8. Move Demos To GCP

Date: 2022-07-14




Previously, demos for Bedrock were run on Heroku. This worked fine, but Heroku’s recent security incident there meant our integration had to be disabled, prompting discussion of self-managed demo instances.

In addition, while it was possible to demo Bedrock in Pocket Mode on Heroku, by amending the settings via the Heroku web UI, the domains set up (www-demoX.allizom.org) were originally set up for Mozorg, and as such may be confusing for colleagues reviewing Pocket changes. Flipping and un-flipping settings in Heroku to enable Mozorg Mode or Pocket Mode was also extra legwork that we ideally would do without, too.


We have implemented a new, self-managed, approach to running demos, using a handful of Google Cloud Platform services. Cloud Build and Cloud Run are the most significant ones.

Cloud Build has triggers which monitor pushes to specific branches, then builds a Bedrock container from the branch, using the appropriate env vars for Pocket or Mozorg use, including the SITE_MODE env var that specifies the mode Bedrock runs in.

Cloud Run then deploys the built container as a ‘serverless’ webapp. By default, supervisord runs in the container, so it updates DB and L10N files automatically.

This process is triggered by a simple push to a specific target branch. e.g. pushing code to mozorg-demo-2 will result in the relevant code being deployed in Mozorg mode to www-demo2.allizom.org, while pushing to pocket-demo-4 will deploy it to www-demo4.tekcopteg.com in Pocket mode.

Environment variables can also be configured by developers, via two dedicated env files in the Bedrock codebase, which are only used for demo services. Clashes are unlikely, and can still be managed with common sense.



It is now easier to stand up Pocket demos in addition to existing Mozorg demos, plus we have full control over the infrastructure our demos are run on.

We will no longer need to use Heroku for demos. In the future, we may also be able to support ad-hoc ‘review apps’, which we have also used Heroku for in the past.


  1. If a new secret value is required on a demo instance, and so that value cannot go into the demo env vars file because our codebase is public, some SRE-like devops is needed to add that secret value to GCP’s Secret Manager Service. This can be quick, but requires understanding how that side fits together, plus access, so may need a backender to add them.

  2. At the moment, only the MEAO Backend team have GCP access, which is handy to monitor whether a demo has successfull be pushed out, or to amend secrets, etc. Both of these issues can be addressed without a lot of work.