Skip to content


Switch branches/tags

Latest commit


Git stats


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time

Broadside Build Status

A GLI based command-line tool for deploying applications on AWS EC2 Container Service (ECS)

The wiki has all kinds of useful information on it so don't just rely on this README.


Amazon ECS presents a low barrier to entry for production-level docker applications. Combined with ECS's built-in blue-green deployment, Elastic Load Balancers, Autoscale Groups, and CloudWatch, one can theoretically set up a robust cluster that can scale to serve any number of applications in a short amount of time. The ECS GUI, CLI, and overall architecture are not the easiest to work with, however, so Broadside seeks to leverage the ECS ruby API to dramatically simplify and improve the configuration and deployment process for developers, offering a simple command line interface and configuration format that should meet most needs.

Broadside does not attempt to handle operational tasks like infrastructure setup and configuration, which are better suited to tools like terraform.


  • Trigger ECS deployments
  • Inject environment variables into ECS containers from local configuration files
  • Launch a bash shell on container in the cluster
  • SSH directly onto a host running a container
  • Execute an arbitrary shell command on a container (or all containers)
  • Tail logs of a running container
  • Scale an existing deployment on the fly

Example Config for Quickstarters

Applications using broadside employ a configuration file that looks something like:

Broadside.configure do |config|
  config.application = 'hello_world'
  config.default_docker_image = 'lumoslabs/hello_world' = 'production-cluster' = 'us-east-1'                  # 'us-east-1 is the default
  config.targets = {
    production_web: {
      scale: 7,
      command: %w(bundle exec unicorn -c config/unicorn.conf.rb),
      env_file: '.env.production'
      predeploy_commands: [
        %w(bundle exec rake db:migrate),
        %w(bundle exec rake data:migrate)
    # If you have multiple images or clusters, you can configure them per target
    staging_web: {
      scale: 1,
      command: %w(bundle exec puma),
      env_file: '.env.staging',
      tag: 'latest',                                # Set a default tag for this target
      cluster: 'staging-cluster',                   # Overrides
      docker_image: 'lumoslabs/staging_hello_world' # Overrides config.default_docker_image
    json_stream: {
      scale: 1,
      command: %w(java -cp *:.,
      # This target has a task_definition and service config which you use to bootstrap a new AWS Service
      service_config: { deployment_configuration: { minimum_healthy_percent: 0.5 } },
      task_definition_config: { container_definitions: [ { cpu: 1, memory: 2000, } ] }

From here, developers can use broadside's command-line interface to initiate a basic deployment and launch the configured command as an ECS Service:

bundle exec broadside deploy full --target production_web --tag v.1.1.example.tag

In the case of an error or timeout during a deploy, broadside will automatically rollback to the latest stable version. You can perform manual rollbacks as well through the command-line.

For more information on broadside commands, see the complete command-line reference in the wiki.


Via Gemfile

First, install broadside by adding it to your application Gemfile:

gem 'broadside'

Then run

bundle install

You can now run the executable in your app directory:

bundle exec broadside --help

You may also generate binstubs using

bundle binstubs broadside

System Wide

Alternatively, you can install broadside using:

gem install broadside


For full application setup, see the detailed instructions in the wiki.


Use the --debug switch to enable stacktraces and debug output.


Pull requests, bug reports, and feature suggestions are welcome!

Before starting on a contribution, we recommend opening an issue or replying to an existing one to give others some initial context on the work needing to be done.

Specs must pass on pull requests for them to be considered.

Running Specs

Broadside has a lot of tests for most of its behaviors - just run

bundle exec rspec

in the broadside directory. Don't open pull requests without passing specs.