1.0 Running your first container
Now that you have everything setup, it's time to get our hands dirty. In this section, you are going to run an Alpine Linux container (a lightweight linux distribution) on your system and get a taste of the
docker run command.
To get started, let's run the following in our terminal:
$ docker pull alpine
Note: Depending on how you've installed docker on your system, you might see a
permission deniederror after running the above command. Try the commands from the Getting Started tutorial to verify your installation. If you're on Linux, you may need to prefix your
sudo. Alternatively you can create a docker group to get rid of this issue.
pull command fetches the alpine image from the Docker registry and saves it in our system. You can use the
docker images command to see a list of all images on your system.
$ docker images REPOSITORY TAG IMAGE ID CREATED VIRTUAL SIZE alpine latest c51f86c28340 4 weeks ago 1.109 MB hello-world latest 690ed74de00f 5 months ago 960 B
1.1 Docker Run
Great! Let's now run a Docker container based on this image. To do that you are going to use the
docker run command.
$ docker run alpine ls -l total 48 drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Mar 2 16:20 bin drwxr-xr-x 5 root root 360 Mar 18 09:47 dev drwxr-xr-x 13 root root 4096 Mar 18 09:47 etc drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Mar 2 16:20 home drwxr-xr-x 5 root root 4096 Mar 2 16:20 lib ...... ......
What happened? Behind the scenes, a lot of stuff happened. When you call
- The Docker client contacts the Docker daemon
- The Docker daemon checks local store if the image (alpine in this case) is available locally, and if not, downloads it from Docker Store. (Since we have issued
docker pull alpinebefore, the download step is not necessary)
- The Docker daemon creates the container and then runs a command in that container.
- The Docker daemon streams the output of the command to the Docker client
When you run
docker run alpine, you provided a command (
ls -l), so Docker started the command specified and you saw the listing.
Let's try something more exciting.
$ docker run alpine echo "hello from alpine" hello from alpine
OK, that's some actual output. In this case, the Docker client dutifully ran the
echo command in our alpine container and then exited it. If you've noticed, all of that happened pretty quickly. Imagine booting up a virtual machine, running a command and then killing it. Now you know why they say containers are fast!
Try another command.
$ docker run alpine /bin/sh
Wait, nothing happened! Is that a bug? Well, no. These interactive shells will exit after running any scripted commands, unless they are run in an interactive terminal - so for this example to not exit, you need to
docker run -it alpine /bin/sh.
You are now inside the container shell and you can try out a few commands like
uname -a and others. Exit out of the container by giving the
Ok, now it's time to see the
docker ps command. The
docker ps command shows you all containers that are currently running.
$ docker ps CONTAINER ID IMAGE COMMAND CREATED STATUS PORTS NAMES
Since no containers are running, you see a blank line. Let's try a more useful variant:
docker ps -a
$ docker ps -a CONTAINER ID IMAGE COMMAND CREATED STATUS PORTS NAMES 36171a5da744 alpine "/bin/sh" 5 minutes ago Exited (0) 2 minutes ago fervent_newton a6a9d46d0b2f alpine "echo 'hello from alp" 6 minutes ago Exited (0) 6 minutes ago lonely_kilby ff0a5c3750b9 alpine "ls -l" 8 minutes ago Exited (0) 8 minutes ago elated_ramanujan c317d0a9e3d2 hello-world "/hello" 34 seconds ago Exited (0) 12 minutes ago stupefied_mcclintock
What you see above is a list of all containers that you ran. Notice that the
STATUS column shows that these containers exited a few minutes ago. You're probably wondering if there is a way to run more than just one command in a container. Let's try that now:
$ docker run -it alpine /bin/sh / # ls bin dev etc home lib linuxrc media mnt proc root run sbin sys tmp usr var / # uname -a Linux 97916e8cb5dc 4.4.27-moby #1 SMP Wed Oct 26 14:01:48 UTC 2016 x86_64 Linux
run command with the
-it flags attaches us to an interactive tty in the container. Now you can run as many commands in the container as you want. Take some time to run your favorite commands.
That concludes a whirlwind tour of the
docker run command which would most likely be the command you'll use most often. It makes sense to spend some time getting comfortable with it. To find out more about
docker run --help to see a list of all flags it supports. As you proceed further, we'll see a few more variants of
In the last section, you saw a lot of Docker-specific jargon which might be confusing to some. So before you go further, let's clarify some terminology that is used frequently in the Docker ecosystem.
- Images - The file system and configuration of our application which are used to create containers. To find out more about a Docker image, run
docker inspect alpine. In the demo above, you used the
docker pullcommand to download the alpine image. When you executed the command
docker run hello-world, it also did a
docker pullbehind the scenes to download the hello-world image.
- Containers - Running instances of Docker images — containers run the actual applications. A container includes an application and all of its dependencies. It shares the kernel with other containers, and runs as an isolated process in user space on the host OS. You created a container using
docker runwhich you did using the alpine image that you downloaded. A list of running containers can be seen using the
- Docker daemon - The background service running on the host that manages building, running and distributing Docker containers.
- Docker client - The command line tool that allows the user to interact with the Docker daemon.
- Docker Store - A registry of Docker images, where you can find trusted and enterprise ready containers, plugins, and Docker editions. You'll be using this later in this tutorial.
For the next step in the tutorial, head over to 2.0 Webapps with Docker