This version of the doc is no longer supported. Please check out the stable docs for the latest in Juju.

Juju concepts

The Juju client

The Juju client is command line interface (CLI) software that is used to manage Juju, whether as an administrator or as a regular user. It is installed, via an APT package ('juju'), onto your personal workstation. This software manages your connection to Juju controllers in the cloud, and is used to issue commands to deploy and manage applications.


In Juju terms, the cloud is the environment which provides resources to be used by Juju - machines and storage. This includes traditional public clouds, such as Amazon Web Services, Google Compute Engine and Microsoft Azure, as well as (possibly private) clouds such as OpenStack.

It also includes things which may not strictly speaking be clouds, but Juju can treat as a cloud, such as MAAS and your local computer using LXD.

The Juju controller

The controller is a special instance which Juju will create in a cloud when you run the bootstrap command. The controller manages the internals of Juju for the chosen cloud, including the models (see next section) you create within it. Multiple clouds (and thus controllers) are possible and each one may contain multiple models.


A model is the space within which you can deploy applications. A controller can manage several models, and the models themselves can even be shared amongst multiple users.


The magic behind Juju is a collection of software components called Charms. They contain all the instructions necessary for deploying and configuring cloud-based applications. The charms publicly available in the online Charm Store represent the distilled DevOps knowledge of experts. Charms make it easy to reliably and repeatedly deploy applications, then scale up as required with minimal effort.


Few applications are designed to be run in isolation. Juju charms also contain the knowledge of how to connect applications together using common interfaces they share. For example, WordPress supports an 'http' interface (for serving the website) and a 'db' interface (for the database which stores the content of the site). Any other service which can support these interfaces (e.g haproxy for the website and MySQL for the database) can connect to the WordPress charm in a meaningful way.


A bundle is a ready-to-run collection of applications which have been modelled to work together - this can include particular configurations and relations between the software to be deployed. For example, a WordPress bundle may include the Wordpress charm, the MySQL charm, and the relation between them. When deployed, the software is set up and relations are made as per the bundle's instructions. This is a great way to quickly and reliably deploy complex groups of applications, and of course you can still use Juju to manage them after deployment to scale them any way you wish.

Juju can deploy bundles directly from the command line or the Juju GUI can both deploy and save bundles. See the documentation on bundles for more information.


A machine is the term used to describe a running instance in the cloud. Machines will usually house a single unit of a deployed application, but this is not always the case. If directed by the user a machine may house several units (e.g. to conserve resources) or possibly no units at all: a machine can be created independently of applications, though usually this is with the intention of eventually running an application on it!


A unit is a running instance of a given Juju application. Simple applications may be deployed with a single application unit, but it is possible for an individual application to have multiple units running in independent machines. All units for a given application will share the same charm, the same relations, and the same user-provided configuration.

For instance, one may deploy a single MongoDB application, and specify that it should run 3 units, so that the replica set is resilient to failures. Internally, even though the replica set shares the same user-provided configuration, each unit may be performing different roles within the replica set, as defined by the charm.