Docker Swarm Cluster

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⚠️ ⚠️ NOTE: This template is designed for Docker versions earlier than v1.12 for which Docker Swarm was still distributed as a separate container. As of Docker v1.12, Docker Engine has the Swarm functionalities built in. This template has not been updated to accommodate these changes.

This template deploys a Docker Swarm cluster on Azure with 3 Swarm managers and specified number of Swarm nodes in the location of the resource group.

If you are not familiar with Docker Swarm, please read Swarm documentation. The template uses CoreOS as the host operating system for running containers on Swarm managers and nodes.

You can use ssh-keygen command on Linux/Mac or Cygwin/MinGW to create public and private key pairs. The sshPublicKey argument should be contents of the *.pub file you have.

Cluster Properties

This template creates the following cluster topology:


The cluster will be interconnected with Docker multi-host networking setup so that you can easily create overlay networks with docker network create command.

Swarm Managers

The template provisions 3 Swarm manager VMs that use Consul for discovery and leader election. These VMs are in an Availability Set to achieve the highest uptime.

Each Swarm manager VM is of size Standard_A0 as they are not running any workloads except the Swarm Manager and Consul containers. Manager node VMs have static private IP addresses, and and they are in the same Virtual Network as Swarm nodes.

Swarm managers choose a leader among themselves and coordinate through Consul agents running in server mode on each manager VM:


How to SSH into Swarm Manager Nodes

Swarm manager nodes (swarm-master-* VMs) do not have public IP addresses. However they are NAT'ted behind an Azure Load Balancer. You can SSH into them using the domain name (emitted in the template deployment output) or the Public IP address of swarm-lb-masters (can be found on the Azure Portal).

Port numbers of each master VM is described in the following table:

VM SSH command
swarm-master-0 ssh <username>@<addr> -p 2200
swarm-master-1 ssh <username>@<addr> -p 2201
swarm-master-2 ssh <username>@<addr> -p 2202

Swarm Worker Nodes

You can configure nodeCount parameter to create as many Swarm worker instances you like. Each Swarm worker VM is of size Standard_A2.

Nodes in the Swarm cluster accepting Docker workloads do not have public IP addresses, and are accessible through Swarm manager VMs over SSH. In order to access a worker node, you need to SSH into a master VM and use worker node VMs private IP address to SSH from there (using the same SSH key you used for authenticating into master). Alternatively, you can establish an SSH Tunnel on your development machine and directly connect to the worker VM using its private IP address.

Virtual Machines of Swarm worker nodes have private IP addresses 192.168.0.* and are in the same Virtual Network with the manager nodes. These nodes are in an Availability Set to ensure highest uptime and fault domains.

The swarm worker VMs node VMs have are behind a load balancer (called swarm-lb-nodes). Any multi-instance services deployed across worker VMs can be served to the public internet by creating probes and load balancing rules on this Load Balancer resource. Load balancer's public DNS address is emitted as an output of the template deployment.

Swarm nodes join to the Swarm cluster by notifying the Consul agents running on master nodes:


How to SSH into Swarm Worker Nodes

Since Swarm worker nodes do not have public IP addresses, you first need to SSH into Swarm manager VMs (described above) to SSH into Swarm nodes.

You just need to use ssh -A to SSH into one of the masters, and from that point on you can reach any other VM in the cluster as shown below:

$ ## <-- You are on your development machine
$ ssh -A <username>@<masters-IP> -p 2200
azureuser@swarm-master-0 ~ $ ## <-- You are on Swarm master
azureuser@swarm-master-0 ~ $ ssh <username>@swarm-node-3
azureuser@swarm-node-3 ~ $ ## <-- You are now on a Swarm worker node

The -A argument enables forwarding of authentication credentials so that just by authenticating to manager VM, you can access Swarm worker VMs from there.

Swarm node hostnames are numbered starting from 0, such as: swarm-node-0, swarm-node-1, ..., swarm-node-19 etc. You can see the VM names on the Azure Portal as well.

Connecting the Cluster

Swarm manager VMs only have public address for SSH, therefore to issue Docker commands to Swarm Manager, you need to establish an SSH tunnel to these machines:


If the template successfully deploys, it will have output values "sshTunnelCmd" and "dockerCmd".

The sshTunnelCmd command will help you create a SSH tunnel to Docker Swarm Manager from your machine (this command will keep running with no output):

    ssh -L 2375:swarm-master-0:2375 -N core@swarm-<<DNSNAME>> -p 2200

After this you can use dockerCmd command that points to localhost, just as Swarm managers were running on your development machine:

    docker -H tcp://localhost:2375 info

This also can be executed in the shorthand form:

    export DOCKER_HOST=:2375
    docker info
    docker ps

Tags: Microsoft.Storage/storageAccounts, Microsoft.Compute/availabilitySets, Microsoft.Network/publicIPAddresses, Microsoft.Network/virtualNetworks, Microsoft.Network/networkSecurityGroups, Microsoft.Network/networkInterfaces, Microsoft.Network/loadBalancers, Microsoft.Network/loadBalancers/inboundNatRules, Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines, Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines/extensions, DockerExtension