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Parallel installation of snaps demo

Snapd supports installing many instances of the same snap. Instances are distinguished using a unique instance key appended to the snap name. For example:

  • <snap> - is the regular snap name
  • <snap>_foo - is another instance of snap with foo instance key

One can install assign instance keys directly when installing from store:

$ snap install somesnap_foo

Or from file:

snap install --name somesnap_foo somesnap_123.snap

Inside the snap's filesystem, locations $SNAP, $SNAP_DATA and $SNAP_COMMON are set up in such way that they are identical for snaps with and without instance key. On the outside, each is a separate place in the host filesystem. This way, snaps that hardcode paths at build time (eg. using /var/snap/<snap>/common explicitly) should continue working without changes.

Due to security concerns, user locations such as $SNAP_USER_DATA, $SNAP_USER_COMMON are instance specific both inside and outside of snap.


This is a snap for demoing parallel installation. The snap comes with a service serve which is a simple HTTP server hosting files from $SNAP_DATA.

By default, the service listens on port 9991 on localhost.

Build the snap

$ snap pack
built: parallel-installs-demo_0.1_all.snap

Enable parallel instances feature

The parallel installation of snaps is gated by a feature flag and needs to enable it explicitly.

$ sudo snap set system experimental.parallel-instances=true

Install snap without the instance key

$ sudo snap install --dangerous parallel-installs-demo_0.1_all.snap
parallel-installs-demo 0.1 installed

Install another instance with foo instance key

$ sudo snap install --dangerous --name parallel-installs-demo_foo parallel-installs-demo_0.1_all.snap
parallel-installs-demo_foo 0.1 installed

Configure foo instance port to be 9992

parallel-installs-demo_foo.serve will fail to start as the port is already used by parallel-installs-demo.serve. We need to adjust the port:

$ sudo snap set parallel-installs-demo_foo port=9992

At this point the service should have been automatically restarted and using the new port.

Access the services

The non keyed instance:

$ curl http://localhost:9991/hello.txt
Hello world!

The foo instance:

$ curl http://localhost:9992/hello.txt
Hello world from instance "foo"!

Create some files for each snap and view them

$ echo foobar | sudo tee /var/snap/parallel-installs-demo/current/some-data
$ echo other-foobar | /var/snap/parallel-installs-demo_foo/current/other-data

Open the browser and go to http://localhost:9991 and another tab for http://localhost:9992


Parallel installation of snaps demo



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