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Service discovery via DNS for docker
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README.md

Skydock - Automagic Service Discovery for Docker

Build Status

Skydock monitors docker events when containers start, stop, die, kill, etc and inserts records into a dynamic DNS server skydns. This allows standard DNS queries for services running inside docker containers. Because lets face it, if you have to modify your application code to work with other service discovery solutions you might as well just give up. DNS just works and it works well.
Also you cannot be expected to modify application code that you don't own. Passing service urls via the cli or in static config files (nginx) will not be possible if your service discovery solution requires a client library just to fetch an IP.

Skydns is a very small and simple server that does DNS for discovery very well. The authors and contributors to skydns helped a lot to make this project possible. Skydns exposes a very simple REST API to add, update, and remove services.

The Details

When you start a container with docker an event is sent to skydock via the events endpoint. Skydock will then inspect the container's information and add an entry to skydns. We setup skydns to bind it's nameserver to the docker0 bridge so that it is available to containers. For DNS queries that are not part of the domain registered with skydns for service discovery, skydns will forward the query to an authoritative nameserver. Skydns will return A, AAAA, and SRV records for registered services.

When designing skydock I made the assumption that when in the context of service discovery a client does not care about a specific instance of a service running inside a container. The client cares about the service and in the context of docker a service is defined by an image. We have many images; redis, postgres, our frontend applications, queues, and workers. The URL scheme is designed using this assumption.

Parts of the URL

  • Domain (domain name to resolve DNS requests for)
  • Environment (context of what type of service is running dev, production, qa, uat)
  • Service (the actual service name derived from the image name minus the repository crosbymichael/redis -> redis)
  • Instance (container's name representing the actual instance of a service)
  • Region (currently not used but will be your docker host, digitalocean, ec2; this will be used for multihost)

A typical query will look like this if your domain is crosbymichael.com and environment is production:

curl webapp.production.crosbymichael.com

The query above will return the IP for a container running the image webapp. If we want a specific instance we can prepend the container name to the query. If our webapp container's name was webapp1 we could do this to get the specific container.

curl webapp1.webapp.production.crosbymichael.com

Very simple and easy and no client code was harmed in this demonstration. Wildcard queries are also supported.

dig @172.17.42.1 "webapp.*.crosbymichael.com"

Setup

So what type of hacks do you have to do to get this running? Nothing, everything runs inside docker containers. You are just two docker run s away from bliss.

Ok, I lied. You have to make one change to your docker daemon. You need to run the daemon with the -dns flag so that docker injects a specific nameserver into the /etc/resolv.conf of each container that is run. First get the IP address of the docker0 bridge. We will need to know the IP of the bridge so that we can tell skydns to bind it's nameserver to that IP. For this example we will use the ip 172.17.42.1 as the docker0 bridge.

# start your daemon with the -dns flag, figure it out...
docker -d -dns 172.17.42.1 # + what other settings you use

Note: You can also pass the -dns flag to individual containers so that the DNS options only apply to specific containers and not everything started by the daemon. But what fun is that?

Now we need to start skydns before our other containers are run or else they will not be able to resolve DNS queries.

docker pull crosbymichael/skydns
docker run -d -p 172.17.42.1:53:53/udp -name skydns crosbymichael/skydns -nameserver 8.8.8.8:53 -domain docker

We add the name skydns to the container and we use -p and tell docker to bind skydns port 53/udp to the docker0 bridge's IP. We give skydns a nameserver of 8.8.8.8:53. This nameserver is used to forward queries that are not for service discovery to a real nameserver. If you don't know 8.8.8.8 is google's public DNS address.

Next is the -domain flag. This is the domain that you want skydns to resolve DNS queries for. In this example I am running docker on my local development machine so I am using the domain name docker. Any requests for services *.docker will be resolved by skydns for service discovery, all other requests will be forwarded to 8.8.8.8.

Now that skydns is running we can start skydock what bridges the gap between docker and skydns.

docker pull crosbymichael/skydock
docker run -d -v /var/run/docker.sock:/docker.sock -name skydock -link skydns:skydns crosbymichael/skydock -ttl 30 -environment dev -s /docker.sock -domain docker

This one is as little more involved but the parts are still simple. First we give it the name of skydock and we bind docker's unix socket into the container. I'm guessing for most, you do not want to service the docker API on a tcp port for containers to reach. If we bind the unix socket into this container we don't have to worry about other containers accessing the API, only skydock. We also add a link for skydns so that skydock knows where to make requests to insert new records. We are pre DNS discovery at this point.

Now we have a few settings to assign to skydock. First is the TTL value that you want all services to have when skydock adds them to DNS. I'm using a TTL value 30 seconds but you can set it higher or lower if needed. Skydock will also start a heartbeat for the service after it is added. You can use the -beat flag to set this default interval in seconds for the heartbeat or skydock will set the heartbeat interval to TTL -(TTL/4). I know, too complicated.

Next is the -environment flag which is the second part of your DNS queries. I set this to dev because it is running on my local machine. -s is the final option and it just tells skydock where to find docker's unix socket so that it can make requests to docker's API.

Now you're done. Just start containers and use intuitive urls to discover your services. Here is an small example starting a redis server and connecting the redis-cli to that instance of the service. Because it's DNS you can specific the urls on docker run.

# run an instance of redis
docker run -d -name redis1 crosbymichael/redis
03582c0de0ebb10665678d6ed530ae98bebd7d63dad5e7fb1cd53ffb1f85d91d

# run the cli and connect to our new instance
docker run -t -i crosbymichael/redis-cli -h redis.dev.docker

redis.dev.docker:6379> set name koye
OK
redis.dev.docker:6379> get name
"koye"
redis.dev.docker:6379>

Plugin support

I just added plugin support via otto to allow users to write plugins in javascript. Currently only one function uses plugins and that is createService(container). This function takes a container's configuration and converts it into a DNS service The current functionality is implementing in this javascript function:

function createService(container) {
    return {
        Port: 80,
        Environment: defaultEnvironment,
        TTL: defaultTTL,
        Service: cleanImageName(container.Image),
        Instance: removeSlash(container.Name),
        Host: container.NetworkSettings.IpAddress
    }; 
}

Your function must be called createservice which takes one object, the container, and must return a service with the fields shown above. In your plugin you have access to the following global variables and functions.

var defaultEnvironment = "string - the environment from the -environment flag";
var defaultTTL = 30; // int - the ttl value from the -ttl flag

function cleanImageName(string) string // cleans the repo and tags of the passed parameter returning the result
function removeSlash(string) string  // removes all / from the passed parameter returning the result

And that is it. Just add a createservice function to a .js file then use the -plugins flag to enable your new plugin. Plugins are loaded at start so changes made to the functions during the life of skydock are not reflected, you have to restart ( done for performance ).

docker run -d -v /var/run/docker.sock:/docker.sock -v /myplugins.js:/myplugins.js -name skydock -link skydns:skydns crosbymichael/skydock -s /docker.sock -domain docker -plugins /myplugins.js

Feel free to submit your plugins to this repo under the plugins/ directory.

TODO/ROADMAP

  • Multihost support
  • Handle multiple ports via SRV records

Bugs

  • Please report all skydock bugs on this repository
  • Report all skydns bugs here

License - MIT

Copyright (c) 2014 Michael Crosby. michael@crosbymichael.com

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

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