Deploying an Application

An Application is deployed to Deis using git push or the deis client.

Supported Applications

Deis Workflow can deploy any application or service that can run inside a Docker container. In order to be scaled horizontally, applications must follow the Twelve-Factor App methodology and store any application state in external backing services.

For example, if your application persists state to the local filesystem -- common with content management systems like Wordpress and Drupal -- it cannot be scaled horizontally using deis scale.

Fortunately, most modern applications feature a stateless application tier that can scale horizontally inside Deis.

Login to the Controller


if you haven't yet, now is a good time to install the client and register.

Before deploying an application, users must first authenticate against the Deis Controller using the URL supplied by their Deis administrator.

$ deis login
username: deis
Logged in as deis

Select a Build Process

Deis Workflow supports three different ways of building applications:


Heroku buildpacks are useful if you want to follow Heroku's best practices for building applications or if you are porting an application from Heroku.

Learn how to deploy applications using Buildpacks.


Dockerfiles are a powerful way to define a portable execution environment built on a base OS of your choosing.

Learn how to deploy applications using Dockerfiles.

Docker Image

Deploying a Docker image onto Deis allows you to take a Docker image from either a public or a private registry and copy it over bit-for-bit, ensuring that you are running the same image in development or in your CI pipeline as you are in production.

Learn how to deploy applications using Docker images.

Tuning Application Settings

It is possible to configure a few of the globally tunable settings on per application basis using config:set.

Setting Description
DEIS_DISABLE_CACHE if set, this will disable the slugbuilder cache (default: not set)
DEIS_DEPLOY_BATCHES the number of pods to bring up and take down sequentially during a scale (default: number of available nodes)
DEIS_DEPLOY_TIMEOUT deploy timeout in seconds per deploy batch (default: 120)
IMAGE_PULL_POLICY the kubernetes [image pull policy][pull-policy] for application images (default: "IfNotPresent") (allowed values: "Always", "IfNotPresent")
KUBERNETES_DEPLOYMENTS_REVISION_HISTORY_LIMIT how many revisions Kubernetes keeps around of a given Deployment (default: all revisions)
KUBERNETES_POD_TERMINATION_GRACE_PERIOD_SECONDS how many seconds kubernetes waits for a pod to finish work after a SIGTERM before sending SIGKILL (default: 30)

Deploy Timeout

Deploy timeout in seconds - There are 2 deploy methods, Deployments (see below) and RC (versions prior to 2.4) and this setting affects those a bit differently.


Deployments behave a little bit differently from the RC based deployment strategy.

Kubernetes takes care of the entire deploy, doing rolling updates in the background. As a result, there is only an overall deployment timeout instead of a configurable per-batch timeout.

The base timeout is multiplied with DEIS_DEPLOY_BATCHES to create an overall timeout. This would be 240 (timeout) * 4 (batches) = 960 second overall timeout.

RC deploy

This deploy timeout defines how long to wait for each batch to complete in DEIS_DEPLOY_BATCHES.

Additions to the base timeout

The base timeout is extended as well with healthchecks using initialDelaySeconds on liveness and readiness where the bigger of those two is applied. Additionally the timeout system accounts for slow image pulls by adding an additional 10 minutes when it has seen an image pull take over 1 minute. This allows the timeout values to be reasonable without having to account for image pull slowness in the base deploy timeout.


Workflow uses Deployments for deploys. In prior versions ReplicationControllers were used with the ability to turn on Deployments via DEIS_KUBERNETES_DEPLOYMENTS=1.

The advantage of Deployments is that rolling-updates will happen server-side in Kubernetes instead of in Deis Workflow Controller, along with a few other Pod management related functionality. This allows a deploy to continue even when the CLI connection is interrupted.

Behind the scenes your application deploy will be built up of a Deployment object per process type, each having multiple ReplicaSets (one per release) which in turn manage the Pods running your application.

Deis Workflow will behave the same way with DEIS_KUBERNETES_DEPLOYMENTS enabled or disabled (only applicable to versions prior to 2.4). The changes are behind the scenes. Where you will see differences while using the CLI is deis ps:list will output Pod names differently.