Application Container Cloud: Node.js hosting with enterprise-grade features by Maarten Smeets


Oracle’s Application Container Cloud allows you to run Java SE, Node.js and PHP applications (and more is coming) in a Docker container hosted in the Oracle Public Cloud (OPC). Node.js can crash when applications do strange things. You can think of incorrect error handling, blocking calls or strange memory usage. In order to host Node.js in a manageable, stable and robust way in an enterprise application landscape, certain measures need to be taken. Application Container Cloud provides many of those measures and makes hosting Node.js applications easy. In this blog article I’ll describe why you would want to use Oracle Application Container Cloud. I’ll illustrate this with examples of my experience with the product.

Forking (not a real cluster)

Node.js without specifically coded forking / clustering, runs in a single OS thread.This single thread uses a single CPU. You can fork processes/workers to use multiple CPU’s. Node.js provides (among other things) the core module cluster to do this. It depends on IPC between master and workers (which can be cumbersome to manually code). Also there is no easy way to graceful shutdown workers and restart them without downtime. StrongLoop (IBM) has developed modules such as strong-cluster-control and strong-store-cluster to make this more easy. If the master process fails however, you still have a problem.

Multiple Node.js instances (a real cluster)

If you want to provide true clustering over Node.js instances and not just for forks / child processes you need additional tooling; process managers. On the express site is a short list of the most popular ones. StrongLoop Process Manager, PM2 and Forever. For example StrongLoop Process Manager encapsulates features such as nginx load balancing, supervision as well as devops functions of build, deploy, monitor and scale on remote servers and Docker containers. I have not tried this though but can imagine this requires some setting up.

Application Container Cloud

Oracle Application Container Cloud provides out of the box with very little configuration, a set of clustering and stability features to allow Node.js to run in an enterprise landscape. If you want to get up and running quickly without thinking about many of these things, you should definitely look at Application Container Cloud. Read the complete article here.

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