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Using Distillery with systemd

!!! warning You need to be aware that when running bin/myapp upgrade <version>, this command will be executed in the callers environment, not the environment defined by the systemd unit. If you need environment variables to be available during the upgrade, then you need to either execute it with the same environment as the systemd unit, or export those environment variables in the calling environment.

Here are two general approaches to running a Distillery release with systemd:

Run app as daemon using start and a forking Systemd service with pidfile

Properties of this approach:

  • Your app will be automatically restarted if it crashes
  • Logs will be written to the var/log directory in your release
[Unit]
Description=My App
After=network.target

[Service]
Type=forking
User=appuser
Group=appuser
WorkingDirectory=/home/appuser/myapp
ExecStart=/home/appuser/myapp/bin/myapp start
ExecStop=/home/appuser/myapp/bin/myapp stop
PIDFile=/home/appuser/myapp/myapp.pid
Restart=on-failure
RestartSec=5
Environment=PORT=8080
Environment=LANG=en_US.UTF-8
Environment=PIDFILE=/home/appuser/myapp/myapp.pid
SyslogIdentifier=myapp
RemainAfterExit=no

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Run app in foreground using a simple systemd configuration

Properties of this approach:

  • Your app will be automatically restarted if it crashes
  • Logging is handled by systemd, which makes for better integration with log aggregation tools
  • It is a less cumbersome setup (does not require any pidfile and associated detection)
[Unit]
Description=My App
After=network.target

[Service]
Type=simple
User=appuser
Group=appuser
WorkingDirectory=/home/appuser/myapp
ExecStart=/home/appuser/myapp/bin/myapp foreground
Restart=on-failure
RestartSec=5
Environment=PORT=8080
Environment=LANG=en_US.UTF-8
SyslogIdentifier=myapp
RemainAfterExit=no

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

!!! tip We have heard that in some cases, if an error occurs when starting the service, you may need to set RemainAfterExit=yes. This will disable automatic restart in the case of failure though, so you should avoid doing this unless it is your only option (or desired behavior)

For more information about Distillery and systemd, the following links may be useful (though possibly outdated):