Otter Documentation

Linux and Docker Installation Guide

  • Last Modified: 2021-01-05

Otter for Linux is available using our official Docker image. This set-up guide will also help you prepare to use Docker with Otter, even on Windows.

Prerequisites

Docker

Docker must be installed and the docker daemon running on your server. If you don't already have Docker installed, you can get installation instructions for your specific Linux distribution from Docker.

Once Docker is up and running, you are ready to continue. Note that Docker commands generally have to be issued by members of the docker group or with root/sudo privileges, so if you encounter errors with these commands make sure your account is in the docker group (adduser myusername docker and then log out and back in) or you are issuing them with the appropriate sudo/su depending on your configuration.

Network

First, you'll need to create a network for the SQL Server and Otter containers

docker network create otter

SQL Server Database

Otter requires a SQL Server database. You can either host this database externally or simply use a SQL Server Docker image; it doesn't matter how it's hosted, as long as your Otter instance can access it. For example, to start up a SQL Server container that you only intend to use with Otter, use the command:

docker run --name otter-sql \
      -e 'ACCEPT_EULA=Y' -e 'MSSQL_SA_PASSWORD=‹YourStrong!Passw0rd›' \
      -e 'MSSQL_PID=Express' --net=otter --restart=unless-stopped \
      -d mcr.microsoft.com/mssql/server:2019-latest

Note: This example specifies the free SQL Express edition. This is adequate for most Otter installations, but you can use any other edition as well if you have the license for it.

Once you have a SQL Server instance up and running, you'll need to create an empty database. For example, to create a database called Otter on the SQL Server instance running in the otter-sql container:

docker exec -it otter-sql /opt/mssql-tools/bin/sqlcmd \
   -S localhost -U SA -P '‹YourStrong!Passw0rd›' \
   -Q 'CREATE DATABASE [Otter] COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS'

Note: You can create the database however you want, but to avoid issues make sure you specify its collation as SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS.

Licensing

You'll need to have a valid license key once you get Otter up and running. You are welcome to use either a license key that you already have or request a new one from my.inedo.com.

Starting the Otter Docker Image

The Otter Docker image contains a web server and a background service. To get this image and start it, use the docker run command. If you'd like to just get started right away with our defaults, you can just use the command below as-is, or continue reading for an explanation on the arguments and how to provide additional configuration values.

docker run -d -p 80:80 --net=otter \
    --name=otter --restart=unless-stopped \
    -e SQL_CONNECTION_STRING='Data Source=otter-sql; Initial Catalog=Otter; User ID=sa; Password=‹YourStrong!Passw0rd›' \
    proget.inedo.com/productimages/inedo/otter:<version>
ParameterDescription
-dStarts the container in detached mode. Without this argument, Docker will block your current terminal session and output Otter's logs to your terminal.
--net=otterPutting the containers into a Docker network lets them see each other and prevents other Docker containers from accessing them.
--restart=unless-stoppedTells Docker to restart the container unless it is explicitly topped using docker stop. This makes the container automatically restart after the host reboots.
-eThis tells docker to pass the proceding environment variables to the container. See the full list of supported environment variables.
-p 80:80Exposes TCP port 80 of the container to port 80 of the host, so that browsers can access the Otter web application. If you don't want to use port 80, you can change the first port number to whatever you would like; make sure to change the BasedUrl in Admin > Advanced Settings if the ports aren't the same.
--name=otterNames the container otter so it can be easily referenced using other Docker commands. If you don't specify a name, Docker will generate one for you.
proget.inedo.com/productimages/inedo/otter:<version>This is the repository and tag for Otter. Just replace <version> with the appropriate Otter release number. Note that downgrades will only work if there have been no database schema changes.

Supported envrionment variables

Environment VariableDescription
OTTER_SQL_CONNECTION_STRINGThe connection string for your SQL Server. The value specified in the example here assumes you are using the otter-sql container. To connect to a different instance, just change this connection string to the appropriate value. Enclosed in single quotes.

Example:-e OTTER_SQL_CONNECTION_STRING='Data Source=otter-sql; Initial Catalog=Otter; User ID=sa; Password=‹YourStrong!Passw0rd›'
OTTER_SQL_CONNECTION_STRING_FILECan be used instead of the connection string above to read the connection string from file location within the container. This facilitates the use of Docker secrets to prevent passing clear text passwords in a docker stack file. A docker secret must be set first and 'called' within the stack file.

Example:-e OTTER_SQL_CONNECTION_STRING_FILE='/home/otter/secrets/otter_connection_string'
TZUsed to specify the timezone of the container. Can be set to any TZ database name

Example:-e TZ='America/Denver'
OTTER_ENCRYPTION_KEYThis specifies the 32-character hex encryption key Otter uses to store some secrets.

Example:-e OTTER_ENCRYPTION_KEY='37D27A670394F7D82CE57F1F07D69747'
OTTER_ENCRYPTION_KEY_FILEThis specifies the full path of a text file that contains the encryption key described above.

Example:-e OTTER_ENCRYPTION_KEY_FILE='/home/otter/secrets/otter_encryption_key'

When the container is running, you should be able to browse to the Otter web UI on the exposed port.

Upgrading to a new version

docker stop otter

docker rename otter otter-old

docker pull proget.inedo.com/productimages/inedo/otter:<version>

docker run -d --volumes-from=otter-old \
    -p 80:80 --net=otter \
    --name=otter --restart=unless-stopped \
    -e SQL_CONNECTION_STRING='Data Source=otter-sql; Initial Catalog=Otter; User ID=sa; Password=‹YourStrong!Passw0rd›' \
    proget.inedo.com/productimages/inedo/otter:<version>

docker rm otter-old

Troubleshooting

If you aren't able to browse to the website, here's a few troubleshooting steps you can try:

  1. Run docker ps - this will display all of the currently running Docker containers. If you don't see Otter listed, then the container isn't running and you can issue a docker logs otter command to display the log messages from when it last ran; there was most likely some kind of initialization error that prevented it from starting up.
  2. Run docker logs otter - this will display Otter's log messages. Look for any error or warning messages for clues as to what's wrong.
  3. Make sure a firewall on the host server isn't blocking requests on the specified port.
  4. Run docker restart otter to stop the container and then restart it.

Stopping the Container

If you need to stop the Otter container, the docker stop otter command should do it. You can determine if it is running with the docker ps command. To start the container after it has been created, use the docker start otter command.

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This documentation is licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0 and stored in GitHub.

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