Control Node

🚀 Continuous Delivery and Orchestration as code for Elixir


def deps do
    {:control_node, "~> 0.2.0"}


control_node is an Elixir library which offers APIs that allow you to build your own deployment and orchestration workflows. For a given a release tar of an Elixir/Erlang project control_node offers APIs to store and manage release tar via local registry and also deploy these release tar to remote hosts (via SSH) and monitor service nodes.


In order to use control_node you must ensure the following,

  • You are deploying to virtual machines or bare metal servers. Control node should have SSH access all these host machines where the releases will run.
  • Your Erlang/Elixir project when started should run the EPMD (it runs by default if you don't change the config)


  • [x] Support multiple namespaces for a release
  • [x] Rollout releases to hosts via SSH
  • [x] Native node monitoring and restart on failover
  • [ ] Native service monitoring/health check
  • [ ] Support namespace environment variable configuration
  • [ ] Hot upgrade your release config
  • [ ] Dynamically scale up/down your release instances
  • [ ] Rollback releases

Quick example

This library ships with an example service_app under example/ folder. You can try out this library by trying to deploy the release using the following steps,

Clone the repo

$ git clone
$ cd control-code/

Start an SSH server locally where the release will be deployed,

$ docker-compose up -d

Start iex and define ServiceApp module which will offer API to deploy service_app,

$ iex -S mix
Erlang/OTP 23 [erts-11.0] [source] [64-bit] [smp:8:8] [ds:8:8:10] [async-threads:1] [hipe]

Interactive Elixir (1.10.4) - press Ctrl+C to exit (type h() ENTER for help)
iex(1)> :net_kernel.start([:control_node_test, :shortnames])
iex(control_node_test@hostname)2> defmodule ServiceApp do
  use ControlNode.Release,
    spec: %ControlNode.Release.Spec{name: :service_app, base_path: "/app/service_app"}

Declare a host_spec which will hold the details of which host the release can be deployed to

iex(control_node_test@hostname)3> host_spec = %ControlNode.Host.SSH{
  host: "localhost",
  port: 2222,
  user: "",
  private_key_dir: Path.join([File.cwd!(), "test/fixture", "host-vm/.ssh"])

Declare a namespace_spec which define the namespace for a given release. Notice that the namespace allows specifying a list of hosts and registry. A registry module offers API to retrieve the release tar and here we use a Local registry which will retrieve the release tar from the filesystem.

iex(control_node_test@hostname)4> namespace_spec = %ControlNode.Namespace.Spec{
  tag: :testing,
  hosts: [host_spec],
  registry_spec: %ControlNode.Registry.Local{path: Path.join(File.cwd!(), "example")},
  deployment_type: :incremental_replace,

Now we deploy the release to a given namespace_spec i.e. the release we be started on on all the hosts specified in the namespace. Notice that once the deployment is finished control_node_test@hostname automatically connects to release nodes,

iex(control_node_test@hostname)5> ServiceApp.start_link(namespace_spec)
iex(control_node_test@hostname)6> ServiceApp.deploy(:testing, "0.1.0")
iex(control_node_test@hostname)7> Node.list()

SSH server config to enable tunneling

In order to ensure that Control Node can connect to release node the SSH servers running the release should allow tunneling,

AllowTcpForwarding yes


  • SSH client only supports ed25519 keys
  • Only short names for nodes are allowed ie. sevice_app@hostname is support and not
  • Nodes of a given release (deployed to different) should have different hostname for eg. if node 1 has node name service_app@host1 then another node of service_app should have a different node name.