Open edX Devstack Provisioning tests CLI tests Documentation Status

Devstack is the local Docker-based environment for developing in the Open edX platform. Use it to get up and running quickly with Open edX services.

Documentation is on Read the Docs. Code repository is on GitHub.

The Devstack runs as multiple containers with Docker Compose at its core.

A Devstack installation includes the following Open edX components by default:

  • The Learning Management System (LMS)

  • The Learning micro-frontend (A.K.A the new Courseware experience)

  • Open Response Assessments (ORA2), among other LMS plug-ins.

  • Open edX Studio

  • Discussion Forums

  • E-Commerce

  • Credentials

  • Notes

  • Course Discovery

  • Open edX Search

  • A demonstration Open edX course

  • The Publisher and Gradebook micro-frontends

It also includes the following extra components:

  • XQueue

  • The Program Console micro-frontend

  • The Library Authoring micro-frontend

  • edX Registrar service.

  • The course-authoring micro-frontend

Where to Find Help

There are a number of places to get help, including mailing lists and real-time chat. Please choose an appropriate venue for your question. This helps ensure that you get good prompt advice, and keeps discussion focused. For details of your options, see the Community pages.

You can also browse all the documentation in Read the Docs.


NOTE: LMS is now using MySql 5.7 by default. You have to run make dev.pull.lms and make dev.provision.lms (more details in Getting Started) to fetch latest images and reprovision local copies of databases in order for an existing devstack setup to keep working.

Getting Started


You will need to have the following installed:

  • make

  • Python 3.8

  • Docker

This project requires Docker 17.06+ CE. We recommend Docker Stable, but Docker Edge should work as well.

NOTE: Switching between Docker Stable and Docker Edge will remove all images and settings. Don’t forget to restore your memory setting and be prepared to provision.

For macOS users, please use Docker for Mac. Previous Mac-based tools (e.g. boot2docker) are not supported.

Since a Docker-based devstack runs many containers, you should configure Docker with a sufficient amount of resources. We find that configuring Docker for Mac with a minimum of 2 CPUs, 8GB of memory, and a disk image size of 96GB does work.

Docker for Windows may work but has not been tested and is not supported.

If you are using Linux, use the overlay2 storage driver, kernel version 4.0+ and not overlay. To check which storage driver your docker-daemon uses, run the following command.

docker info | grep -i 'storage driver'

Please note

You should run all make commands described below on your local machinge, not from within a Virtual Machine, as these commands are meant to stand up a VM-like environment using Docker containers.

However, you may want to run the make commands from within a Python 3 virtual environment, as described in Getting Started. This will keep the Python packages required for Devstack separate from the ones installed globally on your system.

Directions to setup devstack

The default devstack services can be run by following the steps below.

Note: This will set up a large number of services, more than you are likely to need to work with, but that’s only necessary for first-time provisioning. See Service List and the most common development workflow for how to run and update devstack with just the services you need, rather than the large-and-slow default set.

  1. Install the requirements inside of a Python virtualenv.

    make requirements

    This will install docker-compose and other utilities into your virtualenv.

  2. The Docker Compose file mounts a host volume for each service’s executing code. The host directory defaults to be a sibling of this directory. For example, if this repo is cloned to ~/workspace/devstack, host volumes will be expected in ~/workspace/course-discovery, ~/workspace/ecommerce, etc. These repos can be cloned with the command below.

    make dev.clone  # or, `make dev.clone.https` if you don't have SSH keys set up.

    You may customize where the local repositories are found by setting the DEVSTACK_WORKSPACE environment variable.

    (macOS only) Share the cloned service directories in Docker, using Docker -> Preferences -> File Sharing in the Docker menu.

  3. Pull any changes made to the various images on which the devstack depends.

    make dev.pull.large-and-slow

    Note - If you are setting up devstack to develop on Open edx named releases, see this document on developing on named releases before following this step 3.

  4. Run the provision command, if you haven’t already, to configure the various services with superusers (for development without the auth service) and tenants (for multi-tenancy).

    NOTE: When running the provision command, databases for ecommerce and edxapp will be dropped and recreated.

    The username and password for the superusers are both edx. You can access the services directly via Django admin at the /admin/ path, or login via single sign-on at /login/.


    make dev.provision

    This is expected to take a while, produce a lot of output from a bunch of steps, and finally end with Provisioning complete!

    NOTE: This command will bring up both MySQL 5.6 and 5.7 databases until all services are upgraded to 5.7.

    NOTE: If you are looking for instructions for NFS or docker-sync, see Deprecated MacOS performance improvements.

  5. Start the desired services. This command will mount the repositories under the DEVSTACK_WORKSPACE directory.

    NOTE: it may take up to 60 seconds for the LMS to start, even after the dev.up.* command outputs done.


    make dev.up.large-and-slow

    NOTE: If you are looking for instructions for NFS or docker-sync, see Deprecated MacOS performance improvements.

To stop a service, use make dev.stop.<service>, and to both stop it and remove the container (along with any changes you have made to the filesystem in the container) use make dev.down.<service>.

After the services have started, if you need shell access to one of the services, run make<service>. For example to access the Catalog/Course Discovery Service, you can run:


To see logs from containers running in detached mode, you can either use “Kitematic” (available from the “Docker for Mac” menu), or by running the following:

make dev.logs

To view the logs of a specific service container run make dev.logs.<service>. For example, to access the logs for Ecommerce, you can run:

make dev.logs.ecommerce

For information on the supported make commands, you can run:

make help

Devstack collects some basic usage metrics to help gain a better understanding of how devstack is used and to surface any potential issues on local devstack environments. To learn more, read 0003-usage-metrics.rst ADR.

This data collection is behind a consent flag, so please help devstack’s maintainers by enabling metrics collection by running the following:

make metrics-opt-in

Now that you’re up and running, read about the most common development workflow.

Usernames and Passwords

The provisioning script creates a Django superuser for every service.

Username: edx
Password: edx

The LMS also includes demo accounts. The passwords for each of these accounts is edx.



An LMS and Studio user with course creation and editing permissions. This user is a course team member with the Admin role, which gives rights to work with the demonstration course in Studio, the LMS, and Insights.

A student account that you can use to access the LMS for testing verified certificates.

A student account that you can use to access the LMS for testing course auditing.

A student account that you can use to access the LMS for testing honor code certificates.

Service List

These are the edX services that Devstack can provision, pull, run, attach to, etc. Each service is accessible at localhost on a specific port. The table below provides links to the homepage, API root, or API docs of each service, as well as links to the repository where each service’s code lives.

Most developers will be best served by working with specific combinations of these services, for example make or make dev.up.ecommerce. These will pull in dependencies as needed—starting ecommerce will also start lms, and lms will pull in forums, discovery, and others. If you need multiple, they can be listed like make After the service table below there is a list of some common combinations.

Instead of a service name or list, you can also run commands like make dev.provision / make dev.pull.large-and-slow / make dev.up.large-and-slow. This is a larger list than most people will need for most of their work, and includes all of the services marked “Default” in the below table. (Some of these targets use large-and-slow in their name as a warning; others may be changed to use this over time.) However, you can change this list by modifying the DEFAULT_SERVICES option as described in the Advanced Configuration Options section.



































MFE (React.js)




MFE (React.js)




MFE (React.js)




MFE (React.js)








MFE (React.js)




MFE (React.js)




MFE (React.js)




MFE (React.js)








Tooling (Java)






Some common service combinations include:

  • lms: LMS, along with dependencies forum, discovery, and some databases

  • ecommerce: Ecommerce, but also LMS as a dependency (for auth)

  • studio+credentials: Services can be combined to affect both at once

Known Issues

Currently, some containers rely on Elasticsearch 7 and some rely on Elasticsearch 1.5. This is because services are in the process of being upgraded to Elasticsearch 7, but not all of them support Elasticsearch 7 yet. As we complete these migrations, we will update the dependencies of these containers.

Advanced Configuration Options

The file sets several configuration options to default values. For example DEVSTACK_WORKSPACE (the folder where your Git repos are expected to be) is set to this directory’s parent directory by default, and DEFAULT_SERVICES (the list of services that are provisioned and run by default) is set to a fairly long list of services out of the box. For more detail, refer to the comments in the file itself.

If you’re feeling brave, you can create an git-ignored overrides file called in the same directory and set your own values. In general, it’s good to bring down containers before changing any settings.

Changing the Docker Compose Project Name

The COMPOSE_PROJECT_NAME variable is used to define Docker namespaced volumes and network based on this value, so changing it will give you a separate set of databases. This is handled for you automatically by setting the OPENEDX_RELEASE environment variable in (e.g. COMPOSE_PROJECT_NAME=devstack-juniper.master. Should you want to manually override this, edit the in the root of this repo and create the file if it does not exist. Change the devstack project name by adding the following line:

# Example: COMPOSE_PROJECT_NAME=secondarydevstack

As a specific example, if OPENEDX_RELEASE is set in your environment as juniper.master, then COMPOSE_PROJECT_NAME will default to devstack-juniper.master instead of devstack.

Deprecated MacOS performance improvements

Warning: We recommend that new devstack setups on MacOS no longer use NFS or docker-sync for MacOS. At this time, these technologies lead to increased complexity and might cause errors. Improvements to Docker’s default FS have resolved bugs or performance issues that were previously dependent on these workaround technologies.

For further details, read more about the forthcoming deprecation of NFS and deprecation of docker-sync.

Until these deprecated technologies go through the deprecation and removal process, the following deprecated instructions are left here for legacy purposes:

Setup NFS before provisioning:

make dev.nfs.setup

Provision using docker-sync:

make dev.sync.provision

Provision using NFS:

make dev.nfs.provision

Start using docker-sync:

make dev.sync.up

Start using NFS:

make dev.nfs.up