Tune In. Turn On. Turn Key.

Forty free, working and relevant turnkey appliances with unbreakable cloud-based backup and restore.

Everyone loves a turnkey solution and everyone wants a turnkey solution. Who wants to use multiple vendors for what a customer perceives as a single service? Thanks to the coolness of Linux, the power of Amazon’s EC2 services and the entrepreneurial spirit of Alon Swartz and Liraz Siri, TurnKey Linux delivers turnkey solutions to bare metal, virtual infrastructure and to Amazon’s EC2 environment in the form of virtual appliances. And, TurnKey Linux is, like its Ubuntu parent and Debian grandparent, free.

There’s also an added bonus with TurnKey Linux: Cloud-based backup. And, it’s inexpensive ($0.15/GB). This cloud-based backup feature uses the Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) for unbreakable backup and restore.

The Basics

To begin with TurnKey Linux, you must decide how you’ll proceed with one of the 40 different TurnKey appliance offerings. Each appliance comes ready to deploy in your virtual machine environment in VMware and OVF formats. You also have the option of downloading an ISO image with which you can create a bootable CD and install the system onto bare metal or boot directly from the ISO and create your own virtual machine. Additionally, you can launch your appliance directly to the Amazon EC2 environment from the TurnKey Linux site.

This demonstration focuses on the LAMP Appliance (Linux Apache MySQL PHP) using the VMware-formatted virtual machine configuration.

Turning the Key

Once you’ve selected your appliance format, your appliance and installed it to its destination, it’s time to check it out. Since you couldn’t wait to power on your new system, you’ve noticed that, when your system boots, it boots up to an informational screen, the Configuration Console, (Figure 1) that displays everything you need to know to use your appliance.

Figure 1: TurnKey Linux LAMP Appliance Configuration Console
Figure 1: TurnKey Linux LAMP Appliance Configuration Console

You’ll notice that you can perform all necessary work on this system remotely but you also have SSH as an option. The Advanced Menu is a bare bones network configuration, reboot and shutdown menu. You can also quit the menu. Doing so drops you to a login prompt. If you decide that you want to see the Configuration Console again without rebooting, enter confconsole at the prompt.

Warning: Most TurnKey appliances begin with the root account enabled with no password. You need to change that as soon as you gain access to a prompt. You may also want to create a user account with which to connect and disable root’s SSH access. And, if you don’t trust yourself working as root, grant sudo access to the user account you created.

Services that have passwords use turnkey as a password. You’ll also want to change that for your systems.

Connect to your appliance’s web interface as shown in Figure 1. See Figure 2 for a look at that interface.

Figure 2: TurnKey Linux LAMP Appliance Web Control Panel
Figure 2: TurnKey Linux LAMP Appliance Web Control Panel

The LAMP Control Panel contains icon links to the Web Shell, Webmin and PHPMyAdmin. Web Shell is a unique feature of most TurnKey appliances that provides you with a web-based command line interface. It’s handy in case you need to manage your appliance from a remote location that, for whatever reason, doesn’t have SSH access.

Webmin is a web-based management interface that, if you haven’t used it before, you’re sure to love. PHPMyAdmin is a web-based interface for MySQL that provides a richer and more advanced experience than the one provided in Webmin.

As you can see for yourself by poking around the utilities, your TurnKey LAMP appliance is fully-functional and ready to serve. This is the definition of a turnkey solution.

Cloud-based Backup

What’s more boring than a discussion of backup and restore processes? What can cause hours of those non-boring management-infused calls to discuss why the backups failed for ? Backup and restore. The brilliant minds at TurnKey Linux have fixed backup and restore forever with their TurnKey Linux Backup and Migration (TKLBAM) tools.

What makes TKLBAM better than regular backups? First, you don’t have to configure them. Part of the beauty of TurnKey appliances is that there’s nothing for you to configure. When you install* the TKLBAM tools, the backup scheme comes preconfigured as well. But, there’s nothing like a demonstration to illustrate a point. Have a look for yourself.

You’ll need to have an Amazon S3 account setup prior to using the service but don’t worry if you don’t, TurnKey provides a wizard for that too. The wizard walks you through the Amazon S3 cloud account setup and generates an API Key that is unique to that account. You’ll need this key for your first backup, so keep it handy. Note: You can always see your API Key by logging into your TurnKey hub account.

Next, install the TKLBAM tools onto your apppliance.

# apt-get update

apt-get install tklbam

 apt-get install tklbam
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
  gnupg libcurl3-gnutls librsync1 libusb-0.1-4 makedev ntpdate pycurl-wrapper
  python-crypto python-pycurl python-simplejson tklbam-duplicity
  tklbam-python-boto turnkey-pylib turnkey-sslcerts turnkey-version
Suggested packages:
  gnupg-doc xloadimage python-profiler python-crypto-dbg libcurl4-gnutls-dev
  python-pycurl-dbg ncftp
Recommended packages:
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  gnupg libcurl3-gnutls librsync1 libusb-0.1-4 makedev ntpdate pycurl-wrapper
  python-crypto python-pycurl python-simplejson tklbam tklbam-duplicity
  tklbam-python-boto turnkey-pylib turnkey-sslcerts turnkey-version
0 upgraded, 16 newly installed, 0 to remove and 30 not upgraded.
Need to get 2317kB of archives.
After this operation, 11.5MB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]? y


The next step is to initialize your backup by providing your code to the Amazon S3 service, identifying your system and setting up your system’s initial backup.

# tklbam-init <code>

Linked TKLBAM to your Hub account.

Your system is now ready for backup. You’ll use this single command to create the first backup and all subsequent backups. The first backup is a full backup of all configurations, data and essential files for your appliance. This command performs incremental backups after the initial one. You can also have a full backup if you delete your old full backup or if the TKLBAM tool’s backup comparison algorithm determines that you need a new full backup.

# tklbam-backup

You’ll see several messages scroll by on the screen as the backup proceeds. When the backup completes, you’ll receive a backup summary.

--------------[ Backup Statistics ]--------------
StartTime 1284225267.16 (Sat Sep 11 17:14:27 2010)
EndTime 1284225268.28 (Sat Sep 11 17:14:28 2010)
ElapsedTime 1.12 (1.12 seconds)
SourceFiles 188
SourceFileSize 1759713 (1.68 MB)
NewFiles 188
NewFileSize 1759713 (1.68 MB)
DeletedFiles 0
ChangedFiles 0
ChangedFileSize 0 (0 bytes)
ChangedDeltaSize 0 (0 bytes)
DeltaEntries 188
RawDeltaSize 1460490 (1.39 MB)
TotalDestinationSizeChange 263297 (257 KB)
Errors 0

You can see your backup results from your TurnKey Hub account as shown in Figure 3. You can also delete your backups or restore a backup to your system via this interface.

Figure 3: TurnKey Linux Account Backups List
Figure 3: TurnKey Linux Account Backups List

Of course, you can restore from the command line too. The following is a list of all TKLBAM command line tools. To schedule regular backups, you’ll need to setup a CRON job. If you don’t know how to do this, use your Webmin interface to setup a new periodic backup. Your TurnKey appliance will not setup this backup schedule for you.

tklbam                   tklbam-init              tklbam-restore
tklbam-backup            tklbam-list              tklbam-restore-rollback
tklbam-escrow            tklbam-passphrase

To see a list of backups associated with your TurnKey Hub account, use the tklbam-list utility. Notice that it looks suspiciously like Figure 3.

# tklbam-list
# ID  SKPP  Created     Updated     Size (GB)  Label
   1  No    2010-09-08  2010-09-11  0.00       TurnKey DokuWiki
   2  No    2010-09-11  2010-09-11  0.00       TurnKey LAMP

TurnKey Linux provides you with 40 different working appliances that you can take from idea to service in less than an hour. For you DIY types, TurnKey also provides a JeOS appliance, a TurnKey Core appliance and an Amazon SDK appliance. Currently, the TKLBAM service is in beta and you have to receive an invitation to use it. When you use the account creation wizard, you receive instructions on how to request one from TurnKey. If you receive an invitation to use the service, you also receive three invitations that you can give to others.

* In the future, all TurnKey Appliances will have TKLBAM tools installed by default.

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