Demo of PWS/PCF scheduling Docker tasks, and new CF CLI variables
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Demo of scheduling jobs with Docker on Pivotal Web Services and Pivotal Cloud Foundry

This is a follow on from an article we wrote about using PCF/PWS to schedule jobs. In this project we schedule a job to fetch the daily Dilbert cartoon and store it in an AWS S3 bucket for safe keeping. It will be a lot easier to do this with a Docker image than a Cloud Foundry buildpack.

We'll use the following tools:

  • curl to fetch the latest HTML and the daily image
  • pup to parse the HTML and discover the daily image URL
  • aws-cli to upload the image to our s3 bucket

See the Dockerfile for their installation into an Alpine base image.

Build & test Docker image

docker build -t starkandwayne/pcf-docker-scheduler-demo .
docker run -e S3_BUCKET=pcf-docker-scheduler-demo \

In order for PWS/PCF to be able to use the Docker image we need to push the local image to a Docker registry (for example, free Docker Hub or on-premise, open-source Harbor):

docker push starkandwayne/pcf-docker-scheduler-demo

Deploy and schedule daily job

The steps for deploying and scheduling a task using PWS/PCF Scheduler service are the same as our previous article.

The differences are in the cf push command or manifest.yml attributes. See the CF docs on Deploy an App with Docker.

We are not running a long-running Docker container, so we do not need to listen to ports, but we do need to check that cf push staging works. Specifically, that our Cloud Foundry can access our Docker Registry to fetch the image, and that we're passing all the environment variables.

Our script requires three environment variables: S3_BUCKET, AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID, and AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY.

Let's trying cf push without providing them:

cf push -f manifest-no-env-vars.yml

This will fail with the error and suggestion:

Start unsuccessful

TIP: use 'cf logs pcf-docker-scheduler-demo --recent' for more information

Looking at the logs we see errors from our missing env vars:

   2018-06-01T09:32:27.59+1000 [APP/PROC/WEB/0] ERR / line 6: S3_BUCKET: required
   2018-06-01T09:32:27.62+1000 [APP/PROC/WEB/0] OUT Exit status 1

This project provides a working manifest.yml that specifies the three required environment variables, but you must provide them yourself via cf push:

- name: pcf-docker-scheduler-demo
    image: starkandwayne/pcf-docker-scheduler-demo
    S3_BUCKET: ((S3_BUCKET))

If we cf push this manifest we get fast errors for missing variables (added to cf v6.37.0):

$ cf --version
cf version 6.37.0+a40009753.2018-05-25
$ cf push
Pushing from manifest to org starkandwayne / space bom-charts as
Using manifest file /Users/drnic/Projects/starkandwayne/demos/pcf-docker-scheduler-demo/manifest.yml

Either use --var to pass in each variable (e.g. cf push --var S3_BUCKET=pcf-docker-scheduler-demo ...) or put the variables in a local file and pass in with --vars-file flag:

cf push --var S3_BUCKET=pcf-docker-scheduler-demo \
    --var AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID=... \

This time, cf push will "work" but it still looks like its failing (because we're running a short script not a long-running command):

$ cf logs pcf-docker-scheduler-demo --recent
   2018-06-01T09:41:39.63+1000 [APP/PROC/WEB/0] OUT Testing AWS credentials to access s3://pcf-docker-scheduler-demo
   2018-06-01T09:41:40.29+1000 [APP/PROC/WEB/0] OUT                            PRE dilbert/
   2018-06-01T09:41:40.74+1000 [APP/PROC/WEB/0] OUT Found image for 2018-05-31
   2018-06-01T09:41:40.87+1000 [APP/PROC/WEB/0] OUT Uploading to s3://pcf-docker-scheduler-demo
   2018-06-01T09:41:41.53+1000 [APP/PROC/WEB/0] OUT Completed 130.9 KiB/130.9 KiB (1.3 MiB/s) with 1 file(s) remaining
   2018-06-01T09:41:41.53+1000 [APP/PROC/WEB/0] OUT upload: ./2018-05-31.png to s3://pcf-docker-scheduler-demo/dilbert/2018-05-31.png
   2018-06-01T09:41:41.58+1000 [APP/PROC/WEB/0] OUT Exit status 0

These logs look good. Our script exits with status 0. We can now stop our application container (its currently repeatedly fetching the latest comic and uploading to S3).

cf stop pcf-docker-scheduler-demo

And finally, we can setup PWS/PCF Scheduler to run our container once per day:

cf create-service scheduler-for-pcf standard pcf-docker-scheduler-demo
cf bind-service pcf-docker-scheduler-demo pcf-docker-scheduler-demo

cf create-job pcf-docker-scheduler-demo fetch-daily-dilbert "./"
cf schedule-job fetch-daily-dilbert "0 1 ? * *"

Give the job a test-run:

cf run-job fetch-daily-dilbert

This will schedule our container task to run at UTC 1am each day.

Confirm the initial job run is successful:

cf job-history fetch-daily-dilbert