In a previous article I have written on how easy it is to stand up a test environment of OpenShift. In this article I will describe an example application from the sourcecode to the created image and how this gets deployed. The steps are explained using manual steps, and how OpenShift does it all automated. You will notice, at no point do you have to write a Dockerfile.


For this article it is not necessary to have a working test environment, however it does make things clearer. I would suggest you to use OpenShift Origin v1.3 on CentOS 7. Although my previous article showed how to get it up and running on Fedora 24, I experienced an issue with deployment not succeeding*. The steps in the deployment article can be performed by replacing dnf with yum.

Description of the example

The OpenShift project publishes several test applications on GitHub, of which one is a very simple Ruby applica8080. Please, have a look at:

You will see it consists of four files:

  • Gemfile
  • Gemfile.local

The application itself is only described in and the needed dependencies are in Gemfile.


To make the application work, we first need:

$ gem install bundler

This will install bundler that can install dependencies as described in the Gemfile. This file describes:

source ''
gem 'rack'
gem 'puma'

The first line says source which points to a gem repository, and each line starting wih gem are bundled packages containing libraries for use in your project. To install all of the required gems (dependencies) from the specified sources:

$ bundle install

The file Gemfile.lock is a snapshot of the Gemfile and is used internally.

The application is specified in the file called If you open the file you will see it contains route mappings, lines starting with map, for three urls:

  • /health
  • /lobster
  • /


This is a commonly used to provide a simple health-check for applications that are automatically deployed. It allows to quickly test if the application got deployed. In projects I worked on, we also did quick dependency checks, such as a configuration file exists, or another needed endpoint is available. In this application it will respond with a HTTP status code 200 and returns 1 as value.


This is a test provided by rack. It shows an ASCII-art lobster. By adding a variable to the URL querystring ?flip=left the direction can be changed.


This is the mapping to a bare route. It shows a greeting message on how to use the application using OpenShift to trigger automated builds.


Rack is an interface for using Ruby and Ruby frameworks with webservers. It provides an application called rackup to start the application:

$ bundle exec rackup -p 8080

Using this command the webserver will bind to port 8080, according to the description in the file. To see what the mappings do, open:

Use the example with OpenShift

Deploying an application on OpenShift from source is very simple. A single command can do this. First have a look

$ oc new-app openshift/ruby-20-centos7~[username]/ruby-ex

But before we do, I will explain what this command does. Oversimplified OpenShift does two things:

  1. Build
  2. Deploy

Note: If you want to perform the command, go ahead. Please fork the repository and change the [username] in this command.

Build: source to image

OpenShift runs container images which are in the Docker format. It will run the CMD instruction for this. So, how does OpenShift know what to run? Convention. Most frameworks have a standard way of doing things, and this is as you noticed also the case with the Ruby example. The creation of the image happens with a tool called source-to-image (S2I).

Source-to-Image (S2I) is a toolkit and workflow for building reproducible Docker images from source code. It uses a base image, and will layer the application on top, configures the runn command, which then results in a containter image for use.

$ s2i build[username]/ruby-ex openshift/ruby-20-centos7 ruby-ex

base image

The base image here is openshift/ruby-20-centos7. The source of this image can be found at the following GitHub repository: s2i-ruby-container

If you look at the Dockerfile source, you will see Software Collections is used to install a specific Ruby version. In this case version 2.0. Software collections solves one of the biggest complaints of using CentOS (or RHEL) as a basis as part of your delivery. It allows you to use multiple versions of software on the same system, without affecting system-wide installed packages.

The image also describes a label io.openshift.expose-services="8080:http" which inidcate that the application on port 8080 will be exposed as HTTP traffic. This also means the container does not need root privileges as the port assignment is above 1024. The application itself will be installed into the folder: /opt/app-root/src.

Running this container can be done with:

$ docker run -p 8080:8080 ruby-ex
[1] Puma starting in cluster mode...
[1] * Version 3.4.0 (ruby 2.0.0-p645), codename: Owl Bowl Brawl
[1] * Min threads: 0, max threads: 16
[1] * Environment: production
[1] * Process workers: 1
[1] * Phased restart available
[1] * Listening on tcp://
[1] Use Ctrl-C to stop
[1] - Worker 0 (pid: 32) booted, phase: 0

Open the links as previously stated will yield the same results.

$ curl http://localhost:8080/health

The build process can be as simple as a copy for static content, to compiling Java or C/C++ code. For the purpose of this article I will not explain more about the S2I process, but this will certainly be explained in future articles.

New application

If we now look at the previous command again:

$ oc new-app openshift/ruby-20-centos7~[username]/ruby-ex

you can clear see the structure. The first element openshift/ruby-20-centos7 describes the S2I container image for Ruby as hosted at the Docker hub. The second part is the source code path pointing to a git repository.

Please try the command now... OpenShift will create containers for each of the stages used: build, deploy and the final running container. You can check the containers using the command:

$ oc get pod
NAME               READY     STATUS         RESTARTS   AGE
ruby-ex-1-build    0/1       Completed      0          1m

Build stage

If you create this new application, a new container named ruby-ex-1-build. What happened is that the Source-to-image container got pulled which uses the base image and layers the source code on top.

To see what happened, as with the previous command, you can see the build configuration:

$ oc logs bc/ruby-ex
Cloning "" ...
        Commit: f63d076b602441ebd65fd0749c5c58ea4bafaf90 (Merge pull request #2 from mfojtik/add-puma)
        Author: Michal Fojtik <[email protected]>
        Date:   Thu Jun 30 10:47:53 2016 +0200
---> Installing application source ...
---> Building your Ruby application from source ...
---> Running 'bundle install --deployment' ...
Fetching gem metadata from
Installing puma (3.4.0)
Installing rack (1.6.4)
Using bundler (1.3.5)
Cannot write a changed lockfile while frozen.
Your bundle is complete!
It was installed into ./bundle
---> Cleaning up unused ruby gems ...
Pushing image ...
Pushed 0/10 layers, 10% complete
Pushed 1/10 layers, 34% complete
Pushed 2/10 layers, 49% complete
Pushed 3/10 layers, 50% complete
Pushed 4/10 layers, 50% complete
Pushed 5/10 layers, 50% complete
Pushed 6/10 layers, 61% complete
Pushed 7/10 layers, 71% complete
Pushed 8/10 layers, 88% complete
Pushed 9/10 layers, 99% complete
Pushed 10/10 layers, 100% complete
Push successful

The difference is that the resulting image will be placed in the myproject namespace, and pushed to the local repository.

Deployment stage

After the image has been composed, OpenShift will run the container image on the scheduled node. What happens here can be checked with:

$ oc get pod                                                                                                                                                          
NAME              READY     STATUS      RESTARTS   AGE
ruby-ex-1-an801   1/1       Running     0          26s
ruby-ex-1-build   0/1       Completed   0          1m

This means that the build succeeded, the image got deployed and now runs in the a container identified with ruby-ex-1-an801. Note: The container ruby-ex-1-deploy is not shown here as only the logs are of importance.

The deployment configuration logs can be shown with:

$ oc logs dc/ruby-ex
[1] Puma starting in cluster mode...
[1] * Version 3.4.0 (ruby 2.0.0-p645), codename: Owl Bowl Brawl
[1] * Min threads: 0, max threads: 16
[1] * Environment: production
[1] * Process workers: 2
[1] * Phased restart available
[1] * Listening on tcp://
[1] Use Ctrl-C to stop
[1] - Worker 0 (pid: 32) booted, phase: 0
[1] - Worker 1 (pid: 35) booted, phase: 0


To see the flow of execution, you can have a look at:

$ oc get events

This can be helpful if an error occured.


Now that the application has been deployed on OpenShift, we need to look up the IP address that has been assigned. For this we use:

$ oc get svc
ruby-ex   <none>        8080/TCP   21h

Now we can open the application as


OpenShift allows you to run prebuilt images or applications based on source. The Source-to-image tooling makes it possible to create reproducible images for deployment of applications based on source. This tool itself is very helpful and is certainly something I will be using, even outside the use of OpenShift. There is no need to create or modify a Dockerfile, which means that the developer can focus on the development process.

If you want to know more about the automated builds, please have a look at the README of the Ruby example. In future articles more detailed descriptions about these topics will certainly be given. I hope this has been helpful. Please consider leaving feedback or tweet this article.


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