Use Docker Machine to provision hosts on cloud providersEstimated reading time: 3 minutes
Docker Machine driver plugins are available for many cloud platforms, so you can use Machine to provision cloud hosts. When you use Docker Machine for provisioning, you create cloud hosts with Docker Engine installed on them.
You’ll need to install and run Docker Machine, and create an account with the cloud provider.
Then you provide account verification, security credentials, and configuration options for the providers as flags to
docker-machine create. The flags are unique for each cloud-specific driver. For instance, to pass a Digital Ocean access token you use the
--digitalocean-access-token flag. Take a look at the examples below for Digital Ocean and AWS.
For Digital Ocean, this command creates a Droplet (cloud host) called “docker-sandbox”.
$ docker-machine create --driver digitalocean --digitalocean-access-token xxxxx docker-sandbox
For a step-by-step guide on using Machine to create Docker hosts on Digital Ocean, see the Digital Ocean Example.
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
For AWS EC2, this command creates an instance called “aws-sandbox”:
$ docker-machine create --driver amazonec2 --amazonec2-access-key AKI******* --amazonec2-secret-key 8T93C******* aws-sandbox
For a step-by-step guide on using Machine to create Dockerized AWS instances, see the Amazon Web Services (AWS) example.
The docker-machine create command
docker-machine create command typically requires that you specify, at a minimum:
--driver- to indicate the provider on which to create the machine (VirtualBox, DigitalOcean, AWS, and so on)
Account verification and security credentials (for cloud providers), specific to the cloud service you are using
<machine>- name of the host you want to create
docker-machine will use sensible defaults for choosing settings such as the image that the server is based on, but you override the defaults using the respective flags (e.g.
--digitalocean-image). This is useful if, for example, you want to create a cloud server with a lot of memory and CPUs (by default
docker-machine creates a small server).
For a full list of the flags/settings available and their defaults, see the output of
docker-machine create -h at the command line, the create command in the Machine command line reference, and driver options and operating system defaults in the Machine driver reference.
Drivers for cloud providers
When you install Docker Machine, you get a set of drivers for various cloud providers (like Amazon Web Services, Digital Ocean, or Microsoft Azure) and local providers (like Oracle VirtualBox, VMWare Fusion, or Microsoft Hyper-V).
See Docker Machine driver reference for details on the drivers, including required flags and configuration options (which vary by provider).
3rd-party driver plugins
Several Docker Machine driver plugins for use with other cloud platforms are available from 3rd party contributors. These are use-at-your-own-risk plugins, not maintained by or formally associated with Docker.
Adding a host without a driver
You can register an already existing docker host by passing the daemon url. With that, you can have the same workflow than an host provisioned by docker-machine
$ docker-machine create --driver none --url=tcp://22.214.171.124:2376 custombox $ docker-machine ls NAME ACTIVE DRIVER STATE URL custombox * none Running tcp://126.96.36.199:2376
Using Machine to provision Docker Swarm clusters
Docker Machine can also provision Docker Swarm clusters. This can be used with any driver and will be secured with TLS.
To get started with Swarm, see How to get Docker Swarm.
To learn how to use Machine to provision a Swarm cluster, see Provision a Swarm cluster with Docker Machine.
Where to go next
- Example: Provision Dockerized Digital Ocean Droplets
- Example: Provision Dockerized AWS EC2 Instances
- Understand Machine concepts
- Docker Machine driver reference
- Docker Machine subcommand reference
- Provision a Docker Swarm cluster with Docker Machine