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Local - With Docker

Docker is a popular container engine, and many developers enjoy using solutions delivered via Docker. Ziti provides a single Docker container which contains the entire stack of Ziti components. This is not the most common mechanism for deploying containers, we recognize that. However, we think that this makes it a bit easier for people to get started with deploying Ziti components using Docker. We will certainly look to create individual containers for each component in the future but for now it's a single container. You can get this container by issuing docker pull openziti/quickstart:latest.

Starting the Controller

All Ziti Networks require a Ziti Controller. Without a controller, edge routers won't be able to authorize new connections rendering a new network useless. You must have a controller running.

Required - Volume Mount

Running Ziti locally via Docker will require you to mount a common folder which will be used to store the PKI of your network. Without a volume mount, you'll be forced to figure out how to get the PKI in place correctly. While this is a straightforward process once you know how to do it, when you're getting started this is undoubtedly complicated. We recommend that if you're starting out (or if you just don't want to be bothered with these details) you should just create a folder and volume mount that folder. It's expected that this volume mount map to /openziti/pki inside the container.

Required - Known Name

Other containers on the Docker network will need to address the controller. To do this, we will give this container a network alias. At this time it would appear that this also forces you to add the container to a network which is not the default network. This is a very useful feature which allows your containers to be isolated from one another and also will allow you to have multiple networks running locally if you desire. To create a Docker network issue:

docker network create myFirstZitiNetwork

Next - we need to make a folder to share our PKI as well as our environment file the controller emits. We'll just put it into your home directory. Move it wherever you like.

mkdir -p ~/docker-volume/myFirstZitiNetwork

Finally, we need to make an empty file where we expect the controller to put the env file. Let's do that now too.

echo "#ziti.env file" > ~/docker-volume/myFirstZitiNetwork/ziti.env

Later, when starting the controller, we'll supply this network as a parameter to the docker command as well as name the network. That's done with these two options: --network myFirstZitiNetwork --network-alias ziti-controller and we'll also supply the env file as the location for the controller to use to write into.

Optional - Expose Controller Port

Docker containers by default won't expose any ports that you could use from your local machine. If you want to be able to use this controller from outside of Docker, you'll need to export the controller's API port. That's easy to do, simply pass one more parameter to the docker command: -p ${externalPort}:${internalPort}

Running the Controller

Here's an example of how to launch a controller using the folder created in the steps above. Also, notice this command passes a couple extra flags you'll see used on this page. Notably the --rm flag and the -it flag. The --rm flag instructs Docker to delete the container when the container exits. The -it flag will run the container interactively. Running interactively like this makes it easier to see the logs produced, but you will need a terminal for each process you want to run. The choice is yours, but in these examples we'll use -it to make seeing the output from the logs easier.

Here's an example which will use the Docker network named "myFirstZitiNetwork" and expose the controller to your local computer on port 1280 (the default port).

docker run \
--network myFirstZitiNetwork \
--network-alias ziti-controller \
--network-alias ziti-edge-controller \
-p 1280:1280 \
-it \
--rm \
-v ~/docker-volume/myFirstZitiNetwork:/openziti/pki \
-v ~/docker-volume/myFirstZitiNetwork/ziti.env:/openziti/ziti.env \
openziti/quickstart \

Edge Router

At this point you should have a Ziti Controller running. You should have created your Docker network as well as creating the volume mount. Now it's time to connect your first edge router. The same Docker image that runs the controller can run an edge router. To start an edge router, you will run a very similar command as the one to start the controller with a couple of key differences.

The first noticable difference is that we need to pass in the name of the edge router we want it to be. To use this network, the name supplied needs tobe addressable by clients. Also notice the port exported is port 3022. This is the default port used by edge routers.

docker run \
-e ZITI_EDGE_ROUTER_RAWNAME=ziti-edge-router-1 \
--network myFirstZitiNetwork \
--network-alias ziti-edge-router-1 \
-p 3022:3022 \
-it \
--rm \
-v ~/docker-volume/myFirstZitiNetwork:/openziti/pki \
-v ~/docker-volume/myFirstZitiNetwork/ziti.env:/openziti/ziti.env \
openziti/quickstart \
/openziti/scripts/ edge

If you want to create a second edge router, you'll need to override the router port, don't forget to export that port too

docker run \
-e ZITI_EDGE_ROUTER_RAWNAME=ziti-edge-router-2 \
--network myFirstZitiNetwork \
--network-alias ziti-edge-router-2 \
-p 4022:4022 \
-it \
--rm \
-v ~/docker-volume/myFirstZitiNetwork:/openziti/pki \
-v ~/docker-volume/myFirstZitiNetwork/ziti.env:/openziti/ziti.env \
openziti/quickstart \
/openziti/scripts/ edge

Testing the Network

Using Docker Locally

A quick note. If you are not well-versed with Docker you might forget that exposing ports in Docker is one thing, but you'll also need to have a hosts entry for the containers you want to access from outside of of the Docker network. This quickstart will expect that you understand this and for every router you add you will want to make sure you add a host entry. In the examples above we are adding three entities: ziti-edge-controller, ziti-edge-router-1 and ziti-edge-router-2.


With the controller and router running, you can now attach to the Docker host running the Ziti controller and test that the router did indeed come online and is running as you expect. To do this, we'll use another feature of the docker command and exec into the machine. First, you'll need to know your Docker container name which you can figure out by running docker ps.

$ docker ps

1b86c4b461e7 openziti/quickstart "/openziti/scripts/r…" 10 minutes ago Up 10 minutes>3022/tcp, :::3022->3022/tcp musing_engelbart
a33d58248d6e openziti/quickstart "/openziti/scripts/r…" 46 minutes ago Up 46 minutes>1280/tcp, :::1280->1280/tcp xenodochial_cori

Above, you'll see my controller is running in a container named "xenodochial_cori". I can tell because it's using the default port of 1280, the default port for the controller. Now I can exec into this container: docker exec -it xenodochial_cori /bin/bash

Once in the container, I can now issue zitiLogin to authenticate the ziti CLI.

Token: b16f182f-88b3-4fcc-9bfc-1e32319ca486
Saving identity 'default' to /openziti/ziti-cli.json

And finally, once authenticated I can test to see if the edge router is online in the controller and as you'll see, the isOnline property is true!

ziti@a33d58248d6e:/openziti$ ziti edge list edge-routers
id: qNZyqZEix3 name: ziti-edge-router isOnline: true role attributes: {}
results: 1-1 of 1

Install Ziti Admin Console (ZAC) [Optional]

Once you have the network up and running, if you want to install the UI management console, the ZAC, follow along with the installation guide

Using the Overlay

Now you have your zero trust overlay network in place, you probably want to try it out. Head on over to the services quickstart and start the journey to understanding how to use OpenZiti.