Addictive Software

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Docker-ify Development part 1

Docker is a way to build your applications as microservices and ship and run them as such.

As a first step I thought to make all the databases (mysql and postgres) I use for development docker containers so I can easily start and stop them, create copies and snapshots for dev/test/prod environments

for the mac the easiest way to get started is by using boot2docker

once you followed the installation steps there you are good to go

start it up by executing boot2docker up in a command shell
once that is done and you've created the DOCKER_HOST environment variable you can start running containers

a container contains of an vm image which you can run, modify, save and upload again

All images are hosted on

As we are going to use mysql and postgres we need to download these images

docker pull mysql  
docker pull postgres  

now we can run them (if you didnt do the pull, it will do it when you try to run them)

docker run -e MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD=secret -d --expose 3306 --name mysql mysql  
docker run -d --expose 5432 --name postgres postgres  

this will startup the images, the -d runs them as a daemon, the --expose tells docker to expose the port to the host.

now these db's are available to be used in other docker containers.
for instance if you want to run phpmyadmin to admin your mysql you can run:

docker run -e MYSQL_USERNAME=root -e MYSQL_PASSWORD=secret -p 80 --link=mysql:mysql corbinu/docker-phpmyadmin  

here you specified that you want to link this container to your mysql one, and docker makes sure the 2 can talk to each other, also as I didn't specify a name docker will make one up for it (in this case jolly_thompson as you can see when running docker ps)

docker@boot2docker:~$ docker ps  
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE                              COMMAND                CREATED             STATUS              PORTS                   NAMES  
c31afa9e5cac        corbinu/docker-phpmyadmin:latest   "/bin/sh -c phpmyadm   26 seconds ago      Up 25 seconds>80/tcp   jolly_thompson  
bcd81ff32125        postgres:9                         "/docker-entrypoint.   2 hours ago         Up 2 hours          5432/tcp                postgres  
498c394f149d        mysql:5                            "/ mysq   2 hours ago         Up 2 hours          3306/tcp                jolly_thompson/mysql,mysql   

now if you would want to access the containers from other applications/tools there is a problem as the containers are running inside the boot2docker virtual machine

So any ports you want access to you need to forward.
There are several options for this.

First i tried adding port forwarding rules to the VM

VBoxManage modifyvm "boot2docker-vm" --natpf1 "postgres,tcp,,5432,5432"  

but these would require restarting the boot2docker host and sometimes it wouldn't and then i'd have to manually remove the rules and do a hard reset.

Then I realized boot2docker has an ssh command to open a shell into the host. I could use tunnelling as the ports are exposed to the host.

boot2docker ssh -L 3306:localhost:3306 -L 5432:localhost:5432  

and it works like a charm, for all the other applications it's like having native databases running

Shutting it all down is executing the following commands (run docker ps first to see what name the phpmyadmin has):

docker stop mysql  
docker stop postgres  
docker stop jolly_thompson  
docker rm mysql  
docker rm postgres  
docker rm jolly_thompson

boot2docker down  

I combined all the steps above into 2 bash scripts, making it very easy to start/stop my environment

Next steps would be to have my applications build as docker containers removing the need for the port forwarding tricks, but that is for a later post

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