Why Native Docker Orchestration is the Best Orchestration


Why is this going to be an interesting talk and why should you care? asks Mike Goelzer of Docker in his LinuxCon North America presentation. The answer is that simple, robust, integrated container orchestration is key to successful containers management, and Goelzer believes that the native Docker orchestration, called Swarm, is the best orchestration. Goelzer gives a high-level overview of Swarm, and his colleague Victor Vieux goes into detail on the internals.

Let’s back up a little bit and review what orchestration is. You’re probably familiar with container clusters. Docker calls these swarms, and they’re all the same thing. Container orchestration is a distributed platform that operates independently of your infrastructure, and that stays online through hardware and software failures. Container orchestration manages complex multi-container applications on multiple machines. Goelzer says, “There are a lot of orchestration systems out there today, and I think that each one reflects different angles on orchestration, differing views about what’s important and what’s not. The philosophy that we have approached Docker orchestration with is one in which we focused a lot on ease of use, and providing modern orchestration features that you really need to run a real production system.”

Orchestration should provide features like “Declarative desired state for applications, strongly consistent internal store, a raft store, load balancing, service discovery, security; basically we’ve provided these features but we’ve tried to expose them in a really simple way.”

Swarm Setup

Goelzer shows how easy it is to install and run Docker Swarm. “It’s a separate set of binaries that you install on top of Docker. You install Docker on your machines and then you install these additional binaries which come in the form of containers. It makes many Docker hosts appear like a single Docker host. It’s sort of a proxy system. One host fronts many hosts and the result is that you have that one host that appears to have very large amount of resources, large amount of CPUs, large amount of RAM.”

The current Swarm release has a lot of new features, including better scalability, a simplified command set, and health checks. It is 100% backwards-compatible with older Swarm releases. Goelzer leads us through a demonstration that shows how fast and easy it is to create a new swarm: “The first thing you do is “Docker swarm init”. Now you’ve got a swarm of one machine that is functioning as a cluster manager. To join additional machines to that swarm, you’re going to do “Docker swarm join”. “Docker swarm join” simply is a command that you run on a second Docker host, you point it back to the first using the IP address of the first machine, and now you’ve got a two-machine cluster. You can keep doing “Docker swarm join” on as many hosts as you want.”

Goelzer goes on to demonstrate how to set up Docker services on your new swarm; launching containers, connecting them, performing functions such as load-balancing, and automatic failover. Then Vieux presents more detailed insights into Swarm internals, so that by the end of this presentation (below) you’re well on your way to knowing how to run Swarm on your own systems.

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