Deploying to Cloud Foundry

This section is only of interest to 18F team members.

In general, you should not need to do any manual deployments of CALC because we use automated deploys from CircleCI for both our development and production deployed instances. See our Release process docs for how we tag and deploy new production releases.


Download the Cloud Foundry CLI according to the instructions. Make sure you are using at least version v6.17.1, otherwise pushing multiple apps at once might not work.

You will also need to install the autopilot plugin for Cloud Foundry, which is used for zero-downtime deploys. You can install via cf install-plugin autopilot -f -r CF-Community.

Logging in to from the terminal

CALC is deployed to the GovCloud instance of You will need to login to via the GovCloud api of cf login -a --sso

Then target the org and space you want to work with. For example, if you wanted to work with the dev space: cf target -o fas-calc -s dev

Manifest files, which contain import deploy configuration settings, are located in the manifests directory of this project.

Python dependencies in deployments

Note that this project has two requirements files:

  • requirements.txt for production dependencies
  • requirements-dev.txt for development and testing dependencies

During local development and continuous integration testing, pip install -r requirements-dev.txt is used, which installs both development and production dependencies. During deployments, the Cloud Foundry python buildpack uses only requirements.txt by default, so only production dependencies will be installed.

Cloud Foundry structure

  • environment: GovCloud
  • Organization: fas-calc
  • Spaces: dev, prod
  • Apps:
    • dev space:
      • calc-dev
      • calc-rqworker
      • calc-rqscheduler
    • prod space:
      • calc-prod
      • calc-rqworker
      • calc-rqscheduler
      • calc-maintenance
  • Routes:
    • -> dev space, calc-dev app
    • -> prod space, calc-prod app
    • -> prod space, calc-prod app or the maintenance page app, calc-maintenance


Service Account Service

CALC uses service account services to provision credentials for automated deployments from CircleCI.

Each space that CALC uses has an associated service account with a name of the form calc-<SPACE NAME>-deployer-circle.

For information on how to create or rotate credentials from a service account service refer to the docs.

Identity Provider Service

CALC uses an Identity Provider Service to register with’s User Account and Authentication (UAA) server (see Auth for more details).

A service and associated service key are needed for each space. As an example, for the dev space, the commands to create the service and get its keys are:

cf create-service cloud-gov-identity-provider oauth-client calc-dev-uaa-client
cf create-service-key calc-dev-uaa-client calc-dev-uaa-client-service-key -c '{"redirect_uri": [""]}'
cf service-key calc-dev-uaa-client calc-dev-uaa-client-service-key

The cf service-key command above will output a username and password pair that corresponds to the UAA_CLIENT_ID and UAA_CLIENT_SECRET environment variables that will be used when setting up CALC’s User Provided Service, described in the next section.

See the Identity Provider Service docs for up-to-date information on its use.

User Provided Service (UPS)

For deployments, this project makes use of a User Provided Service (UPS) to get its configuration variables, instead of using the local environment (except for New Relic-related environment variables). You will need to create a UPS called calc-env, provide ‘credentials’ to it, and link it to the application instance. This will need to be done for every Cloud Foundry space.

First, create a JSON file (e.g. credentials-dev.json) with all the configuration values specified as per the Environment variables. DO NOT COMMIT THIS FILE.

  "SECRET_KEY": "my secret key",
  "...": "other environment variables"

Then enter the following commands (filling in the main application instance name for <APP_INSTANCE>) to create the user-provided service:

cf cups calc-env -p credentials-dev.json
cf bind-service <APP_INSTANCE> calc-env
cf restage <APP_INSTANCE>

You can update the user-provided service with the following commands:

cf uups calc-env -p credentials-dev.json
cf restage calc-dev

Database service

CALC uses PostgreSQL for its database.

cf create-service aws-rds <SERVICE_PLAN> calc-db
cf bind-service <APP_INSTANCE> calc-db

Redis service

CALC uses Redis along with rq for scheduling and processing asynchronous tasks.

For production, use the standard-ha (high availability) plan. For non-production uses, use the standard plan.

cf create-service redis32 standard-ha calc-redis32
cf bind-service <APP_INSTANCE> calc-redis32

For more information on’s Redis service, see its docs.

New Relic environment variables

Basic New Relic configuration is done in newrelic.ini, with additional settings specified in each deployment environment’s manifest file.

As described in Environment variables, you will need to supply the NEW_RELIC_LICENSE_KEY as part of each deployment’s User Provided Service.

Deployed instances

The development instance of CALC () is deployed automatically when changes are merged into the develop branch.

The production instance of CALC, whose main app resides at, is deployed automatically from CircleCI when commits are pushed to the master branch.

Check out the deploy sections of the CircleCI config for details and settings for automated deploys.

Maintenance page app

We have a very simple maintenance page application that uses the CloudFoundry staticfiles buildpack. This is a helpful application to use during periods of planned downtime, such as during a large database migration.

The maintenance page app code is in the maintenance_page subdirectory.

If calc-maintenance is not running or has not been deployed yet:

cd maintenance_page
cf push

Once calc-maintenance is running:

cf map-route calc-maintenance
cf unmap-route calc-prod

And then deploy the production app:

cf push -f manifests/manifest-prod.yml

One the deploy is successful:

cf map-route calc-prod
cf unmap-route calc-maintenance


Logs in applications are generally viewable by running cf logs <APP_NAME> --recent.

Note that the web application and the worker applications have separate logs, so you will need to look at each individually.

If more detailed log analysis is needed, Kibana can be used to generate a variety of visualizations and dashboards at For more details, see the Logs documentation.

Initial superuser

After the initial setup of calc-db and a production app, you will need to create a superuser account, after which you’ll be able to login to the Django admin panel to add additional user accounts. The easiest way to create the initial superuser is to use cf ssh to get to the remote host and run python createsuperuser. You’ll need to do some environment setup on the remote host, as described at Cloud Foundry’s SSH docs:

export HOME=/home/vcap/app
export TMPDIR=/home/vcap/tmp
cd /home/vcap/app
source /home/vcap/app/.profile.d/

Testing production deployments

Because reverse proxies like CloudFront can be misconfigured to prevent CALC from working properly, we’ve built a test suite that can be used to remotely test a production deployment of CALC. To use it, run:

docker-compose run app py.test production_tests

By default, the suite tests against If you’d like to test it against a different URL, you can do so with the --origin command-line option.