Deploying Deis with Rigger on DigitalOcean

Deploying Deis with Rigger on DigitalOcean

An Article from Deis


Deis is an open source private Platform as a Service (PaaS) that simplifies deploying and managing your applications on your own servers. By leveraging technologies such as Docker and CoreOS, Deis provides a workflow and scaling features that are similar to that of Heroku, on the hosting provider of your choice. Deis supports applications that can run in a Docker container, and Deis can run on any platform that supports CoreOS.

This guide steps you through the new and improved Deis provisioning process using the Deis project’s new tool called Rigger.


If you don’t have much time, this accelerated terminal recording (only around a minute long!) shows what we’ll be up to in the rest of this article:



Rigger is designed to handle its own dependency management, but you will need to setup a few things before provisioning a Deis cluster with it. To follow along with this guide at home you’ll need:

All the command in this tutorial can be run on a local Mac or Linux workstation (OS X >= 10.10 and Debian/Ubuntu were tested). They can also be run on a Droplet, but that is not necessary.

The zip, make, and git utilities need to be installed on whatever workstation you use to provision a Deis cluster with Rigger.

For example, if you are using an Ubuntu system, install them with the following command:

  1. sudo apt-get update
  2. sudo apt-get install zip make git

The git utility is used through the article to download Rigger and an example application. The zip and make utilities are used by the Rigger provisioning script.

If you are running Mac OS X, you also need to agree to the Xcode license agreement to use git:

  1. sudo xcodebuild -license

Note: This article was written for Deis version 1.12.0.

Step 1 — Installing Rigger

To install Rigger, first use git to download it:

  1. git clone https://github.com/deis/rigger.git

Change to the directory created:

  1. cd rigger

Then, execute the following command:

  1. ./rigger

When it first runs, you will see the following:

Downloading rerun from GitHub...

At the end of the output, you will see a list of available commands:

Available commands in module, "rigger": checkout: "checkout the Deis repo with version: $VERSION into directory: $DEIS_ROOT" configure: "initialize a rigger varsfile to use with future commands" [ --advanced]: "configure all the nitty gritty details of the infrastructure and Deis deployment" [ --provider <>]: "which cloud provider to use to provision a Deis cluster" [ --version <>]: "choose what version of Deis to deploy" create-registry: "Create a local dev registry" deploy: "Install and Deploy Deis" destroy: "destroy all infrastructure created by the provision step" provision: "provision new infrastructure and deploy Deis to it" [ --cleanup]: "destroy cluster after action" setup-clients: "download and stage deisctl and deis clients for your own use" shellinit: "show the current sourceable environment variables (useful for eval-ing)" [ --file <>]: "use a specific file" shell-reset: "an eval-able output that unsets variables that have been injected by rigger" [ --file <>]: "use a specific file" test: "run a test suite on the provisioned Deis cluster" [ --type <smoke>]: "provide a type of test to run" upgrade: "Tests upgrade path for Deis" [ --to <master>]: "Define version of Deis to upgrade to" [ --cleanup]: "destroy cluster after action" --upgrade-style <graceful>: "choose the style of upgrade you'd like to perform"

Step 2 — Configuring the Deis Deployment

To configure the Deis deployment to use DigitalOcean as the provider and a specific version of Deis, all we need to do is call:

  1. ./rigger configure --provider "digitalocean" --version "1.12.0"

Rigger will then ask you a few questions. It will all look like this:

-> What DigitalOcean token should I use? DO_TOKEN (no default) [enter or paste your DigitalOcean token here] You chose: ****** -> Which private SSH key should be used? SSH_PRIVATE_KEY_FILE [ /Users/sgoings/.ssh/id_dsa ] 1) /Users/sgoings/.ssh/id_dsa 2) ... #? [enter a number] You chose: 1) /Users/sgoings/.ssh/id_dsa ... output snipped ... Enter passphrase for /Users/sgoings/.ssh/id_dsa: [enter your ssh passphrase] Rigger has been configured on this system using ${HOME}/.rigger/<id>/vars To use the configuration outside of rigger, you can run: source "${HOME}/.rigger/<id>/vars"

You’re all done with the hard part!

Step 3 — Profit!

Or more accurately: run rigger to provision infrastructure on DigitalOcean and then deploy Deis!

All we need to do is execute:

  1. ./rigger provision

Warning: If you are running Rigger on Mac OS X, you might see the following error message:

Agreeing to the Xcode/iOS license requires admin privileges, please re-run as root via sudo.

If so, you need to agree to the Xcode license with the sudo xcodebuild -license command as mentioned in the Prerequisite section.

The Deis provisioning process with Rigger on DigitalOcean takes about 15 minutes and goes like this:

  1. Terraform is automatically downloaded and installed into ${HOME}/.rigger for use by Rigger
  2. Deis clients (deis and deisctl) are downloaded into ${HOME}/.rigger/<id>/bins
  3. Terraform is used to provision 3 CoreOS Droplets in DigitalOcean
  4. DEISCTL_TUNNEL is determined by investigating one of the newly provisioned DigitalOcean Droplets
  5. xip.io is used to set up a simple DNS entry point to the cluster
  6. deisctl install platform is executed
  7. deisctl start platform is executed

Warning: If you see the following errors when provisioning the infrastructure on DigitalOcean, make sure your DO Access Token is read-write:

3 error(s) occurred:

* digitalocean_droplet.deis.1: Error creating droplet: Error creating droplet: API Error: 403 Forbidden
* digitalocean_droplet.deis.0: Error creating droplet: Error creating droplet: API Error: 403 Forbidden
* digitalocean_droplet.deis.2: Error creating droplet: Error creating droplet: API Error: 403 Forbidden

You can then run the ./rigger provision again.

Step 4 — Playtime!

After you’ve created your Deis cluster using Rigger, you should deploy an app to it!

First, get back to some free directory space:

  1. cd ../

Next, grab an example app from the Deis project:

  1. git clone https://github.com/deis/example-nodejs-express.git

Change into the newly created directory:

  1. cd example-nodejs-express

Load all the rigger environment variables into this shell:

  1. source "${HOME}/.rigger/<id>/vars"

Then register an administrative account to this Deis cluster:

  1. deis auth:register http://deis.${DEIS_TEST_DOMAIN}

You will be prompted for some information to create the account:

username: [ enter a username ] password: [ enter a password ] password (confirm): [ enter the same password ] email: [ enter an email for this user ] Registered <username> Logged in as <username>

Add your public key to the Deis cluster:

  1. deis keys:add

You will see the following:

Found the following SSH public keys: 1) deiskey.pub deiskey 2) id_dsa.pub sgoings 0) Enter path to pubfile (or use keys:add <key_path>) Which would you like to use with Deis? [ enter number ]

You should pick the public key that goes along with the private key you chose during the rigger configure step.

Add a git remote to point at the Deis cluster:

  1. deis apps:create

You will see the following:

Creating Application... done, created hearty-kingfish Git remote deis added remote available at ssh://git@deis.${DEIS_TEST_DOMAIN}:2222/hearty-kingfish.git

Now, push it!

  1. git push deis master

This might take a while. You should eventually see the following at the end of the output:

-----> Launching... done, hearty-kingfish:v2 deployed to Deis http://hearty-kingfish.${DEIS_TEST_DOMAIN} To learn more, use `deis help` or visit http://deis.io

Go ahead and load that URL in your browser! (the app is pretty simple, it just prints out: “Powered by Deis”)

Step 5 — Knocking it all down!

Once you’ve played around with your fancy new Deis cluster a bit… it’d probably be a good idea to tear it all down, eh? That’s simple.

Go back to the rigger directory:

  1. cd ../rigger

Then, destroy it:

  1. ./rigger destroy


In this guide, you were able to see where the Deis team is headed to make the lives of developers, operators, and open source contributors easier. Provisioning a Deis cluster is now a breeze with Rigger, thanks to the winning combination of Terraform under the hood and lightning fast DigitalOcean as the infrastructure provider.

Thanks for learning with the DigitalOcean Community. Check out our offerings for compute, storage, networking, and managed databases.

Learn more about our products

About the authors

Default avatar
Tammy Fox


Still looking for an answer?

Ask a questionSearch for more help

Was this helpful?

This textbox defaults to using Markdown to format your answer.

You can type !ref in this text area to quickly search our full set of tutorials, documentation & marketplace offerings and insert the link!

Thanks for the article. Does it have to be 3 x 8GB ($80pm) droplet to run this? Seems very expensive.

I’m using Docker a lot but I never heard about Deis ! I’ll have a look soon, thanks for this article :).

Very helpful, Thank you very much for this article.

Try DigitalOcean for free

Click below to sign up and get $200 of credit to try our products over 60 days!

Sign up

Join the Tech Talk
Success! Thank you! Please check your email for further details.

Please complete your information!

Featured on Community

Get our biweekly newsletter

Sign up for Infrastructure as a Newsletter.

Hollie's Hub for Good

Working on improving health and education, reducing inequality, and spurring economic growth? We'd like to help.

Become a contributor

Get paid to write technical tutorials and select a tech-focused charity to receive a matching donation.

Welcome to the developer cloud

DigitalOcean makes it simple to launch in the cloud and scale up as you grow — whether you're running one virtual machine or ten thousand.

Learn more
DigitalOcean Cloud Control Panel