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Highly Available Docker Registry on AWS With Nexus

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Highly Available Docker Registry on AWS With Nexus

In this post, you'll learn to set up an EC2 instance inside a Security Group to create a highly available and resilient Docker Repository.

· DevOps Zone ·
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Have you ever wondered how you can build a highly available & resilient Docker Repository to store your Docker Images?

In this post, we will setup an EC2 instance inside a Security Group and create an A record pointing to the server Elastic IP address as follows:

To provision the infrastructure, we will use Terraform as IaC (Infrastructure as Code) tool. The advantage of using this kind of tools is the ability to spin up a new environment quickly in different AWS region (or different IaaS provider) in case of incident ( Disaster recovery).

Start by cloning the following Github repository:

git clone https://github.com/mlabouardy/terraform-aws-labs.git

Inside docker-registry folder, update the variables.tfvars with your own AWS credentials (make sure you have the right IAM policies).

resource "aws_instance" "default" {
  ami             = "${lookup(var.amis, var.region)}"
  instance_type   = "${var.instance_type}"
  key_name        = "${aws_key_pair.default.id}"
  security_groups = ["${aws_security_group.default.name}"]

  user_data = "${file("setup.sh")}"

  tags {
    Name = "registry"

I specified a shell script to be used as user_data when launching the instance. It will simply install the latest version of Docker CE and turn the instance to Docker Swarm Mode (to benefit from replication & high availability of Nexus container)

yum update -y
yum install -y docker
service docker start
usermod -aG docker ec2-user
docker swarm init
docker service create --replicas 1 --name registry --publish 5000:5000 --publish 8081:8081 sonatype/nexus3:3.6.2

Note: Surely, you can use a Configuration Management Tools like Ansible or Chef to provision the server once created.

Then, issue the following command to create the infrastructure:

terraform apply -var-file=variables.tfvars

Once created, you should see the Elastic IP of your instance:

Connect to your instance via SSH:

ssh ec2-user@

Verify that the Docker Engine is running in Swarm Mode:

Check if Nexus service is running:

If you go back to your AWS Management Console. Then, navigate to Route53 Dashboard, you should see a new A record has been created which points to the instance IP address.

Point your favorite browser to the Nexus Dashboard URL (registry.slowcoder.com:8081). Log in and create a Docker hosted registry as below:

Edit the /etc/docker/daemon.json file, it should have the following content:

 "insecure-registries" : ["registry.slowcoder.com:5000"]

Note: For production, it's highly recommended to secure your registry using a TLS certificate issued by a known CA.

Restart Docker for the changes to take effect:

service docker restart

Log in to your registry with Nexus Credentials ( admin/admin123):

In order to push a new image to the registry:

Verify that the image has been pushed to the remote repository:

To pull the Docker image:

docker pull registry.slowcoder.com:5000/mlabouardy/movies-api:1.0.0-beta

Note: Sometimes you end up with many unused & dangling images that can quickly take a significant amount of disk space:

You can either use the Nexus CLI tool or create a Nexus Task to clean up old Docker Images:

Populate the form as below:

The task above will run every day at midnight to purge unused docker images from "mlabouardy" registry.

docker ,aws ,ec2 ,nexus

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