Docker Sandboxes The Easy Way
Docker has become wildly successful for implementing all manner of fast-boot/fast-destroy emphemeral computing. Normally, you configure a container to do one important thing - run a web server, host a Jenkins instance ... - and the just fire-and-forget afterwards.
But you can also use docker to build general purpose sandboxes. To do this, you need to make it easy to log into a running container just like a "real" VM or server. This repo provides a fast track to doing just that - starting sandboxes you can log into.
Things You Can Learn From This
- How to build a docker image from a dockerfile
- How to tag docker images
- How to use ansible to create and destroy a docker network
- How to use ansible to create, restart, and destroy docker servers
- How host and
ssh keys are managed on a docker instance
- How to enable
ssh access to a docker instance
- How to share files between docker containers or between the host and a container
But this is not a "toy" system. What you see here is a public subset of what we use all the time here at the TundraWare Intergalactic HQ. We use this for software development, testing new distributed computing ideas, and doing custom builds in a sanitized environment.
Prep Work: What You Need To Do First
The content of this repo assumes you have done several things:
- You've got docker already running on your machine
- You've made docker access available to your own login
- You've got ansible installed on your machine
/shared exists on your host machine with permissions
Quickstart For The Impatient
Here's the 10,000 foot view of what you'll have to do once the Prep Work above is done:
- Configuring sandbox hostname resolution
- Build a docker image from a dockerfile
- Use ansible to start a docker network and the sandboxes
- Login to your running sandboxes
Configuring Sandbox Hostname Resolution
Various parts of this repo assume that there are (up to) 10 running sandboxes whose names are
dockersand10. For this to work, you have to configure name resolution to properly associate these names with their equivant IP addresses.
Most likely, you don't have control of your DNS configuration. The easy way around this is to add the entries you find in
dockerfiles/common/etc/dockersand.hosts to your own
Building The docker Images
Getting a docker container running requires it to be built from an "image". Images are built from something called a "dockerfile". It is this file the specifies on which Linux distro your containers will be based. It also specifies any special configuration or software installation you want in your containers. By setting up the image with this stuff in it ahead of time, it will be present every time you start a new container.
There are two dockerfiles in this repo. To build the corresponding images, do this:
Start The docker Network And Sandboxes
The creation and destruction of the sandboxes is automated using ansible "playbooks".
In each case you are creating/destroying 10 separate sandboxes.
To build the sandboxes and their network:
ansible-playbook -i inventory/dockersand playbooks/dockersand/dockersand_build.yml
To destroy the sandboxes and their network:
ansible-playbook -i inventory/dockersand playbooks/dockersand/dockersand_destroy.yml
To rebuild the sandboxes and their network:
ansible-playbook -i inventory/dockersand playbooks/dockersand/dockersand_rebuild.yml
By default, both the build and rebuild create sandboxes based on the centos7 image. But you can override this on the command line to specify a different image. Just add this to the end of the playbook command line:
These sandboxes are setup so you can login from your host machine into the running sandboxes using
ssh keys. You will find the keys under
dockerfiles/common/.ssh/. There is also an
ssh configuration stanza you should add to your own
~/.ssh/config to get your client to use the proper key.
However, it is also possible to login using name (
test) and password (
In general, once you've properly set up your own
.ssh/config and installed keys, you'll do something like this:
Once you are logged in, you can promote yourself to
root using the
sudo command without any further password required.
The sandboxes are created to share the
/shared directory with the host machine. Any file you put there is visible from any of the sandboxes and/or the host machine. This makes it easy to share or move data between the host and any of the sandboxes or between the sandboxes themselves.
Not only is this tooling useful for building and using sandboxes, it's a good way to learn how docker and ansible work. There are comments throughout to help explain what's going on and why.
Here are a few ideas of how to expand on what you see here:
Try creating your own, new dockerfile for a different distro like, say, debian or arch.
Find where the docker network subnet is specified and change it to something else. Don't forget to update
While in one sandbox, ssh into another. Notice that this just works. That's because the images are built with the proper ssh keys in place everywhere - user and host. Thus, every container has them. Notice that the name-to-IP association does not exist in the container's own
/etc/hosts. Do some research to figure out why it isn't needed.
The dockerfiles currently load a lot of software by default. Try factoring this out into separate ansible playbooks to load the software after the sandboxes are up and running. You'll have to parameterize it to account for the different software installation models and package names in the different distros.
You'll notice that there is no
dockersand0. You can reasonably guess that if such an endpoint existed, its IP would be one digit lower than the IP for
dockersand1. Try logging into that IP and see what is there. You'll be surprised ..