Using SLATE to Deploy Open OnDemand

Open OnDemand is a web application enabling easy access to high-performance computing resources. Open OnDemand, through a plugin system, provides many different ways to interact with these resources. Most simply, OnDemand can launch a shell to remote resources in one’s web browser. Currently, SLATE only supports this functionality, but more applications are in development. Additionally, OnDemand can provide several ways of submitting batch jobs and launching interactive computing sessions. It is also able to serve as a portal to computationally expensive software running on remote HPC nodes. For example, users can launch remote Jupyter Notebooks or Matlab instances.

The SLATE platform provides a simple way to rapidly deploy this application in a containerized environment, complete with integration into an existing LDAP user directory.


It is assumed that you already have access to a SLATE-registered Kubernetes cluster, and that you have installed and configured the SLATE command line interface. If not, instructions can be found at SLATE Quickstart.

Additionally, this application requires that cert-manager and a volume provisioner be present on the cluster you are installing on. Contact your cluster administrator for more information about this. More information about cert-manager can be found here, and more information about persistent volume types can be found here.


Initially, a configuration file for the Open OnDemand application must be obtained. The SLATE client will do this with the following command:

slate app get-conf open-ondemand > ood.yaml

This will save a local copy of the OnDemand configuration, formatted as a .yaml file. We will modify this configuration accordingly, and eventually deploy Open OnDemand with this configuration.

With your preferred text editor, open this configuration file and follow the instructions below.

Modifying Default Values

At the top of the configuration file is a value called Instance. Set this to a unique string you wish to identify your application with. Take note of this value, as it will eventually form part of the URL you will access your OnDemand instance with.

Next, configure the persistent volume that will store authentication data. Under volume, set the storageClass value to a storage class that is supported by your cluster.

To determine the storage classes supported by each cluster, consult individual cluster documentation (slate cluster info <cluster_name>). If this does not yield helpful output, contact your cluster administrator.

Leave the size value at its default 50M.

Then, configure the LDAP and Kerberos sections according to your institution’s setup.

Backend Cluster Setup

To set up shell access to backend compute resources, edit the clusters section of the configuration file. Add a cluster element for each cluster you wish to connect to, and fill out the name and host sections. The cluster name should be whatever you want the OnDemand web portal to display that cluster as, and the host value should be the DNS name of that cluster.

Test User Setup

This Open OnDemand chart supports the creation of temporary test users, for validating application functionality without the complexity of connecting to external LDAP and Kerberos servers. To add a test user(s), navigate to the testUsers section of the configuration file. Add the following yaml to this section for each user you would like to add:

- user:
    name: <username_here>
    tempPassword: <temporary_password_here>

Cert-Manager Setup

If cert-manager is not already present, contact your cluster administrator. To install cert-manager, the administrator must either set up the SLATE cluster using Ansible and Kubespray, or have access to kubectl on the command line.

When using the Ansible playbook the option for cert-manager must be changed from:

cert_manager_enabled: false


cert_manager_enabled: true

More information on using Ansible playbooks can be found here. If the administrator has access to kubectl then cert-manager can be installed using a regular manifest or with helm. Instructions can be found at the official cert-manager docs.

When all of the manifest components are installed, create an Issuer or ClusterIssuer .yaml file so that cert-manager can issue certificates on request by the OnDemand Helm chart. Here is a simple example of a ClusterIssuer .yaml configuration:

  name: letsencrypt-prod
    # The ACME server URL
    # Email address used for ACME registration
    # Name of a secret used to store the ACME account private key
      name: lets-encrypt-key

Make sure that the name of the issuer is letsencrypt-prod.

Note: The difference between a ClusterIssuer and an Issuer is that the latter is namespace specific.


Now that Open OnDemand has been properly configured, and persistent storage set up, we can install the application. Run the following SLATE command:

slate app install open-ondemand --group <group_name> --cluster <cluster_name> --conf /path/to/ood.yaml


After a short while, your SLATE OnDemand application should be live at <slate_instance_tag>.ondemand.<slate_cluster_name> Note that <slate_instance_tag> is the instance parameter specified in the values.yaml file, not the randomly-assigned SLATE instance ID.

Navigate to this URL with any web browser, and you will be directed to a Keycloak login page. A successful login will then direct you to the Open OnDemand portal home page. Navigating to the shell access menu within the portal should allow you to launch in-browser shells to the previously specified backend compute resources.

Configurable Parameters:

The following table lists the configurable parameters of the Open OnDemand application and their default values.

InstanceString to differentiate SLATE experiment
replicaCountThe number of replicas to create.1
setupKeycloakRuns Keycloak setup script if enabled.true
volume.storageClassThe volume provisioner from which to request the Keycloak backing volumelocal-path
volume.sizeThe amount of storage to request for the volume50M
setupLDAPSet up LDAP automatically based on following values.true
ldap.connectionURLURL to access LDAP at.ldap://your-ldap-here
ldap.importUsersImport LDAP users to Keycloak.true
ldap.rdnLDAPAttributeLDAP configurationuid
ldap.uuidLDAPAttributeLDAP configurationuidNumber
ldap.userObjectClassesLDAP configurationinetOrgPerson, organizationalPerson
ldap.usersDNLDAP configurationou=People,dc=chpc,dc=utah,dc=edu
kerberos.realmKerberos realm to connect to.AD.UTAH.EDU
kerberos.serverPrincipalKerberos server principalHTTP/
kerberos.keyTabKerberos configuration/etc/krb5.keytab
kerberos.kerberosPasswordAuthUse Kerberos for password authentication.true
kerberos.debugWrites additional debug logs if enabled.true
clusters.cluster.nameName of cluster to connect to.Kingspeak
clusters.cluster.hostHostname of cluster to connect
The SLATE Team