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How to Use Docker Images For Scaling Applications?

Last Updated : 23 May, 2024
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Docker image is a lightweight piece of software that includes everything that your application needs to run, it includes code, software packages, and libraries. Docker images are built using a Docker file which includes the instruction for creating the image. The Docker image is built on top of a base image which is specified on top of the Dockerfile.

Docker images are typically stored in the docker registry such as the DockerHub, or Artifactory. Dockerfile is a source code for Docker images.

Types of Scaling

Scaling is the ability of the system to handle the increasing amount of workload. So the system should be up and running even when the load on the system increases. There are two types of scaling :

  1. Horizontal Scaling: In this more servers are used to distribute the workload across the servers or containers is called horizontal scaling.
  2. Vertical Scaling: In this more resources such as CPU, and memory are added to the same server to handle the increasing workload is called vertical scaling.

Sample Python Code For To Build Application

Create a directory named scaling and open that directory on the code editor of your choice.

First, create a file and copy-paste the below code :


from flask import Flask
import socket
app = Flask(__name__)
def get_hostname():
    hostname = socket.gethostname()
    return f"Hostname: {hostname}\n"
if __name__ == '__main__':, port=5000)

The above script will run a Flask server on port 5000. Now create a Docker image from the above file using a Dockerfile. Create a file named Dockerfile without any extension in the scaling directory.

Copy and paste the below code into that file:

FROM python:3.8

RUN pip install flask


CMD [“python”, “”]

Now create a Docker image which will be stored on your machine using the below command :

docker build -t flaskapi .

Using Docker Image for Vertical Scaling

Now we can start the container from the docker image specifying the amount of resources it should use.

docker run -it -p 8000:5000 –cpus 1 –memory 1g flaskapi

The above command will start the docker container from the flask API image, we have specified the number of CPUs it can use and also the amount of memory it can use. We have started the container in the detached mode specified using the -d flag and mapped port 8000 on the local host to port 5000 inside a container where the flask API is listening.

Now considering that the number of requests coming to the API increases, we can just start another container from the image with more ram and CPU, and as soon it gets up we can stop the previous container.

docker run -it -p 8000:5000 –cpus 2–memory 2g flaskapi

Using Docker Image for Horizontal Scaling

We can horizontally scale an application using docker swarm. Docker swarm is a cluster management and orchestration feature embedded in Docker. It allows running multiple containers across a cluster of nodes. To enable docker swarm in your machine run the below command :

docker swarm init

Now to create containers and deploy them using Swarm we need to create a docker-compose file, which is the deployment file. In the YAML file, we define the service, the container that the service should use, and also the number of containers in that image. that should be running.

Docker swarm init

Create a file name docker-compose.yml in the scaling directory and copy and paste the below code in it:

version: ‘3.8’



image: flaskapi


– 8000:5000


replicas : 3

The docker-compose file defines the following thing:

  1. Version: the version of the compose file.
  2. Services: info about the services.
  3. Web: name of the service.
  4. Image: flaskapi is the image used for the web service.
  5. Ports: mapping local port to container port.
  6. Replicas: the number of containers to run.

Now to deploy the above file you can run the below command :

docker stack deploy my-stack -c docker-compose.yml

Above command will start 3 docker containers each running the flaskapi image.

Scaled containers

Now you can scale the flask API by increasing the number of containers running the flaskapi image using the below command :

docker service scale my-stack_web=5

After running the above command 5 containers will be running the flaskapi image.

Docker Contaiers

FAQs On Docker Images For Scaling Applications

1. Is Docker Used For Scaling?

Yes ,you can scale your application which is in the form of containers.

2. Why Docker Images Are Used?

Docker images are used to deploy your application in the form of containers.

3. Is Docker Enough For DevOps?

DevOps is methodology which consists of set of tools and Docker is part of that set of tools. To know most important DevOps tools refer to 30 Best DevOps Tools to Master in 2023.

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