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Version: 6

Deploying Container Images to Torizon OS

Introduction​

The Torizon platform uses containers to package applications that can, in turn, be deployed to the Torizon OS OS. In other words, when you want to deploy a container to Torizon OS, you are looking at a means to deploy your application or part of it to your Computer on Module.

You can deploy container images in a few ways, and the method depends on the phase of the development cycle:

Possibilities for Container Deployment

During development:

  • From the Torizon IDE extension 2: This is the preferred option during development because it will abstract away the deployment process. You need to hit Run or F5, and the extension automatically deploys the application and your containers with remote debugging enabled.
  • From the Command-line Interface (CLI): You can manually deploy images if you don't want to use the IDE extension or Torizon Cloud. There are a few different CLI methods with their advantages and disadvantages.

During production:

  • With the TorizonCore Builder: You can generate a custom Torizon OS image that includes your containers, among other customization. This is meant for flashing the board during production, using Toradex Easy Installer.
  • From Torizon Cloud: It is a good and convenient way to deploy application updates to a device or a fleet of devices. You will most likely start using it after flashing the board with Torizon OS.

See a summary of the processes described above in the following diagram:

Deploy Container To The Board Flowchart

Evaluation:

  • From the Portainer container manager (GUI): Due to being a container manager, you cannot build and deploy container images to a registry; therefore, you must choose the IDE Extension or the Docker command-line tool for that. With Portainer, you can only pull and run containers on the board.

Prerequisites​

During Development​

IDE Extension 2​

The Torizon IDE extension 2 makes your life easier by providing several automated tasks to assist the development of containerized applications for embedded. In the development phase, you can use the extension to debug applications running in SoM directly from your host computer. While preparing for production, you can use the extension to build "release" container images, push them to container registries, and integrate your application with the Torizon Cloud.

Command-line Interface (CLI)​

You have a few options when it comes to deployment from the command-line:

  • Online registry push and pull: Use the convenient docker push and docker pull commands to push and pull images, by default, to Docker Hub. It has the drawback that you always must communicate to the Docker Hub - or another online registry server - which is not ideal for development.
  • Local registry push and pull: The idea is the same as the previous one, except you keep a local registry and don't need a connection with the online registry. It's faster, and you keep things inside of your LAN. It is a nice approach to development.
  • Docker save and load: Use the commands docker save and docker load to pack/unpack the entire image in a compressed tar file. While you can do development on a LAN, it does deploy the whole image every time, instead of layers. On the other hand, you don't need to set up a local registry.

See them in more detail below in the following sub-sections.

info

username refers to your Docker Hub username, which is also your namespace inside the Docker Hub. my-container-image to the container image name you are building/pulling.

Online Registry Push and Pull​

The first option is to use the traditional docker push/pull method to push to Docker Hub. This method requires a Docker Hub account to push your container image. First, push the container image.

$ docker push <username>/<my-container-image>

Now your container image can be accessed on any other device such as your Computer on Module running Torizon OS.

# docker pull <username>/<my-container-image>

For other container registries, you can use the same commands, but you'll need to tag your image with the explicit registry:

<container-registry>/<username-or-namespace>/<my-container-image>

Please refer to the documentation of the container registry you plan to use, such as Amazon ECR or the Azure Container Registry.

Local Registry Push and Pull​

First, you must Set up a local registry. While it can get fancy, you need to run a single command on your development PC to get the basics running:

$ docker run -d -p 5000:5000 --restart=always --name registry registry:2

You must make sure that your image tags are pointing to your local registry. You can either build them already with the local registry tag or create an additional tag for an existing image:

  • Build with tag pointing to a local registry.

    $ docker build -t localhost:5000/<my-container-image> .
  • Create an additional tag for an existing image, pointing to the local registry. You can get the tag from the latest container image build.

    $ docker tag <my-container-image-tag> localhost:5000/<my-container-image>

Then on your local PC, you can use docker push, and docker pull commands as described in the previous section of this article, except you must prefix the image names with your local registry (often you want to push since you are cross-building for the target):

  • Push
    $ docker push localhost:5000/<my-container-image>
  • Pull
    $ docker pull localhost:5000/<my-container-image>

On the board, before being able to push and pull, you need to create a rule to allow an insecure registry. Remember that we only go through the basics, but you can set up a secure local Docker registry if you want or need to. On the board, create a file named /etc/docker/daemon.json and add your local registry's PC IP and port to the insecure registries:

/etc/docker/daemon.json
{
"insecure-registries" : ["<IP-of-your-PC>:5000"]
}

Reboot or restart the Docker daemon on the board:

  • Reboot the module.

    # sudo reboot
  • Restart the Docker daemon.

    # sudo systemctl restart docker

Push and pull to your local registry from your board (often you want to pull since you are cross-building on the PC, not on the board):

  • Pull

    $ docker push localhost:5000/<my-container-image>
  • Push

    # docker pull <IP-of-my-PC>:5000/<my-container-image>

Keep in mind, if you are having trouble, consult the Docker documentation:

Docker Save and Load​

The other option for deployment uses docker load/save. Save your docker image as a portable tar archive file:

$ docker save -o my-dockerfile.tar <username>/my-dockerfile

Copy this tar archive to your target device:

$ scp my-dockerfile.tar torizon@X.X.X.X:/home/torizon/

Load the tar archive, which will then put the container image on your target device:

# docker load -i my-dockerfile.tar

Run and Manage Containers from the Command-line​

When the container is available either in a Docker registry or on the board, you can follow the next steps by reading the article Run and Manage Containers with Portainer and the Command-line on Torizon. It describes in-depth how to run a container on the board.

Portainer​

Portainer does not provide features to build or deploy container images.

Portainer can only be used to run and manage containers. For this, the container image needs to be available online or locally. If you are building a container by yourself, you can use the previous sections' methods to achieve this.

During Production​

TorizonCore Builder - Toradex Easy Installer​

The TorizonCore Builder Tool is a command-line tool run on the host computer. Among several features, one of them is to add containers to a fresh (sometimes called vanilla) Torizon OS image.

  1. Make sure to deploy your image to a Docker registry using either docker pull, as described in the previous section Online Registry Push and Pull, or from the Docker extension for VS Code. The registry must be accessible from your computer.

  2. Write a Docker Compose file for your application, as described in the Using Multiple Containers with Torizon OS or have one generated for you if using the Torizon IDE Extension 2.

  3. Follow the instructions provided in the dedicated article Pre-provisioning Docker Containers onto a Torizon OS image to create a custom Easy Installer image of Torizon with your pre-provisioned Docker container images.

  4. Finally, use the Toradex Easy Installer Tool to install this custom Easy Installer image of Torizon into the internal flash memory of Toradex modules in an extremely simple way.

To learn more about deploying application containers in Torizon-based devices during production, please read our Production Programming & Provisioning article.

Torizon Cloud​

The Torizon Cloud server does not store container images. Instead, it uses Docker Compose files containing all the information required to run the board's containers.

  1. Push the container image to a docker registry:

  2. Write a Docker Compose file for your application, as described in the Using Multiple Containers with Torizon OS or have one generated for you if using the Torizon IDE Extension 2.

  3. Deploy the update to the board as described in our Quickstart Guide.

info

If you want to deploy simultaneously the OS and application with Torizon Cloud, you should use the synchronous update feature of our Torizon Cloud, instead of bundling containers to a Torizon OS image.

You can learn more about container application updates with Torizon in the Torizon Updates Overview article.

Private Registries and Torizon Cloud​

If you decide to use a private container registry to host your images, make sure to follow the article Using Private Registries With Torizon Cloud.



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