My Home Lab 2020, part 3: Docker Swarm setup


Context reminder

Today, a new part of my homelab posts serie :). In the first post, I've explained my architecture choices for my 4 Raspberry Pi cluster. In the second, I've setup a GlusterFS replicated volumes on all my servers in order to have a shared folders between them (so you don't care where containers are created).

In this post, I'll talk about the initial docker swarm setup.


I have 4 Raspberry Pi, all having a /mnt/cluster-data GlusterFS volume mounted so that any files in there will be replicated on all Pis.

As a reminder, my 4 Raspberry Pi are named cell, ptitcell1, ptitcell2, ptitcell3. For GlusterFS, they all have the same roles, but not for our docker swarm cluster, so pay attention to the servers name :).

For the rest of the article, you should have an understanding of what docker, containers or a cluster are. You should also know your way a little navigating in a linux terminal. If not, go read some documentation first :).

Docker Swarm setup:


Docker Swarm1:

A swarm consists of multiple Docker hosts which run in swarm mode and act as managers (to manage membership and delegation) and workers (which run swarm services). A given Docker host can be a manager, a worker, or perform both roles.

Docker Swarm Node(s)1:

A node is an instance of the Docker engine participating in the swarm.

Docker Swarm Manager(s)1:

Dispatches units of work called tasks to worker nodes.

Docker Swarm Worker(s)1:

Receive and execute tasks dispatched from manager nodes.

My choices

I decided to setup a cluster with 1 manager node and 3 workers nodes. You can choose a different setup with multiple manager if you want but in this case adapt the following steps to your situation. I might later on change this, it isn't complex to add a new manager or workers later on if needed.


Ok, let's go then :)

First, install docker on all the pi2:

curl -sSL | sh;
sudo usermod -aG docker pi

Then, on the manager node (cell in my case):

docker swarm init --advertise-addr <CellIpAddress> --default-addr-pool

Replace <CellIpAddress> by the local IP address of your node manager.

The --default-addr-pool is optional and is needed only if it conflicts with other network3.

On all the other nodes of our cluster (for me: ptitcell{1,2,3}):

docker swarm join --token <token> <CellIpAddress>:2377

Replace <CellIpAddress> by the local IP address of your node manager.

And that should do it for basic setup, it's that simple :)


Now, let's start a simple container to see if this is working as expected. Let's start a very simple container that create a simple webpage to visualize our containers. For this, we will use alexellis2/visualizer-arm.

docker service create \
  --name viz \
  --publish 8080:8080 \
  --constraint node.role==manager \
  --mount type=bind,src=/var/run/docker.sock,dst=/var/run/docker.sock \

Now you can open a browser and go to http://<CellIpAddress>:8080

Finally, let's transform this in a docker-compose.yml as this will be the format I will use to define all my services later on.

I'm saving all my services config files (docker-compose.yml) in /mnt/cluster-data/services-config/<nameOfTheService>, so in this case, I'm creating a /mnt/cluster-data/services-config/vizualizer/docker-compose.yml with the following content:

version: "3"

    image: alexellis2/visualizer-arm:latest
      - "/var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock"
      - "8080:8080"
          - node.role == manager

And start it with the following command:

docker stack deploy viz -c /mnt/cluster-data/services-config/visualizer/docker-compose.yml

Now you can go back to http://<CellIpAddress>:8080 to check if everything is still working!

        - node.role == manager

↑ This part is to force the container to be started on the docker swarm manager node.

If everything is working fine, you now have a docker swarm cluster setup and ready to manage services! We'll go through this in our next post. In the meantime, you can stop and remove the viz stack:

docker stack rm viz

To be Continued… :-)

Now we have a very basic docker swarm setup working and ready to manage stack, services and containers :) … But that will be in my next blog post where we'll start managing real services, with traefik 2 as a reverse proxy with automated redirection to https and automatic ssl via letsencrypt.

In this blog posts serie:

You can follow all posts about my Home Lab setup on the dedicated page.

In the Home Lab setup series:

To be writen: Monitoring, Backups, Tests environment, …

  1. Docker swarm documentation 

  2. Remember the tip using tmux synchronize-panes in my previous blog post to launch commands on all servers at once :) 

  3. In my case, to avoid conflicts with my wifi network IPs.