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rex

1.0.0 • Public • Published

🦖 REX (Remote EXecute)

Remotely execute commands via secure message passing.

Intro

Imagine you have a spare computer at home, and you want to be able to run commands on it, such as "build and re-publish my blog".

But now imagine that you're away at a coffee shop and want to run the command. Normally you'd need to have a VPN into your home network, or you'd need to be running TeamViewer, or something like that.

No need! If you have this installed, you can securely and confidently pass commands to your computer using the magic of AWS SQS.

How it Works

On your spare computer, you would install this CLI tool, configure it (instructions below), and then leave it running.

The process watches an SQS queue and, on receiving a message, will run a pre-configured command.

For example, if you have the script /var/opt/rebuild-blog.sh you might register it with:

rex set command rebuild-blog /var/opt/rebuild-blog.sh

On your coffee shop laptop, you'd then run the command:

rex push rebuild-blog

This posts a message to SQS, which your spare computer will then receive, and then execute the /var/opt/rebuild-blog.sh script.

Data Payloads

You can pass a payload of up to ~256 KB, as data on the SQS message.

Do this by specifying a filepath when pushing commands:

rex push rebuild-blog /path/to/file.txt

When your script is run on the listening computer, if a payload is passed along over SQS it will be written to a temporary file and the path to that file will be the first parameter given to the command.

For example, the script on the listening computer might look like:

#!/usr/bin/env bash 
# /var/opt/rebuild-blog.sh 
 
PATH_TO_FILE=$1
blogbuilder --config=$PATH_TO_FILE

Error Handling

This script doesn't handle errors or retries if your script fails, and doesn't log anything anywhere, it just runs the script.

What you'll probably want to do, inside the script, is handle output and errors.

Write stdout and stderr to the same file:

your-command >> logfile.txt 2>&1

Or stdout and stderr to different files:

your-command >> success.txt 2>> errors.txt

Listen Forever

To have this process run forever, try a tool like this one, e.g.:

forever start rex listen

Setup

You'll need NodeJS installed, then you can install rex globally with:

npm install -g rex

Create SQS Queue

Inside the AWS console, go to the SQS panel and create a new queue.

  • Queue Name: pick something that ends with .fifo, e.g. remote-execute.fifo
  • Queue Type: select FIFO
  • Click the "Quick-Create Queue"

Listening User

On the listening computer, you'll need IAM credentials to read off the SQS queue.

  • Create an IAM user, set a useful name like rex-spare-desktop
  • Enable programmatic access
  • Don't attach any policies to it
  • At the end, save the key ID and secret for later use

From the user edit page, add an inline policy (the small blue "+" button) that looks like this:

{
    "Version": "2012-10-17",
    "Statement": [
        {
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Action": [
                "sqs:GetQueueUrl",
                "sqs:DeleteMessage",
                "sqs:ReceiveMessage",
                "sqs:GetQueueAttributes"
            ],
            "Resource": "arn:aws:sqs:$REGION:$ACCOUNT_ID:$QUEUE_NAME"
        }
    ]
}
  • $REGION is the AWS region that you created the SQS queue.
  • $ACCOUNT_ID is the AWS account identifier, available here
  • $QUEUE_NAME is the SQS queue, e.g. remote-execute.fifo

Publishing User

On the publishing computer you'll need IAM credentials to allow sending messages to the SQS queue.

  • Create an IAM user, set a useful name like rex-publisher
  • Enable programmatic access
  • Don't attach any policies to it
  • At the end, save the key ID and secret for later use

From the user edit page, add an inline policy (the small blue "+" button) that looks like this:

{
    "Version": "2012-10-17",
    "Statement": [
        {
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Action": [
                "sqs:SendMessage"
            ],
            "Resource": "arn:aws:sqs:$REGION:$ACCOUNT_ID:$QUEUE_NAME"
        }
    ]
}
  • $REGION is the AWS region that you created the SQS queue.
  • $ACCOUNT_ID is the AWS account identifier, available here
  • $QUEUE_NAME is the SQS queue, e.g. remote-execute.fifo

Loading Credentials

There are three options for loading the credentials you just made.

  1. Set the environment variables in the secrets.example.sh before running rex, or
  2. Load the credentials using the AWS environment variables (be sure to also set AWS_REGION), or
  3. Set a profile with rex set awsprofile to load credentials using the AWS "Shared Credentials" file (the awsprofile property must be set to use this option).

Remember that if you set up rex to run using forever (earlier in this document) that you will need to make sure credentials are configured for whatever launches it.

License

The code for this project is published and released under the Very Open License.

Keywords

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Install

npm i rex

DownloadsWeekly Downloads

64

Version

1.0.0

License

VOL

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