Skip to content

VC3 Website

VC3 Web Portal

The VC3 web portal is a flask application that integrates the VC3 client APIs to give end-users a GUI for instantiating, running and terminating virtual clusters, registering resources and allocations, managing projects, and more.


For the host, you will need to install the development public keys and issue certs by the VC3 master.

All of the web portal's non-secret dependencies are included in a Docker container. However, you will need the Docker engine running, as well as a certificate issued by LetsEncrypt or another CA if you want the website to actually be visible over HTTPS without warnings.

Installing and running Docker

You will first need to install EPEL and the Docker engine

yum install epel-release -y
yum install docker -y

And start the service:

systemctl start docker 
systemctl status docker

If it's working, you should see something like this:

‚óŹ docker.service - Docker Application Container Engine
   Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/docker.service; disabled; vendor preset: disabled)
   Active: active (running) since Mon 2017-09-11 19:23:18 UTC; 2s ago
 Main PID: 16879 (dockerd-current)

Issuing a certificate with Let's Encrypt

We use Certbot to issue SSL certificates that have been trusted by Let's Encrypt. First, install Cerbot:

yum install certbot -y

Next, run certbot certonly and go through the prompts:

[root@www-test ~]# certbot certonly
Saving debug log to /var/log/letsencrypt/letsencrypt.log

How would you like to authenticate with the ACME CA?
1: Spin up a temporary webserver (standalone)
2: Place files in webroot directory (webroot)
Select the appropriate number [1-2] then [enter] (press 'c' to cancel): 1
Enter email address (used for urgent renewal and security notices) (Enter 'c' to
Starting new HTTPS connection (1):

Please read the Terms of Service at You must agree
in order to register with the ACME server at
(A)gree/(C)ancel: A

Would you be willing to share your email address with the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, a founding partner of the Let's Encrypt project and the non-profit
organization that develops Certbot? We'd like to send you email about EFF and
our work to encrypt the web, protect its users and defend digital rights.
(Y)es/(N)o: n
Please enter in your domain name(s) (comma and/or space separated)  (Enter 'c'
to cancel)
Obtaining a new certificate
Performing the following challenges:
tls-sni-01 challenge for
Waiting for verification...
Cleaning up challenges

 - Congratulations! Your certificate and chain have been saved at
   Your cert will expire on 2017-12-10. To obtain a new or tweaked
   version of this certificate in the future, simply run certbot
   again. To non-interactively renew *all* of your certificates, run
   "certbot renew"
 - Your account credentials have been saved in your Certbot
   configuration directory at /etc/letsencrypt. You should make a
   secure backup of this folder now. This configuration directory will
   also contain certificates and private keys obtained by Certbot so
   making regular backups of this folder is ideal.
 - If you like Certbot, please consider supporting our work by:

   Donating to ISRG / Let's Encrypt:
   Donating to EFF:          

Take note of the fullchain location, e.g. /etc/letsencrypt/live/ You will need this location for the Container.

Installing the web portal

First, install git

yum install git -y

Then clone the web portal:

cd ~
git clone

Installing the secrets

You'll need 3 sets of secrets, at the following locations: * /root/secrets/$(hostname)/ * /root/secrets/portal.conf * /root/secrets/vc3/

Docker can have unusual behavior with symbolic links, so it's best to just copy the WWW certs into place:

mkdir -p /root/secrets/$(hostname)
cp -rL /etc/letsencrypt/live/$(hostname)/* /root/secrets/$(hostname)

The portal.conf should be obtained from the VC3 developers, or re-issued from Globus if necessary.

For the VC3 certificates, you'll need to issue them with the Master as usual. The container expects the following filenames: * localhost.cert.pem * localhost.keynopw.pem * vc3chain.pem

As before:

(master)# credible -c /etc/credible/credible.conf hostcert
(www)# vi /root/secrets/vc3/localhost.cert.pem
(master)# credible -c /etc/credible/credible.conf hostkey
(www)# vi /root/secrets/vc3/localhost.keynopw.pem
(master)# credible -c /etc/credible/credible.conf certchain
(www)# vi /root/secrets/vc3/vc3chain.pem

Running the container

Once you have issued your certificates, you'll need to deploy the container and mount the secrets into it at run-time. We intentionally separate secrets such that everything else can be dumped into Github.

Use the following systemd file

Description=VC3 Development Website

ExecStart=/usr/bin/docker run --rm --name vc3-portal -p 80:8080 -p 443:4443 -v /root/vc3-website/secrets/ -v /root/vc3-website/secrets/portal.conf:/srv/www/vc3-web-env/portal/portal.conf -v /root/vc3-website/secrets/vc3:/srv/www/vc3-web-env/etc/certs -v /root/vc3-website-python:/srv/www/vc3-web-env virtualclusters/vc3-portal:latest
ExecReload=/usr/bin/docker restart vc3-portal
ExecStop=/usr/bin/docker stop vc3-portal

Once placed in /etc/systemd/system/website.service, systemctl start, systemctl stop, and systemctl restart will do the appropriate things.