Continuous Integration: Concourse CI on Ubuntu 16.04


Concourse Continuous Integration System

Concourse CI is a simple and scalable continuous integration system with an end goal of providing a system with as few distinct moving parts as possible. When transitioning from a CI system to another there are many risks, mainly due to the great number of variables that could accidentally change manually clicking around in the new system’s UI.

To reduce this risk, Concourse CI uses a declarative syntax. With it it’s possible to model any pipeline, from simple (unit, integration, deploy, ship) to complex (tests on multiple infrastructures, etc.).

In this tutorial we will see how to install Concourse CI on an Ubuntu 16.04 server, using PostgreSQL in the backend.

Getting Started – Install PostgreSQL

First of all, install PostgreSQL on the server. Concourse CI will use it to store its pipeline data. Execute the following command:

#apt-get install postgresql postgresql-contrib

Next, create a PostgreSQL user which will manage the Concourse data within the database. To do this, execute:

$ sudo -u postgres createuser concourseusr

By default, Concourse looks for (and attempts to connect to) a database named atc.

Create a new database:

$ sudo -u postgres createdb --owner=concourse atc

Install Concourse Continuous Integration

Download compiled executables for Linux. In the /tmp directory, execute the following command:

# curl -LO

Next, always in /tmp, download the latest available fly command line client:

# curl -LO

Move both files to /usr/local/bin, renaming them, by executing the command:

# mv concourse* /usr/local/bin/concourse
# mv fly* /usr/local/bin/fly

Check if everything went fine by looking at both versions:

$ concourse --version
$ fly --version

They should be 3.3.2 at the time we write.

Concourse CI Configuration

Create a configuration directory:

# mkdir /etc/concourse

Generate Encryption Keys

All the related components which compose Concourse CI need to communicate securely with one another, in particular, the TSA and the worker. To be sure that this happens, we need to create three sets of keys:

  • Keys for the worker
  • keys for the TSA
  • session signing keys to sign tokens

These keys will be used automatically when component starts, so it is important to not use a password to lock keys. Executing the following commands, we will generate required keys:

# ssh-keygen -t rsa -q -N '' -f /etc/concourse/worker_key
# ssh-keygen -t rsa -q -N '' -f /etc/concourse/tsa_key
# ssh-keygen -t rsa -q -N '' -f /etc/concourse/session_key

The TSA decides which workers are authorized to connect to the system, so, authorize the worker’s public key. In our case, just execute the command:

# cp /etc/concourse/ /etc/concourse/authorized_worker_keys

Environment Configuration

Concourse executable does not read any configuration file, but this does not mean that it cannot be configured, of course. In fact, it takes its values from environment variables passed at the beginning of the process.

Create a new file for the web process configuration:

# $EDITOR /etc/concourse/web_env

In that file, paste the following content:


# Match your environment

Save, close and create a new file for the worker:

# $EDITOR /etc/concourse/worker_env

There, paste the following content:


Adjust the permissions of the environment files:

# chmod 600 /etc/concourse/w*_env

Create a User

Create a new user to run the web process. This user should match the PostgreSQL username created earlier, so execute:

# adduser --system --group concourseusr

Give this user ownership over Concourse CI configuration directory:

chown -R concourse:concourse /etc/concourse

Create Systemd Unit Files

Create a concourse-web.service file within the /etc/systemd/system directory:

# $EDITOR /etc/systemd/system/concourse-web.service

Paste the following content:

Description=Concourse CI web process (ATC and TSA)

ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/concourse web


Save and close. Create a file for the worker process:

# $EDITOR /etc/systemd/system/concourse-worker.service

In this file, paste:

Description=Concourse CI worker process

ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/concourse worker


Configure UFW

The Concourse web process listens for connections on port 8080, so open access to that port by executing the following ufw command:

# ufw allow 8080

For the worker part, we need to allow forwarding access, so:

# ufw default allow routed

Start Services

At this point, start both services:

# systemctl start concourse-worker concourse-web

Enable them to start at server boot time:

# systemctl enable concourse-worker concourse-web


From now on, the server is ready to execute all the continuous integration features provided by Concourse CI on an Ubuntu 16.04 system. Enjoy!

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