Managing hosts with Docker Machine


Note : Scaleway driver for Docker Machine

  • Docker Machine is a tool to provision and manage Docker hosts.

  • It automates the creation of a virtual machine:

    • locally, with a tool like VirtualBox or VMware;

    • on a public cloud like AWS EC2, Azure, Digital Ocean, GCP, etc.;

    • on a private cloud like OpenStack.

  • It can also configure existing machines through an SSH connection.

  • It can manage as many hosts as you want, with as many "drivers" as you want.

Docker Machine workflow

1) Prepare the environment: setup VirtualBox, obtain cloud credentials ...

2) Create hosts with docker-machine create -d drivername machinename.

3) Use a specific machine with eval $(docker-machine env machinename).

4) Profit!

Environment variables

  • Most of the tools (CLI, libraries...) connecting to the Docker API can use environment variables.

  • These variables are:

    • DOCKER_HOST (indicates address+port to connect to, or path of UNIX socket)

    • DOCKER_TLS_VERIFY (indicates that TLS mutual auth should be used)

    • DOCKER_CERT_PATH (path to the keypair and certificate to use for auth)

  • docker-machine env ... will generate the variables needed to connect to a host.

  • $(eval docker-machine env ...) sets these variables in the current shell.

Host management features

With docker-machine, we can:

  • upgrade a host to the latest version of the Docker Engine,

  • start/stop/restart hosts,

  • get a shell on a remote machine (with SSH),

  • copy files to/from remotes machines (with SCP),

  • mount a remote host's directory on the local machine (with SSHFS),

  • ...

The generic driver

When provisioning a new host, docker-machine executes these steps:

1) Create the host using a cloud or hypervisor API.

2) Connect to the host over SSH.

3) Install and configure Docker on the host.

With the generic driver, we provide the IP address of an existing host (instead of e.g. cloud credentials) and we omit the first step.

This allows to provision physical machines, or VMs provided by a 3rd party, or use a cloud for which we don't have a provisioning API.