The tiniest PaaS you've ever seen (for the Raspberry Pi, too!)
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Latest commit 1000dfe Sep 20, 2018


The tiniest Heroku/CloudFoundry-like PaaS you've ever seen, inspired by dokku.


I kept finding myself wanting an Heroku/CloudFoundry-like way to deploy stuff on a few remote ARM boards and my Raspberry Pi cluster, but since dokku still doesn't work on ARM and even docker can be overkill sometimes, I decided to roll my own.

Project Status/To Do:

This is currently being used for production deployments of and a few other projects of mine. Regardless, there is still room for improvement:

From the bottom up:

  • Prebuilt Raspbian image with everything baked in
  • chroot/namespace isolation (tentative)
  • Relay commands to other nodes
  • Proxy deployments to other nodes (build on one box, deploy to many)
  • Support Clojure/Java deployments through boot or lein
  • Support Node deployments
  • Sample Go app
  • Support Go deployments (in progress)
  • nginx SSL optimization/cypher suites, own certificates
  • Let's Encrypt support
  • Review deployment messages
  • Review docs/CLI command documentation
  • Change to Python 3 runtime as default, with PYTHON_VERSION = 2 as fallback
  • Run in Python 3 only
  • (experimental) REPL in feature/repl
  • Python 3 support through PYTHON_VERSION = 3
  • static URL mapping to arbitrary paths (hat tip to @carlosefr for nginx tuning)
  • remote CLI (requires ssh -t)
  • saner uWSGI logging
  • gevent activated when UWSGI_GEVENT = <integer>
  • enable CloudFlare ACL when NGINX_CLOUDFLARE_ACL = True
  • Autodetect SPDY/HTTPv2 support and activate it
  • Basic nginx SSL config with self-signed certificates and UNIX domain socket connection
  • nginx support - creates an nginx config file if NGINX_SERVER_NAME is defined
  • Testing with pre-packaged uWSGI versions on Debian Jessie (yes, it was painful)
  • Support barebones binary deployments
  • Complete installation instructions (see, which also has a draft of Go installation steps)
  • Installation helper/SSH key setup
  • Worker scaling
  • Remote CLI commands for changing/viewing applied/live settings
  • Remote tailing of all logfiles for a single application
  • HTTP port selection (and per-app environment variables)
  • Sample Python app
  • Procfile support (wsgi and worker processes for now, web processes being tested)
  • Basic CLI commands to manage apps
  • virtualenv isolation
  • Support Python deployments
  • Repo creation upon first push
  • Basic understanding of how dokku works

Using piku

piku supports a Heroku-like workflow, like so:

  • Create a git SSH remote pointing to piku with the app name as repo name (git remote add paas piku@server:app1)
  • git push paas master your code
  • piku determines the runtime and installs the dependencies for your app (building whatever's required)
    • For Python, it segregates each app's dependencies into a virtualenv
    • For Go, it defines a separate GOPATH for each app
  • It then looks at a Procfile and starts the relevant workers using uWSGI as a generic process manager
  • You can then remotely change application settings (config:set) or scale up/down worker processes (ps:scale) at will.


This is an illustrated example of how piku works for a Python deployment:

Supported Platforms

piku is intended to work in any POSIX-like environment where you have Python, uWSGI and SSH, i.e.: Linux, FreeBSD, Cygwin and the Windows Subsystem for Linux.

As a baseline, this is currently being developed on an original, 256MB Rasbperry Pi Model B.

Since I have an ODROID-U2, a bunch of Pi 2s and a few more ARM boards on the way, it will be tested on a number of places where running x64 binaries is unfeasible.

But there are already a few folk using piku on vanilla x64 Linux without any issues whatsoever, so yes, you can use it as a micro-PaaS for 'real' stuff. Your mileage may vary.

Supported Runtimes

piku will support deploying apps written in Python, Go, Clojure (Java) and Node (see above).


Q: Why piku?

A: Partly because it's supposed to run on a Pi, because it's Japanese onomatopeia for 'twitch' or 'jolt', and because I know the name will annoy some of my friends.

Q: Why Python/why not Go?

A: I actually thought about doing this in Go right off the bat, but click is so cool and I needed to have uWSGI running anyway, so I caved in. But I'm very likely to take something like suture and port this across, doing away with uWSGI altogether.

Q: Does it run under Python 3?

A: It should. click goes a long way towards abstracting the simpler stuff, and I tried to avoid most obvious incompatibilities (other than a few differences in and the like). However, this targets Python 2.7 first, since that's the default on Raspbian. Pull requests are welcome.

Q: Why not just use dokku?

A: I use dokku daily, and for most of my personal stuff. But the dokku stack relies on a number of x64 containers that need to be completely rebuilt for ARM, and when I decided I needed something like this (March 2016) that was barely possible - docker itself is not fully baked for ARM yet, and people are still trying to get herokuish and buildstep to build on ARM.