This version of the documentation is NOT an official release. You are reading the documentation version which is in active and ongoing development. You can change versions on the bottom left of the screen.

Deploy with Docker Compose

Docker Compose

Docker is a virtualization software packaging applications and its dependencies in a virtual container that can run on any Linux server. It is available for a variety of the operating systems, e.g. Linux, Mac and Windows. For more information follow the link here.

NEST Desktop and NEST Simulator are prepared in different containers, but you can use docker-compose to start multiple containers, e.g. NEST Desktop, NEST Simulator. Docker Compose needs the configuration file (docker-compose.yml).

Here, the guide shows you how to build containers with docker-compose.



Prepare your local environment by installing Docker (if you have not installed it yet).

apt install docker-compose

Get the configuration file

The configuration file docker-compose.yml contains all setup steps executed by Docker. Fetch this file from GitHub:

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/nest-desktop/nest-desktop/main/docker-compose.yml

It will pull images of NEST Desktop from https://docker-registry.ebrains.eu/harbor/projects/6/repositories/nest-desktop and NEST Simulator can be started from within the official NEST image (https://docker-registry.ebrains.eu/harbor/projects/6/repositories/nest-simulator).

Getting started

Build and start the NEST Desktop and NEST Simulator containers.

docker-compose up --build

NEST Desktop and NEST Simulator are now serving at http://localhost:8000 and http://localhost:5000, respectively. With CTRL + C you can shutdown these services.

Configurations in docker-compose.yml

Here, you can find the details of the configuration file.


Get docker image from Docker Hub


Set container name


Bind host ports to container ports


Execute command on container start


Set environment variables

Alternatively, you can clone the source code so that you can change the Dockerfile and build custom docker images on your machine. For more information, visit the page https://github.com/nest-desktop/nest-desktop-docker.

Upgrade images

First stop the containers and shut down services of nest-desktop and nest-server.

docker-compose stop
docker-compose down

Then pull images from docker hub.

docker-compose pull

Afterwards, you can start the services and containers.

docker-compose up --no-start
docker-compose start

Useful commands

In the following you can find some useful commands for docker-compose.

List containers.

docker-compose ps

If there are no services (nest-desktop and nest-server) in the displayed list, it means that no containers can be started. You can attach a container for services without starting it using --no-start.

docker-compose up --no-start

Then start the services nest-desktop and nest-server as daemon.

docker-compose start

Stop the services nest-desktop and nest-server.

docker-compose stop

Shutdown the services nest-desktop and nest-server.

docker-compose down


Thanks for the help:

  • Steffen Graber (Docker Hub for NEST Simulator)

  • Jochen Martin Eppler (API Server for NEST Simulator)