(DEPRECATED) Deploy Docker CE cluster


The Azure Container Service (ACS) is being deprecated. No new features or functionality are being added to ACS. All of the APIs, portal experience, CLI commands and documentation are marked as deprecated.

For more information, see the Azure Container Service deprecation announcement on Azure.com.

We recommend that you deploy one of the following Azure Marketplace solutions:

If you want to use Kubernetes, see Azure Kubernetes Service.

In this quickstart, a Docker CE cluster is deployed using the Azure CLI. A multi-container application consisting of web front-end and a Redis instance is then deployed and run on the cluster. Once completed, the application is accessible over the internet.

Docker CE on Azure Container Service is in preview and should not be used for production workloads.

If you don't have an Azure subscription, create a free account before you begin.

If you choose to install and use the CLI locally, this quickstart requires that you are running the Azure CLI version 2.0.4 or later. Run az --version to find the version. If you need to install or upgrade, see Install the Azure CLI.

Create a resource group

Create a resource group with the az group create command. An Azure resource group is a logical group in which Azure resources are deployed and managed.

The following example creates a resource group named myResourceGroup in the westus2 location.

az group create --name myResourceGroup --location westus2


  "id": "/subscriptions/00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000/resourceGroups/myResourceGroup",
  "location": "westus2",
  "managedBy": null,
  "name": "myResourceGroup",
  "properties": {
    "provisioningState": "Succeeded"
  "tags": null

Create Docker Swarm cluster

Create a Docker CE cluster in Azure Container Service with the az acs create command. For information on region availability of Docker CE, see ACS regions for Docker CE

The following example creates a cluster named mySwarmCluster with one Linux master node and three Linux agent nodes.

az acs create --name mySwarmCluster --orchestrator-type dockerce --resource-group myResourceGroup --generate-ssh-keys

In some cases, such as with a limited trial, an Azure subscription has limited access to Azure resources. If the deployment fails due to limited available cores, reduce the default agent count by adding --agent-count 1 to the az acs create command.

After several minutes, the command completes and returns JSON-formatted information about the cluster.

Connect to the cluster

Throughout this quickstart, you need the FQDN of both the Docker Swarm master and the Docker agent pool. Run the following command to return both the master and agent FQDNs.

az acs list --resource-group myResourceGroup --query '[*].{Master:masterProfile.fqdn,Agent:agentPoolProfiles[0].fqdn}' -o table


Master                                                               Agent
-------------------------------------------------------------------  --------------------------------------------------------------------
myswarmcluster-myresourcegroup-d5b9d4mgmt.ukwest.cloudapp.azure.com  myswarmcluster-myresourcegroup-d5b9d4agent.ukwest.cloudapp.azure.com

Create an SSH tunnel to the Swarm master. Replace MasterFQDN with the FQDN address of the Swarm master.

ssh -p 2200 -fNL localhost:2374:/var/run/docker.sock azureuser@MasterFQDN

Set the DOCKER_HOST environment variable. This allows you to run docker commands against the Docker Swarm without having to specify the name of the host.

export DOCKER_HOST=localhost:2374

You are now ready to run Docker services on the Docker Swarm.

Run the application

Create a file named azure-vote.yaml and copy the following content into it.

version: '3'
    image: redis
        - "6379:6379"

    image: microsoft/azure-vote-front:v1
      REDIS: azure-vote-back
        - "80:80"

Run the docker stack deploy command to create the Azure Vote service.

docker stack deploy azure-vote --compose-file azure-vote.yaml


Creating network azure-vote_default
Creating service azure-vote_azure-vote-back
Creating service azure-vote_azure-vote-front

Use the docker stack ps command to return the deployment status of the application.

docker stack ps azure-vote

Once the CURRENT STATE of each service is Running, the application is ready.

ID                  NAME                            IMAGE                                 NODE                               DESIRED STATE       CURRENT STATE                ERROR               PORTS
tnklkv3ogu3i        azure-vote_azure-vote-front.1   microsoft/azure-vote-front:v1   swarmm-agentpool0-66066781000004   Running             Running 5 seconds ago                            
lg99i4hy68r9        azure-vote_azure-vote-back.1    redis:latest                          swarmm-agentpool0-66066781000002   Running             Running about a minute ago

Test the application

Browse to the FQDN of the Swarm agent pool to test out the Azure Vote application.

Image of browsing to Azure Vote

Delete cluster

When the cluster is no longer needed, you can use the az group delete command to remove the resource group, container service, and all related resources.

az group delete --name myResourceGroup --yes --no-wait

Get the code

In this quickstart, pre-created container images have been used to create a Docker service. The related application code, Dockerfile, and Compose file are available on GitHub.


Next steps

In this quickstart, you deployed a Docker Swarm cluster and deployed a multi-container application to it.

To learn about integrating Docker swarm with Azure DevOps, continue to the CI/CD with Docker Swarm and Azure DevOps.