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app_domain handling in GOV.UK during migration to AWS

The app-by-app migration plan to move GOV.UK to AWS introduced the need to introduce an $app_domain_internal parameter in addition to the $app_domain used prior. This is due to the fact that in AWS, we use a <environment> domain in addition to the <environment> domain.

Furthermore, the app_domain parameter may be set to the <environment> for migrated apps as well. The exact configration depends on the current state of the migrated app as well as its dependencies. For example, migrated backend applications, such as Support, may be configured to use the <environment> $app_domain to facilitate access to Signon over the internet. Applications in Carrenza which talk to AWS over the VPN need to be able to resolve the <environment> This internal domain is resolved to the private IP CIDR in AWS (at the moment this is only done for RabbitMQ exchange federation).

As a rule of thumb:

  • Applications which have been moved to AWS and have all their dependencies in AWS will use $app_domain=<environment> and <$app_domain_internal=<environment> consistently.
  • Applications which remain in Carrenza, including all their dependencies, will only use app_domain=<environment>
  • Applications having dependencies in both AWS and Carrenza will require some customisation of service resolution in form of a Plek URI override and may use either $app_domain=<environment> or $app_domain=<environment>

Since setting the correct service discovery environment for a particular app is complicated due to the migration to AWS, please take extra care to make sure you understand the effects of changes to the app_domain parameter and Plek URI overrides via environment variables. If in doubt, please liaise with RE:GOV.UK, e.g. via Slack #re-govuk to make sure your changes do not have unintended side effects.

This page was last reviewed on 21 October 2019. It needs to be reviewed again on 21 January 2020 by the page owner #re-govuk .
This page was set to be reviewed before 21 January 2020 by the page owner #re-govuk. This might mean the content is out of date.