Managing Windows Containers with Graphical User Interfaces

Posted by Nicolas Prigent on April 4, 2018
Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Share on Reddit5Tweet about this on Twitter0
5/5 (1)
5/51

In this article, I will describe how to manage Windows Containers via GUI. Docker provides a great Docker CLI that allows us to create, interact and delete containers but sometimes, it’s nice to have an interface to manage Containers. There are many admins who much prefer a GUI tool to handle every task and it can be useful to use an interface when you have many containers to manage or if you start working with Docker. In this article, I don’t want to judge which GUI is better because it depends! You must use the GUI that will suit your needs. So do not hesitate to test these GUI. In this article, I will walk through the following tools:

  • Kitematic
  • Portainer
  • Dockstation

For sure, there are others interfaces so this list is not exhaustive.

Creating a Docker Container

In this guide, I will create a simple Docker Container to demonstrate how to use these interfaces. Let’s start by pulling the “nanoserver/iis-php” Docker image which contains: Windows Nano Server, IIS and PHP 7. Once Docker has been installed on your system, open an elevated PowerShell console:

wp-image-7733

Now if I want to create my first Windows Container, I just have to run the following command:

wp-image-7734

This command will expose my Windows Container’s port 80 on my Container Host port 8001. Let’s confirm that a Windows Container is running in background:

wp-image-7735

Kitematic

Kitematic logo Kitematic has been acquired by Docker in October 2015, so Kitematic is part of the Docker Toolbox. It means that if you work with ‘Docker for Windows’, then you can download Kitematic directly by right-clicking on your Docker icon, and select Kitematic:

wp-image-7737

Once Kitematic has been downloaded, extract the ZIP file and then you can run ‘Kitematic.exe’:
wp-image-7738 At the first screen, you will be able to connect to your Docker Hub account but it is not mandatory. On the left side of Kitematic, you can interact with your Docker Containers that exist on your system. In my case, I can see my ‘nanoiis’ container which is running on my system. On the right side of Kitematic, I can create a new container by clicking ‘Create’:

wp-image-7739

Here, I just want to manage my Docker Container, so I select ‘nanoiis’. With Kitematic, I will be able to:

  1. Check the Container logs
  2. Preview the home page of my container
  3. Configure my container (Network, volumes, …)
  4. Open the Docker CLI from this interface

wp-image-7740

Now, navigate to the settings to dig into the possible configuration options and you will notice that you can:

  • Start, stop and restart the container
  • Modify the hostname and the port number
  • Create a Container Volume
  • Configure the network

wp-image-7741

Finally, I also can manage a Linux Container on my Windows 10 and easily browse to my nginx website. I also can connect directly to my Container using the Docker CLI.

wp-image-7742

Portainer

wp-image-7743Portainer is an Open-Source lightweight management UI which allows you to easily manage your Docker Hosts or Swarm Clusters. Portainer is available on Linux, Windows and OSX. Portainer is a free web application that runs as a container itself. To install Portainer, run the following commands:

wp-image-7744

At this step, Portainer has been started. Open a web browser and go to http://localhost:9000. You will be prompted to create a password and select the Docker instance to manage.

wp-image-7745

When the user has been created, the Home Dashboard will display the following information:

  • Node information such as: CPU usage, Memory usage, Docker version and Node name
  • Containers status: Running Vs Stopped
  • Docker Volumes
  • Docker Images
  • Docker Networks

If I open a PowerShell console, I can get the same information using the Docker commands:

wp-image-7746

Portainer allows you to execute some tasks on your Containers: Start, Stop, Kill, Pause, Add and Remove Container. You also can manage Docker images, check Docker events, create App templates (using Dockerfiles and Compose files), and so on…

wp-image-7747

DockStation

wp-image-7748DockStation is a developer-centric application for managing projects based on Docker. You can monitor, configure, and manage services and containers using DockerStation. It is available on Linux, Windows and OSX. Download the EXE installer and run through the simple installation wizard:

wp-image-7749

wp-image-7750

Here is the default home page. You can create a full project or simply go to the ‘Containers’ tab to manage your Containers.

wp-image-7751

With the application, it is very convenient to view the status of containers and easily view their logs:

wp-image-7752

You can easily monitor multiple and single container resources. Easy tracking CPU usage, Memory usage, Networks I/O, and Blocks I/O.

wp-image-7753

When I select my container, I can see the logs, statistics, and I can also manage the container with common tasks such as: start, stop, restart, …

wp-image-7754

Conclusion

Sometimes, managing Docker Containers can be a bit tricky, so using a GUI is a great way to get started with Docker. It can also be useful if you manage a tons of Containers in production. GUI is also very interesting to retrieve some stats about your Windows Containers. Finally, if you are implementing Windows Containers for the first time, GUI can be more comfortable than Docker CLI.

If these Graphical User Interfaces do not suit your needs but if you like PowerShell, you could easily build your own GUI.

Thanks for reading!

Views All Time
15
Views Today
28

Please rate this

Return to all posts

[Azure] Deploy Cloudyn to manage the cost of your subscriptions
Windows Server 2016 Core configuration. Part 3: Failover Clustering
The following two tabs change content below.
Nicolas Prigent
Nicolas Prigent
Nicolas Prigent works as a System Engineer, based in Switzerland with a primary focus on Microsoft technologies. Nicolas is Microsoft MVP in Cloud And Datacenter Management with 8 years experience in administering Windows Servers, Hyper-V and System Center products. He also received the "PowerShell Heroes 2016" Award.

Latest posts by Nicolas Prigent (see all)