Containers, which allow software and files to be bundled up into neat packages that can be run on different computers and different operating systems, are earning a lot of attention these days. And almost synonymous with the term "container" is the term "Docker." Docker is the world's most popular containerization platform. This description of it comes from the Docker Web site:

Docker containers wrap a piece of software in a complete filesystem that contains everything needed to run: code, runtime, system tools, system libraries – anything that can be installed on a server. This guarantees that the software will always run the same, regardless of its environment.

Containers are similar to virtual machines (VMs) in that they provide a predictable and isolated environment in which software can run. Because containers are smaller than VMs, they start almost instantly and use less RAM. Moreover, multiple containers running on a single machine share the same operating system kernel. Docker is based on open standards, enabling Docker containers to run on all major Linux distributions as well as Windows Server 2016.

To simplify the use of Docker containers, Azure offers the Azure Container Service (ACS), which hosts Docker containers in the cloud and provides an optimized configuration of popular open-source scheduling and orchestration tools, including DC/OS, Kubernetes, and Docker Swarm. The latter uses native clustering capabilities to turn a group of Docker engines into a single virtual Docker engine using the configuration shown below and is a handy tool for executing CPU-intensive jobs in parallel. In essence, one or more master VMs control a "swarm" of agent VMs created from an Azure Virtual Machine Scale Set. The agent VMs host Docker containers that execute your code.

Docker Swarm configuration in the Azure Container Service

Docker Swarm configuration in the Azure Container Service

In this lab, you will package a Python app and a set of color images in a Docker container. Then you will run the container in Azure and run the Python app inside it to convert the color images to grayscale. You will get hands-on experience using the Azure Container Service and tunneling in to execute Docker commands and manipulate Docker containers.


In this hands-on lab, you will learn how to:

  • Create an Azure Container Service
  • Tunnel in to an Azure Container Service using SSH
  • Create Docker images and run Docker containers in Azure
  • Run jobs in containers created from Docker images
  • Delete a container service


The following are required to complete this hands-on lab:

To install the Docker client for Windows, open https://get.docker.com/builds/Windows/x86_64/docker-latest.zip and copy the executable file named "docker.exe" from the "docker" subdirectory to a local folder. To install the Docker client for macOS, open https://get.docker.com/builds/Darwin/x86_64/docker-latest.tgz and copy the executable file named "docker" from the "docker" subdirectory to a local folder. To install the Docker client for Linux, open https://get.docker.com/builds/Linux/x86_64/docker-latest.tgz and copy the executable file named "docker" from the "docker" subdirectory to a local folder. (You can ignore the other files in the "docker" subdirectory.)

After installing the Docker client, add the directory in which it was installed to the PATH environment variable so you can execute docker commands on the command line without prefacing them with path names.

You do not need to install the Docker client if you already have Docker (or Docker Toolbox) installed on your machine.


Click here to download a zip file containing the resources used in this lab. Copy the contents of the zip file into a folder on your hard disk.