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Zero Downtime Deploys

New as of 0.5.0

checks <app>                             Show zero-downtime status
checks:disable <app> [process-type(s)]   Disable zero-downtime deployment for all processes (or comma-separated process-type list) ***WARNING: this will cause downtime during deployments***
checks:enable <app> [process-type(s)]    Enable zero-downtime deployment for all processes (or comma-separated process-type list)
checks:report [<app>] [<flag>]           Displays a checks report for one or more apps
checks:run <app> [process-type(s)]       Runs zero-downtime checks for all processes (or comma-separated process-type list)
checks:skip <app> [process-type(s)]      Skip zero-downtime checks for all processes (or comma-separated process-type list)

By default, Dokku will wait 10 seconds after starting each container before assuming it is up and proceeding with the deploy. Once this has occurred for all containers started by for an application, traffic will be switched to point to your new containers. Dokku will also wait a further 60 seconds after the deploy is complete before terminating old containers in order to give time for long running connections to terminate. In either case, you may have more than one container running for a given application.

You may both create user-defined checks for web processes using a CHECKS file, as well as customize any and all parts of this experience using the checks plugin.

Configuring Check Settings using the config plugin

There are certain settings that can be configured via environment variables:

  • DOKKU_DEFAULT_CHECKS_WAIT: (default: 10) If no user-defined checks are specified - or if the process being checked is not a web process - this is the period of time Dokku will wait before checking that a container is still running.
  • DOKKU_DOCKER_STOP_TIMEOUT: (default: 10) Configurable grace period given to the docker stop command. If a container has not stopped by this time, a kill -9 signal or equivalent is sent in order to force-terminate the container. Both the ps:stop and apps:destroy commands also respect this value. If not specified, the docker defaults for the docker stop command will be used.
  • DOKKU_WAIT_TO_RETIRE: (default: 60) After a successful deploy, the grace period given to old containers before they are stopped/terminated. This is useful for ensuring completion of long-running http connections.

The following settings may also be specified in the CHECKS file, though are available as environment variables in order to ease application reuse.

  • DOKKU_CHECKS_WAIT: (default: 5) Wait this many seconds for the container to start before running checks.
  • DOKKU_CHECKS_TIMEOUT: (default: 30) Wait this many seconds for each response before marking it as a failure.
  • DOKKU_CHECKS_ATTEMPTS: (default: 5) Number of retries for to run for a specific check before marking it as a failure

Skipping and Disabling Checks

Note that checks:disable will now (as of 0.6.0) cause downtime for that process-type during deployments. Previously, it acted as checks:skip currently does.

You can choose to skip checks completely on a per-application/per-process basis. Skipping checks will avoid the default 10 second waiting period entirely, as well as any other user-defined checks.

# process type specification is optional
dokku checks:skip node-js-app worker,web
-----> Skipping zero downtime for app's (node-js-app) proctypes (worker,web)
-----> Unsetting node-js-app
-----> Unsetting DOKKU_CHECKS_DISABLED
-----> Setting config vars
       DOKKU_CHECKS_SKIPPED: worker,web

Zero-downtime checks can also be disabled completely. This will stop old containers before new ones start, which may result in broken connections and downtime if your application fails to boot properly.

dokku checks:disable node-js-app worker
-----> Disabling zero downtime for app's (node-js-app) proctypes (worker)
-----> Setting config vars
       DOKKU_CHECKS_DISABLED: worker
-----> Setting config vars
       DOKKU_CHECKS_SKIPPED: web

Displaying checks reports about an app

New as of 0.8.1

You can get a report about the app's checks status using the checks:report command:

dokku checks:report
=====> search checks information
       Checks disabled list: none
       Checks skipped list: none          
=====> python-sample checks information
       Checks disabled list: none
       Checks skipped list: none          
=====> ruby-sample checks information
       Checks disabled list: _all_
       Checks skipped list: none          

You can run the command for a specific app also.

dokku checks:report node-js-sample
=====> node-js-sample checks information
       Checks disabled list: none
       Checks skipped list: none          

You can pass flags which will output only the value of the specific information you want. For example:

dokku checks:report node-js-sample --checks-disabled-list

Customizing Checks

If your application needs a longer period to boot up - perhaps to load data into memory, or because of slow boot time - you may also use dokku's checks functionality to more precisely check whether an application can serve traffic or not.

Checks are run against the detected web process from your application's Procfile. For non-web processes, Dokku will fallback to the aforementioned process uptime check.

To specify checks, add a CHECKS file to the root of your project directory. The CHECKS file should be plain text and may contain:

  • Check instructions
  • Settings (NAME=VALUE)
  • Comments (lines starting with #)
  • Empty lines

For dockerfile-based deploys, the file must be in /app/CHECKS within the container. /app is used by default as the root container directory for buildpack-based deploys.

Check Instructions

The format of a check instruction is a path or relative URL, optionally followed by the expected content:

/about  Our Amazing Team

The CHECKS file can contain multiple checks:

/                       My Amazing App
/stylesheets/index.css  .body
/scripts/index.js       $(function()
/images/logo.png

To check an application that supports multiple hostnames, use relative URLs that include the hostname:

//admin.example.com  Admin Dashboard
//static.example.com/logo.png

You can also specify the protocol to explicitly check HTTPS requests:

https://admin.example.com  Admin Dashboard
https://static.example.com/logo.png

While a full url may be used in order to invoke checks, if you are using relative urls, the port must be omitted.

Check Settings

The default behavior is to wait for 5 seconds before running the checks, to timeout the checks after 30 seconds, and to attempt the checks 5 times. If the checks fail 5 times, the deployment is considered failed and the old container will continue serving traffic.

You can change the default behavior by setting WAIT, TIMEOUT, and ATTEMPTS to different values in the CHECKS file:

WAIT=30     # Wait 1/2 minute
TIMEOUT=60  # Timeout after a minute
ATTEMPTS=10 # Attempt checks 10 times

/  My Amazing App

Manually Invoking Checks

Checks can also be manually invoked via the checks:run command. This can be used to check the status of an application via cron to provide integration with external healthchecking software.

Checks are run against a specific application:

dokku checks:run APP
-----> Running pre-flight checks
-----> Running checks for app (APP.web.1)
       For more efficient zero downtime deployments, create a file CHECKS.
       See http://dokku.viewdocs.io/dokku/checks-examples.md for examples
       CHECKS file not found in container: Running simple container check...
-----> Waiting for 10 seconds ...
-----> Default container check successful!
-----> Running checks for app (APP.web.2)
       For more efficient zero downtime deployments, create a file CHECKS.
       See http://dokku.viewdocs.io/dokku/checks-examples.md for examples
       CHECKS file not found in container: Running simple container check...
-----> Waiting for 10 seconds ...
-----> Default container check successful!
-----> Running checks for app (APP.worker.1)
       For more efficient zero downtime deployments, create a file CHECKS.
       See http://dokku.viewdocs.io/dokku/checks-examples.md for examples
       CHECKS file not found in container: Running simple container check...
-----> Waiting for 10 seconds ...
-----> Default container check successful!

Checks can be scoped to a particular process type:

dokku checks:run node-js-app worker
-----> Running pre-flight checks
-----> Running checks for app (APP.worker.1)
       For more efficient zero downtime deployments, create a file CHECKS.
       See http://dokku.viewdocs.io/dokku/checks-examples.md for examples
       CHECKS file not found in container: Running simple container check...
-----> Waiting for 10 seconds ...
-----> Default container check successful!

An app process id may also be specified:

dokku checks:run node-js-app web.2
-----> Running pre-flight checks
-----> Running checks for app (APP.web.2)
       For more efficient zero downtime deployments, create a file CHECKS.
       See http://dokku.viewdocs.io/dokku/checks-examples.md for examples
       CHECKS file not found in container: Running simple container check...
-----> Waiting for 10 seconds ...
-----> Default container check successful!

Non-existent process types will result in an error:

dokku checks:run node-js-app non-existent
-----> Running pre-flight checks
Invalid process type specified (APP.non-existent)

Non-existent process ids will also result in an error

dokku checks:run node-js-app web.3
-----> Running pre-flight checks
Invalid container id specified (APP.web.3)

Example: Successful Rails Deployment

In this example, a Rails application is successfully deployed to dokku. The initial round of checks fails while the server is starting, but once it starts they succeed and the deployment is successful. WAIT is set to 10 because our application takes a while to boot up. ATTEMPTS is set to 6, but the third attempt succeeds.

CHECKS file

WAIT=10
ATTEMPTS=6
/check.txt  simple_check

For this check to work, we've added a line to config/routes.rb that simply returns a string:

get '/check.txt', to: proc {[200, {}, ['simple_check']]}

Deploy Output

Note: The output has been trimmed for brevity

git push dokku master
-----> Cleaning up...
-----> Building myapp from herokuish...
-----> Adding BUILD_ENV to build environment...
-----> Ruby app detected
-----> Compiling Ruby/Rails
-----> Using Ruby version: ruby-2.0.0

.....

-----> Discovering process types
       Procfile declares types -> web
-----> Releasing myapp...
-----> Deploying myapp...
-----> Running pre-flight checks
-----> Attempt 1/6 Waiting for 10 seconds ...
       CHECKS expected result:
       http://localhost/check.txt => "simple_check"
 !
curl: (7) Failed to connect to 172.17.0.155 port 5000: Connection refused
 !    Check attempt 1/6 failed.
-----> Attempt 2/6 Waiting for 10 seconds ...
       CHECKS expected result:
       http://localhost/check.txt => "simple_check"
 !
curl: (7) Failed to connect to 172.17.0.155 port 5000: Connection refused
 !    Check attempt 2/6 failed.
-----> Attempt 3/6 Waiting for 10 seconds ...
       CHECKS expected result:
       http://localhost/check.txt => "simple_check"
-----> All checks successful!
=====> myapp container output:
       => Booting Thin
       => Rails 4.2.0 application starting in production on http://0.0.0.0:5000
       => Run `rails server -h` for more startup options
       => Ctrl-C to shutdown server
       Thin web server (v1.6.3 codename Protein Powder)
       Maximum connections set to 1024
       Listening on 0.0.0.0:5000, CTRL+C to stop
=====> end myapp container output
-----> Running post-deploy
-----> Configuring myapp.dokku.example.com...
-----> Creating http nginx.conf
-----> Running nginx-pre-reload
       Reloading nginx
-----> Shutting down old container in 60 seconds
=====> Application deployed:
       http://myapp.dokku.example.com

Example: Failing Rails Deployment

In this example, a Rails application fails to deploy. The reason for the failure is that the postgres database connection fails. The initial checks will fail while we wait for the server to start up, just like in the above example. However, once the server does start accepting connections, we will see an error 500 due to the postgres database connection failure.

Once the attempts have been exceeded, the deployment fails and we see the container output, which shows the Postgres connection errors.

CHECKS file

WAIT=10
ATTEMPTS=6
/

The check to the root url '/' would normally access the database.

Deploy Output

Note: The output has been trimmed for brevity

git push dokku master
-----> Cleaning up...
-----> Building myapp from herokuish...
-----> Adding BUILD_ENV to build environment...
-----> Ruby app detected
-----> Compiling Ruby/Rails
-----> Using Ruby version: ruby-2.0.0

.....

Discovering process types
Procfile declares types -> web
Releasing myapp...
Deploying myapp...
Running pre-flight checks
-----> Attempt 1/6 Waiting for 10 seconds ...
       CHECKS expected result:
       http://localhost/ => ""
 !
curl: (7) Failed to connect to 172.17.0.188 port 5000: Connection refused
 !    Check attempt 1/6 failed.
-----> Attempt 2/6 Waiting for 10 seconds ...
       CHECKS expected result:
       http://localhost/ => ""
 !
curl: (7) Failed to connect to 172.17.0.188 port 5000: Connection refused
 !    Check attempt 2/6 failed.
-----> Attempt 3/6 Waiting for 10 seconds ...
       CHECKS expected result:
       http://localhost/ => ""
 !
curl: (22) The requested URL returned error: 500 Internal Server Error
 !    Check attempt 3/6 failed.
-----> Attempt 4/6 Waiting for 10 seconds ...
       CHECKS expected result:
       http://localhost/ => ""
 !
curl: (22) The requested URL returned error: 500 Internal Server Error
 !    Check attempt 4/6 failed.
-----> Attempt 5/6 Waiting for 10 seconds ...
       CHECKS expected result:
       http://localhost/ => ""
 !
curl: (22) The requested URL returned error: 500 Internal Server Error
 !    Check attempt 5/6 failed.
-----> Attempt 6/6 Waiting for 10 seconds ...
       CHECKS expected result:
       http://localhost/ => ""
 !
curl: (22) The requested URL returned error: 500 Internal Server Error
Could not start due to 1 failed checks.
 !    Check attempt 6/6 failed.
=====> myapp container output:
       => Booting Thin
       => Rails 4.2.0 application starting in production on http://0.0.0.0:5000
       => Run `rails server -h` for more startup options
       => Ctrl-C to shutdown server
       Thin web server (v1.6.3 codename Protein Powder)
       Maximum connections set to 1024
       Listening on 0.0.0.0:5000, CTRL+C to stop
       Started GET "/" for 172.17.42.1 at 2015-03-26 21:36:47 +0000
         Is the server running on host "172.17.42.1" and accepting
         TCP/IP connections on port 5431?
       PG::ConnectionBad (could not connect to server: Connection refused
         Is the server running on host "172.17.42.1" and accepting
         TCP/IP connections on port 5431?
       ):
         vendor/bundle/ruby/2.0.0/gems/activerecord-4.2.0/lib/active_record/connection_adapters/postgresql_adapter.rb:651:in `initialize'
         vendor/bundle/ruby/2.0.0/gems/activerecord-4.2.0/lib/active_record/connection_adapters/postgresql_adapter.rb:651:in `new'
         vendor/bundle/ruby/2.0.0/gems/activerecord-4.2.0/lib/active_record/connection_adapters/postgresql_adapter.rb:651:in `connect'
         vendor/bundle/ruby/2.0.0/gems/activerecord-4.2.0/lib/active_record/connection_adapters/postgresql_adapter.rb:242:in `initialize'
         vendor/bundle/ruby/2.0.0/gems/activerecord-4.2.0/lib/active_record/connection_adapters/postgresql_adapter.rb:44:in `new'
         vendor/bundle/ruby/2.0.0/gems/activerecord-4.2.0/lib/active_record/connection_adapters/postgresql_adapter.rb:44:in `postgresql_connection
=====> end myapp container output
/usr/bin/dokku: line 49: 23409 Killed                  dokku deploy "$APP"
To dokku@dokku.example.com:myapp
 ! [remote rejected] dokku -> master (pre-receive hook declined)
error: failed to push some refs to 'dokku@dokku.example.com:myapp'
  v: master
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