Scalingo Builder - Our base Docker image

Every application deployed on Scalingo are built over our base Docker image. Internally we name it Scalingo Builder. This image is open source and can be found on the docker hub under the name scalingo/builder. The builder image is used for all applications hosted on the platform, as a result, it is a generic image which is unspecialized. That’s why it’s based on a stable Ubuntu LTS environment (currently 14.04 LTS).

The build process

Each time any user deploys a new release of their applications, a new Docker image is created. A new layer is added on top of the scalingo/builder base image. It’s built using the buildpack and contains the application code and all its dependencies. When the build is done, the resulting Docker image is sent to our private repository and our orchestrator will use it subsequently to actually run the application in our infrastructure.

The maximum build time is 30 minutes. After that duration the build will be canceled by the platform.

Installed libraries

We’ve installed different libraries and softwares which are commonly used in the build process or used by human when running one-off container.

You’ll find:

  • Build essentials utility (GCC, make, autotools, …)
  • Curl, git, telnet, ssh, ssh-client, openssl, dnsutils, sqlite
  • Node.js, Ruby, Perl, Python, Java
  • ImageMagick
  • MySQL, PostgreSQL MongoDB, Redis clients and development libraries

Not all applications will use these libraries but we’ve considered that managing a set of builder images instead of only one isn’t worth it.

The advantage of using a single builder image is that once it has been fetched on a hosting node, we’re done. Even if we sacrifice a few megabytes of disk space, when a new container starts, only the application layer is fetched and nothing else.

Of course you can inspect this base image: it’s a completely standard Docker image after all! You can use something like:

$ docker pull scalingo/builder


The timezone configured inside our base image is UTC±00:00. You can set it to a different value by setting the environment variable TZ with the desired timezone:

scalingo --app my-app env-set TZ=Europe/Paris

A list of existing timezones is available here.

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