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PyDen Manager

Splunk AppInspect Passed
Overview
Details
PyDen Manager has a companion app called PyDen. Admins will need both apps in order for the two to work. PyDen can be found at https://splunkbase.splunk.com/app/4322.

The goal of this application is to provide full Python functionality to Splunk. Currently, the Python distribution built in to Splunk runs on a version 2.7.x depending on the Splunk version. Additionally, there are significant core modules that are excluded in this distribution. This suite of apps will allow developers to create Python virtual environments and pick the Python version and modules installed to the environment. This includes core distributions of the interpreter in multiple 2.7.x and 3.5+ versions, as well as the use of pip for the installation of additional modules within a virtual environment.

Complete documentation for this project can be found at https://github.com/badarsebard/pyden-suite

Overview

The goal of this application is to provide full Python functionality to Splunk. Currently, the Python distribution built in to Splunk runs on a version 2.7.x depending on the Splunk version. Additionally, there are significant core modules that are excluded in this distribution. This suite of apps will allow developers to create Python virtual environments and pick the Python version and modules installed to the environment. This includes core distributions of the interpreter in multiple 2.7.x and 3.5+ versions, as well as the use of pip for the installation of additional modules within a virtual environment.

Why PyDen

Introduction

The PyDen app is based on the premise that the Splunk built-in CPython distribution is insufficient for advanced development within the Splunk platform. The key example of this is Splunk's own Machine Learning toolkit (MLTK). The Splunk MLTK requires the installation of an add-on which provides access to the Anaconda Python interpreter and several Python libraries that are common in the community for Machine Learning applications, such as numpy.

While this is an excellent solution for providing the needed functionality for the MLTK, it's insufficient for generalized use for three reasons. These are the three primary concerns that PyDen attempts to address: version flexibility, proper isolation, and access to PyPI packages.

Version flexibility

Splunk's built-in Python utilizes version 2.7 of CPython. While there are a decent number of common libraries that are continuing support of 2.7, the number is dwindling and newer projects do not support it at all. The version will also reach end of life in 2020, causing significant supportability and security issues. The PyDen app allows a developer to build CPython from source in a variety of versions including 3.5 and higher through the use of the createdist command.

Development isolation

Modules added to a Splunk app are available to the entire installation, which is in contrast to Python development best practices which calls for the isolation of package requirements through the use of virtual environments. This isolation of packages resolves issues around dependency conflicts and keeps the scope of libraries to the context of the application. This is done through making Python virtual environments available via PyDen's createvenv command.

Leveraging libraries

Splunk does not allow a developer to add additional packages not included with the built-in distribution except through inclusion within the app directly. Ease of inclusion of third-party libraries is a key benefit of Python. However, including non-native libraries within a Splunk application poses two key challenges: dependency chasing and library conflicts (which we discuss in the next section). In order to include a non-native library within a Splunk app, a developer must include it directly within the app's bin directory. If the package contains any dependencies, those must be added as well. If any of the dependencies have their own dependencies, they must be included as well. And so on, and so on. By creating access to the pip command within Splunk, PyDen does not suffer this problem.

Architecture

PyDen is broken into two separate Splunk apps called: PyDen and PyDen Manager. The PyDen Manager app contains all the functionality needed for a user to download, compile, and build Python distributions and virtual environments, as well as the ability to use pip to install packages to those environments. The actual CPython builds and environments are placed in the PyDen app. The location of the PyDen app can vary depending on the Splunk architecture.

For a single search head environment the PyDen app can be placed along side the PyDen Manager in the Splunk apps directory.

In a deployment with multiple search heads, PyDen can be placed onto the deployment server repository location.

In a deployment utilizing search head clustering, it can be placed into the deployer's shcluster/apps directory.

In all of these scenarios, PyDen Mnagaer must be installed to the same host as PyDen. The pyden.conf configuration file inside of the PyDen Manager app contains a stanza called app which has a location attribute which should specific the absolute path of the PyDen app.

Compatibility

The PyDen suite of apps has been tested for compatibility with Splunk 7.2. Use with other version of Splunk are considered experimental and should be tested thoroughly.

Requirements

The app builds CPython from source and therefore the success of the build is highly dependent on the operating system libraries available. The host OS must have a compiler and the packages needed in order to build Python from source. Please refer to the documentation for your OS for needed packages. Two options are included in the ./configure command during the Python build process: --enable-optimizations (if configured) and --with-ensurepip=install.

Installation and Configuration

Installation of the PyDen Manager follows the same process as any other Splunk app. Please refer to Splunk's documentation on the subject. The PyDen app installation process will vary depending on the Splunk deployment architecture. Please see the Architecture section for details on where to install PyDen. If PyDen is installed to any location other than the Splunk apps directory, the installation process will consist of extracting the app from the gzipped tarball and placing it in the specified directory on the host.

Both PyDen and PyDen Manager need to be installed on the same host. After both apps are installed, the PyDen Manager needs to be configured through the pyden.conf file. This file contains two stanzas: download and app. The download stanza has a single attribute called url which is used to specify the location from where Python is downloaded. It is not recommended to change this location except in the need to app proxy information. If a location other than www.python.org there will be significant gaps in the functionality of the dashboards. The app stanza contains two attributes optimize and location. The location attribute is the absolute path of the location of the PyDen app and the optimize attribute is a boolean which indicates whether or not Python will be built using the --enable-optimizations parameter. Enabling optimizations will provide significant speed improvements but takes significantly longer to build.

Custom Commands

There are three primary custom commands that make up the core functionality of PyDen: createdist, createvenv, and pip. There are additional suplemental commands that primarily aid in working with the dashboards.

Createdist

The createdist command is how PyDen downloads and builds a CPython distribution. This command contains two keyword arguments version and download. The version argument is simply the version number of the Python installation to be built. The download argument is optional and only used if not doing an automatic download from www.python.org. Instead of being downloaded, the Python source package can be placed inside the PyDen Manager's bin/build directory. When done this way, the download argument should provide the name of the package to be used. Package must be a file of .tgz format.

Note: the first distribution created by this command will be set as the default version used by other commands like createvenv.

Examples:

Download and install version 3.7.2 from www.python.org

| createdist version=3.7.2

Install 3.7.2 version of Python from source package called mypython.tgz

| createdist version=3.7.2 download=mypython.tgz

Createvenv

The createvenv command creates a Python virtual environment with a specified version and name. The command has two required keyword arguments: version and name. The version is a version number that references an installed Python distribution from the createdist command. The name argument is a name to be associated with the environment for future reference.

Note: the first environment created by this command will be set as the default environment used by other commands like pip.

Examples:

Create a virtual environment with Python version 3.7.2 and named mypy

| createvenv version=3.7.2 name=mypy

Pip

The pip command installs Python packages available from the Python Package Index. This command works identically to the command-line tool of the same name with one exception. The command takes a single keyword argument called environment which specifies which virtual environment the command applies to. If used, this must be the first argument listed. If not used, the command will apply to the default virtual environment.

Examples:

Install the package requests to the default environment

| pip install requests

Upgrade the pip version of the environment myvenv

| pip environment=myvenv install --upgrade pip

Additional Commands

The following commands are included in the PyDen Manager app but are of limited value. They're typically used to provide some needed functionality for a dashboard.

Getversions

This command creates a list of events with a field called version whose values are PyDen compatible versions of Python available from www.python.org.

Example:

| getversions

Pydelete

This command deletes distributions and virtual environments created through the createdist and createvenv commands. The command takes a single positional argument of the name or version number of the environment or distribution to be deleted.

Examples:

Delete the 3.7.2 distribution

| pydelete 3.7.2

Delete the virtual environment named mypy

| pydelete mypy

Getvenvs

This command creates a set of events with a single field called environment whose values are the names of virtual environments created by the createvenv command.

Example:

| getvenvs

Getpackages

The getpackages command is used to get package information from the Python Package Index. There are two modes to this command. The command itself takes a single positional argument. If pypi_simple_index is provided as the argument then the command will create a set of events with a single field called package whose value is the name of a package from PyPI's simple index.

If any other argument is provided, the command will use its other mode which looks up the json data for a PyPI package found at https://pypi.python.org/pypi/package_name/json and returns an event with a single field called description whose value is the PyPI description of the package provided.

Examples:

Get all PyPI packages from the PyPI simple index

| getpackages pypi_simple_index

Get the description for the requests package

| getpackages requests

Using virtual environments

Leveraging the environments in the PyDen app is simply a matter of importing the activation modules provided with PyDen.

PyDen comes with two scripts in its bin directory: activate.py and activate_default.py. The activate.py script contains a function called activate_venv_or_die. In order to run a script with a PyDen virtual environment, the script must include the following code at the top, substituting your virtual environment name for environment_name:

from activate import activate_venv_or_die
activate_venv_or_die("environment_name")

This will utilize Python's os.execve function to restart the script with the provided virtual environment.

While this will work with any valid virtual environment provided, you may not wish to muddy up your import statements with functions. In order to avoid this problem the activate_default.py script is provided. This script will activate the default virtual environment defined in the PyDen app's pyden.conf configuration file when imported and without the function call. Instead of the above code, simply add the following code to the top of your script:

import activate_default

It is important to note that these two scripts are included in the PyDen app and in order to import them as Python modules, you will need to do one of the following:
- Place the script you are writing in the PyDen bin directory (this is highly discouraged as scripts can be overwritten during an upgrade of the app)
- Modify the sys.path to include the PyDen bin directory before importing the scripts (this may have unintended side effects)
- Copy activate.py and activate_default.py files into the app which contains your script (preferred method)

Release Notes

Version 1.1.0
Dec. 31, 2018

Full release notes can be found here: https://github.com/badarsebard/pyden-suite/blob/master/docs/release-notes/v1.1.0.md

# Overview
This release primarily provides three new dashboards which help the user manage the use of the custom commands from the initial release. There have also been some significant error handling and bug fixes in this release. This release also contains some much improved and much needed documentation.

Version 1.0.0
Dec. 16, 2018

Initial release. Please refer to README for comprehensive documentation.

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