Docker Intro and CLI QuickRef

Containerazation in general is bringing new possibilities to IT Services landscape. Process isolation, cgroups and lxc technologies have paved way for emerging vendor tools like Docker,Rocket and others to provide easy interfaces and packaged delivery of services. Containers can be used to rapidly deploy many isolated applications with a notion of running single application per container on any given docker host.

In this context, Let’s attempt to know more about Docker

Docker is a peice of software which can be installed on an Operating System. Docker to a minimum, constitutes two pieces, one the Docker Engine which runs as a deamon/service and two the Docker Client (docker), a standalone exectuable which talks to Docker Service via an API and manages the containers. Docker historically has been made popular natively on *nix/linux and Microsoft is bringing Docker containers to Windows Server 2016 onwards.

Unlike Virtual Machines, Docker can only run Unix compatible containers on Unix Docker Hosts and Windows containers on Windows Server host due to sharing of kernel libraries.

Thing to note : Docker is not similar to Virtualization, which typically uses a Hypervisor.. Docker uses Process Isolation techniques to make applications use a dedicated process address space parallel to the host OS.

Docker operates on things called Images. Images typically contain a packaged application like nginx, nodejs or anything you can build of your choice. These images typically must be built to run a single process which shall serve your application. In general, public docker Images can be downloaded from a docker repository at A private repository can be hosted on premise/cloud for enterprise scenarios. docker client command line tool allows building of these custom containers from Base images .

Base Images are generally made of lean OS primitives and related services from which you’d typically build your container from. One exciting feature of Docker is that the way docker constructs these containers. It uses something called as Union FileSystem with layered approach. Which means, each change you add on to your container at the build time can be saperated into layers. When storing/updating/retreiving these containers, only updated/modified layers are pushed/pulled.

You’ll typically download(pull) a dockerized image, and run the image(aka container) which runs your application inside a container and EXPOSE the ports/services from that container to the base host to access.

Docker, like virtual machine networking, creates a OS Internal Brige/Switch where all the running containers are attached to. It is important to expose your service ports through the docker to access them beyond the host networking.

More detailed understanding of Docker can be found at docker docs or HERE

Some of the docker commands for quick reference


Quick and easy install scripted installation on Linux based systems

curl -sSL | sh

Container Image Operations
Command Description
docker images Lists images that are downloaded locally
docker search <image> Searches for the image in docker registry
docker rmi <imagetag> Deletes/untags image specified from local filesystem
docker pull <imagename> Pulls stated image from docker repository
docker build -t <imagetag> . Builds Docker Image from the Dockerfile found in the current directory
docker login Prompts for login to Docker Hub for image uploads
docker push <imagetag> Pushes local image to Docker Hub
docker tag <imageid> <definetag> Tags an image with the name you specify in definetag
docker history <imageid> List image operations history
docker export <imagetag> Exports the specified image to a tarball
docker import <file> Imports the specified image from a tarball
docker load <file> loads an image from a tar archive
docker save Saves a image to a tar archive with all layers for later load
docker images -qf dangling=true | xargs docker rmi Removes all dangling images with image tag none
Docker Service Ops
Command Description
docker info List the Docker service info
docker --version Shows docker version
Container Run State operations
Command Description
docker run -it --name=<containername> --rm <imagename> bash Creates and start a container interactively with TTY attached, name and from image , removes the image after exit.
docker create Creates a writeable container layer over the specified image and prepares it for running the specified command
docker rename Allows a container to be renamed
docker stop <containername> | <id> Stops a container
docker start <containername> | <id> Start a Stopped or Created Container
docker kill <containername> | <id> Force kills a Running Container
docker pause Pauses/Freezes a Container
docker unpause UnPauses/Runs a Paused Container
docker rm <containername> Deletes a container from runstate
docker ps -q | xargs docker rm Removes all stopped Docker Containers
Container Admin Ops
Command Description
docker ps -a List all containers in CREATE/STOPPED/RUNNING States
docker logs -f <containername> Shows logs from the container, -f continuous tail
docker inspect <containername> Shows the detailed container metadata in JSON Format
docker events <containername> Shows events from Container
docker port <containername> Shows public/exposed ports from the container
docker top <containername> Shows running process in a container
docker stats <containername> Shows containers resource usage statistics
docker network ls Shows Docker networks
docker network create Create a new Docker bridge
docker network rm Removes specified network bridge
docker network inspect Shows bridge IP subnet and the gateway info and associates containers attached