Running Docker on AWS from the ground up


Docker is an awesome tool. In a previous post, I showed how you can use it to package your code so that it runs exactly the same way in development and in production. But how, exactly, do you run Docker in production? Most of the articles I found online assume you’re already an expert in both Docker deployment and cloud providers. They don’t take the time to explain their ideas from first principles and instead dive straight into jargon like clusters, auto scaling groups, scheduling, nodes, orchestration, PaaS, IaaS, and so on.

Docker on AWS

In this post, I’m going to introduce Docker deployment from the ground up, using Amazon Web Services (AWS) for hosting. I picked AWS because it’s incredibly popular, offers a free tier you can use to try this tutorial at no cost, and provides first-class Docker support via the EC2 Container Service (ECS). It took me longer than I want to admit to get Docker working on AWS, in no small part because the AWS docs use a lot of jargon (although Amazon Web Services in Plain English does help), so my goal is to make this tutorial accessible to both AWS deployment newbies and Docker deployment newbies (note: if you’re a Docker development newbie, you should first read A productive development environment with Docker on OS X). Once you’re done with this post, check out Infrastructure as code: running microservices on AWS using Docker, Terraform, and ECS for a discussion of how to automate this deployment process.

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