Batch Shipyard From Scratch: Step-by-Step Guide

The following document aims to create a set of configuration files to illustrate how to construct and submit a job executing on Batch Shipyard, from scratch. We will perform a trivial task of counting the number of user groups available in /etc/group with the busybox Docker image. Note that this guide focuses on executing a Docker image, but would require very minimal changes for utilizing Singularity containers.

Please ensure that you have followed the Batch Shipyard installation guide and have completed the installation (or pulled the Batch Shipyard Docker CLI image) to your machine or are using Batch Shipyard on Azure Cloud Shell.

Step 0: Azure Batch and Azure Storage Accounts

You will need to create an Azure Batch and a general purpose Azure Storage account in order to use Batch Shipyard. If you do not have an Azure Batch account, you can create one via the Azure Portal, Azure CLI 2.0, or Azure PowerShell. Note the account service URL and account key after creating your Batch account.

You can create a standard general purpose Azure Storage account using any of the aforementioned methods similar to creating an Azure Batch account. Note the storage account name and account key after creating your Storage account.

Step 1: Create a directory to hold your configuration files

Create a directory to hold your configuration files. After you have created a directory, change to that directory. For the purposes of this sample, we will assume that we created a directory named config and have changed to the directory.

Step 2: Create a credentials.yaml file

You will need to create a credentials.yaml file with the Azure Batch and Azure Storage accounts that you may have created in Step 0. Copy and paste the following YAML into your credentials.yaml file.

    account_key: <batch account key>
    account_service_url: <batch account service url>
      account: <storage account name>
      account_key: <storage account key>

Now, replace the text <batch account key> with the Batch account key and the text <batch account service url> with the Batch account service url. If you do not know these values, you can retrieve them from the Azure Portal under Batch Accounts.

Next, replace the text <storage account name> with the Storage account name and <storage account key> with the Storage account key. If you do not know these values, you can retrieve them from the Azure Portal under Storage Accounts.

What we have done here is created references to your Batch account and Storage account for Batch Shipyard to use when provisioning pools and saving metadata and resource files to Azure Storage as required.

Step 3: Create a config.yaml file

The config.yaml specifies basic settings for which Storage account to reference and Docker images to load. Copy and paste the following YAML into your config.yaml file.

  storage_account_settings: mystorageaccount
  - busybox

There is no text that needs to be replaced in this configuration. This configuration is directing Batch Shipyard to write metadata and resource files needed by Batch Shipyard to the storage account alias mystorageaccount which you may have noticed was in the credentials.yaml file. The global_resources property directs Batch Shipyard to load the listed docker_images on to the compute pools.

Step 4: Create a jobs.yaml file

The jobs.yaml file specifies the jobs to execute. For this sample walkthrough, this is where we specify the command to count the number of groups in the /etc/group file. Copy the following YAML into your jobs.yaml file.

- id: myjob
  - command: wc -l /etc/group
    docker_image: busybox

Here, we assign a job ID myjob and this job has an associated task array. A job can have multiple tasks assigned to it, however, for this sample we only need to execute one command. First, we must reference the correct Docker image to use when executing the job, which is busybox. Notice that this property, docker_image matches exactly to that of the image name specified under docker_images in the config.yaml file. Finally, the command is set to wc -l /etc/group which counts the number of lines found in the /etc/group file.

Step 5: Create a pool.yaml file

The pool.yaml is used to construct the computing resource needed for executing the jobs found in the jobs.yaml file. Copy and paste the following YAML into your pool.yaml file.

  id: mypool
      offer: UbuntuServer
      publisher: Canonical
      sku: 16.04-LTS
    dedicated: 1
    low_priority: 0
  vm_size: STANDARD_D1_V2

Here, we want to create a pool with an ID mypool that is an Ubuntu 16.04 VM. We have also indicated that the Azure VM size should be STANDARD_D1_V2 with a count of 1 dedicated node. Note that Azure Batch supports low_priority nodes as well.

Step 6: Submit your work

Now that you have all 4 configuration files created, we can now submit our work to Azure Batch via Batch Shipyard. For the following, we assume that the current directory has the shipyard file to execute (as installed by the helper installation scripts) and the config directory is at the same level which contains all of the YAML configuration files created in prior steps.

First, let's create the pool.

For Linux, Mac OS X, WSL:

SHIPYARD_CONFIGDIR=config ./shipyard pool add

For Windows:

shipyard.cmd pool add --configdir config

After the pool has been created, then we simply add the jobs. Here we will interactively tail the output of the task.

For Linux, Mac OS X, WSL:

SHIPYARD_CONFIGDIR=config ./shipyard jobs add --tail stdout.txt

For Windows:

shipyard.cmd jobs add --configdir config --tail stdout.txt

Once you're done with your job, it's best to delete them so it does not count against your active job quota.

For Linux, Mac OS X, WSL:

SHIPYARD_CONFIGDIR=config ./shipyard jobs del -y --wait

For Windows:

shipyard.cmd jobs del --configdir config -y --wait

Finally, delete your pool so you don't incur charges for the virtual machine while not in use.

For Linux, Mac OS X, WSL:

SHIPYARD_CONFIGDIR=config ./shipyard pool del -y

For Windows:

shipyard.cmd pool del --configdir config -y

Closing Words and Next Steps

Invariably, your use case will be more complicated than the trivial sample shown here. Please refer to the following resources for more information.

For Singularity containers, the workflow would be nearly identical except for specifying singularity in container_runtimes:install in pool.yaml, singularity_images in the config.yaml, and singularity_image in jobs.yaml.

Batch Shipyard Guide Contents

Please see the complete documentation for the table of contents for all guides and documentation.

In-Depth Configuration Guide

Batch Shipyard Configuration contains explanations of all of the Batch Shipyard configuration options within the config files.

Commandline Usage Guide

Batch Shipyard Usage contains explanations for all of the actions available with commandline interface.


Please visit the recipes directory for more sample configuration files for different types of jobs.