Simple Docker GUI for monitoring and managing containers and images – in combination with Vagrant and VirtualBox

Lucas Jellema 1

I came across a simple Google Chrome Addon called Simple Docker GUI. It provide a GUI that allows for easy insight in and some management of Docker containers and images. Because the tool connects to the (remote) Docker API across HTTP, it can used on a different machine than the one running the Docker Engine. Because I am typically using Vagrant to spin up a Docker Host VM and subsequently the Docker Containers inside that host, it is convenient to keep a tab on things from the (Windows) Host machine. Using this Simple Docker UI, that is exactly what I can do. The layout is shown in the next figure:

Vagrant talks to VirtualBox, allows me SSH into the Docker Host VM and talks to the Docker engine regarding stopping and starting containers. From within the Docker Host VM, I can open a terminal window and start interacting with the CLI (command line interface) for Docker. The Simple Docker UI adds a perspective: browser based user interface that interacts too with the Docker engine (running inside the Docker Host VM) and presents information in an easy format.

 

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To get started with Simple Docker UI, I went through the following steps:

Add Simple Docker UI as add on in Google Chrome from Chrome App Store:

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Start Simple Docker UI from App Launcher

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The App appears in a popup window – opening the Settings tab. Here is where we have to specify the IP address for the Docker Host VM (as specified in the DockerHostVagrantFile in my case where I set up a private network with IP address 10.10.10.30 for the Docker Host VM). This tab provides detailed instructions for configuring Docker on the Docker host in order to expose the remote API.

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On Ubuntu 14.04, I had to make a small change to a Docker configuration file (/etc/default/docker)  – specifying that fact the Remote API should be exposed and the port number at which it be exposed:

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After saving the file, Docker has to be restarted for the changes to take effect:

sudo service docker restart

Using a simple ping from the browser (http://10.10.10.30:2375/_ping) I can verify that the Docker API can be accessed

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I have to configure the IP address and port on the Settings tab:

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and now on the Containers and Images tabs, the details for the Docker engine are available and admin-operations can be performed:

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drill down to images:

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Look at containers:

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And drill down to details:

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Containers can be started and stopped from this page and through the terminal we can directly interact with the container.

The history of a container can be inspected:

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Even though it is only early days for this tool – still in beta – it looks very promising to me and is even in its current state already quite useful!

Resources

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/simple-docker-ui-beta/jfaelnolkgonnjdlkfokjadedkacbnib?hl=en

https://github.com/felixgborrego/docker-ui-chrome-app 

Alternative: Shipyard – https://shipyard-project.com/

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