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Zeebe + Operate in Docker

This repository contains configuration files to setup an environment to develop with Zeebe. It is the recommend way for developing and is maintained by the Zeebe team itself.

The configurations manage the following Zeebe components:

  • Zeebe is a workflow engine for micro-services orchestration.

  • Operate is an operations tool for monitoring and troubleshooting live workflow instances in Zeebe.

  • Simple Monitor is a community maintained monitoring tool for development purpose. This should not be used in production as it has a performance impact on the broker.

For more information on using Zeebe and Operate, consult the Quickstart Guide in the Zeebe docs.

The docker-compose.yml files in this repository can be used to start a single Zeebe broker; optionally with Simple Monitor, or with Operate, along with the Elasticsearch and Kibana containers that Operate needs.


  • Zeebe 0.18
  • Operate 1.0.0-alpha11
  • Simple Monitor 0.14.0-SNAPSHOT



Services / Ports

The containers expose the following services:



To visually inspect and manage running containers and persistent volumes, you can use Portainer.


Clone this repository to your local machine:

git clone

Start the Containers in the Foreground

Running the containers in the foreground will tail the output from each of the containers in your console, allowing you to inspect it.

Run the following command in the directory of the profile that you want to start:

# change to directory of the profile to start, i.e
# cd operate/
docker-compose up

Stop Containers Running in the Foreground

Closing the terminal (including terminating an ssh connection) or hitting Ctrl-C will stop the containers.

To remove the stopped containers, run the following the command in the directory of the profile that you started:

docker-compose down

Run the Containers in the Background (Daemon mode)

To start the containers in the background, use the -d flag:

docker-compose up -d

Stop Containers Running in the Background

Run the following command in this directory:

docker-compose down

This will stop the containers and remove them, but will keep the persistent data folders of the containers. Therefore if you recreate the containers they will startup with your existing data volumes.

In case you want to clean also the persistent data use the following command instead:

docker-compose down -v

Deploy BPMN Files

The zbctl binary is included to allow you to interact with the running broker. The binary is named:

Operating System zbctl binary
Linux bin/zbctl
OS X bin/zbctl.darwin
Windows bin/zbctl.exe
cd zeebe-docker-compose
bin/zbctl deploy ../path/to/your-file.bpmn

Removing Persistent Data

The Operate profiles create persistent volumes. Sometimes you want to flush the data from previous starts. To do this you need to delete the zeebe_data and zeebe_elasticsearch_data volumes. They are prefixed by the profile name. You can use Portainer to do this, or using the command line:

List Persistent Volumes

docker volume ls

Delete Persistent Volumes

Stop the running containers first using docker-compose down in the directory of the profile you started. Then:

# Example for the operate profile
docker volume rm operate_zeebe_data
docker volume rm operate_zeebe_elasticsearch_data

Running with Simple Monitor

One thing that Operate doesn't have is inspection of messages. This can be useful when developing and debugging.

The operate-simple-monitor folder contains a docker-compose file that will start Operate and Simple Monitor. Simple Monitor will be running on http://localhost:8082.

Issues Running on Windows

Windows can have issues mounting files into Linux containers, especially if you run these configurations from a location outside your home directory.

You may see messages when starting, containing error messages similar to this:

caused \\\"not a directory\\\"\"": unknown:
Are you trying to mount a directory onto a file (or vice-versa)?
Check if the specified host path exists and is the expected type'

See this post in the Zeebe forum for a solution.

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