Atomic Host 101 Lab Part 5: Containerized and Non-Containerized Applications


In Part 4 of this series we learned about package layering and experimental features of atomic host OSTree mutations. This included installing packages from external repositories as well as removing and replacing components of the base OSTree that was delivered with Atomic Host. We also converted our localweb service to be hosted by a local docker container running the httpd software rather than Python 3.

In this section of the lab we’ll talk a litte bit more about Containerized and Non-Containerized Applications and the role Atomic Host plays.

Containerized Applications

From the beginning Atomic Host has considered containerized applications as the primary use case target. This is still true today and there continues to be features that are added to the Host through many tools like Atomic CLI, Skopeo, Bubblewrap, and many more.

For example, another new technology, known as System Containers, is currently being proofed out and will soon be the default for running Kubernetes on top of Atomic Host (i.e. Kubernetes will not be delivered as an RPM inside of Atomic Host, but will run as a System Container instead).

While containerized applications are still a main goal of the community around Atomic Host, there are many more options now available to us because the underlying technology has improved so much.

Non-Containerized Applications

Now that Atomic Host has features like package layering and some of the experimental features mentioned in Part 4, we can now host traditional applications on Atomic Host as well.

For example, the same web service that we now have containerized on our Atomic Host, we can replace with an httpd RPM on the host if desired. Let’s install httpd on the system and, just for fun, let’s show off the fact that you can combine rebase/upgrade operations with package layering operations by rebasing to a Fedora rawhide OSTree:

[root@localhost ~]# rpm-ostree rebase local:fedora/rawhide/x86_64/atomic-host --install httpd
2 metadata, 0 content objects fetched; 884 B transferred in 0 seconds
Checking out tree 55a65a6... done
Enabled rpm-md repositories: localyum
rpm-md repo 'localyum' (cached); generated: 2017-08-28 22:07:11

Importing metadata 100%
Resolving dependencies... done
Importing: 100%
Relabeling 2 packages: 100%
Applying 10 overlays... done
Running pre scripts... 1 done
Running post scripts... 6 done
Writing rpmdb... done
Writing OSTree commit... done
Copying /etc changes: 23 modified, 4 removed, 74 added
Transaction complete; bootconfig swap: yes deployment count change: 0
Freed pkgcache branches: 3 size: 77.0 MB
  kernel 4.12.8-300.fc26 -> 4.13.0-0.rc6.git2.1.fc28
Run "systemctl reboot" to start a reboot
[root@localhost ~]#
[root@localhost ~]# 
[root@localhost ~]# reboot 
Connection to closed by remote host.
Connection to closed.
$ vagrant ssh 
Last login: Tue Aug 29 03:52:25 2017 from
Fedora Atomic Host is Awesome! Edited with nano!
[vagrant@localhost ~]$ 
[vagrant@localhost ~]$ 
[vagrant@localhost ~]$ sudo su -
[root@localhost ~]# 
[root@localhost ~]# rpm-ostree status
State: idle
● local:fedora/rawhide/x86_64/atomic-host
                   Version: Rawhide.20170824.n.0 (2017-08-24 14:35:23)
                BaseCommit: 55a65a66f736e7637a23ddb9b649546d7b4ea247c35e32f61047dc7882d08a93
           LayeredPackages: htop httpd nano

                   Version: 26.115 (2017-08-26 19:46:28)
                BaseCommit: a8db0b7d3f2e54e4092d5ed640087934b8424637cfa1e3ce4bbaf7ccccfd09a5
           LayeredPackages: htop nano

After the reboot we are now on Fedora Rawhide, with the htop, nano, and httpd packages layered. Since we are on Rawhide now, let’s add some new info to our MOTD:

[root@localhost ~]# nano /etc/motd 
[root@localhost ~]# 
[root@localhost ~]# cat /etc/motd
Fedora Rawhide Atomic Host is Awesome! Edited with nano!

We can also do a sanity check to see what version of docker we are on and if the containerized service is still working:

[root@localhost ~]# rpm -q docker
[root@localhost ~]# docker ps
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE               COMMAND                CREATED             STATUS              PORTS                                               NAMES
03fb1de49dd7        a16c8800bb14        "/usr/bin/run-httpd"   22 minutes ago      Up 29 seconds       80/tcp, 443/tcp, 8443/tcp,>8080/tcp   httpd
[root@localhost ~]# curl http://localhost:8000/hello.txt
hello world

Now let’s kill that container in preparation of replacing it with a traditional host based httpd process:

[root@localhost ~]# docker rm -f httpd 

And we can now set up the system for sharing httpd content:

[root@localhost ~]# chcon -R unconfined_u:object_r:httpd_sys_content_t:s0 /srv/localweb/
[root@localhost ~]# rmdir /var/www/html
[root@localhost ~]# ln -s /srv/localweb/ /var/www/html
[root@localhost ~]# sed -i 's|Listen 80|Listen 8000|' /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf
[root@localhost ~]# semanage port -m -t http_port_t -p tcp 8000

The commands above fixed up some selinux labels, symlinked /var/www/html to /srv/localweb, specified for httpd to listen on port 8000 and also reclaimed port 8000 from whatever soundd_port_t is (this is what the semanage command is doing).

Now we can start the web service:

[root@localhost ~]# systemctl enable --now httpd
Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/ → /usr/lib/systemd/system/httpd.service.
[root@localhost ~]# systemctl status httpd -o cat
● httpd.service - The Apache HTTP Server
   Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/httpd.service; enabled; vendor preset: disabled)
   Active: active (running) since Tue 2017-08-29 04:06:28 UTC; 11s ago
     Docs: man:httpd.service(8)
 Main PID: 1407 (httpd)
   Status: "Total requests: 0; Idle/Busy workers 100/0;Requests/sec: 0; Bytes served/sec:   0 B/sec"
    Tasks: 213 (limit: 4915)
   CGroup: /system.slice/httpd.service
           ├─1407 /usr/sbin/httpd -DFOREGROUND
           ├─1408 /usr/sbin/httpd -DFOREGROUND
           ├─1409 /usr/sbin/httpd -DFOREGROUND
           ├─1410 /usr/sbin/httpd -DFOREGROUND
           └─1412 /usr/sbin/httpd -DFOREGROUND

Starting The Apache HTTP Server...
AH00558: httpd: Could not reliably determine the server's fully qualified domain name, using localhost.l
Started The Apache HTTP Server.

We can also see that the new service is working:

[root@localhost ~]# 
[root@localhost ~]# curl http://localhost:8000/hello.txt
hello world

Part 5 Wrap Up

In Part 5 of this lab we have shown that you can use Atomic Host for either containerized OR non-containerized applications. While containerized applications may be a more preferred method of running the services on Atomic Host, the user is ultimately the one to decide. If the user would like to use containers, that’s great. If the user would rather package layer, that works too. A hybrid approach of running some applications in containers and layering in some software as RPMs on the host is most likely a happy medium that most people will end up doing. Being able to do both of these is really a testament to the strengths of the OSTree and rpm-ostree technologies.


Thanks for sticking with the lab and making it to the end. Ultimately the Atomic Host Working Group would like for people to use Atomic Host in whatever way works for them and to be a part of the community that helps shape the future of this project.

If you are interested, please join us in the community in #atomic on Freenode or on the mailing.