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IMPORTANT: VMware has ended active development of this project, this repository will no longer be updated.


NOTE: This is the knative branch of Dispatch. Full Dispatch functionality is still a ways off. The code here represents a work in progress. For information about Dispatch Solo, the version of Dispatch distributed as an OVA, see the solo branch or documentation.

Dispatch is a framework for deploying and managing serverless style applications. The intent is a framework which enables developers to build applications which are defined by functions which handle business logic and services which provide all other functionality:

  • State (Databases)
  • Messaging/Eventing (Queues)
  • Ingress (Api-Gateways)
  • Etc.

Our goal is to provide a substrate which can be built upon and extended to serve as a framework for serverless applications. Additionally, the framework must provide tools and features which aid the developer in building, debugging and maintaining their serverless application.


Checkout the detailed documentation including a quickstart guide.


NOTE: The information in this section is specific to the knative branch of Dispatch. Equivalent documentation for Dispatch Solo can be found on the solo branch.

The diagram below illustrates the different components which make up the Dispatch project:

initial dispatch architecture diagram


NOTE: The information in this section is specific to the knative branch of Dispatch. Equivalent documentation for Dispatch Solo can be found on the solo branch.



  1. Create service account key

    export GCLOUD_KEY=<path to key.json>
  2. Create GKE cluster:

    export CLUSTER_NAME=dispatch-knative
    gcloud container clusters create -m n1-standard-4 --cluster-version ${K8S_VERSION} ${CLUSTER_NAME}
    gcloud container clusters get-credentials ${CLUSTER_NAME}
  3. Install Knative:

    # Get the current knative verision used with dispatch
    KNATIVE_VERSION=$(cat Gopkg.toml | grep -A 2 'name = ""' | grep revision | cut -d '"' -f2)
    ./scripts/ ${CLUSTER_NAME} --gcloud-key=${GCLOUD_KEY} --revision=${KNATIVE_VERSION}

VMware Cloud PKS

  1. Create a Cloud PKS cluster with privileged mode enabled.

    export VKE_CLUSTER=dispatch-knative
    vke cluster create --privilegedMode  --name $VKE_CLUSTER  --cluster-type PRODUCTION --region us-west-2
  2. Get kubectl credentials:

    vke cluster auth setup $VKE_CLUSTER
  3. Install Knative:

    1. Install Istio:
      kubectl apply -f third-party/vmware-cloud-pks/istio-1.0.2/istio.yaml
    2. Wait for Istio pods to become READY (will take a little while to scale up smart cluster):
      kubectl get pods -n istio-system
      NAME                                        READY     STATUS      RESTARTS   AGE
      istio-citadel-746c765786-2cm5p              1/1       Running     0          6m
      istio-cleanup-secrets-vbqk7                 0/1       Completed   0          6m
      istio-egressgateway-57df84cfcf-hpkx4        1/1       Running     0          6m
      istio-galley-5b4f774c-9gcqm                 1/1       Running     0          6m
      istio-ingressgateway-76dbd65c-7qf2w         1/1       Running     0          6m
      istio-pilot-7ddfbdf465-cj5jl                2/2       Running     0          6m
      istio-policy-56789fbb8c-flxkz               2/2       Running     0          6m
      istio-statsd-prom-bridge-7c77ddc9b9-s2zwl   1/1       Running     0          6m
    3. Install Knative serving (includes build):
      kubectl apply -f third-party/vmware-cloud-pks/serving-0.2.2/release.yaml


In order to install Knative, follow the development instructions


Installing Dispatch depends on having a Kubernetes cluster with the Knative components installed (Build, Serving and soon Eventing). From here build and install dispatch as follows:

  1. Set the following environment variables:

    export DISPATCH_NAMESPACE="default"
    export DISPATCH_DEBUG="true"
    export RELEASE_NAME="dispatch"
    export MINIO_USERNAME="dispatch"
    export MINIO_PASSWORD="dispatch"
    export INGRESS_IP=$(kubectl get service -n istio-system knative-ingressgateway -o wide | tail -n1 | awk '{print $4}')
  2. Build and publish a dispatch image (Substitute in your docker repository):

    Note: if you just want to use a pre-created image use the script to create your values.yaml and continue to step 4.

    TAG="v0.1.22-knative" ./scripts/
    DISPATCH_SERVER_DOCKER_REPOSITORY=<docker repository username> PUSH_IMAGES=1 make images
  3. The previous command will output a configuration file values.yaml:

      host: username
      tag: v0.1.xx
      url: http://dispatch-docker-registry:5000/
      repository: dispatch-docker-registry:5000
        address: dispatch-minio:9000
        username: ********
        password: ********
  4. Deploy via helm chart (if helm is not installed and initialized, do that first):

    helm init --wait
    # helm won't overwrite the existing config-maps (at least not the first/install time), so explicitly delete them.
    kubectl delete configmap -n knative-serving config-domain config-network
    helm dependency build ./charts/dispatch/
    helm upgrade -i --debug ${RELEASE_NAME} ./charts/dispatch --namespace ${DISPATCH_NAMESPACE} -f values.yaml

    NOTE: Use following to create cluster role binding for tiller:

    kubectl create clusterrolebinding tiller-cluster-admin --clusterrole=cluster-admin --serviceaccount=kube-system:default
  5. Reconfigure Knative serving (need to whitelist our internal repository):

  6. Build the CLI (substitute darwin for linux if needed):

    make cli-darwin
    # Create symlink to binary
    ln -s `pwd`/bin/dispatch-darwin /usr/local/bin/dispatch
  7. Create the Dispatch config:

    cat << EOF > config.json
      "current": "${RELEASE_NAME}",
      "contexts": {
        "${RELEASE_NAME}": {
          "host": "$(kubectl -n ${DISPATCH_NAMESPACE} get service ${RELEASE_NAME}-nginx-ingress-controller -o wide | tail -n1 | awk '{print $4}')",
          "port": 443,
          "scheme": "https",
          "insecure": true
    # point to the config file (could also move to ~/.dispatch/config)
    export DISPATCH_CONFIG=`pwd`/config.json
  8. Test out your install: First, create an baseimage:

    dispatch create base-image python3-base dispatchframework/python3-base:0.0.13-knative
    Created baseimage: python3-base

    Then, create an image:

    dispatch create image python3 python3-base
    Created image: python3

    Wait for status READY:

    dispatch get images
     python3 | *********** | ********* | READY  | Tue Sep 25 16:51:35 PDT 2018

    Create a function:

    dispatch create function --image python3 hello ./examples/python3/
    Created function: hello

    Once status is READY:

    dispatch get function
      hello  | ************* | READY  | Thu Sep 13 12:41:07 PDT 2018

    Exec the function:

    dispatch exec hello <<< '{"name": "user"}' | jq .
      "context": {
        "logs": {
          "stdout": [
            "messages to stdout show up in logs"
          "stderr": null
      "payload": {
        "myField": "Hello, user from Nowhere"

    Create an endpoint:

    dispatch create endpoint get-hello hello --method GET --method POST --path /hello

    Hit the endpoint with curl:

    curl -v http://${INGRESS_IP}/hello?name=Jon -H 'Host: default.${DISPATCH_NAMESPACE}.dispatch.local'

For a more complete quickstart see the developer documentation