Provisioning Platform for Development and Testing

Now that we have built our app, let’s create an environment for our developers to push their components to continously integrate and deploy.

In this module, you will learn how to create your own application platform on Azure and in the next module you will learn how to deploy and scale the app we built in previous module to this platform on Azure.

What is Dokku

Dokku is a Docker powered, single instance, open source Platform for deploying apps for development and testing.

It enables developers to self-host a platform that automatically builds a Docker image for any application you push to it. These apps can be connected to databases that also run as local containers using container linking.

Provisioning Resources for Dokku on Azure

Before we run the installation for Dokku on Microsoft Azure, we need to provision all the required resources for Dokku. At the end of this step, we should have a Virtual Machine, a public IP, a VNET on Azure.

Generating two New SSH Key Pairs

For this environment, we need to create two new SSH key pairs. Follow these steps to create these SSH key pairs to be used for accessing the host and for deploying apps to Dokku using ssh-keygen.

Note: * When prompted for password, you can either provide a password for the key or press enter to ignore password. * When prompted to provide a file name for the key, make sure you create two unique names. For example: dokku for the key to be used to ssh into the Dokku instance and dokkuapps for the key to be used to git push app code to Dokku.

$ ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C []

For example, here are two SSH keys to be used for accessing Dokku VM and for deploying apps to Dokku.


Now, let’s install the Azure CLI to provision resources using an Azure Resource Manager (ARM) template.

First login to the Azure CLI:

$ azure login

Instruct the client to switch to ARM mode:

$ azure config mode arm

Next, download azuredeploy.json and azuredeploy.parameters.json locally. Edit azuredeploy.parameters.json to provide values to the parameters required for the cluster. You can also refer to a sample azuredeploy.parameters.json here for your reference.

  • For dnsLabelPrefix, you need to provide a unique value for this field.

  • For SSHKEYDATA, copy the public key of the SSH key you generated in the previous step Generating two New SSH Key Pairs, then Paste the result into parameters.json. Make sure to copy the entire output of the public key, starting with ssh-rsa ..., and ends with your email. This value should be the public key of the key pair you created in the previous step for the purpose of ssh into the Dokku host. For example, ~/.ssh/, not the key to be used for deploying apps.

# For example, to get the public key of the dokku key:
$ cat ~/.ssh/

To kickoff deployment on Azure, type the following in terminal:

$ azure group create --name devopsfunrg --location "West US" --deployment-name devopsfun --template-file azuredeploy.json --parameters-file azuredeploy.parameters.json

Actual deployment time may vary. It should take less than 5 minutes for provision to complete.

To verify, you can check the ProvisionState by running the following command in terminal. When the deployment is completed, the ProvisionState should go from Running to Succeeded.

$ azure group deployment show devopsfunrg devopsfun

# Sample output:
+ Getting deployments                                     
data:    DeploymentName     : devopsfun
data:    ResourceGroupName  : devopsfunrg
data:    ProvisioningState  : Running

You can also verify by logging into the Azure Portal and once deployment is done, you should see the following resources:

Screenshot of Azure portal

Configuring Dokku

Once we have all the resources provisioned on Azure, let’s configure Dokku to complete the setup.

Browse to the new Dokku instance by navigating to the URL below in your browser. Using the DNSNAMEFORPUBLICIP and LOCATION values you provided in the previous step. For example with the values we provided in the screenshot, this would be the URL:


From your browser, provide the following values to setup Dokku.

  • For Public Key, copy and paste the entire output of the public key of the key pair you created in the previous step for the purpose of deploying apps to Dokku. For example, ~/.ssh/, not the key pair used for SSH into the Dokku instance.
$ cat ~/.ssh/ 
  • For ‘Hostname’, concatenate the public IP of your Dokku host with as its own domain name. To get the public IP of your Dokku host, you can navigate to Microsoft Azure Portal to view the Dokku VM’s public IP address.
  • Select the “Use virtualhost naming for apps” checkbox.

Click Finish Setup to continue.

Screenshot of Configuring Dokku

Job well done! Now let’s go push some apps!