Node.js on AusNimbus


The AusNimbus builder for Node.js provides a fast, secure and reliable Node.js hosting environment.

This document describes the behaviour and environment configuration when running your Node.js apps on AusNimbus.

Table of Contents

Runtime Environments

AusNimbus supports the latest stable release and each of the LTS releases.

Node.js uses the semantic versioning convention in the form of $MAJOR.$MINOR.$PATCH

The currently supported versions are 4.x, 6.x, 8.x

Web Process

Your application's web processes must bind to port 8080.

AusNimbus handles SSL termination at the load balancer.

The builder will start your web process by executing npm run start or yarn run start (see Dependency Management below). Your start script can be specified in your package.json.

For example:

"scripts": {
  "start": "node express.js"

If you would like to customize the execution process further you may configure the following environment variable:

NAME Description
NPM_RUN Define a custom start script to run from your package.json. Default: start

Dependency Management

The builder uses the Npm package manager for installing dependencies and running scripts from your package.json.

If a yarn.lock file is found, the Yarn package manager will be used instead of npm.


By default your application will be built and deployed in production. If you would like to install devDependencies you will need to set your NODE_ENV to development.

Remember that including devDependencies will slow your entire deployment time, it is recommended you only include the dependencies you need for production builds.

Environment Configuration

The following environment variables are available for you to configure your Node.js environment:

NAME Description
NODE_ENV Node.js environment (Default: "production")
NODE_ARGS Arguments passed to the node command. By default this value will be automatically tune the environment based on the app instance size.


Build Customization

If your application has custom build steps you would like to run you can use the preinstall or postinstall scripts in your package.json. eg

"scripts": {
  "start": "node server.js",
  "test": "mocha",
  "postinstall": "grunt build"

Running AusNimbus specific build steps

If you would like to run specific scripts when deployed only on AusNimbus.

You may specify the ausnimbus-prebuild and/or ausnimbus-postbuild scripts.

For example, if you only want to build production assets when deploying to AusNimbus:

"scripts": {
  "ausnimbus-prebuild": "echo we are about to deploy to AusNimbus",
  "ausnimbus-postbuild": "grunt build"

Configuring npm

If you would like to use a custom npm mirror you may use the following environment variable:

NAME Description
NPM_MIRROR Define a custom npm registry mirror for downloading dependencies

You can also customize npm further by including a .npmrc file in your project’s root.

Application Concurrency

Due to the single-threaded design of Node.js, it doesn't fully take advantage of multiple CPU cores and additional memory. Instead it is recommended to fork multiple process using Node.js clustering. This will allow you to fully utilize the available resources.

The AusNimbus builder allows you to configure a convenient WEB_MEMORY environment variable. The value should be set in MB to the expected memory requirements of your application.

WEB_CONCURRENCY and NODE_ARGS will be automatically tuned based on your WEB_MEMORY value.

NAME Description
WEB_MEMORY Specify expected memory requirements of your application in MB (ie. 512)
WEB_CONCURRENCY Automatically calculated variable based on MEMORY_AVAILABLE / WEB_MEMORY
NODE_ARGS Arguments passed to the node command. By default this value will be automatically tune the environment based on your app instance size.


A simple example with cluster:

var cluster = require('cluster');
var WORKERS = process.env.WEB_CONCURRENCY || 1;

// Code to run if we're in the master process
if (cluster.isMaster) {
  // Create a worker for each WORKERS
  for (var i = 0; i < WORKERS; i += 1) {
// Code to run if we're in a worker process
} else {
  // ...

Another example with Throng:

var throng  = require('throng');
var WORKERS = process.env.WEB_CONCURRENCY || 1;

// Entrypoint for our new clustered process
function start() {
  // ...

  workers: WORKERS,
  lifetime: Infinity,
  start: start


AusNimbus builders are split into two stages:

  • Build
  • Runtime

Both stages are completely extensible, allowing you to customize or completely overwrite each stage.

Build Stage (assemble)

If you want to customize the build stage, you need to add the executable .s2i/bin/assemble file in your repository.

This file should contain the logic required to build and install any dependencies your application requires.

If you only want to extend the build stage, you may use this example:


echo "Logic to include before"

# Run the default builder logic
. /usr/libexec/s2i/assemble

echo "Logic to include after"

Runtime Stage (run)

If you only want to change the executed command for the run stage you may the following environment variable.

NAME Description
APP_RUN Define a custom command to start your application. eg. node server.js

NOTE: APP_RUN will overwrite any builder's runtime configuration (including the Debug Mode section)

Alternatively you may customize or overwrite the entire runtime stage by including the executable file .s2i/bin/run

This file should contain the logic required to execute your application.

If you only want to extend the run stage, you may use this example:


echo "Logic to include before"

# Run the default builder logic
. /usr/libexec/s2i/run

As the run script executes every time your application is deployed, scaled or restarted it's recommended to keep avoid including complex logic which may delay the start-up process of your application.

Persistent Environment Variables

The recommend approach is to set your environment variables in the AusNimbus dashboard.

However it is possible to store environment variables in code using the .s2i/environment file.

The file expects a key=value format eg.


Debug Mode

The AusNimbus builder provides a convenient environment variable to help you debug your application.

NAME Description
DEBUG When set to "TRUE", nodemon will be used to automatically reload the server while you work (default: "false"). Setting DEBUG to "TRUE" will also change the NODE_ENV default to "development" (if not explicitly set).

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