Jump Start Solution: Three-tier web app

Last reviewed 2023-08-29 UTC

This guide helps you understand and deploy the Three-tier web app Jump Start Solution, which demonstrates how to quickly deploy a multi-tier web application stack to Google Cloud.

The three-tier web app solution deploys a simple task-tracker app in Google Cloud. The app has a web-based frontend and an API layer in the middle tier. The frontend and API layer are containerized apps that are deployed as serverless services. The backend is a SQL database. The solution also includes an in-memory cache to serve frequently accessed data. Each tier in this solution is independent. You can develop, update, and scale any tier without affecting the other tiers. This architecture enables efficient app development and delivery.

This guide is intended for developers who have some background with deploying multi-tier app stacks. It assumes that you're familiar with basic cloud concepts, though not necessarily Google Cloud. Experience with Terraform is helpful.

Products used

The solution uses the following Google Cloud products:

  • Cloud Run: A fully managed service that lets you build and deploy serverless containerized apps. Google Cloud handles scaling and other infrastructure tasks so that you can focus on the business logic of your code.
  • Memorystore for Redis: A service that provides application caching using a scalable, secure, and highly available in-memory service for Redis and Memcached.
  • Cloud SQL for PostgreSQL: A cloud-based PostgreSQL database that's fully managed on the Google Cloud infrastructure.
  • Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) network: A global virtual network that spans all Google Cloud regions and that lets you interconnect your cloud resources.

For information about how these products are configured and how they interact, see the next section.

Architecture

The example app that the three-tier web app solution deploys is a task-tracking app for which the code already exists. The following diagram shows the architecture of the infrastructure that the solution deploys:

Architecture of the infrastructure required for the three-tier web app solution.

The following subsections describe the request flow and the configuration of the Google Cloud resources that are shown in the diagram.

Request flow

The following is the request processing flow of the task-tracker app that this solution deploys. The steps in the flow are numbered as shown in the preceding architecture diagram.

  1. A web-based frontend receives requests from clients to the task-tracker app. The frontend is a Cloud Run service, which renders an HTML client in the user's browser.
  2. The frontend sends requests to an API layer, which is also deployed as a Cloud Run service.
  3. Data that is read frequently is cached in and served from a Memorystore for Redis instance.
  4. Requests that can't be served from the in-memory Redis cache are sent by the API layer to a Cloud SQL for PostgreSQL database.

Resource configuration

This section describes the configuration of the Cloud Run, Memorystore, Cloud SQL, and networking resources that the solution deploys. If you're familiar with the Terraform configuration language, you can change some of these settings, as described later in this guide.

To view the configuration settings, click the following subsections:

Cloud Run services

Parameter Preconfigured setting
Compute capacity per container instance 1 vCPU, 512-MiB memory
Autoscaling range (number of container instances)

Frontend: 0-8

API layer: 0-8

Memorystore for Redis instance

Parameter Preconfigured setting
Redis version Version 6.x
Service tier Basic, no high availability (HA)
Memory 1 GB
Data encryption

At rest: Google-managed key

In transit: Not encrypted

Cloud SQL for PostgreSQL database

Parameter Preconfigured setting
PostgreSQL version Version 14
Machine type db-g1-small: 1 vCPU, 1.7-GB memory
Availability Single zone
Storage 10-GB SSD, with autoscaling enabled

Networking resources

The Cloud SQL instance is attached to a customer-created VPC network and has an internal IP address.

Serverless VPC Access provides connectivity from the Cloud Run instance that hosts the API layer to the Cloud SQL instance. Requests from the Cloud Run service to the Cloud SQL instance use internal DNS and internal IP addresses. Response traffic also uses the internal network. In other words, traffic between the app and the database is not exposed to the internet. Also, traffic over Serverless VPC Access can have lower latency than traffic that traverses the internet.

Connectivity between the Memorystore instance and the Cloud SQL database is through a direct-peering connection.

Cost

For an estimate of the cost of the Google Cloud resources that the three-tier web app solution uses, see the precalculated estimate in the Google Cloud Pricing Calculator.

Use the estimate as a starting point to calculate the cost of your deployment. You can modify the estimate to reflect any configuration changes that you plan to make for the resources that are used in the solution.

The precalculated estimate is based on assumptions for certain factors, including the following:

  • The Google Cloud locations where the resources are deployed.
  • The amount of time that the resources are used.

Deploy the solution

This section guides you through the process of deploying the three-tier web app solution.

Create or choose a Google Cloud project

When you deploy the solution, you choose the Google Cloud project where the resources are deployed. When you're deciding whether to use an existing project or to create a new project, consider the following factors:

  • If you create a project for the solution, then when you no longer need the deployment, you can delete the project and avoid continued billing. If you use an existing project, you must delete the deployment when you no longer need it.
  • Using a new project can help avoid conflicts with previously provisioned resources, such as resources that are used for production workloads.

If you want to deploy the solution in a new project, create the project before you begin the deployment.

To create a project, complete the following steps:

  1. In the Google Cloud console, go to the project selector page.

    Go to project selector

  2. To begin creating a Google Cloud project, click Create project.

  3. Name your project. Make a note of your generated project ID.

  4. Edit the other fields as needed.

  5. To create the project, click Create.

Get the required IAM permissions

To start the deployment process, you need the Identity and Access Management (IAM) permissions that are listed in the following table. If you have the roles/owner basic role for the project in which you plan to deploy the solution, then you already have all the necessary permissions. If you don't have the roles/owner role, then ask your administrator to grant these permissions (or the roles that include these permissions) to you.

IAM permission required Predefined role that includes the required permissions

serviceusage.services.enable

Service Usage Admin
(roles/serviceusage.serviceUsageAdmin)

iam.serviceAccounts.create

Service Account Admin
(roles/iam.serviceAccountAdmin)

resourcemanager.projects.setIamPolicy

Project IAM Admin
(roles/resourcemanager.projectIamAdmin)
config.deployments.create
config.deployments.list
Cloud Infrastructure Manager Admin
(roles/config.admin)

Service account created for the solution

If you start the deployment process through the console, Google creates a service account to deploy the solution on your behalf (and to delete the deployment later if you choose). This service account is assigned certain IAM permissions temporarily; that is, the permissions are revoked automatically after the solution deployment and deletion operations are completed. Google recommends that after you delete the deployment, you delete the service account, as described later in this guide.

View the roles assigned to the service account

These roles are listed here in case an administrator of your Google Cloud project or organization needs this information.

  • roles/artifactregistry.admin
  • roles/cloudsql.admin
  • roles/compute.networkAdmin
  • roles/iam.serviceAccountAdmin
  • roles/iam.serviceAccountUser
  • roles/redis.admin
  • roles/resourcemanager.projectIamAdmin
  • roles/run.admin
  • roles/servicenetworking.serviceAgent
  • roles/serviceusage.serviceUsageViewer
  • roles/vpcaccess.admin

Choose a deployment method

To help you deploy this solution with minimal effort, a Terraform configuration is provided in GitHub. The Terraform configuration defines all the Google Cloud resources that are required for the solution.

You can deploy the solution by using one of the following methods:

  • Through the console: Use this method if you want to try the solution with the default configuration and see how it works. Cloud Build deploys all the resources that are required for the solution. When you no longer need the deployed solution, you can delete it through the console. Any resources that you create after you deploy the solution might need to be deleted separately.

    To use this deployment method, follow the instructions in Deploy through the console.

  • Using the Terraform CLI: Use this method if you want to customize the solution or if you want to automate the provisioning and management of the resources by using the infrastructure as code (IaC) approach. Download the Terraform configuration from GitHub, optionally customize the code as necessary, and then deploy the solution by using the Terraform CLI. After you deploy the solution, you can continue to use Terraform to manage the solution.

    To use this deployment method, follow the instructions in Deploy using the Terraform CLI.

Deploy through the console

Complete the following steps to deploy the preconfigured solution.

  1. In the Google Cloud Jump Start Solutions catalog, go to the Three-tier web app solution.

    Go to the Three-tier web app solution

  2. Review the information that's provided on the page, such as the estimated cost of the solution and the estimated deployment time.

  3. When you're ready to start deploying the solution, click Deploy.

    A step-by-step interactive guide is displayed.

  4. Complete the steps in the interactive guide.

    Note the name that you enter for the deployment. This name is required later when you delete the deployment.

    When you click Deploy, the Solution deployments page is displayed. The Status field on this page shows Deploying.

  5. Wait for the solution to be deployed.

    If the deployment fails, the Status field shows Failed. You can use the Cloud Build log to diagnose the errors. For more information, see Errors when deploying through the console.

    After the deployment is completed, the Status field changes to Deployed.

  6. To view and use the task-tracker app that this solution deploys, click Actions on the Solution deployments page, and then select View web app.

    The frontend web page of the task-tracker app is displayed in a new browser tab.

  7. To view the Google Cloud resources that are deployed and their configuration, take an interactive tour.

    Start the tour

When you no longer need the solution, you can delete the deployment to avoid continued billing for the Google Cloud resources. For more information, see Delete the deployment.

Deploy using the Terraform CLI

This section describes how you can customize the solution or automate the provisioning and management of the solution by using the Terraform CLI. Solutions that you deploy by using the Terraform CLI are not displayed in the Solution deployments page in the Google Cloud console.

Set up the Terraform client

You can run Terraform either in Cloud Shell or on your local host. This guide describes how to run Terraform in Cloud Shell, which has Terraform preinstalled and configured to authenticate with Google Cloud.

The Terraform code for this solution is available in a GitHub repository.

  1. Clone the GitHub repository to Cloud Shell.

    Open in Cloud Shell

    A prompt is displayed to confirm downloading the GitHub repository to Cloud Shell.

  2. Click Confirm.

    Cloud Shell is launched in a separate browser tab, and the Terraform code is downloaded to the $HOME/cloudshell_open directory of your Cloud Shell environment.

  3. In Cloud Shell, check whether the current working directory is $HOME/cloudshell_open/terraform-google-three-tier-web-app/. This is the directory that contains the Terraform configuration files for the solution. If you need to change to that directory, run the following command:

    cd $HOME/cloudshell_open/terraform-google-three-tier-web-app/
    
  4. Initialize Terraform by running the following command:

    terraform init
    

    Wait until you see the following message:

    Terraform has been successfully initialized!
    

Configure the Terraform variables

The Terraform code that you downloaded includes variables that you can use to customize the deployment based on your requirements. For example, you can specify the Google Cloud project and the region where you want the solution to be deployed.

  1. Make sure that the current working directory is $HOME/cloudshell_open/terraform-google-three-tier-web-app/. If it isn't, go to that directory.

  2. In the same directory, create a text file named terraform.tfvars.

  3. In the terraform.tfvars file, copy the following code snippet, and set values for the required variables.

    • Follow the instructions that are provided as comments in the code snippet.
    • This code snippet includes only the variables for which you must set values. The Terraform configuration includes other variables that have default values. To review all the variables and the default values, see the variables.tf file that's available in the $HOME/cloudshell_open/terraform-google-three-tier-web-app/ directory.
    • Make sure that each value that you set in the terraform.tfvars file matches the variable type as declared in the variables.tf file. For example, if the type that’s defined for a variable in the variables.tf file is bool, then you must specify true or false as the value of that variable in the terraform.tfvars file.
    # This is an example of the terraform.tfvars file.
    # The values in this file must match the variable types declared in variables.tf.
    # The values in this file override any defaults in variables.tf.
    
    # ID of the project in which you want to deploy the solution
    project_id = "PROJECT_ID"
    
    # Google Cloud region where you want to deploy the solution
    # Example: us-central1
    region = "REGION"
    
    # Google Cloud zone where you want to deploy the solution
    # Example: us-central1-a
    zone = "ZONE"
    

    For information about the values that you can assign to the required variables, see the following:

Validate and review the Terraform configuration

  1. Make sure that the current working directory is $HOME/cloudshell_open/terraform-google-three-tier-web-app/. If it isn't, go to that directory.

  2. Verify that the Terraform configuration has no errors:

    terraform validate
    

    If the command returns any errors, make the required corrections in the configuration and then run the terraform validate command again. Repeat this step until the command returns the following message:

    Success! The configuration is valid.
    
  3. Review the resources that are defined in the configuration:

    terraform plan
    
  4. If you didn't create the terraform.tfvars file as described earlier, Terraform prompts you to enter values for the variables that don't have default values. Enter the required values.

    The output of the terraform plan command is a list of the resources that Terraform provisions when you apply the configuration.

    If you want to make any changes, edit the configuration and then run the terraform validate and terraform plan commands again.

Provision the resources

When no further changes are necessary in the Terraform configuration, deploy the resources.

  1. Make sure that the current working directory is $HOME/cloudshell_open/terraform-google-three-tier-web-app/. If it isn't, go to that directory.

  2. Apply the Terraform configuration:

    terraform apply
    
  3. If you didn't create the terraform.tfvars file as described earlier, Terraform prompts you to enter values for the variables that don't have default values. Enter the required values.

    Terraform displays a list of the resources that will be created.

  4. When you're prompted to perform the actions, enter yes.

    Terraform displays messages showing the progress of the deployment.

    If the deployment can't be completed, Terraform displays the errors that caused the failure. Review the error messages and update the configuration to fix the errors. Then run the terraform apply command again. For help with troubleshooting Terraform errors, see Errors when deploying the solution using the Terraform CLI.

    After all the resources are created, Terraform displays the following message:

    Apply complete!
    

    The Terraform output also lists the frontend URL of the task-tracker app (endpoint) and the name of the Cloud SQL instance (sqlservername), as shown in the following example:

    endpoint = "https://three-tier-app-fe-pn4ngg7gnq-uc.a.run.app"
    sqlservername = "three-tier-app-db-75c2"
    
  5. To view and use the task-tracker app that the solution deployed, copy the endpoint URL from the previous step and open the URL in a browser.

    The frontend web page of the task-tracker app is displayed in a new browser tab.

  6. To view the Google Cloud resources that are deployed and their configuration, take an interactive tour.

    Start the tour

When you no longer need the solution, you can delete the deployment to avoid continued billing for the Google Cloud resources. For more information, see Delete the deployment.

Customize the solution

This section provides information that Terraform developers can use to modify the three-tier web app solution in order to meet their own technical and business requirements. The guidance in this section is relevant only if you deploy the solution by using the Terraform CLI.

The