Grouping applications

Juju deploys units of an application from a charm. The simplest way to do this is

juju deploy mysql

which will take the latest version of the MySQL charm straight from the store and create a single application unit.

By default, Juju creates a unit of an application named after the charm; mysql in the above example.

You can specify the name for the application when deploying:

juju deploy mysql wikidb

which will create a unit of the wikidb application. It creates the unit exactly as before, except instead of mysql, the application is called wikidb.

Why specify names for applications? The simplest reason is organizational. It lets you stay organized as your infrastructure gets more complex:

juju deploy mysql website-db
juju deploy mysql app-master-db
juju deploy mysql app-slave-db -n2

But there are other reasons to do this: application groups, which are nothing other than named applications. They are called out as a separate feature because they're quite useful in a few different ways.


Some applications acquire a role at runtime based on the relations that are joined.

A great example of this is the hadoop charm. It can instantiate applications

juju deploy hadoop namenode
juju deploy hadoop datacluster -n40

which are identical at this point except for the application name that Juju's using for the various units.

These applications acquire roles at relation-time via

juju add-relation namenode:namenode datacluster:datanode
juju add-relation namenode:jobtracker datacluster:tasktracker

The relations determine the application role.

Another example of this is mysql replication.

juju deploy mysql masterdb
juju deploy mysql slavedb -n2

where the different applications are related to each other

juju add-relation masterdb:master slavedb:slave

and to other applications via

juju deploy mediawiki mywiki
juju add-relation mywiki:db masterdb:db
juju add-relation mywiki:slave slavedb:db

Upgrade Groups and/or Config Groups

There are also interesting use-cases for breaking large applications down into separate groups of units. Instead of a single 5000-node hadoop application named hadoop-slave, you might build that cluster from multiple smaller application groups.

juju deploy hadoop hadoop-master
juju deploy hadoop hadoop-slave-A -n2500
juju deploy hadoop hadoop-slave-B -n2500
juju add-relation hadoop-master:namenode hadoop-slave-A:datanode
juju add-relation hadoop-master:namenode hadoop-slave-B:datanode

These application groups can be managed independently by Juju for upgrades and configuration

juju config hadoop-slave-B some_param=new_value

This technique can potentially be a way for Juju to manage rolling upgrades for an application. Of course, this depends heavily on the applications in question and how well they support version management, schema changes, etc.

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