Explore HashiCorp Consul with Docker Compose

Deploy, test, and explore various Consul use cases in record time with Docker Compose.

Docker Compose provides a way to quickly explore HashiCorp Consul’s core concepts such as service discovery, service mesh, and secure datacenter deployment on your local system. If you're looking for a quick and simple way to learn Consul concepts or you want a simple testing environment for quickly trying out new configurations, Consul’s Docker compose resources can help you achieve your goals.

To get started, check out the Deploy a Secure Datacenter with Docker Compose tutorial. This tutorial will guide you through deploying a secure Consul datacenter and applying best practices that protect Consul communication against eavesdropping, tampering, and spoofing. By completing this tutorial you will also better understand the concepts of the Consul Architecture and Security Model.

»Quick Start Consul Scenarios

In addition to the Consul Docker tutorials, we maintain a Docker Compose GitHub repository that contains several quick-start Consul scenarios including single server/client datacenter, service discovery, health checking, service mesh, and various enterprise features. With these resources you can spin up a complete Consul scenario with a single command, significantly speeding up your time-to-concept understanding and reducing local testing complexity.

Each quick start scenario in the repository contains several lightweight configuration files that describe the environment that will be deployed. Once you are familiar with a scenario, feel free to experiment by changing the content of the Consul configuration files, adding more containers/services, or manipulating other values to create your custom development environment.

»Immutable Infrastructure

Compose is Docker’s implementation of the infrastructure as code philosophy; a configuration file defines your environment’s services, networks, and storage. With a single command, you create and start your environment based on your configuration. Docker Compose is commonly used in development environments, automated testing environments, and single host deployments.

While Docker Compose provides a great means for multi-container exploration in a development environment, it is not recommended for production deployments. For production environments, technologies such as Terraform allow you to securely describe your complete infrastructure as code and build resources across providers.

»Next Steps

Docker Compose is a great way to learn more about Consul; it’s light on system resources, easy to deploy, and highly customizable. Exploring scenarios like these with Docker will also provide a natural path toward deploying Consul with Kubernetes.

Check out the Consul Service Discovery and Mesh on Kubernetes in Docker (kind) tutorial to deploy a local Kubernetes cluster and integrate it with Consul.

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