{ "Manuel": "Serra" }
_# blog

Docker for your CI/CD 101

Docker images building could consume a pretty amount of time in your CI/CD. Here a nice trick.

4 min read12/29/2018

With Docker and other technologies for containerization, you already understood the implication of a declarative way for defining your environment so you are exploiting those benefits in both your runtime and CI/CD.

If that’s not the case check out Docker here.

Docker image

Let’s take a look at an average node app DockerFile:

FROM node


# Copy all the stuff
COPY . /app/

# Install deps
RUN yarn install --ignore-optional

# Build app
RUN yarn build

# Do something when `docker run your image...`
CMD ["yarn", "start"]

That looks absolutely legit and will correctly generate a valid app image but will fail to take advantage of the layer/cache capabilities of Docker: for any change you make to your app, a complete rebuild will be required thus consuming a precious amount of computing time (and I/O) in your CI/CD environment.

Maybe this can be sustainable for your team. But microservices are a rising pattern, so your CI/CD env can experience a peak in traffic when “devs are on fire”.

And when you are trying to fix bugs, every minute can feel like an eternity.

Layer & cache

A Docker layer can be compared to a filesystem snapshot. Every line of the Dockerfile will trigger a “snapshot”.

Docker will try to reuse every snapshot layer, if possible. So, the later we change this immutable snapshot, the better: filesystem will be reused.

I’m in a hurry…

If we want go faster we must optimize our Dockerfile by splitting the portion of the filesystem that are often changing (src) from the ones that change rarely (deps and project metadata):

FROM node


# Add project and deps meta
ADD package.json /app/package.json

# Install deps
RUN yarn install --ignore-optional # <-- !! We want this layer to be cached !!

# Copy source code
ADD src /app/src
# Build app
RUN yarn build

# Do something when `docker run ...`
CMD ["yarn", "start"]

That way - because you don’t usually change your dependencies at every commit - we can use the cached filesystem for every subsequent step and when we copy our source code, a layer with all the dependencies already in place will be provided by Docker (thus avoiding intense I/O @every build).

That will also be possible with Java, Maven and multistage images.

FROM maven:3.5-jdk-8-alpine as builder


# Prepare by downloading dependencies
ADD pom.xml /app/pom.xml
RUN mvn dependency:go-offline # <-- !! We want this layer to be cached !!

# Adding source, compile and package into a fat jar
ADD src /app/src
RUN mvn package

FROM openjdk:8-jre

COPY --from=builder /app/target/fat.jar /usr/share/app/

CMD java -jar /usr/share/app/fat.jar

This will provide Maven all the deps that are needed when executing RUN mvn package - and so…speeding our build.

I hope you’ll find this tweak useful!