NX monorepo: Deploy and Run Node microservices locally with Docker and Kubernetes

Ruslan Elishaev
Ruslan Elishaev
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We are going to install the following#

  • NX - Nx is build system with first class monorepo support and powerful integrations.
  • Docker - Docker is an open source containerization platform.
  • kubectl - The Kubernetes command-line tool
  • minikube - minikube is local Kubernetes
  • virtualbox - VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware, targeted at server, desktop and embedded use.

Install on macOS#

npm install -g nx
brew update
brew install kubectl
brew cask install docker
brew cask install minikube
brew cask install virtualbox

Install on Linux (Debian)#

install NX

npm install -g nx

To install docker, follow the instructions here: https://docs.docker.com/engine/install/ubuntu/

Install docker-compose

sudo apt install docker-compose

Docker Desktop works on Mac and Windows only. A proper alternative is dockstation app: https://dockstation.io/

To install kubectl follow the instructions here: https://kubernetes.io/docs/tasks/tools/install-kubectl-linux/

To install minikube follow the instructions here: https://minikube.sigs.k8s.io/docs/start/

To install virtualbox follow the instructions here: https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Linux_Downloads

Check if installed properly#

kubectl version --client
docker --version
docker-compose --version
docker-machine --version
minikube version

Install NX workspace#

npx create-nx-workspace

Choose desired name for your project

✔ Workspace name (e.g., org name)     · nx-monorepo-microservices

Choose express as starter template

 What to create in the new workspace 
  apps              [an empty workspace with no plugins with a layout that works best for building apps]
  core              [an empty workspace with no plugins set up to publish npm packages (similar to yarn workspaces)]
  ts                [an empty workspace with the JS/TS plugin preinstalled]
  react             [a workspace with a single React application]
  angular           [a workspace with a single Angular application]
  next.js           [a workspace with a single Next.js application]
  gatsby            [a workspace with a single Gatsby application]
  nest              [a workspace with a single Nest application]
❯ express           [a workspace with a single Express application]
  web components    [a workspace with a single app built using web components]
  react-native      [a workspace with a single React Native application]
  react-express     [a workspace with a full stack application (React + Express)]
  angular-nest      [a workspace with a full stack application (Angular + Nest)]

Choose App name for the microservice

 Application name                    › svc-products 

Choose No for Use Nx Cloud?

✔ Use Nx Cloud? (It's free and doesn't require registration.) · No

Generate more express microservices#

nx generate @nrwl/express:application svc-cart

nx generate @nrwl/express:application svc-user

Create Dockerfile for each microservice#

Create the Dockerfile in the root of each microservice app.


FROM node:lts-alpine
COPY ./dist/apps/svc-cart .
COPY package.json package-lock.json ./
RUN npm install --production
# dependencies that express needs
RUN npm install reflect-metadata tslib rxjs express
CMD node ./main.js

NX is ready! 🚀#


Start the kubernetes cluster with minikube (minikube is local Kubernetes)#

minikube start

Check if minikube node is ready#

kubectl get nodes

You should see something like that

minikube   Ready     master    40s        v1.14.0

Build docker images of express microservices#

First build the express app. You will see the output in the dist directory.

nx build svc-cart && nx build svc-products && nx build svc-user

⚠️ Configure environment to use minikube’s Docker daemon

minikube docker-env 


export DOCKER_HOST="tcp://"
export DOCKER_CERT_PATH="/Users/user/.minikube/certs"

# To point your shell to minikube's docker-daemon, run:
# eval $(minikube -p minikube docker-env)

Copy and run the "eval" command from the output

eval $(minikube -p minikube docker-env)

More on minikube docker-env command:

Build the docker images

docker build -f ./apps/svc-cart/Dockerfile . -t svc-cart
docker build -f ./apps/svc-products/Dockerfile . -t svc-products
docker build -f ./apps/svc-user/Dockerfile . -t svc-user

Check whether docker images has been created

docker images --format "table {{.ID}}\t{{.Tag}}\t{{.Repository}}"

You should see something like that

9d280d1feec7   latest    svc-user
01a97cac7c74   latest    svc-products
73de4fa41b44   latest    svc-cart
8768eddc4356   v0.0.25   gcr.io/k8s-minikube/kicbase

Deploy to Kubernetes#

Create manifest config files in each microservice root dir:

I prefer JSON over YAML ,but you can use whatever you want. Read more here:


  "apiVersion": "apps/v1",
  "kind": "Deployment",
  "metadata": {
    "name": "svc-cart"
  "spec": {
    "replicas": 1,
    "selector": {
      "matchLabels": {
        "app": "svc-cart"
    "template": {
      "metadata": {
        "labels": {
          "app": "svc-cart"
      "spec": {
        "containers": [
            "name": "svc-cart",
            "image": "svc-cart:latest",
            "imagePullPolicy": "Never",
            "ports": [
                "containerPort": 3333


  "kind": "Service",
  "apiVersion": "v1",
  "metadata": {
    "name": "svc-cart-service"
  "spec": {
    "type": "NodePort",
    "selector": {
      "app": "svc-cart"
    "ports": [
        "protocol": "TCP",
        "port": 80,
        "targetPort": 3333,
        "name": "svc-cart-service"

Apply the configuration in deployment.json and service.json to a pod
kubectl apply -f apps/svc-cart/deployment.json 

kubectl apply -f apps/svc-cart/deployment.json 

Check if pods are running#

kubectl get pods


NAME                           READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
svc-cart-8b6dfcfb4-tzccw       1/1     Running   0          39m
svc-products-5b9d7478b-5r5zq   1/1     Running   0          14m
svc-user-5c59cb6776-gdt2h      1/1     Running   0          5m54s

Check if services are running#

kubectl get services


kubernetes             ClusterIP        <none>        443/TCP        18h
svc-cart-service       NodePort    <none>        80:32180/TCP   25m
svc-products-service   NodePort    <none>        80:30915/TCP   16m

Access services outside the node (minikube is able to create tunnel )#

minikube service svc-cart-service --url

You will see something like that:

🏃  Starting tunnel for service svc-cart-service.
| NAMESPACE |       NAME       | TARGET PORT |          URL           |
| default   | svc-cart-service |             | |
❗  Because you are using a Docker driver on darwin, the terminal needs to be open to run it.

Open up

You should see the following JSON response:

{"message":"Welcome to svc-cart!"}

🚀 🚀 🚀 Open another terminal instance and run another service 🚀 🚀 🚀

Monitor services with minikube dashboard#

minikube dashboard


Github repository#


The Outcome#

This tutorial is for learning purposes on your local machine. It's the first step before you deploy your microservices to the cloud services such Google Cloud, AWS, Azure or Digital Ocean.

In the next tutorial we will learn how to deploy microservices with ArgoCD. Stay tuned 🎧!

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