I stumbled upon Portainer quite by accident and gave it a whirl. Getting started was really simple and the quick turnaround to all systems go was impressive.

This year [2018] Docker discontinued their cloud container orchestration service. I've been a big fan of it's simplicity and power along with its affordability for managing one off and small deployments to Amazon AWS. It was just easier than using Amazon's own immature [at the time] orchestration capabilities and while intrigued I wasn't ready to flip over to Google Cloud just yet.

Looking through list of orchestration options was fairly thick. Kubernetes, Swarm, hosted options and a handful of DIY. For me I was looking to orchestrate multiple containers mostly because day-to-day my world is micro-services, but I rarely ever scale anything I run above 2 instances and I'm almost always on a single box as well, so while Kube seemed like the go to, it was just way too much horse for the race.

Spinning up Portainer was very simple. I jumped into a fresh linux machine with Docker-CE and ran:

docker service create \
--name portainer \
--publish 9000:9000 \
--replicas=1 \
--constraint 'node.role == manager' \
--mount type=bind,src=//var/run/docker.sock,dst=/var/run/docker.sock \
--mount type=volume,src=portainer_data,dst=/data \
portainer/portainer \
-H unix:///var/run/docker.sock

After kicking it off I visited the box via ip address in the browser and created my admin account.


Once logged in you are presented with a really intuitive interface and set of options. Pretty much the entire toolset is just a mirror of the docker and swarm capabilities. The menu list is long so here is an idea.

Some quick cheat items for getting rolling is the ability to drop in a docker-compose file as well as App Templates which can get you rolling with services relatively quickly. As an example I stood up this blog using their App Template, but choose to manually configure NGINX and MYSQL so that I could use my preferred images.

I have yet to full explore the capabilities and resilience of Portainer, but I must say I'm very impressed after my 24 hours test run so far and will be using it for at least the mid-term to run some small production instances of node web stack projects as well as my old iron staging/test server here in the office. I'm not sure yet it's a replacement for Kubernetes at scale in production, but it has definitely been a huge win here in the office!