Pivotal Engineering Journal

Technical articles from Pivotal engineers.

Deploying a Docker Registry to Cloud Foundry

Pushing a Docker Registry to Cloud Foundry can be a powerful approach to distributing private Docker images to teams with minimal overhead.

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Categories:   Docker    Cloud Foundry   
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For one of our projects, there was a requirement to run a small private Docker Registry. As always, we were looking for a solution that is robust with minimal overhead. Looking at the source code for the Registry, you can quickly see that it’s a Go application. As it turns out, we have Cloud Foundry which is great at running applications. Looks like it’s a good match, so let’s get started!

Compiling for the Cloud

Cloud Foundry has a Binary Buildpack which is perfect for Go applications. As long as you have a compiled binary, you can cf push and have it running in seconds. The Docker Registry is open source under the docker/distribution Github repository.

$ cd $(echo $GOPATH)
$ git clone https://github.com/docker/distribution.git src/github.com/docker/distribution
Cloning into 'src/github.com/docker/distribution'...

The repository shows a Makefile with everything we need to build and compile the binaries for the application. All we need now is the right environment to compile binaries for the Binary Buildpack. Opening the docs reveals that it prefers binaries compiled for cflinuxfs2 or lucid64 root filesystems, and a Docker image is provided.

Creating the local Docker container is easy with the help of docker-machine.

$ docker-machine start dev
Starting "dev"...
Started machines may have new IP addresses. You may need to re-run the `docker-machine env` command.
$ eval $(docker-machine env dev)
$ docker run -itv /Users/dwayne.forde/workspace/src/go/src/:/app/src cloudfoundry/cflinuxfs2

Now that we’re in the container, we need to install a newer version of Go.

$ cd ~
$ wget https://storage.googleapis.com/golang/go1.8.3.linux-amd64.tar.gz
Saving to: 'go1.8.3.linux-amd64.tar.gz'
$ tar -zxf go1.8.3.linux-amd64.tar.gz
$ mv go /usr/local
$ export GOPATH=/app
$ export PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/go/bin:$GOPATH/bin

Then compile.

$ cd /app/src/github.com/docker/distribution/
$ make
+ fmt
+ vet
+ lint
+ build
+ test
+ /home/vcap/app/src/github.com/docker/distribution/bin/registry
+ /home/vcap/app/src/github.com/docker/distribution/bin/digest
+ /home/vcap/app/src/github.com/docker/distribution/bin/registry-api-descriptor-template
+ binaries

Once this finishes, you can check the bin directory for the new Registry binary, then leave the container.

$ ./bin/registry

  registry [flags]
  registry [command]

Available Commands:
  serve           `serve` stores and distributes Docker images
  garbage-collect `garbage-collect` deletes layers not referenced by any manifests
  help            Help about any command

  -h, --help=false: help for registry
  -v, --version=false: show the version and exit

Use "registry help [command]" for more information about a command.

$ exit

Configure for Success

The last step is to push the binary to Cloud Foundry. The Registry requires a configuration file to configure most things like the listening address:port. Since we don’t want make any port assumptions, we’ll need to have a way to inject the value at runtime.

We can take advantage of the environment variable provided to Cloud Foundry app containers. To do this, we can make a small configuration template, start script, and the Procfile required by the buildpack.

$ cd src/github.com/docker/distribution/bin
version: 0.1
        layerinfo: inmemory
        rootdirectory: /tmp
    addr: :PORT

set -e

sed "s/PORT/$PORT/" config.yml.template > config.yml

echo "Docker Registry port set to ${PORT}."

./registry serve config.yml
web: ./start.sh

Now we have everything needed to run the application on Cloud Foundry.

Test Run

Once you’ve logged into Cloud Foundry and are in the target organization and space.

$ cf push registry-test -b binary_buldpack
     state     since                    cpu    memory    disk      details
#0   running   2017-06-07 09:46:19 PM   0.0%   0 of 1G   0 of 1G

Let’s check the catalogue in the Registry, push a small image, and check again.

$ curl registry-test.cfapps.io/v2/_catalog
$ docker pull alpine
$ docker tag alpine registry-doom.cfapps.io/alpine
$ docker push registry-test.cfapps.io/alpine
$ curl registry-test.cfapps.io/v2/_catalog

That’s it! This means we can scale a Docker Registry as demands grow and also continue to cf push for as many teams that are in need within minutes. Further configuration can include things like authorization, storage (important since app container storage is ephemeral), etc so explore the configuration options in order to use this approach to its full potential.