Making a local service public, with Azure Container Instances
Whether I’m sharing a locally developed service with a member of our globally distributed team, or I need to integrate some cloud-based service with local development, I frequently find the need to expose a local TCP service to the public internet. In the past I have tried to use tools such as localtunnel or smee.io, and in both cases I found them lacking; I simply want this TCP port open to the world! Yesterday afternoon I spent some time hacking on the first version of my own little solution: aci-tunnel.
aci-tunnel relies on the Azure
and will provision an ephemeral Azure Container
which an SSH reverse port forwarding tunnel is opened. The screencast below
shows an example of using
aci-tunnel to expose a locally running Jenkins
There are two components to
aci-tunnel, the first is the custom
container which is deployed into
Azure. The container is a fairly simple derivative of Alpine
Linux with the
openssh-server package installed.
The daemon is also configured with
GatewayPorts yes to enable binding a
reverse port forward onto
0.0.0.0 in the container. For added security
aci-tunnel launches, it passes along the user’s
along to the instance which is dropped into the container as an
authorized_keys file. This ensures that only the user that launches
aci-tunnel can access the container.
The container is launched with the ports 22, and whatever the user specifies, open to the public into Azure Container Instances.
On the local side, the
aci-tunnel script creates the SSH tunnel with the
right arguments to construct the reverse port forwarding enabled.
Once the highly sophisticated tunnel keep-alive command has been interrupted,
terminating the SSH tunnel,
aci-tunnel then destroys the container in Azure.
Wholly controlling my own tunnel infrastructure works quite well. In my early experimentation I was able to share a local service while sitting on public transit wifi, which was a bit slow but still allowed the HTTP and other TCP requests to transit the link properly.