Visualizing Docker Containers in Eclipse Che with Weave Scope


Last Thursday, at the London PaaS User Group (LOPUG) meetup and heard the best type of technical talk: the kind that immediately inspires you to try out the technology you’ve just learnt about. Stev Witzel showed a demo of a mash-up of Cloud Foundry tools (BOSH) with Weave Scope, an open source tool for visualizing, managing and monitoring containers. In the demo, Weave Scope provided a very slick visualization of the individual components and apps running on the Cloud Foundry platform and instantly gave me a deeper comprehension of the complex system.

I was keen to try out Weave Scope so asked myself “Can I quickly and easily use WeaveScope to visualise the Docker containers in Eclipse Che?

The answer was a resounding yes! First of all the Weave Works documentation is terrific (note to self: guides with Katacoda are my new gold standard for documentation). I found this  getting started article which I could adapt for my use-case. Given I already had Che installed & running on my Windows 10 laptop, installing & running Weave Scope was straightforward.

docker-machine ssh default
sudo wget -O /usr/local/bin/scope \
sudo chmod a+x /usr/local/bin/scope
sudo scope launch


To my pure joy and delight, it JUST WORKED!!

In one browser I had Eclipse Che up and running, I created a few different workspaces


In a separate browser I had Weave Scope running.  As I created workspaces in Che, I would see them automagically appear in the scope tool.


Incidentally, when I first started working with Che it took me a while to understand each Eclipse Che workspace is a separate Docker container, but with this visualisation the understanding is immediate. Weave Scope is a great tool for those new to the technologies to quickly grasp some key concepts.

I love, love, love visual representations of systems; it’s a more natural way to quickly gain insights into a system, not to mention commit things to memory in the imagery part of my brain. Weave Scope let’s you monitor CPU usage:


You can also monitor memory usage as workspaces loaded up:


Plus it has a nice way to inspect containers, even attach or exec a shell on them:


In this case the system is relatively small and everything is running locally. However, I can easily see how it would be really useful to use Weave Scope when you want to troubleshoot Eclipse Che running in a production environment in the cloud by comparing it with a system running on a local development machine.

Weave Scope is open source, licensed under Apache-2.0.

Key Takeaways

Weave Scope is a great, slick, open source tool for visualizing & monitoring containers and is really super simple to get started with and use.

Eclipse Che, based on the ubiquitous Docker containers, allows leveraging of a whole world of awesome container-related technology, including the Weave Scope visualisation tool.

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