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Get Started with Consul for Service Networking

Explore the Consul UI

Consul's web UI allows you to view and interact with Consul via a graphical user interface, which can lower the barrier of entry for new users, and ease troubleshooting.

If you were running Consul in production you would need to enable the UI in Consul's configuration file or using the -ui command line flag, but because your agent is running in development mode, the UI is automatically enabled.

»Navigate to the UI

If you have already stopped the agent you were using in the previous guides, you can visit a live demo-instance of the Consul Web UI to explore the steps in this guide.

If you are still running the agent that you used for the previous guides, you will be able to follow the activities in this guide more closely. Open a browser window and navigate to the UI, which is available at the /ui path on the same port as the HTTP API (port 8500).

http://localhost:8500/ui

A page will load that has a pink menu bar across the top. Welcome to the Consul Web UI.

»View services

Service Page

The landing page for the UI is the services page, which gives you a list of all registered services including their health, tags, type, and source. You can click on a specific service to learn more about its instance count, the health of individual instances, and which agent each instance is registered with.

You can filter the services visible on the page based on their name, tag, status, or other search terms.

You can learn about individual services by clicking on them.

»View nodes

Next click on the "Nodes" option in the pink top navigation bar to go to the nodes page. There you'll find an overview of the entire datacenter including the health status of each node. You can select individual nodes to learn about their health checks, registered services, round trip time, and lock sessions.

You can also filter the nodes by heath status, or search for them in the search bar.

»Manage the Key-Value store

In the top navigation, click "Key/Value" to view the page for Consul KV. If you are using the same agent that from previous guides, you should see one key, foo.

Key Value Page

The keys page has a folder-like structure. Objects appear nested according to their key prefix. For example, you could have a folder for each application, business function, or a nested combination of the two.

When you are clicked into a folder, Consul will automatically nest new keys under that folder, without you needing to type the prefix.

»Manage Access Control Lists

Consul uses Access Control Lists (ACLs) to secure the UI, API, CLI, service communications, and agent communications. You need to configure ACLs in your Consul datacenter to secure it for production, however, on your development agent they aren't enabled, so the there isn't much to see on your "ACL" page at the moment.

You can secure the UI itself with ACLs, by limiting read, write, and update permissions for the various pages in the UI. You do this by creating a token with the appropriate permissions, and adding it to the UI under the ACL page. To remove access, simply select "Stop using" from your tokens action menu in the token list.

»Manage intentions

Click on the "Intentions" menu item to navigate to the intentions page in the UI. There aren't any intentions there yet, but if you are still running the same agent that you used for the previous guides, you can create an intention to block communication between your web and socat services.

Intentions Page

»Adjust UI settings

Click on "Settings" at the far-right of the menu bar. Here you can edit the UI's settings.

If you have set up a metrics dashboard to monitor your services, you can add a link on the settings page that will auto-populate placeholders for there service name and datacenter, and link out to each service's metrics from its UI page.

You can also choose whether or not you would like to set up a blocking query to update the UI in real time, rather than upon refresh. This is off by default because it can have performance implications.

»UI task table

As you may have noticed, some pages of the web UI are read-only, while others are interactive. Below is a table with the CRUD actions available for each page.

PageAction
ServicesRead
NodesRead
Key/ValueCreate, Read, Update, Delete
IntentionsCreate, Read, Update, Delete
ACLsCreate, Read, Update, Delete

»Next steps

Now that you are comfortable navigating the UI, try using the Consul CLI to accomplish the same tasks listed here.

So far you have explored the core functionality of Consul, including service discovery, securing services with a mesh, and using the key value store. Continue to the next guide to learn how to set up a Consul datacenter by joining multiple Consul agents together.