How to Install Exalate for Zendesk on Docker

    You can host Exalate for Zendesk on your own server. To do so, you need to install Exalate on Docker.

    You need to install Docker. Check the docker documentation for more details.

    How to Install Exalate for Zendesk on Docker

    1. Create directory and create docker-compose.yml file

    Create a directory to hold the docker-compose file:

    cd ~
    mkdir exalate-zendesknode

    Create or download a docker-compose.yml file

    Note: Click docker-compose.yml to download the file.

    Note: We recommend using the latest version of Exalate for Zendesk. It can be found in the Release History. Enter the latest version in the image tag. For example, in image: idalko/zendesknode:5.6.0, the version of Exalate for Zendesk is 5.6.0 .

    The docker-compose.yml file should contain the following information in it:

    version: '2'
    
    services:
      database:
        restart: unless-stopped
        image: postgres:9.4
        volumes:
          - ./persist/db:/var/lib/postgresql/data
          - ./createdb.sh:/docker-entrypoint-initdb.d/init-user-db.sh
        environment:
          - POSTGRES_PASSWORD=changeme
          - DB_NAME=zendesknode
          - DB_USER=idalko
          - DB_PASS=idalko
        networks:
          - dbnet
    
      zendesknode:
        restart: unless-stopped
        ports:
          - 9302:9002
    
        #
        # Change the image tag to the required version
        # Check Release History on docs.exalate.com for an overview
        #
        image: idalko/zendesknode:5.6.0
        depends_on:
          - database #wait for postgres to be started, not for ready
        volumes:
          - ./persist/home:/opt/zendesknode/data
        environment:
          # Add your environment settings here
          - ZENDESKNODE_PG_HOST=database
          - ZENDESKNODE_PG_DB=exalate?gssEncMode=disable
          - ZENDESKNODE_PG_USER=idalko
          - ZENDESKNODE_PG_PWD=idalko
          - ZENDESKNODE_PORT=9302
    
         #As part of the security improvements, Exalate 5.5.0 validates the origin header
         #that the browser is sending upon every request to Exalate.
         #In order to validate the origin header, Exalate needs to know what is the URL 
         #leading to it.
         #When deploying Exalate to Docker one needs to put an environment variable NODE_SELF_URL.
         #Example:
         # When you deploy Exalate onto a server, you configure a DNS rule such that 
         #whenever people navigate to foo.com, they reach your server's Exalate. 
         #You set up SSL so that https://foo.com leads to your Exalate on your server.
         #Now you need to set environment variable 
    
         - NODE_SELF_URL=https://foo.com 
    
         #for your Exalate docker container.
    
        networks:
          - dbnet
          - default
    
    networks:
      dbnet:
        driver: bridge
      default:
        driver: bridge
    
    

    Connecting to Postgres 10 or Higher

    For unencrypted connections from Exalate to a Postgres version 10 or higher, you need to disable gssEncMode with the following setting:

    # exalate is the name of the database on the postgres instance
    #
    ZENDESKNODE_PG_DB=exalate?gssEncMode=disable

    2. Ensure that a correct database is setup using a createdb.sh

    Create or download a createdb.sh file (referenced from docker-compose.yml):

    Note: Click createdb.sh to download the file.

    The file should contain the following information:

    #!/bin/bash
      
    TEST=`psql -U postgres <<-EOSQL
       SELECT 1 FROM pg_database WHERE datname='$DB_NAME';
    EOSQL`
      
    echo "******CREATING DOCKER DATABASE******"
    if [[ $TEST == "1" ]]; then
        # database exists
        # $? is 0
        exit 0
    else
    psql -U postgres <<-EOSQL
       CREATE ROLE $DB_USER WITH LOGIN ENCRYPTED PASSWORD '${DB_PASS}' SUPERUSER;
    EOSQL
      
    psql -U postgres <<-EOSQL
       CREATE DATABASE $DB_NAME WITH OWNER $DB_USER ENCODING 'UNICODE' LC_COLLATE 'C' LC_CTYPE 'C' TEMPLATE template0;
    EOSQL
      
    psql -U postgres <<-EOSQL
       GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON DATABASE $DB_NAME TO $DB_USER;
    EOSQL
    fi
      
    echo ""
    echo "******DOCKER DATABASE CREATED******"

    Ensure that the volumes are included in your backup strategy:

    • persist

    3. Set Environment Variables if necessary

    Below, you can find the environment variables used for the app container. All of them are optional, and in the given example, we've overridden ZENDESKNODE_PG_DB, ZENDESKNODE_PG_USER, and ZENDESKNODE_PG_PWD just to show how to pass different credentials to the Exalate application.

     Full list of environment variables:
    Variable nameDefault valueExampleDescription
    HTTP_HEADERn/a

    HTTP_HEADERS="TestName1: testAddHeader1"


    Allows additional information to pass between the clients and the server through the request header.
    ZENDESKNODE_PG_HOSTZENDESKNODE_PG_HOST=databaseZENDESKNODE_PG_HOST=db.acme.comTells the Exalate application where the Postgres database to connect to is hosted.
    ZENDESKNODE_PG_DBZENDESKNODE_PG_DB=exalateZENDESKNODE_PG_DB=exalateTells the Exalate application what is the Postgres database name for the Exalate application.
    ZENDESKNODE_PG_USERZENDESKNODE_PG_USER=idalkoZENDESKNODE_PG_USER=exalateTells the Exalate application what is the Postgres database username for the Exalate application to perform queries with.
    ZENDESKNODE_PG_PWDZENDESKNODE_PG_PWD=idalkoZENDESKNODE_PG_PWD=secretTells the Exalate application what is the Postgres database user's password for the Exalate application to perform queries with.
    ZENDESKNODE_PORTZENDESKNODE_PORT=9000ZENDESKNODE_PORT=8080

    Tells which port to start the Exalate application on. 

    Note that this is the port within the exalatezendesknode_zendesknode_1 container, thus if this variable is changed (for example to 80), the

        ports:
          - 9000:9000

    should also be changed to

        ports:
          - 8080:8080


    ZENDESKNODE_SMTP_HOST_NAMEZENDESKNODE_SMTP_HOST_NAME=mail.server.comZENDESKNODE_SMTP_HOST_NAME=smtp.gmail.comis used to send email notifications about errors blocking synchronization. 
    ZENDESKNODE_SMTP_PORTZENDESKNODE_SMTP_PORT=465ZENDESKNODE_SMTP_PORT=587is used to send email notifications about errors blocking synchronization.
    ZENDESKNODE_SMTP_FROMZENDESKNODE_SMTP_FROM=admin@admin.comZENDESKNODE_SMTP_FROM=my.name@gmail.comis used to send email notifications about errors blocking synchronization.
    ZENDESKNODE_SMTP_USERZENDESKNODE_SMTP_USER=adminZENDESKNODE_SMTP_USER=my.nameis used to send email notifications about errors blocking synchronization.
    ZENDESKNODE_SMTP_PASSZENDESKNODE_SMTP_PASS=1234567ZENDESKNODE_SMTP_PASS=secretis used to send email notifications about errors blocking synchronization.
    ZENDESKNODE_SMTP_TLSZENDESKNODE_SMTP_TLS=trueZENDESKNODE_SMTP_TLS=trueis used to send email notifications about errors blocking synchronization. Can be set to false, but then the ZENDESKNODE_SMTP_PORT should be set to the port, that accepts non-SSL and non-TLS connections.

    Using a Proxy for Outgoing Connections

    Whenever the Exalate node needs to use a proxy to establish outgoing connections, use the following parameters in the environment (naming should be obvious):

    • PROXY_HTTP_HOST
    • PROXY_HTTP_PORT
    • PROXY_HTTPS_HOST
    • PROXY_HTTPS_PORT

    4. Start the Application

    cd ~/exalate-zendesknode
    docker-compose up -d

    Verify the installation

    After performing the aforementioned steps and checking that the container is up, you should be able to access the Exalate console via http://localhost:9302

    Note: You may need to set up local port forwarding in order to get this to work.

    5. Register the Node

    To be able to fully use the functionality of your new node, it needs to be registered on the mapper.  This mapper acts as a DNS server, mapping tracker URLs to node URLs.

    Please raise a ticket on the support portal providing the following:

    • URL of the Zendesk instance.
    • URL of the Exalate node which has been deployed on-premise.

    How to Manage the Application on Docker

    Run Queries to the Application's Database

    cd ~/exalate-zendesknode
    docker exec -it exalate-zendesknode_database_1 bash
    su postgres
    psql -A $DB_NAME

    You can find all tables using PSQLs \dt+ command:

    \dt+

    All the Postgres SQL queries are permitted

    To exit the application's DB:

    \q
    # \q exits the psql 
    exit
    # exits the postgres user session
    exit
    # exits the exalate-zendesknode_database_1 bash session

    Inspect the Application's Filesystem

    cd ~/exalate-zendesknode
    docker exec -it exalate-zendesknode_zendesknode_1 bash

    Remove the application

    cd ~/exalate-zendesknode
    docker-compose rm

    Remove the application data

    Warning:  do this only if you want to delete all the synchronization information, including the current synchronizations enqueued to be performed, and synchronization status. Ensure that the remote side you exalate issues with knows that you're stopping synchronization and is ready to handle synchronization errors.

    cd ~/exalate-zendesknode
    # docker volume ls | grep exalate-zendesknode_vol |  awk '{ print $2 }' | xargs docker volume rm
    docker volume rm exalate-zendesknode_voldatabase
    docker volume rm exalate-zendesknode_volzendesknode

    System Administration Tasks

    With the Exalate for Jira Cloud is running on your environment, you will also be required to do the mandatory system administration tasks

    • Backup (& restore tests)
    • Disaster recovery procedure
    • Upgrades whenever needed

    Please note that an Exalate version has a lifespan of 2 years. This is to ensure backward compatibility over the whole platform. There are regular new versions deployed which contain bug fixes, security-related improvements, and even new features. Watch the release notes page for any new versions.

    Upgrading Exalate on Docker

    If you need to upgrade Exalate on Docker, here are the steps to follow:

    1. Edit the YAML File:

      Open the docker-compose.yml file in a text editor and modify the image tag for the service you wish to upgrade.

      # use the latest version https://hub.docker.com/r/idalko/zendesknode
      image: idalko/zendesknode:latest
      depends_on:
      - database #wait for postgres to be started, not for ready
      

      Replace latest with the latest or desired version tag.

    2. Pull the Latest Image:

      From the directory containing your docker-compose.yml file, pull the latest image.

      docker-compose pull
      
    3. Recreate the Container:

      Using Docker Compose, you can easily recreate the container with the new image.

      docker-compose up -d
      

      The -d flag runs the containers in detached mode. Docker Compose will automatically stop the old container and start a new one based on the updated image.

    4. Post-Upgrade Checks:

      After starting the upgraded container, check to make sure everything is running as expected:

    • Log into the Exalate interface and verify that all your configurations, connections are intact.
    • Test out a few synchronizations to make sure they work as expected.
    • Check for any errors in the Docker logs or the Exalate logs.

    Troubleshooting

    Issues during the installation of the Exalate server for Zendesk

    If you have issues during the installation of the Exalate app for Zendesk, you can find logs describing possible problems inside /tmp.

    The name for the file is generated randomly and automatically by the OS, but you can find the file by the creation date.

    Issues while running the Exalate server for Zendesk

    Logs will be generated under the directory: /opt/zendesknode/data/logs.

    Refer to these logs to get more information about possible issues and communicate with our support if you need any assistance.

    Support

    Check our Support options.