Category Archives: Docker

Kubernetes Pods, ReplicaSets, And Services Compared To Docker Swarm Stacks

This article is part of the series that compares Kubernetes and Docker Swarm features.

Starting from this article, we’ll compare each Kubernetes feature with Docker Swarm equivalents. That way, Swarm users can have a smoother transition into Kubernetes or, depending on their goals, choose to stick with Swarm.

Please bear in mind that the comparisons will be made only for a specific set of features. You will not (yet) be able to conclude whether Kubernetes is better or worse than Docker Swarm. You’ll need to grasp both products in their entirety to make an educated decision. The comparisons like those that follow are useful only as a base for more detailed examinations of the two products.

For now, we’ll limit the comparison scope to Pods, ReplicaSets, and Services on the one hand, and Docker Service stacks, on the other.
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What Is A Container Scheduler?

Picture me as a young teenager. After school, we’d go a courtyard and play soccer. That was an exciting sight. A random number of us to be running around the yard without any orchestration. There was no offense and no defense. We’d just run after a ball. Everyone moves forward towards the ball, someone kicks it to the left, and we move in that direction, only to start running back because someone kicked the ball again. The strategy was simple. Run towards the ball, kick it if you can, wherever you can, repeat. To this day I do not understand how did anyone manage to score. It was a complete randomness applied to a bunch of kids. There was no strategy, no plan, and no understanding that winning required coordination. Even a goalkeeper would be in random locations on the field. If he’d catch the ball around the goal he’s guarding, he’d continue running with the ball in front of him. Most of the goals were scored by shooting at an empty goalpost. It was “every man for himself” type of ambition. Each one of us hoped to score and bring glory to his or her name. Fortunately, the main objective was to have fun so winning as a team did not matter that much. If we were a “real” team, we’d need a coach. We’d need someone to tell us what the strategy is, who should do what, and when to go into the offense or fall back to defend the goalpost. We’d need someone to orchestrate us. The field (a cluster) had a random number of people (services) with the common goal (to win). Since everyone could join the game at any time, the number of people (services) was continually changing. Someone would be injured and would have to be replaced or, when there was no replacement, the rest of us would have to take over his tasks (self-healing). Those football games can be easily translated into clusters. Just as we needed someone to tell us what to do (a coach), clusters need something to orchestrate all the services and resources. Both need not only to make up-front decisions, but also to continuously watch the game/cluster, and adapt the strategy/scheduling depending on the internal and external influences. We needed a coach and clusters need a scheduler. They need a framework that will decide where a service should be deployed and make sure that it maintains the desired run-time specification.
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Blueprint Of A Self-Sufficient Docker Cluster

The article that follows is an extract from the last chapter of The DevOps 2.2 Toolkit: Self-Sufficient Docker Clusters book. It provides a good summary into the processes and tools we explored in the quest to build a self-sufficient cluster that can (mostly) operate without humans.

We split the tasks that a self-sufficient system should perform into those related to services and those oriented towards infrastructure. Even though some of the tools are used in both groups, the division between the two allowed us to keep a clean separation between infrastructure and services running on top of it.
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Building A Self-Sufficient Docker Cluster

A self-sufficient system is a system capable of healing and adaptation. Healing means that the cluster will always be in the designed state. As an example, if a replica of a service goes down, the system needs to bring it back up again. Adaptation, on the other hand, is about modifications of the desired state so that the system can deal with changed conditions. A simple example would be increased traffic. When it happens, services need to be scaled up. When healing and adaptation are automated, we get self-healing and self-adaptation. Together, they both a self-sufficient system that can operate without human intervention.

How does a self-sufficient system look? What are its principal parts? Who are the actors?
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The DevOps Toolkit Series Continues: 2.2 Is Born

The third installment in The DevOps Toolkit Series is public! Even though, while I’m writing this post, only 20% of The DevOps 2.2 Toolkit: Self-Healing Clusters is finished, I hope you’ll pick it up and send me your feedback. I need your help in setting the direction of the book. I need you to help me shape it into something great. I need you to help me make this book a community effort.

Please get it from leanpub.com/the-devops-2-2-toolkit. I’m waiting for your feedback.

What follows is the preface to The DevOps 2.2 Toolkit: Self-Healing Clusters book.
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Automating Jenkins Docker Setup

Jenkins is, by far, the most used CI/CD tool in the market. That comes as no surprise since it’s been around for a while, it has one of the biggest open source communities, it has enterprise version for those who need it, and it is straightforward to extend it to suit (almost) anyone’s needs.

Products that dominate the market for years tend to be stable and very feature rich. Jenkins is no exception. However, with age come some downsides as well. In the case of Jenkins, automation setup is one of the things that has a lot to be desired. If you need Jenkins to serve as an orchestrator of your automation and tasks, you’ll find it to be effortless to use. But, if you need to automate Jenkins itself, you’ll realize that it is not as smooth as you’d expect from modern tools. Never the less, Jenkins setup can be automated, and we’ll go through one possible solution.
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Managing Secrets In Docker Swarm Clusters

Docker 1.13 introduced a set of features that allow us to centrally manage secrets and pass them only to services that need them. They provide a much-needed mechanism to provide information that should be hidden from anyone except designated services.

A secret (at least from Docker’s point of view) is a blog of data. A typical use case would be a certificate, SSH private keys, passwords, and so on. Secrets should stay secret meaning that they should not be stored unencrypted or transmitted over a network.
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Blue-Green Deployments With Docker Services Running Inside a Swarm Cluster

I am continuously getting questions about blue-green releases inside a Docker Swarm cluster. Viktor, in your The DevOps 2.0 Toolkit book you told us to use blue-green deployment. How do we do it with services running inside a Swarm cluster? My answer is usually something along the following lines. With the old Swarm, blue-green releases were easier than rolling updates (neither were supported out of the box). Now we got rolling updates. Use them! The reaction to that is often that we still want blue-green releases.

This post is my brainstorming on this subject. I did not write it as a result of some deep thinking. There is no great wisdom in it. I just wrote what was passing through my mind while I was trying to answer another one of the emails containing blue-green deployment questions. What follows might not make much sense. Don’t be harsh on me.
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Using Docker Stack And Compose YAML Files To Deploy Swarm Services

Bells are ringing! Docker v1.13 is out!

The most common question I receive during my Docker-related talks and workshops is usually related to Swarm and Compose.

Someone: How can I use Docker Compose with Docker Swarm?

Me: You can’t! You can convert your Compose files into a Bundle that does not support all Swarm features. If you want to use Swarm to its fullest, be prepared for docker service create commands that contain a never ending list of arguments.
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