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Using Compose with Swarm

Docker Compose and Docker Swarm aim to have full integration, meaning you can point a Compose app at a Swarm cluster and have it all just work as if you were using a single Docker host.

The actual extent of integration depends on which version of the Compose file format you are using:

  1. If you’re using version 1 along with links, your app will work, but Swarm will schedule all containers on one host, because links between containers do not work across hosts with the old networking system.

  2. If you’re using version 2, your app should work with no changes:

    • subject to the limitations described below,

    • as long as the Swarm cluster is configured to use the overlay driver, or a custom driver which supports multi-host networking.

Read Get started with multi-host networking to see how to set up a Swarm cluster with Docker Machine and the overlay driver. Once you’ve got it running, deploying your app to it should be as simple as:

$ eval "$(docker-machine env --swarm <name of swarm master machine>)"
$ docker-compose up

Limitations

Building images

Swarm can build an image from a Dockerfile just like a single-host Docker instance can, but the resulting image will only live on a single node and won’t be distributed to other nodes.

If you want to use Compose to scale the service in question to multiple nodes, you’ll have to build it yourself, push it to a registry (e.g. the Docker Hub) and reference it from docker-compose.yml:

$ docker build -t myusername/web .
$ docker push myusername/web

$ cat docker-compose.yml
web:
  image: myusername/web

$ docker-compose up -d
$ docker-compose scale web=3

Multiple dependencies

If a service has multiple dependencies of the type which force co-scheduling (see Automatic scheduling below), it’s possible that Swarm will schedule the dependencies on different nodes, making the dependent service impossible to schedule. For example, here foo needs to be co-scheduled with bar and baz:

version: "2"
services:
  foo:
    image: foo
    volumes_from: ["bar"]
    network_mode: "service:baz"
  bar:
    image: bar
  baz:
    image: baz

The problem is that Swarm might first schedule bar and baz on different nodes (since they’re not dependent on one another), making it impossible to pick an appropriate node for foo.

To work around this, use manual scheduling to ensure that all three services end up on the same node:

version: "2"
services:
  foo:
    image: foo
    volumes_from: ["bar"]
    network_mode: "service:baz"
    environment:
      - "constraint:node==node-1"
  bar:
    image: bar
    environment:
      - "constraint:node==node-1"
  baz:
    image: baz
    environment:
      - "constraint:node==node-1"

Host ports and recreating containers

If a service maps a port from the host, e.g. 80:8000, then you may get an error like this when running docker-compose up on it after the first time:

docker: Error response from daemon: unable to find a node that satisfies
container==6ab2dfe36615ae786ef3fc35d641a260e3ea9663d6e69c5b70ce0ca6cb373c02.

The usual cause of this error is that the container has a volume (defined either in its image or in the Compose file) without an explicit mapping, and so in order to preserve its data, Compose has directed Swarm to schedule the new container on the same node as the old container. This results in a port clash.

There are two viable workarounds for this problem:

  • Specify a named volume, and use a volume driver which is capable of mounting the volume into the container regardless of what node it’s scheduled on.

    Compose does not give Swarm any specific scheduling instructions if a service uses only named volumes.

    version: "2"
    
    services:
      web:
        build: .
        ports:
          - "80:8000"
        volumes:
          - web-logs:/var/log/web
    
    volumes:
      web-logs:
        driver: custom-volume-driver
    
  • Remove the old container before creating the new one. You will lose any data in the volume.

    $ docker-compose stop web
    $ docker-compose rm -f web
    $ docker-compose up web
    

Scheduling containers

Automatic scheduling

Some configuration options will result in containers being automatically scheduled on the same Swarm node to ensure that they work correctly. These are:

  • network_mode: "service:..." and network_mode: "container:..." (and net: "container:..." in the version 1 file format).

  • volumes_from

  • links

Manual scheduling

Swarm offers a rich set of scheduling and affinity hints, enabling you to control where containers are located. They are specified via container environment variables, so you can use Compose’s environment option to set them.

# Schedule containers on a specific node
environment:
  - "constraint:node==node-1"

# Schedule containers on a node that has the 'storage' label set to 'ssd'
environment:
  - "constraint:storage==ssd"

# Schedule containers where the 'redis' image is already pulled
environment:
  - "affinity:image==redis"

For the full set of available filters and expressions, see the Swarm documentation.

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Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0.
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https://docs.docker.com/v1.11/compose/swarm/