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Docker Orchestration Workshop

This is the material (slides, scripts, demo app, and other code samples) for the "Docker orchestration workshop" written and delivered by Jérôme Petazzoni (and lots of others) non-stop since June 2015.


  • Chapter 1: Getting Started: running apps with docker-compose
  • Chapter 2: Scaling out with Swarm Mode
  • Chapter 3: Operating the Swarm (networks, updates, logging, metrics)
  • Chapter 4: Deeper in Swarm (stateful services, scripting, DAB's)

Quick start (or, "I want to try it!")

This workshop is designed to be hands on, i.e. to give you a step-by-step guide where you will build your own Docker cluster, and use it to deploy a sample application.

The easiest way to follow the workshop is to attend it when it is delivered by an instructor. In that case, the instructor will generally give you credentials (IP addresses, login, password) to connect to your own cluster of virtual machines; and the slides assume that you have your own cluster indeed.

If you want to follow the workshop on your own, and want to have your own cluster, we have multiple solutions for you!

Using play-with-docker

This method is very easy to get started (you don't need any extra account or resources!) but will require a bit of adaptation from the workshop slides.

To get started, go to play-with-docker, and click on ADD NEW INSTANCE five times. You will get five "docker-in-docker" containers, all on a private network. These are your five nodes for the workshop!

When the instructions in the slides tell you to "SSH on node X", just go to the tab corresponding to that node.

The nodes are not directly reachable from outside; so when the slides tell you to "connect to the IP address of your node on port XYZ" you will have to use a different method.

We suggest to use "supergrok", a container offering a NGINX+ngrok combo to expose your services. To use it, just start (on any of your nodes) the jpetazzo/supergrok image. The image will output further instructions:

docker run --name supergrok -d jpetazzo/supergrok
docker logs --follow supergrok

The logs of the container will give you a tunnel address and explain you how to connected to exposed services. That's all you need to do!

We are also working on a native proxy, embedded to Play-With-Docker. Stay tuned!

Note that the instances provided by Play-With-Docker have a short lifespan (a few hours only), so if you want to do the workshop over multiple sessions, you will have to start over each time ... Or create your own cluster with one of the methods described below.

Using Docker Machine to create your own cluster

This method requires a bit more work to get started, but you get a permanent cluster, with less limitations.

You will need Docker Machine (if you have Docker Mac, Docker Windows, or the Docker Toolbox, you're all set already). You will also need:

  • credentials for a cloud provider (e.g. API keys or tokens),
  • or a local install of VirtualBox or VMware (or anything supported by Docker Machine).

Full instructions are in the prepare-machine subdirectory.

Using our scripts to mass-create a bunch of clusters

Since we often deliver the workshop during conferences or similar events, we have scripts to automate the creation of a bunch of clusters using AWS EC2. If you want to create multiple clusters and have EC2 credits, check the prepare-vms directory for more information.

How This Repo is Organized

  • dockercoins
    • Sample App: compose files and source code for the dockercoins sample apps used throughout the workshop
  • docs
    • Slide Deck: presentation slide deck, works out-of-box with GitHub Pages, uses
  • prepare-local
    • untested scripts for automating the creation of local virtualbox VM's (could use your help validating)
  • prepare-machine
    • instructions explaining how to use Docker Machine to create VMs
  • prepare-vms
    • scripts for automating the creation of AWS instances for students

Slide Deck

  • The slides are in the docs directory.
  • To view them locally open docs/index.html in your browser. It works offline too.
  • To view them online open in your browser.
  • When you fork this repo, be sure GitHub Pages is enabled in repo Settings for "master branch /docs folder" and you'll have your own website for them.
  • They use to allow simple markdown in a html file that remark will transform into a presentation in the browser.

Sample App: Dockercoins!

The sample app is in the dockercoins directory. It's used during all chapters for explaining different concepts of orchestration.

To see it in action:

  • cd dockercoins && docker-compose up -d
  • this will build and start all the services
  • the web UI will be available on port 8000

If you just want to run the workshop for yourself, you can stop reading here. If you want to deliver the workshop for others (i.e. if you want to become an instructor), keep reading!

Running the Workshop

General timeline of planning a workshop

  • Fork repo and run through slides, doing the hands-on to be sure you understand the different dockercoins repo's and the steps we go through to get to a full Swarm Mode cluster of many containers. You'll update the first few slides and last slide at a minimum, with your info.
  • Your docs directory can use GitHub Pages.
  • This workshop expects 5 servers per student. You can get away with as little as 2 servers per student, but you'll need to change the slide deck to accommodate. More servers = more fun.
  • If you have more then ~20 students, try to get an assistant (TA) to help people with issues, so you don't have to stop the workshop to help someone with ssh etc.
  • AWS is our most tested process for generating student machines. In prepare-vms you'll find scripts to create EC2 instances, install docker, pre-pull images, and even print "cards" to place at each students seat with IP's and username/password.
  • Test AWS Scripts: Be sure to test creating all your needed servers a week before workshop (just for a few minutes). You'll likely hit AWS limits in the region closest to your class, and it sometimes takes days to get AWS to raise those limits with a support ticket.
  • Create a chat room for your workshop and update slides with url. Also useful for TA to monitor this during workshop. You can use it before/after to answer questions, and generally works as a better answer then "email me that question".
  • If you can send an email to students ahead of time, mention how they should get SSH, and test that SSH works. If they can ssh and get permission denied (publickey) then they know it worked, and SSH is properly installed and they don't have anything blocking it. SSH and a browser are all they need for class.
  • Typically you create the servers the day before or morning of workshop, and leave them up the rest of day after workshop. If creating hundreds of servers, you'll likely want to run all these trainer commands from a dedicated instance you have in same region as instances you want to create. Much faster this way if you're on poor internet. Also, create 2 sets of servers for yourself, and use one during workshop and the 2nd is a backup.
  • Remember you'll need to print the "cards" for students, so you'll need to create instances while you have a way to print them.

Things That Could Go Wrong

  • Creating AWS instances ahead of time, and you hit its limits in region and didn't plan enough time to wait on support to increase your limits. :(
  • Students have technical issues during workshop. Can't get ssh working, locked-down computer, host firewall, etc.
  • Horrible wifi, or ssh port TCP/22 not open on network! If wifi sucks you can try using MOSH which handles SSH over UDP. TMUX can also prevent you from loosing your place if you get disconnected from servers.
  • Forget to print "cards" and cut them up for handing out IP's.
  • Forget to have fun and focus on your students!

Creating the VMs

prepare-vms/trainer is the script that gets you most of what you need for setting up instances. See prepare-vms/ for all the info on tools and scripts.

Content for Different Workshop Durations

With all the slides, this workshop is a full day long. If you need to deliver it in shorter timelines, here's some recommendations on what to cut out. You can replace --- with ??? which will hide slides. Or leave them there and add something like (EXTRA CREDIT) to title so students can still view the content but you also know to skip during presentation.

3 Hour Version

  • Limit time on debug tools, maybe skip a few. "Chapter 1: Identifying bottlenecks"
  • Limit time on Compose, try to have them building the Swarm Mode by 30 minutes in
  • Skip most of Chapter 3, Centralized Logging and ELK
  • Skip most of Chapter 4, but keep stateful services and DAB's if possible
  • Mention what DAB's are, but make this part optional in case you run out of time

2 Hour Version

  • Skip all the above, and:
  • Skip the story arc of debugging dockercoins all together, skipping the troubleshooting tools. Just focus on getting them from single-host to multi-host and multi-container.
  • Goal is first 30min on intro and Docker Compose and what dockercoins is, and getting it up on one node in docker-compose.
  • Next 60-75 minutes is getting dockercoins in Swarm Mode services across servers. Big Win.
  • Last 15-30 minutes is for stateful services, DAB files, and questions.

Past events

Since its inception, this workshop has been delivered dozens of times, to thousands of people, and has continuously evolved. This is a short history of the first times it was delivered. Look also in the "tags" of this repository: they all correspond to successive iterations of this workshop. If you attended a past version of the workshop, you can use these tags to see what has changed since then.

  • QCON, New York City (2015, June)
  • KCDC, Kansas City (2015, June)
  • JDEV, Bordeaux (2015, July)
  • OSCON, Portland (2015, July)
  • StrangeLoop, Saint Louis (2015, September)
  • LISA, Washington D.C. (2015, November)
  • SCALE, Pasadena (2016, January)
  • Zenika, Paris (2016, February)
  • Container Solutions, Amsterdam (2016, February)
  • ... and much more!

Problems? Bugs? Questions?

If there is a bug and you can fix it: submit a PR. Make sure that I know who you are so that I can thank you (because you're the real MVP!)

If there is a bug and you can't fix it, but you can reproduce it: submit an issue explaining how to reproduce.

If there is a bug and you can't even reproduce it: sorry. It is probably an Heisenbug. I can't act on it until it's reproducible.

if you have attended this workshop and have feedback, or if you want us to deliver that workshop at your conference or for your company: contact me (jerome at docker dot com).

Thank you!