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Docker & Rapture Revisited, Etienne

Published:
January 13, 2015
Author:

In an earlier post (Rapture and Docker ) I talked about how we quickly put together some Docker http://www.docker.com images for running Rapture, and the means by which we linked various containers together to form a standalone Rapture environment. In this post I’ll talk about the next steps in this journey – where we’ve created a tool to manage our Docker deployments so that it is trivially easy to start and stop Rapture environments for demo purposes. We’ll be using this tool “behind the scenes” for clients and prospective clients so that they can quickly get an isolated environment together to play with.

The tool/application we created has been internally branded “Etienne”. It’s written in go-lang (http://golang.org and presents a web page for an operator to interact with. It also has an API that is driven by an internal administration Rapture environment we use for managing and supporting clients.

On start up with nothing actively running, the web page looks something like this:

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 11.11.09 AM

As part of the configuration of the instance we’ve passed it three main things – information about the Docker environments that are available to the app (along with security credentials to connect to them), information about topologies that can be deployed (collections of images and how to bind them together) and finally Etienne also acts as a pass through between the outside world and Rapture so the domain name that Etienne is bound to is provided. In this way if we start an environment called “alan” the domain name “alan.test.incapture.net” might be bound to the Rapture environment started. (Note that we don’t use test.incapture.net for this purpose so clicking around there won’t do anything!).

When we start a topology, Etienne picks an appropriate set of Docker environments (based on load and with a preference for services to be started on the same environment), starts the images (creating docker containers) and then binds them all together. After starting an environment — I called this “alan” — the Etienne screen looks something like this:

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 11.24.27 AM

In this environment I have four different images in play. The first two provide the underlying fabric for this environment – MongoDB and RabbitMQ in this example. The third is a Rapture environment itself. The final one is a special container that has a prepackaged Rapture feature within. On startup this container connects to Rapture and installs the feature on to it – it’s a nice component based way of taking a base environment and enhancing it with functionality.

Once started the Etienne UI has a number of features that are simply passed down to the underlying Docker environment. For example, you can view the logs of a given Docker container:

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 11.26.50 AM

And the link on the screen also allows someone internal to our network to log into Rapture. (External users will go through the external domain name which will get proxied through Etienne). Clicking on that URL will present a log in screen, and once logged in the UI is based on whatever was in the base platform and any additional features.

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 11.30.18 AM

With Etienne we have a very useful tool for building and deploying Rapture environments. The power really comes from a combination of Docker (the containerization) and the modular approach of Rapture which allows us to compose an environment from a number of parts – underlying “fabric” of a database and messaging, a base core code base and a suite of features that enhances that environment. With these together we will be able to present a wide variety of custom demonstrations of Rapture for many different audiences.

That comes next! Watch this space… If you would like a demonstration of Rapture before we have this automated please don’t hesitate to contact me at

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