Quick post today to point out some new posts by Freddy about a change that he’s made to the container logic in his PowerShell module to switch from downloading images to getting the artifacts and assemble images on the fly. I’ll just link to his blog and kind of summarize. The implications for us Docker consumers, as it turned out, was so small that it was almost uneventful.
Until recently, the process to create a container involved downloading a fully prepared image of that container. This was very easy: download the image, create the container. The problem lies with the sheer number of images that had to be prepared for each situation. Are you on Windows Server 2016? 2019? Which build? Which version of NAV? Which localization? Business Central OnPrem or Sandbox? All in all, to accommodate the entire community, there were hundreds if not thousands of images just to create these containers.
So, to cut down on the sheer volume of those images, we now have what is called Artifacts. Instead of a full image, you download a set of instructions to fetch and build a local image yourself, which is layered with a bunch of components. There are a few common building blocks for the generic image and SQL Server and other such components, and then there are the pieces that we need to prepare the NST, the database, the localization, etcetera.
Instead of having hundreds of images with the same common elements, each common element is a separate download that can be re-used for all images that need it. I’ll leave it to Freddy to explain the details.
What Changes For You?
When I first became aware of this change, I was very skeptical and concerned. I’ve been having some pretty persistent and annoying issues with Docker, and I had visions of it all crapping out on me with this change.
The actual change itself is not very big. Instead of specifying the image name, you specify an artifact URL (the ImageName parameter still exists, and it serves a very useful purpose, but it’s no longer necessary to create a new container). The script then does its work, just like it has before. I made the change, ran the script, and it just created the container without any problem. My containers are usually very straightforward (most of the time I just need the latest US sandbox) and I have had a grand total of zero problems with this particular change.
Posts on the Artifacts
So far, Freddy wrote 5 posts about this change:
- The first hint was in this post, in which he announces the move from preparing full images to artifacts
- The next post is a primer on how to work with artifacts
- Next up are the changes for those that use pipelines, followed by a hello world post for those that don’t
- The 5th one explains how to customize the generic image, pretty advanced stuff that I don’t see myself using any time soon, but with artifacts this is possible
Just today, the last full image for OnPrem was uploaded. As it seems, artifacts are here to stay. Lucky for us, this particular change to NavContainerHelper has been seamless, at least for me. My New-NavContainer scripts still work, and I’ve had zero problems with the resulting containers, at least none that are related to Artifacts.