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Quick intro on containers and Azure Container Instances (ACI) example

This tutorial aims at giving a quick intro on containers, where they can be used in Azure, and an example of a container-based deployment using Azure Container Instances (ACI) service.

GitHub Pages: Here

What are containers

Containers refer to a lightweight, portable, and self-sufficient unit of software that puts together code and all its dependencies so one can run an application.

Virtual machine (VM)s virtualize the underlying hardware so that multiple operating system (OS) instances can run on that hardware. Each VM runs an OS and has access to virtualized resources representing the underlying hardware. On the other hand, a container virtualizes the underlying OS and causes the containerized app to perceive that it has the OS—including CPU, memory, file storage, and network connections—all to itself. Besides, containers share the host OS, so they do not need to boot an OS. So contenarized applications can start much faster. More details here.

In Azure, containers can be used in multiple services, including Azure Container Instances (ACI), Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Azure Container Apps, Azure Batch, among others.

There are several container runtimes available out there, including Docker, Podman, containerd, Apptainer (Singularity).

End-2-end hello world in azure containers

Assuming one has docker installed.

Example from here

git clone

docker build ./aci-helloworld -t aci-tutorial-app

docker images

Run the docker container locally:

docker run -d -p 8080:80 aci-tutorial-app

Open browser with http://localhost:8080.

You can delete the running container by using docker ps to get the container id and docker container kill <id>

Moving to the creation of an Azure Container Registry.

az group create --name myResourceGroup --location eastus
az acr create --resource-group myResourceGroup --name <acrName> --sku Basic

Login to acr, get its full login name, tag local docker container image with the container registry full login name, and push the image. Then list the images in the container registry.

az acr login --name <acrName>
loginserver=$(az acr show --name <acrName> --query loginServer --output tsv)
docker tag aci-tutorial-app $loginserver/aci-tutorial-app:v1
docker push <acrLoginServer>/aci-tutorial-app:v1
az acr repository list --name <acrName> --output table
az container create --resource-group myResourceGroup \
                    --name aci-tutorial-app \
                    --image $loginserver/aci-tutorial-app:v1 \
                    --cpu 1 --memory 1 --registry-login-server $loginserver \
                    --registry-username <service-principal-ID> --registry-password <service-principal-password> --ip-address Public --dns-name-label <aciDnsLabel> --ports 80

To get the fqdn to be used to open the app in the browser:

az container show --resource-group myResourceGroup --name aci-tutorial-app --query ipAddress.fqdn

You can user the browser with the fqnd to check the container app running. Once it is done, you can delete the resource group:

az group delete --name myResourceGroup