Simple Docker Compose file for Essbase

I’m working on a few things and some future blog posts and as with many of the things I am doing these days, I am using a Dockerized Essbase server. If you or your company has successfully followed the steps as laid out in the docker-essbase GitHub repository, then you have a Docker image for an Essbase server. There are a few ways to actually run this image. Generally you will want to run the Docker Essbase server from its “compose” file. The compose file is a YAML syntax file that specifies how to tie multiple docker images into a server. In this case those multiple Docker images are the Essbase image/container itself and a Microsoft SQL Server image/container that houses the relational databases that Essbase requires.

The compose file that is part of the docker-essbase project works just fine, but there is a slightly different you can run the server that might be a good option for you or your coworkers. If you push your Essbase image up to a Docker image registry (such as Docker Hub although there are others such as on AWS or Azure), then you can make it available to your colleagues/coworkers to use without them having to clone the docker-essbase repository or build the image themselves. The compose file looks like this:

As noted in the comments for the file, this example assumes you have a .env file or have otherwise defined the variables for SQL_PW, EPM_PW, and REGISTRY. Registry is just your organization or user name on Docker Hub.

This compose file is just a little from the one in the docker-essbase project. One, it doesn’t bother to try and build the Essbase Docker image, it simply references one that you have pushed up to a registry. This example also assumes that the image name is essbase and it has been tagged as latest (at the time of this writing my latest tag corresponds to a Docker Essbase image that is patched to version

The rest of the comments in the gist/code example indicate how you can run the server in detached state, follow the logs, pull up the EAS launcher, and run/login to a MaxL session.

One way you can use this file would be to push up your built Essbase Docker image to a private registry, then give access to that image to your employees and give them this compose file (or put it in a GitHub repository or whatever) and they can then start an entire Essbase server on their machine (assuming Docker is installed) with a single command.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts and various presentations, this ability has been an incredibly useful development tool for me. Part of the reason that it has been useful is that I treat these servers as completely throwaway objects, which is to say, when I’m done using it, I just stop it and it goes away. The next time I start it up, Sample/Basic and friends are loaded anew as if nothing happened. So this let’s me make cube copies, mess with outlines and other things and not have to worry about messing anything up.

That said, you may want to treat your Docker Essbase server as something that’s slightly less ephemeral. You can do this (so you’re treating the container essentially like a VM), although it’s not a use case that I have a ton of experience with. If you treat your Docker Essbase container more like a VM, I’d be curious to hear what your workflow looks like and any other thoughts you may have.



There are multiple ways with Docker Compose to specify variable values such as those used in the above file. A simple way to do so is with a .env file in the same folder. It might look like the following:


In the above and in my case, the value of REGISTRY is my organization’s Docker Hub ID. This value might be more detailed if you have a registry on another provider and you therefore have to specify a ‘fully qualified’ registry path. Additionally, the value of SQL_PW is one that I have gotten in the habit of using for Microsoft SQL Server because it requires a complex password with uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, symbols, and length. EPM is less stringent, although you still can’t get by with just ‘password’ as WebLogic needs something ever so slightly more secure (note that the password ‘password’ is fine for Essbase itself, but the Docker Essbase image just uses the same password for both Essbase and EPM for simplicity).


The above Compose file maps only port 9000. This is the “compact deployment” port for an EPM server, when you have EAS, APS/Smart View Provider Services, Workspace and Shared Services all running in WebLogic on this one port. This means that connections to Smart View are over port 9000, Java API connections through APS are on port 9000, and more. As presently configured, you cannot connect to Essbase via embedded mode. You would need to add in port 1423 and the port range starting at 32768. You could, if you wanted to, also add in port 7001 and start up the WebLogic container and then login to manage WebLogic. Just for the sake of simplicity I have omitted those ports here (but the whole list can be found in the docker-essbase GitHub project).

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