Concourse CI/CD (continuous integration/continuous delivery) can create multi-platform Docker images. This blog post describes how.

A multi-platform docker image is one that contains “variants for different architectures”.

Docker images are often created for a single architecture (“instruction set architecture” or “ISA”), typically Intel’s/AMD’s x86-64, but with the advent of ARM64-based offerings such as AWS’s Graviton and Apple’s M1/M2, It’s becoming more common to build multi-platform images to avoid the heavy emulation performance penalty (typically >10x) when running an image on a different architecture. Multi-platform images enable a developer, for example, to run a container just as fast on their Apple M1 laptop as their GCP (Google Cloud Platform) Kubernetes cluster.

Quick Start

Make sure you’re on Concourse 7.9 or later; it has the registry-image resource necessary to create multi-platform images.

Create a Concourse resource, “multi-platform-docker-image”. This is the Docker image you’ll be building. Using the example below, make the following changes:

resources:
- name: multi-platform-docker-image
  type: registry-image
  icon: docker
  source:
    repository: cunnie/multi-platform # ← Replace with the name of your Docker image
    username: cunnie # ← Replace with your Docker Hub username
    password: ((docker_token)) # ← Replace with your Docker Hub token (or password)
    tag: latest

Create a job to build the Docker image using the following as an example. Make the following changes:

  • replace CONTEXT: deployments/multi-platform-docker with the path to your Dockerfile’s location. In this example, I have a Concourse input resource “deployments”, and it has a subdirectory “multi-platform-docker/”, and that subdirectory has a “Dockerfile”.

Note:

  • IMAGE_PLATFORM defines the platforms to build. If you’re not sure, use linux/arm64,linux/amd64
  • OUTPUT_OCI: true is required for multi-platform
  • image: image/image is required for OCI output
jobs:
- name: build-and-push-multi-platform-docker-image
  plan:
  - get: deployments
    trigger: true
  - task: build-image-task
    privileged: true
    config:
      platform: linux
      image_resource:
        type: registry-image
        source:
          repository: concourse/oci-build-task
      inputs:
      - name: deployments
      outputs:
      - name: image
      params:
        CONTEXT: deployments/multi-platform-docker
        IMAGE_PLATFORM: linux/arm64,linux/amd64
        OUTPUT_OCI: true
      run:
        path: build
  - put: multi-platform-docker-image
    params:
      image: image/image

Putting it all together, we have the following:

The resulting Docker image is simple: it prints out the architecture of the underlying kernel (i.e. “aarch64” for ARM, “x86_64” for Intel) and then exits. See for yourself:

docker run -it --rm cunnie/multi-platform

Advanced Topics

If your Docker image needs to be built slightly differently for different platforms, use the TARGETARCH environment variable. In the following Dockerfile snippet, we use the TARGETARCH to download and install tha Golang-compiled executables for the appropriate architecture:

ARG TARGETARCH # amd64, arm64 (so I can run on AWS graviton2)
RUN curl -L https://github.com/cunnie/sslip.io/releases/download/2.6.1/sslip.io-dns-server-linux-$TARGETARCH \
    -o /usr/sbin/sslip.io-dns-server; \
  chmod 755 /usr/sbin/sslip.io-dns-server

Corrections & Updates

2022-12-04

I updated the post to require Concourse 7.9, which allowed me to remove the custom Concourse resource type.