Command Line Utility for the Nelson platform
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Nelson CLI

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A handy tool for interacting with your installation of Nelson

Getting Started

If you just want to use nelson-cli, then run the following:

curl -GqL | bash

This script will download and install the latest version and put it on your $PATH. We do not endorse piping scripts from the wire to bash, and you should read the script before executing the command. It will:

  1. Fetch the latest version from Nexus
  2. Verify the SHA1 sum
  3. Extract the tarball
  4. Copy nelson to /usr/local/bin/nelson

It is safe to rerun this script to keep nelson-cli current. If you have the source code checked out locally, you need only execute: scripts/install-nelson-cli to install the latest version of nelson-cli.

Then you're ready to use the CLI. The first command you should execute after install is login which allows you to securely interact with the remote Nelson service. To do this, you just need to follow these steps:

  1. Obtain a Github personal access token
  2. Set the Github token into your environment: export GITHUB_TOKEN=XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
  3. nelson login, then you're ready to start using the other commands! If you're running the Nelson service insecurely - without SSL - then you need to pass the --disable-tls flag to the login command.

⛔ Note that currently the Nelson client can only be logged into one remote Nelson service at a time. ⛔

The below set of commands are the currently implemented set - node that for subcommands, both plural and singular command verbs work. For example stacks and stack are functionallty identical:

Global Flags

# print debug output for network request
$ nelson --debug <command>

# print analogous curl command for network request
$ nelson --debug-curl <command>

System Operations

# display the current user information
$ nelson whoami

# display info for the currently deployed Nelson
$ nelson system version

# list the available clean-up policies on this remote nelson
$ nelson system cleanup-policies

# fully explicit login
$ nelson login --token 1f3f3f3f3

# read token from environment variable GITHUB_TOKEN, explicit host
$ nelson login

# read token from env var GITHUB_TOKEN and host from NELSON_ADDR
$ nelson login

# for testing with a local server, you can do:
$ nelson login --disable-tls --token 1f3f3f3f3 nelson.local:9000

Repository Operations

# enable a repo for use with nelson
$ nelson repo enable --owner octocat --repo helloworld

# disable a repo
$ nelson repo disable --owner octocat --repo helloworld

Datacenter Operations

# list the available nelson datacenters
$ nelson datacenters list

# just an alias for the above
$ nelson dcs list

Namespace Operations

# create an entirely new namespace
$ nelson namespace create --datacenter dc123 --namespace foobar
$ nelson ns create --dc dc123 --ns foobar

Blueprint Operations

# proof a template before commiting it to nelson
$ nelson blueprint proof -f /path/to/gpu-kubernetes.mustache

# create a blueprint from a template on your client host
$ nelson blueprint create -n somename -f /path/to/gpu-kubernetes.mustache

# inspect a template
nelson blueprint inspect -n cpu-cron-job
nelson blueprint inspect -n cpu-cron-job -r HEAD
nelson blueprint inspect cpu-cron-job@HEAD
nelson blueprint inspect cpu-cron-job@6

Unit Operations

# show the units deployed in a given datacenter
$ nelson units list --namespaces dev --datacenters sacremento

# show the units available in several datacenters
$ nelson units list --namespaces dev --datacenters sacremento,nyc

# show the units available in all datacenters for a given namespace
$ nelson units list --namespaces dev

# show the units available in all datacenters for a given namespace and status
$ nelson units list --namespaces dev --statuses deploying,ready,deprecated

# show the units that have been terminated by nelson in a given namespace
$ nelson units list --namespaces dev --statuses terminated

# deprecate a specific unit and feature version
$ nelson units deprecate --unit foo --version 1.2

# deprecate a specific unit and feature version, and expire the unit right away
$ nelson units deprecate --no-grace --unit foo --version 1.2

# take a deployment from one namespace and commit it to the specified target namespace
$ nelson units commit --foo --version 1.2.3 --target qa

Stack Operations

# show the stacks deployed in a given datacenter
$ nelson stacks list --namespaces dev --datacenters sacremento

# show the stacks available in several datacenters
$ nelson stacks list --namespaces dev --datacenters sacremento,nyc

# show the stacks available in all datacenters for a given namespace
$ nelson stacks list --namespaces dev

# show the stacks available in all datacenters for a given namespace and status
$ nelson stacks list --namespaces dev --statuses deploying,ready,deprecated

# show the stacks that have been terminated by nelson in a given namespace
$ nelson stacks list --namespaces dev --statuses terminated

# inspect a very specific deployment and show more detailed routing information
$ nelson stacks inspect b8ff485a0306

# redeploy a very specific deployment id.
# this spawns a new stack using the exact same container image
$ nelson stacks redeploy b8ff485a0306

# show the deployment log for a given deployment id
$ nelson stacks fs 02481438b432
$ nelson stacks logs 02481438b432

# show the current *runtime* status as seen by consul and nomad
$ nelson stacks runtime 02481438b432

# manually register a stack - only needed to inform Nelson about 
# something you setup out of band (e.g. some static database)
$ nelson stacks manual \
  --datacenter sacremento \
  --namespace dev \
  --service-type zookeeper \
  --version 3.4.6 \
  --hash fj5xlf53q \
  --description "some zookeeper" \
  --port 2181

Loadbalancer Operations

# list the loadbalancers
nelson lbs list -ns dev -d sacremento
nelson lbs list -ns dev

# remove a loadbalancer
nelson lbs down 04dsq452xvq

# create a new loadbalancer
nelson lbs up --name howdy-lb --major-version 1 --datacenter us-east-1 --namespace dev
nelson lbs up -n howdy-lb -mv 1 -d us-east-1 -ns dev

# get info about a loadbalancer
nelson lbs inspect -guid 04dsq452xvq

Lint operations


Testing consul templates is tedious, because many require vault access and/or Nelson environment variables to render. nelson-cli can render your consul-template in an environment similar to your container. Specifically, it:

  • creates a vault token with the same permissions as your unit and resources
  • renders the template server-side with the vault token and a full set of NELSON environment variables for the dev namespace
  • shows the error output, if any

Given this template at application.cfg.template:

{{with $ns := env "NELSON_ENV"}}
{{with secret (print "someroot/" $ns "/test/creds/howdy-http")}}

Lint it as howdy-http unit, using resource test:

$ nelson lint template -u <nelson-unit-name> -r <resource-name> -t <path-to>/application.cfg.template
template rendering failed
2017/02/15 18:54:15.496679 [INFO] consul-template v0.18.1 (9c62737)
2017/02/15 18:54:15.496716 [INFO] (runner) creating new runner (dry: true, once: true)
2017/02/15 18:54:15.497461 [INFO] (runner) creating watcher
2017/02/15 18:54:15.497809 [INFO] (runner) starting
2017/02/15 18:54:15.497884 [INFO] (runner) initiating run
2017/02/15 18:54:15.999977 [INFO] (runner) initiating run
Consul Template returned errors:
/consul-template/templates/nelson7713234105042928921.template: execute: template: :3:16: executing "" at <.data.username>: can't evaluate field data in type *dependency.Secret

Template linting failed.

Oops. Line 3 of the template should be .Data, not .data. Fix it and try again:

$ nelson lint template -u <nelson-unit-name> -r <resource-name> -t <path-to>/application.cfg.template
Template rendered successfully.
Rendered output discarded for security reasons.

The template rendered, but because we don't want to expose any secrets, we get a simple success message. Congratulations. Your template should now render correctly when deployed by Nelson.


  1. brew install go - install the Go programming language:
  2. create a directory to contain your go projects
  3. in your .bashrc or .zshrc, add export GOPATH=~/[path_to_go_directory]/go export PATH=$PATH:$GOPATH/bin ulimit -n 7168
  4. make install-dev - install the gb build tool
  5. alias fswatch="$GOPATH/bin/fswatch"
  6. make watch

This should give continuous compilation without the tedious need to constantly restart gb build