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Setting up Jenkins

See Jenkins Setup to set up a Jenkins instance.

EdX analytics pipeline comes equipped with a lot of tasks to perform various analytics calculations, but it intentionally lacks any mechanism to run them periodically. EdX suggests using cron jobs or Jenkins builds. This document provides instructions on setting up Jenkins jobs to run analytics tasks periodically

Create an SSH tunnel to connect to the secure Jenkins instance.

Configuring Jenkins

To configure Jenkins to send error emails, go to the main page:

  • Click "Manage Jenkins" in the left sidebar.
  • Click "Configure System".
  • Scroll down to "Jenkins Location > System Admin e-mail address".
  • Enter an email address that is an allowed From address for the SMTP provider used by postfix on the analytics server, e.g. the EDXAPP_SERVER_EMAIL from your edxapp vars.yml file.

To increase the number of Jenkins tasks that can run in parallel (e.g. if you're going to be scheduling tasks to run hourly):

  • Click "Manage Jenkins" in the left sidebar.
  • Click "Configure System".
  • Locate the "# of executors" field near the top.
  • Increase this to the desired number of processes, e.g. 3.

Also note that if you're going to have Jenkins tasks running in parallel, they should be configured to use different CLUSTER_NAME values so they don't terminate EMR clusters out from under one another. See the sample task configurations for examples of CLUSTER_NAME values.

Configuring Jenkins jobs

To add a new Jenkins job, you can:

Create new Jenkins job

To create job, authenticate to Jenkins, than go to main page.

  • Click "New Item" in the left sidebar.
  • Set the task name to be the insights domain, followed by a recognizable name that uniquely identifies the task (e.g. "insights.example.com Module Engagement"). Having the insights domain prepended to the task name will help recipients of the error emails to quickly identify the source analytics instance of any future task failure alerts.
  • If this is the first task created, select "Build a free-style software project" For subsequent tasks, you can Copy from existing item instead, which saves a lot of steps.

  • Project name: set automatically from previous step

  • Description: provide appropriate description
  • Discard Old Builds: enable
  • Strategy: Log Rotation
  • Days to keep builds: (leave blank)
  • Max # of builds to keep: 50
  • Advanced: Days to keep artifacts: (leave blank)
  • Advanced: Max # of builds to keep with artifacts: 50
  • Github project: (leave blank)
  • Job Notifications: use section defaults
  • Advanced Project Options: use section defaults
  • Source Code Management: None
  • Build Triggers: Build Periodically
  • Schedule: e.g., H X * * *, see Commands for suggested schedules.

    • X is an hour to run task (i.e. with X=19 task will run at 19:00 daily)
    • H is a Jenkins hash used to spread the load.

    It makes sense to try to reduce even load on the server by running tasks throughout the day, i.e. not put them all to 0 0 * * *, or even H H * * * (H is a hash, so it might put some tasks closely together).

    Refer to Jenkins help should the need for a more sophisticated schedule arise.

  • Build Environment

    • Abort the build if it's stuck: enable
      • Time-out strategy: Absolute
      • Timeout Minutes: 300
      • Click Add Action and add Fail the Build.
    • SSH Agent: enable
    • Credentials: Specific credentials: hadoop

    This allows Jenkins to ssh to the EMR servers via the shell command.

    Select the 'hadoop' ssh access key created by ansible.

    If the ssh credentials were not configured via ansible you can manually create a key here by clicking the Add Key button.

    • Kind: SSH username with private key
    • Scope: Global
    • Username: hadoop
    • Private key: paste the analytics private key file contents directly, or copy the file to the analytics instance and point to the path.
    • Passphrase: Leave empty for AWS-issued private key files.
    • Description: ssh credential file
  • Build

    • Add Step -> Execute Shell.
      • Fill in Command field with shell script to run. See Commands for details.
    • Post build actions -> Add post build task
      • Log text: Traceback
      • Script: exit 1
      • Run script only if all previous steps were successful: yes
      • Escalate script execution status to job status: yes
    • Post build actions -> Add post build action -> Email Notification
      • Recipients - an alert email address, e.g. ops@example.com
      • Send e-mail for every unstable build: yes
      • Send separate e-mails to individuals who broke the build: no
  • Finally, click Save

Clone existing Jenkins job

Once you have a Jenkins job created, you can clone it into a new job and modify it.

To do this:

  • Click "New Item" in the left sidebar.
  • Set the task name to be the insights domain, followed by a recognizable name that uniquely identifies the task (e.g. "insights.example.com Module Engagement"). Having the insights domain prepended to the task name will help recipients of the error emails to quickly identify the source analytics instance of any future task failure alerts.
  • Select "Copy from existing item" and select the existing task to clone from.
  • Click "Ok" to create the cloned item.
  • Modify the settings that differ (e.g. name, description, schedule crontab, command), and "Save".

Import Jenkins job config.xml

To perform this step reliably, you must be running with the same (or similar) version of Jenkins that the config.xml file was created with, otherwise strange problems may arise (cf https://stackoverflow.com/q/8424228/4302112).

For example, to get a job's config.xml:

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curl -X GET \
     -o AnalyticsTaskName_config.xml \
     'http://orig.jenkins.url/job/insights.example.com%20AnalyticsTaskName/config.xml'

To import a config.xml file:

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cat AnalyticsTaskName_config.xml | curl -X POST \
     --header "Content-Type: application/xml" \
     --data-binary @- \
     'http://new.jenkins.url/createItem?name=insights.example.com%20AnalyticsTaskName'

Commands

These example commands rely heavily on environment variables defined in jenkins_env. See Jenkins Env and Configuration Overrides for a discussion of these environment variables.

One can do without a jenkins_env file by omitting the . /home/jenkins/jenkins_env command from the shell script body, and list the environment variables in the actual shell command inline.

Note that the build schedules can and should be adjusted as needed. Depending on the number and size of tracking logs, different jobs can take a differing amount of time. Some jobs can conflict while editing the s3 buckets, causing failures due to race conditions. If this kind of contention occurs, changing the schedule for jobs is perfectly fine and can often fix the problem.

These tasks should be configured, referencing the Open edX Analytics Pipeline Reference for the specific commands.

Command template

All tasks except the Performance and Problem response report tasks are "incremental" tasks. This means that after running a bootstrap "historical" task to ingest the historical data, you can run a quicker daily (or weekly) incremental task to process new incoming data.

You'll need to run the Enrollment tasks first, as this populates data used by most of the other tasks.

Here's a command template for running these tasks, where:

  • The common variables are defined in the installed /home/jenkins/jenkins_env file.
  • CLUSTER_NAME is defind below and unique for each task, so tasks can run in parallel if scheduled to.
  • The task command and arguments are as shown in the docs.
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. /home/jenkins/jenkins_env
export CLUSTER_NAME="<Unique Name> Cluster"
cd $HOME

FROM_DATE="$START_DATE"
TO_DATE=`date +%Y-%m-%d`
analytics-configuration/automation/run-automated-task.sh <task command and arguments>

Enrollments

Imports enrollments data; runs daily.

See edx docs: Enrollment

Run on periodic build schedule, e.g. H 0 * * *.

Enrollments By Country

Enrollments by geolocation; runs daily.

See edx docs: Geography

Run on periodic build schedule, e.g. H 5 * * *.

Engagement

Weekly course activity; run weekly.

See edx docs: Engagement

Run on periodic build schedule, e.g. H 1 * * 1.

Learner engagement

Weekly course module engagement data stored in an ElasticSearch index; runs daily.

See edx docs: Learner analytics

Run on periodic build schedule, e.g. H 3 * * *.

Note: HKS epodX wanted theirs updated every 2 hours, so for them we used: H */2 * * *,

Performance

Loads learner data for graded and ungraded problems.

See edx docs: Performance (graded and ungraded)

Run on periodic build schedule, e.g. H 7 * * *.

NB: The AnswerDistributionWorkflow task is one of the oldest analytics tasks, and not as cleanly configured as the other tasks. The --dest, --manifest, and --marker parameters must used a timestamped directory, to ensure fresh data for each run of the task.

Here's an example of how to run this task using the sample jenkins_env provided.

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. /home/jenkins/jenkins_env
export CLUSTER_NAME="Performance Cluster"
cd $HOME

NOW=`date +%s`
ANSWER_DIST_S3_BUCKET=$HADOOP_S3_BUCKET/intermediate/answer_dist/$NOW

analytics-configuration/automation/run-automated-task.sh AnswerDistributionWorkflow \
    --local-scheduler \
    --src "'[\"$TRACKING_LOGS_S3_BUCKET/logs/tracking\"]'" \
    --dest "$ANSWER_DIST_S3_BUCKET" \
    --name AnswerDistributionWorkflow \
    --output-root $HADOOP_S3_BUCKET/grading_reports/ \
    --include "'[\"*tracking.log*.gz\"]'" \
    --manifest "$ANSWER_DIST_S3_BUCKET/manifest.txt" \
    --base-input-format "org.edx.hadoop.input.ManifestTextInputFormat" \
    --lib-jar "'[\"$TASK_CONFIGURATION_S3_BUCKET/edx-analytics-hadoop-util.jar\"]'" \
    --n-reduce-tasks $NUM_REDUCE_TASKS \
    --marker "$ANSWER_DIST_S3_BUCKET/marker"

Videos

Tracks video interactions; runs daily.

See edx docs: Video

Run on periodic build schedule, e.g. H 9 * * *.

Student Engagement

Generates downloadable engagement CSV reports.

Daily Reports

See edx docs: StudentEngagementCsvFileTask

Run on a daily build schedule, e.g. H 11 * * *.

Run this task only if your client requires daily Student Engagement reports.

Weekly Reports

See edx docs: StudentEngagementCsvFileTask

Run on a weekly build schedule, e.g. H 13 * * 1.

Run this task only if your client requires weekly Student Engagement reports.

Problem Response Reports

Generates downloadable problem responses CSV reports; runs daily.

See edx docs: ProblemResponseReportWorkflow

Run on periodic build schedule, e.g. H 20 * * *.

Note: HKS epodX wanted theirs to run hourly, so for them we use: H * * * *. And we add this to analytics-override.cfg, to allow hourly partitions:

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[problem-response]
partition_format = %Y-%m-%dT%H

Note that it's just the Problem Response data that is re-generated hourly; the Course Blocks and Course List data is still configured to use the default daily partition.

We use "midnight tomorrow" as the interval end, so that records gathered today will be included immediately in the generated reports.

Run this task only if your client requires the Problem Response Reports. Requires the Analytics API Reports S3 bucket, and the Insights enable_problem_response_download waffle flag enabled.

Shell build step:

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. /home/jenkins/jenkins_env
export CLUSTER_NAME="ProblemResponseReportWorkflow Cluster"
cd $HOME

TOMORROW=`date --date="tomorrow" +%Y-%m-%d`

analytics-configuration/automation/run-automated-task.sh ProblemResponseReportWorkflow \
    --local-scheduler \
    --marker $HADOOP_S3_BUCKET/intermediate/problem_response/marker`date +%s` \
    --interval-end "$TOMORROW" \
    --overwrite \
    --n-reduce-tasks $NUM_REDUCE_TASKS

Last update: 2022-05-11