Running Docker Containers Locally and on the Cloud - MLOPs

Module - 3 Docker for ML
Running Docker Containers Locally and on the Cloud - MLOPs

Running containers locally involves executing containers on a developer's machine or local server, providing a controlled environment for development and testing. Running containers on the cloud leverages cloud providers' services and infrastructure, offering scalability, fault tolerance, and collaboration capabilities for production deployments.

Containerization has transformed the software development and deployment landscape by providing a lightweight and efficient solution for packaging applications and their dependencies. Containers offer portability, scalability, and isolation, making them an ideal choice for modern application deployment.

Running Containers Locally

Running containers locally involves executing containers on a developer's machine or a local server. While this approach is commonly used for development and testing purposes, it can also serve as a stepping stone before deploying containers to a production environment. Let's explore the key aspects of running containers locally:

1. Container Runtimes: 

Container runtimes, such as Docker or Podman, enable the creation, management, and execution of containers. These runtimes provide a command-line interface (CLI) and graphical tools, allowing developers to interact with containers effectively. Docker, in particular, has gained significant popularity due to its comprehensive tooling ecosystem.

Python code example using Docker-Python library:

import docker

client = docker.from_env()
container ='nginx:latest', detach=True)

This code snippet demonstrates how to use the Docker-Python library to run a container locally using Docker as the container runtime. The

function creates a Docker client object. Then, the
method is used to run an NGINX container (
) in detached mode, meaning it runs in the background.

2. Container Images: 

Containers are instantiated from container images, which encapsulate the application and its dependencies. To run containers locally, you need access to the required container images. You can leverage public container registries like Docker Hub or private registries to store and retrieve these images. Additionally, you can create custom container images using Dockerfiles or build configuration files that define the application's environment and dependencies.

import docker

client = docker.from_env()
image = client.images.pull('nginx:latest')

This code snippet shows how to pull a container image locally using the Docker-Python library. The

function creates a Docker client object, and then the
method is used to pull the NGINX image (
) from a container registry (e.g., Docker Hub).

3. Networking and Storage: 

Containers require networking capabilities to communicate with the outside world and with other containers. When running containers locally, you can define networking rules to expose container ports, enable inter-container communication, and establish connectivity with the host system. Additionally, consider storage requirements for your containers, such as the need for persistent volumes or shared storage solutions for data persistence and sharing.

import docker

client = docker.from_env()
container ='nginx:latest', detach=True, ports={'80/tcp': 8080})

This code snippet demonstrates how to run a container locally with networking and port mapping using the Docker-Python library. After creating a Docker client object, the

method is used to run the NGINX container (
) in detached mode. The
parameter maps the container's port 80 to the host's port 8080, allowing access to the NGINX web server running inside the container.

4. Orchestration: 

Container orchestration tools, such as Docker Compose or Kubernetes, help manage multiple containers as a unified application stack. While local development scenarios may not require full-scale orchestration, utilizing tools like Docker Compose can simplify the management of interconnected containers, their dependencies, and the overall development environment. Docker Compose allows you to define multi-container applications in a declarative YAML file, specifying networking, volumes, and dependencies between services.

version: '3'
    image: nginx:latest
      - '8080:80'

This code snippet showcases a Docker Compose YAML file defining a multi-container application. In this example, a single service named web is defined, using the NGINX image (nginx:latest). The ports section specifies that the host's port 8080 is mapped to the container's port 80. Running docker-compose up -d in the terminal launches the defined services.

Running Containers on the Cloud:

Running containers on the cloud offers additional advantages, including scalability, fault tolerance, and ease of collaboration. Cloud providers offer container services and managed Kubernetes solutions, simplifying the deployment and management of containerized applications. Let's delve into the key aspects of deploying containers on the cloud:

1. Cloud Providers and Services: 

Select a cloud provider that offers container services aligned with your requirements. Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS). Google Cloud Platform (GCP) offers Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), while Microsoft Azure provides Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). These managed services abstract away the underlying infrastructure, enabling you to focus on deploying and managing your containers.

Python code example using AWS SDK (Boto3):

import boto3

client = boto3.client('ecs')
response = client.run_task(

This code snippet demonstrates using the AWS SDK (Boto3) to run a task in the Amazon ECS (Elastic Container Service) using the

method. It specifies the ECS cluster (
) and the task definition (
) to launch the containerized application on AWS.

2. Container Registries: 

Cloud providers offer cloud-native container registries that provide secure and scalable storage for container images. AWS Elastic Container Registry (ECR), GCP Container Registry, and Azure Container Registry are examples of cloud-based registries. Leveraging these registries simplifies the storage, distribution, and versioning of container images, ensuring consistent deployment across your cloud infrastructure.

Python code example using AWS SDK (Boto3) to push an image to AWS ECR:

import boto3

client = boto3.client('ecr')
response = client.describe_repositories()
# Push an image to the repository

This code snippet shows how to use the AWS SDK (Boto3) to interact with the Amazon ECR (Elastic Container Registry) service. It uses the

method to retrieve information about the available repositories. Additionally, you can use the SDK to push container images to a specific repository.

3. Infrastructure as Code (IaC): 

To automate the deployment and management of your container infrastructure on the cloud, utilize infrastructure-as-code (IaC) tools such as Terraform or AWS CloudFormation. IaC enables you to define your infrastructure declaratively using code, allowing for reproducibility, version control, and easier management of cloud resources. With IaC, you can define the configuration of your cloud environment, including networking, security, and container services, in a human-readable and version-controlled format. This approach ensures consistency and allows for automated provisioning and scaling of container infrastructure.

Python code example using Terraform to define container infrastructure on AWS:

resource "aws_ecs_task_definition" "my_task" {
  # Task definition configuration

Apply the Terraform configuration:

terraform apply

This code snippet demonstrates using Terraform, an infrastructure-as-code tool, to define an AWS ECS task definition. The Terraform configuration specifies the desired properties and resources for the ECS task definition, which can be provisioned by running

**terraform apply**
in the terminal.

4. Auto Scaling and Load Balancing: 

Cloud providers offer auto-scaling capabilities that dynamically adjust the number of container instances based on resource utilization. Auto-scaling ensures optimal utilization of resources, allowing your application to handle varying traffic loads efficiently. Additionally, load balancers play a crucial role in distributing incoming traffic across container instances, ensuring high availability and scalability. Cloud providers typically offer load-balancing services that seamlessly integrate with container deployments.

Python code example using AWS SDK (Boto3) to configure auto scaling for an ECS service:

import boto3

client = boto3.client('application-autoscaling')
response = client.register_scalable_target(

This code snippet showcases using the AWS SDK (Boto3) to configure auto scaling for an Amazon ECS service. The

method is used to define the auto scaling settings for the ECS service, specifying the minimum and maximum capacity limits.

5. Monitoring and Logging: 

Effective monitoring and logging are essential for gaining insights into the performance, health, and behaviour of your containerized applications. Cloud providers often provide built-in monitoring and logging tools, such as AWS CloudWatch, Google Cloud Monitoring, or Azure Monitor. These tools allow you to collect and analyze metrics, set up alerts, and monitor the overall health of your container infrastructure. Additionally, integrating popular monitoring and logging solutions like Prometheus and Grafana can provide advanced monitoring capabilities and visualization options.

Python code example using AWS SDK (Boto3) to retrieve CloudWatch metrics for ECS service:

import boto3

client = boto3.client('cloudwatch')
response = client.get_metric_statistics(
    # Other parameters

This code snippet demonstrates using the AWS SDK (Boto3) to retrieve CloudWatch metrics for an Amazon ECS service. The get_metric_statistics() method is used to query CloudWatch metrics, such as CPU utilization, for monitoring and analyzing the performance of the ECS service.

key Takeaways

  1. Running containers locally allows developers to create and test applications in a controlled environment before deploying them to production. Docker-Python library and Docker Compose are valuable tools for managing local container execution.
  2. Running containers on the cloud leverages the infrastructure and services provided by cloud providers, offering scalability, fault tolerance, and collaboration capabilities. AWS, GCP, and Azure are popular cloud providers with dedicated container services such as Amazon ECS, Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), and Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS).
  3. Python code can be used to interact with container runtimes, cloud provider APIs, and infrastructure-as-code tools like Terraform. Examples using the AWS SDK (Boto3) showcase how to perform tasks such as running containers, managing container registries, configuring auto scaling, and retrieving metrics for monitoring and logging.
  4. Key considerations when running containers locally include choosing the appropriate container runtime, managing container images, setting up networking and storage, and utilizing orchestration tools like Docker Compose for managing multi-container applications.
  5. When running containers on the cloud, consider selecting a suitable cloud provider and utilizing cloud-native container services. Leverage container registries for secure storage and versioning of container images. Embrace infrastructure-as-code principles for automating deployment and management of container infrastructure.
  6. Monitoring and logging are crucial aspects of running containers, whether locally or on the cloud. Cloud providers often offer built-in monitoring and logging tools, while integrating popular solutions like Prometheus and Grafana can provide more advanced monitoring capabilities.


Running containers locally and on the cloud offers distinct advantages and considerations. Local development allows developers to iterate quickly, test applications in a controlled environment, and reproduce production-like scenarios. On the other hand, deploying containers on the cloud brings scalability, fault tolerance, and collaboration benefits, simplifying operations and enabling seamless scaling. By understanding the key aspects of running containers locally and on the cloud, developers and DevOps teams can make informed decisions, optimize their containerized workflows, and leverage the right tools and services for their specific use cases. Whether it's local development or cloud deployment, containerization continues to empower the development and operation of modern applications in a scalable and efficient manner.


1. Which of the following is a popular container runtime for running containers locally?

a) Kubernetes 

b) Docker 


d) Azure AKS

Answer: b) Docker

2. Which cloud provider offers Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) as a container service?

a) Google Cloud Platform (GCP) 

b) Microsoft Azure 

c) Amazon Web Services (AWS) 

d) IBM Cloud

Answer: c) Amazon Web Services (AWS)

3. What is a commonly used tool for defining and managing multi-container applications locally?

a) Kubernetes 

b) Docker Compose 

c) AWS CloudFormation 

d) Terraform

Answer: b) Docker Compose

4. Which AWS SDK can be used with Python to interact with AWS container services like ECS and ECR?

a) Boto3 

b) S3 SDK 

c) Lambda SDK 


Answer: a) Boto3

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