DC/OS provides a number of tools out-of-the-box, ranging from basic network connectivity between containers to more advanced features, such as load balancing and service discovery.

IP Per Container

Allows containers to run on any type of IP-based virtual networks, with each container having its own network namespace.

DC/OS supports IP per container for the Universal container runtime (UCR) by using the Container network interface (CNI). DC/OS supports IP per container for the Docker container runtime by using the Container network model (CNM).

DC/OS provides an out-of-the box virtual networking solution for IP per container called DC/OS overlay that works both with UCR and Docker container runtimes. The DC/OS overlay uses the CNI/CNM support in Mesos to provide IP per container.For more information, see the Containerizer documentation.

DNS-Based Service Discovery

DC/OS includes highly available, distributed, DNS-based service discovery. The service discovery mechanism in DC/OS contains these components:

  • A centralized component called Mesos DNS, which runs on every master.
  • A distributed component called Spartan that runs on every agent.

Mesos DNS

Mesos DNS is a centralized, replicated, DNS server that runs on every master. Every task started by DC/OS gets a well-known DNS name. This provides a replicated highly available DNS service on each of the masters. Every instance of Mesos DNS polls the leading Mesos master and generates a fully qualified domain name (FQDN) for every service running in DC/OS with the domain *.mesos. For more information, see the Mesos DNS documentation.

DNS Forwarder (Spartan)

Spartan acts as a DNS masquerade for Mesos DNS on each agent.

The Spartan instance on each agent is configured to listen to three different local interfaces:,, and The nameserver option in the /etc/resolv.conf on the agent is set to these three interfaces.

This allows containers to perform up to three retries on a DNS request. To provide a highly available DNS service, Spartan forwards each request it receives to the different Mesos DNS instances which are running on each master.

  • Scale-out DNS Server on DC/OS masters with replication.
  • DNS server Proxy with links to all Active/Active DNS server daemons.
  • DNS server cache service for local services.

The Spartan instance on each agent also acts as a DNS server for any service that is load balanced using the DC/OS internal load balancer called Minuteman. Any service that is load balanced by Minuteman gets a virtual-ip-address (VIP) and an FQDN in the "*.l4lb.thisdcos.directory" domain. The FQDN allocated to a load-balanced service is then stored in Spartan. All Spartans instances exchange the records they have discovered locally from Minuteman by using GOSSIP. This provides a highly available distributed DNS service for any task that is load balanced by Minuteman. For more information, see the Spartan repository.

Load Balancing

DC/OS offers one load balancing option out-of-the-box: Minuteman.

Two other load balancers, Edge-LB and Marathon-LB can be installed as services from the DC/OS Universe package repository.

Minuteman Edge-LB Marathon-LB
Open Source X X
Enterprise X X X
North-South (External to Internal) X X
East-West (Internal to Internal) X X X
Layer 4 (Transport Layer) X X X
Layer 7 (Application Layer) X X
Marathon Services X X X
Non-Marathon Service Tasks X X
0 hop load balancing X
No single point of failure X


Minuteman is a distributed layer 4 virtual IP east-west load balancer that is installed by default. It’s highly scalable and highly available, offering 0 hop load balancing, no single choke point, and tolerance to host failures.


Edge-LB builds upon HAProxy. HAProxy provides base functionality such as load balancing for TCP and HTTP-based applications, SSL support, and health checking. In addition, Edge-LB provides first class support for zero downtime service deployment strategies, such as blue/green deployment. Edge-LB subscribes to Mesos and updates HAProxy configuration in real time.

Edge-LB proxies and load balances traffic to all services that run on DC/OS. In contrast, Marathon-LB can only work with Marathon tasks. For example, if you are using Cassandra, Edge-LB can load balance the tasks launched by Cassandra.


Marathon-LB is based on HAProxy, a rapid proxy and north-south load balancer. HAProxy provides proxying and load balancing for TCP and HTTP based applications, with features such as SSL support, HTTP compression, health checking, Lua scripting and more. Marathon-LB subscribes to Marathon’s event bus and updates the HAProxy configuration in real time.