Docker is very versatile, and can fulfill many (many) different
use-cases. You've probably heard of it to put applications in production.
Even though I wrote quite a few Dockerfiles to package and ship Web apps,
what has convinced me most is running database backends during development :)
For example, when you work with relational databases, and develop features in different
branches, it can be very painful to reset your divergent schemas each time you switch branch.
(like with Django South, or 1.7).
Likewise, if you want to replay data imports, migrations, on different database schemas,
or with various PostgreSQL versions etc.
In this article, I will show how to use the commit feature of Docker to
solve these issues.
Run PostgreSQL in Docker
First, you should choose an image in the Docker index.
Once you've chosen the one that fits your needs, pull an image is as easy as:
sudo docker pull helmi03/docker-postgis
Then you can run it as a deamon, on localhost:5432:
sudo docker run -d -p 5432:5432 helmi03/docker-postgis
Congratulations, you have a PostGIS container running. Log-in as superuser with docker/docker.
You can see its identifier with sudo docker ps, and stop it using sudo docker stop <ID>.
The killer feature of Docker is its incremental filesystem, which allows to
tag and commit the states of containers.
For example, once you've created an empty database in your container, you will
save its state :
sudo docker commit <ID> postgis-empty
Then, for example, you will initialize your database tables for one of your applications,
create users, etc. You commit !
sudo docker commit <ID> geotrek-0.28-empty
Loaded data into the database ? Commit !
sudo docker commit <ID> geotrek-0.28-demo
Now, that you've performed a series of commits, you can stop and re-run the container
at a previous state! Docker is the git of virtual machines!
See the list of your tags with sudo docker images:
$ sudo docker images
REPOSITORY TAG IMAGE ID CREATED VIRTUAL SIZE
geotrek-0.28-demo latest 48f51d78273a 2 weeks ago 1.236 GB
geotrek-0.28-empty latest 3985183cd01a 4 weeks ago 1.208 GB
postgis-empty latest 24ec864dc058 4 months ago 844.4 MB
helmi03/docker-postgis latest f62d8f0fb8af 9 months ago 746.2 MB
Checkout a previous state is very simple, it's like the first time you started
the image from Docker index, except that you now specify the name of your tag!
First, stop the current instance:
$ sudo docker ps
CONTAINER ID IMAGE COMMAND CREATED STATUS PORTS
7e1e44ce36d8 geotrek-0.28-demo:latest "/start.sh" 6 hours ago Up 6 hours 0.0.0.0:5432->5432/tcp
$ sudo docker stop 7e1e44ce36d8
Re-run at a previous state:
$ sudo docker run -d -p 5432:5432 postgis-empty
You will quickly figure out that you can:
- Run different versions of your containers (or PostgreSQL servers) on different ports
- Restore the state of your database for your master branch at one fell swoop!
- Replay migrations scripts
- Run your application on customer database with no configuration change
- Have the same approach with CouchDB, Redis, ElasticSearch, ...
To be honest, it's like git, it changed my way of working and I can't go
without it anymore...
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