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Build a Highly Available Docker Registry on AWS with Nexus
by Mohamed Labouardy on January 04, 2018

Tags: HA, Nexus, Docker, aws

Have you ever wondered how you can build a highly available and resilient Docker Repository to store your Docker Images?

In this article, we will setup an EC2 instance inside a Security Group and create an A record pointing to the server Elastic IP address as follows:

To provision the infrastructure, we will use Terraform as IaC (Infrastructure as Code) tool. The advantage of using this kind of tools is the ability to spin up a new environment quickly in different AWS region (or different IaaS provider) in case of incident (Disaster recovery).

Editor's Note: This article is a contribution from a Nexus Community member. If you have questions or feedback, please continue the discussion in the comments section below.

Start by cloning the following Github repository:

Inside docker-registry folder, update the variables.tfvars with your own AWS credentials (make sure you have the right IAM policies).

I specified a shell script to be used as user_data when launching the instance. It will simply install the latest version of Docker CE and turn the instance to Docker Swarm Mode (to benefit from replication & high availability of Nexus container)

Note: Surely, you can use a Configuration Management Tools like Ansible or Chef to provision the server once created.

Then, issue the following command to create the infrastructure:

Once created, you should see the Elastic IP of your instance:

Connect to your instance via SSH:

Verify that the Docker Engine is running in Swarm Mode:

Check if Nexus service is running:

If you go back to your AWS Management Console. Then, navigate to Route53 Dashboard, you should see a new A record has been created which points to the instance IP address.

Point your favorite browser to the Nexus Dashboard URL( Login and create a Docker hosted registry as below:

Edit the /etc/docker/daemon.json file, it should have the following content:

Note: For production it’s highly recommended to secure your registry using a TLS certificate issued by a known CA.

Restart Docker for the changes to take effect:

Login to your registry with Nexus Credentials (admin/admin123):

In order to push a new image to the registry:

Verify that the image has been pushed to the remote repository:

To pull the Docker image:

Note: Sometimes you end up with many unused and dangling images that can quickly take significant amount of disk space:

You can either use the Nexus CLI tool or create a Nexus Task to cleanup old Docker Images:

Populate the form as below:

The task above will run everyday at midnight to purge unused docker images from “mlabouardy” registry.

About Mohamed Labouardy

Mohamed Labouardy is Software Engineer/DevOps at InterCloud. Interested in AWS, Docker, Android, Go & ChatOps. A contributor to numerous open-source projects including Telegraf, DialogFlow, Docker ... He is currently writing a book on Serverless architecture in AWS, blogs at You can reach him on Twitter @mlabouardy.

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