Deploy to Amazon ECS using Shippable managed jobs

This tutorial explains how to automate the deployment of a Docker container from Docker Hub to Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) using Shippable managed jobs.

If you want to use native AWS ECS templates and AWS CLI, you should reference the following tutorial:

The idea behind Shippable's managed jobs is to use generic definitions that will automatically create ECS specs at runtime. One of the main advantages of this is that you are not tightly coupled to the Orchestration service and the same automation code can be used to deploy to Kubernetes with no changes.

This document assumes you're familiar with the following concepts:

Automating ECS deployments

You can easily automate your ECS deployment workflow using Shippable's Assembly Lines. The following Assembly Line features are particularly noteworthy for this scenario:

  • Creating an event-driven workflow that automates the entire software delivery lifecycle
  • Securing workflow jobs with RBAC and contextually injecting credentials based on who/what is running the deployment job
  • Dynamically injecting wildcard values in template spec files, depending on the state of the workflow
  • Visualize your workflow and it's current status in a graphical view

To jump into this tutorial, you will need to familiarize yourself with a few platform concepts.

Platform Concepts

This example extends the work done in our CI tutorial to Build and Push a Docker Image to Docker Hub by adding an Assembly Line that deploys the Docker image node_app_img_dh to AWS ECS.

It also extends the work done in our Provisioning tutorial to Provision AWS ECS Cluster using Terraform. The output of this tutorial is a cluster resource called aws_ecs_cluster which is used in the deploy job.

Step by step instructions

We will demonstrate the deployment workflow with our sample application.

Source code is available at devops-recipes/cd_ecs_ship

Complete YML is at devops-recipes/cd_ecs_ship/shippable.yml

1. Author Assembly Line configuration

The platform is built with "Everything as Code" philosophy, so all configuration is in a YAML-based file called shippable.yml, which is parsed to create your Assembly Line workflow.

Detailed documentation on shippable.yml is here.

3a. Add empty shippable.yml to your repo

Add an empty shippable.yml file to the repository where you want to store the config.

3b. Add resources section of the config

resources section holds the information that is necessary to deploy to ECS.

Add the following to your shippable.yml:

  - name: cd_ecs_docker_opts  
    type: dockerOptions
        initProcessEnabled: true
      memory: 100
        - 80:80

  - name: cd_ecs_env  
    type: params
        ENVIRONMENT: "test"

# resources from other tutorials used here to build end to end assembly lines
# node_app_img_dh # defined here
# aws_ecs_cluster # defined here
# If you're doing this as a standalone tutorial, you can hardcode both of these as explained in the sections below.
i.dockerOptions resource named cd_ecs_docker_opts

All the Docker settings that your application requires need to be available as a resource to the Assembly Line. In this example, we using a very small subset of the settings (memory, ports etc.)

Detailed info about dockerOptions resource is here.

ii. params resource named cd_ecs_env

If additional environment variables need to be set into the app, we can use the params resource to supply them.

Detailed info about params resource is here.

iii.image resource named node_app_img_dh

node_app_img_dh is an image resource is already defined in the Build and Push a Docker Image to Docker Hub tutorial, i.e. in this sample application. If you have followed this tutorial and already have this image, please SKIP the rest and proceed to the next step (iv).

If you're following this as a standalone tutorial, you need to follow two steps to add the image resource:

  - name: node_app_img_dh
    type: image
    integration: drship_dockerhub #replace with your integration name
      sourceName: "devopsrecipes/node_app" #replace with your Hub URL
      versionName: latest

sourceName contains the location of the image and the versionName contains the tag.

Detailed info about image resource is here.

iv. cluster resource named aws_ecs_cluster

aws_ecs_cluster is a cluster resource is already defined in the Provision a Amazon ECS cluster using Terraform tutorial. If you have followed this tutorial and already have this cluster, please SKIP the rest and proceed to the next step (3c).

If you're following this as a standalone tutorial, you need to follow two steps to add the cluster resource:

  • Create an integration of type AWS keys. Instructions are here. Write down the name of your integration.

  • Define the cluster in your resources section and hardcode the values.

  - name: aws_ecs_cluster
    type: cluster
    integration: "dr_aws"   # replace with your integration name
      sourceName : "muclustername"  # name of the cluster
      region: "tbd"

sourceName is the name of the ECS cluster and region is the region where the cluster is present.

Detailed info about cluster resource is here.

3c. Add jobs section of the config

A job is an execution unit of the Assembly Line. There are 2 things that we need to accomplish:

  • Create a service definition that defines your application/service using the manifest job
  • Deploy the manifest into ECS using deploy job

Add the following to your shippable.yml:

  - name: cd_ecs_manifest
    type: manifest
     - IN: node_app_img_dh       # image
     - IN: cd_ecs_docker_opts    # docker runtime options
     - IN: cd_ecs_env            # app env variables

  - name: cd_ecs_deploy
    type: deploy
      - IN: cd_ecs_manifest      # service definition
      - IN: aws_ecs_cluster      # service definition
      - TASK: managed
        deployMethod: replace
  • Adding the above config to the jobs section of shippable.yml will create 2 jobs

  • The first job cd_ecs_manifest is a manifest job used to create a template/manifest of your application definition.

    • The steps section defines all the input IN resources that are required to execute this job:
      • node_app_img_dh is an image resource that will be deployed
      • cd_ecs_docker_opts sets runtime options for the container
      • cd_ecs_env binds the env vars to the deployed app
    • Since this is a managed job, TASK section is not required and the platform creates the manifest automatically
  • The second job cd_ecs_deploy is a deploy job that deploys the container to ECS

    • The steps section defines all the input IN resources that are required to execute this job:
      • cd_ecs_manifest is the manifest that is created from previous job
      • aws_ecs_cluster contains the cluster information and keys to connect to the ECS cluster
    • For this job, we want to replace the service with a new version. Hence the deployMethod is set to replace.

Detailed info about manifest job is here. Detailed info about deploy job is here.

3d. Push changes to shippable.yml

Commit and push all the above changes to shippable.yml.

4. Add the Assembly Line to your Shippable organization

In Shippable's world, a Subscription maps to an Organization or a Team, depending on the source control provider. An Assembly Line workflow is defined at a Subscription level and all jobs are resources are global to your subscription.

To add your Assembly Line to Shippable, you need to add the repository containing the configuration as a "sync repository" by following instructions here. This automatically parses your shippable.yml config and adds your workflow to Shippable. Your workflow will always be kept in sync with the config in this repository, and be automatically updated every time you push a change to shippable.yml.

Your view will look something like this:

Assembly Line view

Note: This assembly line is incorporating Build and Push a Docker Image to Docker Hub to dynamically build node_app_img_dh, if you are using static image tag, then you will not see the CI section to the left of the image

5. Run the deploy job cd_ecs_manifest

You can manually run the job by right clicking on the job or by triggering the job to generate a new manifest. This should then trigger the deploy job which will deploy the app to AWS ECS. You can verify it by going to AWS web console

Deploy console output

Deploy console output

Further Reading