Automatic Load Balancing Of Spring Boot Micro Services In Docker With Haystack

In Spring Boot Micro Services In Docker we saw how to create a Docker container from a Spring Boot Micro Service. In this article we shall look at load balancing the service using Haystack. Haystack is a DNS based load balancer that is integrated with the Docker API automatically creating service groups as containers stop and start.

Haystack monitors the Docker API using a tcp socket. In this case the Docker API is on port 2375 on the Docker host.

docker run \
  -e DOCKER_HOST=tcp://172.16.1.218:2375 \
  --name haystack \
   --detach \
   shortishly/haystack

Build a gsa image following the instructions in this article, starting 3 instances of our Spring Boot Micro Service:

docker run --name srv-001 -d gsa
docker run --name srv-002 -d gsa
docker run --name srv-003 -d gsa

We can confirm that we have 3 gsa services by running docker ps as follows:

$ docker ps -a --format="{{.Names}}"

srv-003
srv-002
srv-001

Haystack automatically creates a service group srv.gsa.services.haystack in DNS. Starting a new gsa container will automatically add it to the service group. Stopping a gsa container automatically will remove it from the service group.

Startup a busy box instance using Haystack’s embedded DNS:

docker run \
  --dns=$(docker inspect --format='{{.NetworkSettings.IPAddress}}' haystack) \
  --tty \
  --interactive \
  --rm busybox /bin/sh

Lookup srv.gsa.services.haystack in DNS:

nslookup srv.gsa.services.haystack

Server:    172.17.0.7
Address 1: 172.17.0.7 cb1i9a6.containers.haystack

Name:      srv.gsa.services.haystack
Address 1: 172.17.0.7 cb1i9a6.containers.haystack

Note that srv.gsa.services.haystack is actually pointing to the Haystack container. This is because Haystack acts as a proxy to HTTP requests, automatically load balancing requests randomly over members of the service group. Issue a wget to the service group and the requests will be load balanced randomly over the members:

# wget -q -O /dev/stdout http://srv.gsa.services.haystack/hello-world
{"id":1,"content":"Hello, Stranger!"}

# wget -q -O /dev/stdout http://srv.gsa.services.haystack/hello-world
{"id":1,"content":"Hello, Stranger!"}

# wget -q -O /dev/stdout http://srv.gsa.services.haystack/hello-world
{"id":2,"content":"Hello, Stranger!"}

# wget -q -O /dev/stdout http://srv.gsa.services.haystack/hello-world
{"id":1,"content":"Hello, Stranger!"}

# wget -q -O /dev/stdout http://srv.gsa.services.haystack/hello-world
{"id":3,"content":"Hello, Stranger!"}

# wget -q -O /dev/stdout http://srv.gsa.services.haystack/hello-world
{"id":2,"content":"Hello, Stranger!"}

# wget -q -O /dev/stdout http://srv.gsa.services.haystack/hello-world
{"id":4,"content":"Hello, Stranger!"}

# wget -q -O /dev/stdout http://srv.gsa.services.haystack/hello-world
{"id":3,"content":"Hello, Stranger!"}

# wget -q -O /dev/stdout http://srv.gsa.services.haystack/hello-world
{"id":4,"content":"Hello, Stranger!"}

# wget -q -O /dev/stdout http://srv.gsa.services.haystack/hello-world
{"id":5,"content":"Hello, Stranger!"}

Congratulations! You now have a Spring Boot Micro Service Docker container that is automatically being load balanced by Haystack. You can add or remove further gsa services and Haystack will automatically update the service pool.