Garden includes a container plugin, which provides a high-level abstraction around container-based services, that's easy to understand and use.
The plugin is built-in and doesn't require any configuration.
The corresponding container module type can be used to just build container images, or it can specify deployable services through the optional services key, as well as tasks and tests. So you might in one scenario use a container module to both build and deploy services, and in another you might only build the image using a container module, and then refer to that image in a helm or kubernetes module.
Below we'll walk through some usage examples. For a full reference of the container module type, please take a look at the reference.
Note: Even though we've spent the most time on supporting Kubernetes, we've tried to design this module type in a way that makes it generically applicable to other container orchestrators as well, such as Docker Swarm, Docker Compose, AWS ECS etc. This will come in handy as we add more providers, that can then use the same module type.

Building images

A bare minimum container module just specifies common required fields:
# garden.yml
kind: Module
type: container
name: my-container
If you have a Dockerfile next to this file, this is enough to tell Garden to build it. You can also specify dockerfile: <path-to-Dockerfile> if you need to override the Dockerfile name. You might also want to explicitly include or exclude files in the build context.

Build arguments

You can specify build arguments using the buildArgs field. This can be quite handy, especially when e.g. referencing other modules such as build dependencies:
# garden.yml
kind: Module
type: container
name: my-container
dependencies: [base-image]
baseImageVersion: ${modules.base-image.version}
Garden will also automatically set GARDEN_MODULE_VERSION as a build argument, so that you can reference the version of module being built.

Using remote images

If you're not building the container image yourself and just need to deploy an external image, you can skip the Dockerfile and specify the image field:
# garden.yml
kind: Module
type: container
name: redis
image: redis:5.0.5-alpine # <- replace with any docker image ID
Note that if there is a Dockerfile in the same directory as the module configuration, and you still don't want to build it, you have to tell Garden not to pick it up by setting include: [] in your module configuration.

Publishing images

You can publish images that have been built in your cluster using the garden publish command.
Unless you're publishing to your configured deployment registry (when using the kubernetes provider), you need to specify the image field on the container module in question to indicate where the image should be published. For example:
kind: Module
name: my-module
image: my-repo/my-image:v1.2.3 # <- if you omit the tag here, the Garden module version will be used by default
By default, we use the tag specified in the container module image field, if any. If none is set there, we default to the Garden module version.
You can also set the --tag option on the garden publish command to override the tag used for images. You can both set a specific tag or you can use template strings for the tag. For example, you can
  • Set a specific tag on all published modules: garden publish --tag "v1.2.3"
  • Set a custom prefix on tags but include the Garden version hash: garden publish --tag 'v0.1-${module.hash}'
  • Set a custom prefix on tags with the current git branch: garden publish --tag 'v0.1-${git.branch}'
Note that you most likely need to wrap templated tags with single quotes, to prevent your shell from attempting to perform its own substitution.
Generally, you can use any template strings available for module configs for the tags, with the addition of the following:
  • ${} — the name of the module being tagged
  • ${module.version} — the full Garden version of the module being tagged, e.g. v-abcdef1234
  • ${module.hash} — the Garden version hash of the module being tagged, e.g. abcdef1234 (i.e. without the v- prefix)

Deploying services

The Kubernetes plugins (local or remote) can deploy container modules. You'll find the relevant information in this guide and the full spec in our reference docs.

Running tests

You can define both tests and tasks as part of any container module. The two are configured in very similar ways, using the tests and tasks keys, respectively. Here, for example, is a configuration for two different test suites:
kind: Module
type: container
name: my-container
- name: unit
command: [npm, test]
- name: integ
command: [npm, run, integ]
- some-service
Here we first define a unit test suite, which has no dependencies, and simply runs npm test in the container. The integ suite is similar but adds a runtime dependency. This means that before the integ test is run, Garden makes sure that some-service is running and up-to-date.
When you run garden test or garden dev we will run those tests. In both cases, the tests will be executed by running the container with the specified command in your configured environment (as opposed to locally on the machine you're running the garden CLI from).
The names and commands to run are of course completely up to you, but we suggest naming the test suites consistently across your different modules.
See the reference for all the configurable parameters for container tests.

Running tasks

Tasks are defined very similarly to tests:
kind: Module
type: container
name: my-container
- name: db-migrate
command: [rake, db:migrate]
- my-database
In this example, we define a db-migrate task that runs rake db:migrate (which is commonly used for database migrations, but you can run anything you like of course). The task has a dependency on my-database, so that Garden will make sure the database is up and running before running the migration task.
Unlike tests, tasks can also be dependencies for services and other tasks. For example, you might define another task or a service with db-migrate as a dependency, so that it only runs after the migrations have been executed.
One thing to note, is that tasks should in most cases be idempotent, meaning that running the same task multiple times should be safe.
See the reference for all the configurable parameters for container tasks.

Referencing from other modules

Modules can reference outputs from each other using template strings. container modules are, for instance, often referenced by other module types such as helm module types. For example:
kind: Module
description: Helm chart for the worker container
type: helm
name: my-service
dependencies: [my-image]
name: ${}
tag: ${}
Here, we declare my-image as a dependency for the my-service Helm chart. In order for the Helm chart to be able to reference the built container image, we must provide the correct image name and version.
For a full list of keys that are available for the container module type, take a look at the outputs reference.

Mounting volumes and Kubernetes ConfigMaps

container services, tasks and tests can all mount volumes and Kubernetes Configmaps.
For mounting volumes, check out our guide on the persistentvolumeclaim module type, supported by the kubernetes provider.
And for ConfigMaps, check out this guide on the configmap module type, also supported by the kubernetes provider.