has a scope context of http and sets the configuration for a virtual server hence you will notice in the configuration files we defined in conf.d we usually have only server blocks
systemctl status nginx

● nginx.service - nginx - high performance web server
   Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/nginx.service; enabled; vendor preset: disabled)
   Active: active (running) since Fri 2020-08-07 11:53:24 UTC; 9s ago
     Docs: http://nginx.org/en/docs/
  Process: 224365 ExecStart=/usr/sbin/nginx -c /etc/nginx/nginx.conf (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
 Main PID: 224366 (nginx)
    Tasks: 2
   CGroup: /system.slice/nginx.service
           ├─224366 nginx: master process /usr/sbin/nginx -c /etc/nginx/nginx.conf
           └─224367 nginx: worker process

Let’s make some changes

Syntax:

worker_processes number | auto;

http://nginx.org/en/docs/ngx_core_module.html#worker_processes

The default value of 1 not going to suffice for my case so bump it up to auto which should be ideal. Please note the auto parameter is supported starting from versions 1.3.8 and 1.2.5 only.

worker_processes  auto;

It allows to create a more conducive environment and in my case since the VM has 16 cores the number of workers launched when I enabled Nginx it is pushed to 16 (+1 master).

To allow more information in case of errors, let me add the debug log information as well

error_log /var/log/nginx/error.log debug;

Syntax:

error_log file [level];

Time to reload the configuration and see if the number of worker thread changes

systemctl status nginx
● nginx.service - nginx - high performance web server
   Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/nginx.service; enabled; vendor preset: disabled)
   Active: active (running) since Fri 2020-08-07 11:53:24 UTC; 42s ago
     Docs: http://nginx.org/en/docs/
  Process: 224398 ExecReload=/bin/sh -c /bin/kill -s HUP $(/bin/cat /var/run/nginx.pid) (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
  Process: 224365 ExecStart=/usr/sbin/nginx -c /etc/nginx/nginx.conf (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
 Main PID: 224366 (nginx)
    Tasks: 17
   CGroup: /system.slice/nginx.service
           ├─224366 nginx: master process /usr/sbin/nginx -c /etc/nginx/nginx.conf
           ├─224402 nginx: worker process
           ├─224403 nginx: worker process
           ├─224404 nginx: worker process
           ├─224405 nginx: worker process
           ├─224406 nginx: worker process
           ├─224407 nginx: worker process
           ├─224408 nginx: worker process
           ├─224409 nginx: worker process
           ├─224410 nginx: worker process
           ├─224411 nginx: worker process
           ├─224412 nginx: worker process
           ├─224413 nginx: worker process
           ├─224414 nginx: worker process
           ├─224415 nginx: worker process
           ├─224416 nginx: worker process
           └─224417 nginx: worker process

The default.conf defined in /etc/nginx/conf.d looks like

server {
    listen       80;
    server_name  localhost;


    location / {
        root   /usr/share/nginx/html;
        index  index.html index.htm;
    }
}
  • listen directive sets the address and port for IP. An address may also be a hostname
  • server_name sets names of a virtual server, for example
server_name example.com www.example.com;

If you browse to http://machine.host:80 you will be presented the Nginx welcome page, now lets tweak it a little to validate if our changes do work.

listen      [::]:8989 default_server;

I changed the port and restarted the server. The same page is now presented when I hit http://machine.host:8989.

The default_server parameter, if present, will cause the server to become the default server for the specified address:port pair.

Undo the port change to default to 80 again.

Let’s have only SSL communication and we shall redirect all the incoming http communication to https.

Generate SSL certificates

Step 1, requires generating certificates. Follow the steps below to generate private.key and public.pem at /etc/nginx/ssl

mkdir /etc/nginx/ssl
openssl req -x509 -nodes -days 365 \
>   -newkey rsa:2048 \
>   -keyout /etc/nginx/ssl/private.key \
>   -out /etc/nginx/ssl/public.pem
Generating a 2048 bit RSA private key
..........................+++
.........................+++
writing new private key to '/etc/nginx/ssl/private.key'
-----
You are about to be asked to enter information that will be incorporated
into your certificate request.
What you are about to enter is what is called a Distinguished Name or a DN.
There are quite a few fields but you can leave some blank
For some fields there will be a default value,
If you enter '.', the field will be left blank.
-----
Country Name (2 letter code) [XX]:IN
State or Province Name (full name) []:Telangana
Locality Name (eg, city) [Default City]:Hyderabad
Organization Name (eg, company) [Default Company Ltd]:Samarthya.me
Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) []:Security
Common Name (eg, your name or your server's hostname) []:localmachine.host
Email Address []:s.r@gmail.com

Let us redirect all the traffic to https by using return.

return code URL;

return 301 https://$host$request_uri;

Create a sample page

echo "It Works" >/usr/share/nginx/html/ssltest.html

Add a new configuration called ssl.conf at /etc/nginx

server {
        listen 443 ssl;
        server_name .host;

        ssl_certificate    /etc/nginx/ssl/public.pem;
        ssl_certificate_key /etc/nginx/ssl/private.key;


        location / {
                root   /usr/share/nginx/html;
                index   ssltest.html;
        }
}

Specify the certificate and key as specified above. Now, after you reload nginx and hit the default location http://host it should redirect you to https://.

GET / HTTP/1.1
Host: machine.host
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.15; rv:79.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/79.0
Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,image/webp,*/*;q=0.8
Accept-Language: en-US,en;q=0.5
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
DNT: 1
Connection: keep-alive
Upgrade-Insecure-Requests: 1
Pragma: no-cache
Cache-Control: no-cache
HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently
Server: nginx/1.19.1
Date: Fri, 07 Aug 2020 12:53:14 GMT
Content-Type: text/html
Content-Length: 169
Connection: keep-alive
Location: https://machine.host/
https://machine.host/
GET / HTTP/1.1
Host: machine.host
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.15; rv:79.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/79.0
Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,image/webp,*/*;q=0.8
Accept-Language: en-US,en;q=0.5
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate, br
DNT: 1
Connection: keep-alive
Upgrade-Insecure-Requests: 1
Pragma: no-cache
Cache-Control: no-cache

Finally it shows

It Works

This was a simple http to https configuration the bigger question is enabling cache and forwarding the request to another server. Let’s use the proxy_cache to define a zone.

proxy_cache defines a shared memory zone used for caching.

proxy_cache kibana;
proxy_cache_background_update on;
proxy_cache_valid 200 302 60m;

proxy_cache_path sets the path and other parameters of a cache.

proxy_cache_path /var/cache/nginx/kibana levels=1:2 keys_zone=kibana:10m max_size=1g inactive=60m;

Mind you the proxy_cache_path context is http so we will be defining it at the top

Finally proxy to the kibanaserver using proxy_pass

proxy_cache_path /var/cache/nginx/kibana levels=1:2 keys_zone=kibana:10m max_size=1g inactive=60m;

server {
        listen 443 ssl;
        server_name .host;

        ssl_certificate    /etc/nginx/ssl/public.pem;
        ssl_certificate_key /etc/nginx/ssl/private.key;


        location / {
                # root   /usr/share/nginx/html;
                # index   ssltest.html;
                proxy_cache kibana;
                proxy_cache_background_update on;
                proxy_cache_valid 200 302 60m;
                proxy_pass_request_headers on;
                proxy_pass_request_body on;

                proxy_set_header HOST $host;
                proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme;
                proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
                proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
                
                proxy_pass https://kibanaserver.net:5601/;
        }
}

A quick listing of cache on fs can be seen by doing a directory listing

ls /var/cache/nginx/kibana/ -als
total 0
0 drwx------ 17 nginx root  141 Aug  7 13:16 .
0 drwxr-xr-x  8 root  root  112 Aug  7 13:05 ..
0 drwx------ 10 nginx nginx  86 Aug  7 13:17 0
0 drwx------ 10 nginx nginx  86 Aug  7 13:17 1
0 drwx------ 24 nginx nginx 226 Aug  7 13:18 2
0 drwx------ 13 nginx nginx 116 Aug  7 13:18 3
0 drwx------ 12 nginx nginx 106 Aug  7 13:17 4
0 drwx------  8 nginx nginx  66 Aug  7 13:18 5
0 drwx------  8 nginx nginx  66 Aug  7 13:17 6
0 drwx------ 12 nginx nginx 106 Aug  7 13:18 7
0 drwx------ 11 nginx nginx  96 Aug  7 13:17 8
0 drwx------ 16 nginx nginx 146 Aug  7 13:18 a
0 drwx------ 14 nginx nginx 126 Aug  7 13:18 b
0 drwx------ 15 nginx nginx 136 Aug  7 13:17 c
0 drwx------ 10 nginx nginx  86 Aug  7 13:17 d
0 drwx------  9 nginx nginx  76 Aug  7 13:17 e
0 drwx------  6 nginx nginx  46 Aug  7 13:16 f

References

  • https://www.nginx.com/resources/wiki/start/topics/tutorials/install/
  • http://nginx.org/en/docs/
  • http://nginx.org/en/docs/install.html
  • http://nginx.org/en/docs/http/request_processing.html
  • http://nginx.org/en/docs/ngx_core_module.html#error_log
  • http://nginx.org/en/docs/http/ngx_http_core_module.html#listen
  • http://nginx.org/en/docs/http/ngx_http_core_module.html#server
  • http://nginx.org/en/docs/ngx_core_module.html#include
  • http://nginx.org/en/docs/http/ngx_http_ssl_module.html#ssl
  • http://nginx.org/en/docs/http/ngx_http_proxy_module.html#proxy_cache
  • http://nginx.org/en/docs/http/ngx_http_proxy_module.html#proxy_cache_path
  • http://nginx.org/en/docs/http/ngx_http_proxy_module.html#proxy_pass
  • http://nginx.org/en/docs/http/ngx_http_core_module.html#var_request_uri

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