Deployment with Arion

Arion projects can be deployed in Nix-like or Docker-like ways.

Docker images

When you disable useHostStore, arion will build images, which can be deployed to any Docker host, including non-NixOS hosts.

Remote Docker socket

Access to a Docker socket is equivalent to root access on the host.

Docker supports authentication via TLS client certificates.

The runArion Effect uses this technique.

Because this technique works with a single Docker host, it does not need a registry.

Upload to registry

You can either use arion push or write custom push logic using the arion cat command, the eval function on the arion package, or the lib.eval function on the flake to retrieve the images defined in a project.

NixOS module

Arion projects can be deployed as part of a NixOS configuration. This ties the project revision to the system configuration revision, which can be good or bad thing, depending on your deployment strategy. At a low level, a benefit is that no store paths need to be copied locally and remote NixOS deployments can use Nix’s copy-closure algorithm for efficient transfers, and transparent binary caches rather than an inherently stateful Docker registry solution.

Extend your NixOS configuration by adding the configuration elements to an existing configuration. You could create a new module file for it, if your choice of imports allows it.

This deployment method does NOT use an arion-pkgs.nix file, but reuses the host pkgs.
  imports = [
    # Pick one of:
    #  - niv
    ((import ./nix/sources.nix).arion + "/nixos-module.nix")
    #  - flakes (where arion is a flake input)
    #  - other
    arionPath + "/nixos-module.nix")

  virtualisation.arion = {
    backend = "podman-socket"; # or "docker"
    projects.example.settings = {
      # Specify you project here, or import it from a file.
      # NOTE: This does NOT use ./arion-pkgs.nix, but defaults to NixOS' pkgs.
      imports = [ ./arion-compose.nix ];

See also: