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What are formations?

When using Seaplane Global Managed Compute (GMC) there are two key terms you need to know: flights and formations. This document dives into the technical details of formations. You can learn more about flights here.

Flights vs Formations

Before we dive into the specific details of flights, it's important to understand the difference between a flight and a formation.

A flight consists of a single container image. Under the hood, Seaplane can spin up many container instances and spread them around the globe or within the regions you specify (more on that later).

A formation consists of one or more flights. Formations can be thought of as your high-level application or service. Formations include the load balancer and entry-point (resource URL) to your service. This is the entry point for all public and private traffic.


Formations are heart of your application when deployed on Seaplane. They include your high-level application, load-balancer, and routing all in one. Each formation has at least one resource URL that serves as the entry point to your application for external traffic.

Resource URLs have the following structure:

Formations can be made up of multiple flights. This ensures that all flights within a formation adhere to the same set of rules defined by that formation. For example, you can create a single formation with a set of rules that ensures GDPR compliance. Any flight inside that formation will adhere to the same high-level definitions and restrictions defined by the formation.

Formation-Flight Routing

You can set the routing to each flight inside a single formation in the formation settings.

For example:

  • routes to flight A.
  • routes to flight B.

Suppose you operate in the European Union and you want to prevent your team members from deploying non-GDPR-compliant workloads. You can set up a single GDPR-compliant formation and ask all engineers to deploy new workloads to that formation.

A deployment would consist of three steps.

  • Create new GDPR-compliant formation with new flights
  • Deploy new formation
  • Destroy old non-compliant formation

Routing to individual flights is not supported yet, but it will be available very soon. You can request early access here


Restrictions are set on a formation level. This includes region restrictions as well as provider restrictions. To learn more about restrictions have a look at the compute restrictions documentation.