How to Setup Docker on Ubuntu Server 16.04

Docker is the most revolutionized technology in virtualization world now a days. Docker is actually an open source project which provides container technology. A container is a light weight VM(virtual machine) or a process which allows us to install Linux based applications inside it. Container don’t have its own Kernel, RAM, CPU and Disk but it uses the under lying OS kernel, RAM, CPU cores and Disk.

Container provides process base isolation where virtual machines provides resource based isolation. The main benefit of containers is that we can provision a container in less than a second because launching a containers is actually starting a process in Linux.

In this article we will discuss how to setup Docker on Ubuntu server 16.04.Prerequisite of Docker is listed below :

  • 64-bit OS
  • Kernel version 3.10 or higher

Step:1 Update the Package database using below command

Let’s first update the packages database using ‘apt update‘ command

linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo apt update

Step:2 Add GPG Key for Docker Official Repository

Docker engine package is not available in the default Ubuntu 16.04 server’s repositories. Let’s add the GPG key for docker repository using below command.

linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo apt-key adv --keyserver hkp:// --recv-keys 58118E89F3A912897C070ADBF76221572C52609D

Now add the docker repository using ‘apt-add-repository‘ command

linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo apt-add-repository "deb ubuntu-xenial main"

Refresh the package index again as we have added docker repository

linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo apt update

Step:3 Install docker engine package using apt command.

Following command will install latest version docker-engine. At the time of writing this article docker version ‘1.12.5‘ is available.

linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo apt install docker-engine

Once the docker-engine is installed, start and enable docker service using following commands

linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo systemctl start docker
linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo systemctl enable docker

Now this server will work as Docker Engine or Container Engine. A Bridge is also created which will acts as L2 switch and will provide IP address to the containers from its own DHCP server.

Verify the Docker version and other key parameters of Docker using ‘docker info‘ command

linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo docker info


Add your user name to docker group using ‘usermod‘ command, in my case user name is ‘linuxtechi

linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo usermod -aG docker linuxtechi

Docker installation part is completed now,  let’s get familiar with some basic commands of Docker with examples.

Syntax of Docker command :

# docker {options} command {arguments…}

To list the options of docker command, type ‘docker‘ on the terminal

Whenever docker engine is installed, default Registry Server is updated in docker command. When we run the docker command to download and search images then it will go the registry server to fetch the mentioned docker image. Though we can change this registry address as per our setup.

Search Docker images using ‘docker search’ command

Let’s assume we want search latest centos docker image.

linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo docker search centos


Download Docker images using ‘docker pull’ command

Let’s suppose we want to download Ubuntu 16.04 docker image.

linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo docker pull ubuntu:16.04


Similarly we can download the other Linux OS images as per our requirements

Once the image is download then it is stored locally in docker host image repository. We can list the available images in our local repository using ‘docker images‘ command.

linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo docker images 
REPOSITORY          TAG                 IMAGE ID            CREATED             SIZE
ubuntu              16.04               104bec311bcd        9 days ago          129 MB

Provision or launch a container using docker run command

Let’s suppose we want provision a Ubuntu 16:04 container.

linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo docker run -it --name=mycontainer1 ubuntu:16.04

In above Command ‘i‘ stands for interactive and ‘t‘ stands for terminal and name of the container is ‘mycontainer1‘ and Container image is ‘ubuntu:16.04’

Note: In case if we don’t mentioned OS version then it will try to provision latest one.

To stop the container type ‘exit’ in container console. If you don’t want to stop the container but want go back to docker engine console, the type ‘ctrl+p+q‘ in container console.

Verify how many containers are currently running

Using ‘docker ps‘ command we can list  running containers and to list all containers either they are running or stopped use ‘docker ps -a

linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo docker ps 
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE               COMMAND             CREATED             STATUS              PORTS               NAMES
b5cdf552b56c        ubuntu:16.04        "/bin/bash"         9 minutes ago       Up 9 minutes                            mycontainer1

Stopping a Container using docker stop command

Let’s stop my recently provisioned container “mycontainer1”

linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo docker stop mycontainer1
linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo docker ps -a
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE               COMMAND             CREATED             STATUS                          PORTS               NAMES
b5cdf552b56c        ubuntu:16.04        "/bin/bash"         15 minutes ago      Exited (0) About a minute ago                       mycontainer1

Start and attach to the container ‘mycontainer1’

use ‘docker start {container_name}’ command to start a container and to get the console of container use the command docker attach {container_name}

linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo docker start mycontainer1
linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo docker attach mycontainer1

Starting a Container in detach mode.

Let’s suppose we want provision one more container with the name ‘mycontainer2’ from centos7 docker image in detach mode( i.e container will be launched in the background and will not get console), to get the console use docker attach command

linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo docker run -dit --name=mycontainer2 centos:7
linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo docker ps 
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE               COMMAND             CREATED             STATUS              PORTS               NAMES
5efb063260c8        centos:7            "/bin/bash"         28 seconds ago      Up 28 seconds                           mycontainer2
b5cdf552b56c        ubuntu:16.04        "/bin/bash"         28 minutes ago      Up 9 minutes                            mycontainer1

Binding Container ports to Docker engine Host

By Default Containers can reach to outside world and each outgoing connection will appear as if request is coming form docker’s host IP address but from outside world no one reach to containers.

Using port translation method we allow outsiders to reach our containers.

Let’s suppose i want to host a web site inside a container and this container will be accessed by Web developers via ssh

linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo docker run -it -p 8000:80 -p 2000:22 --name=myserver1 centos:7
[root@ce0375f922cc /]#

In above command -p option is used for pating (port  address translation), From the outside world if any one try to ssh my docker’s host ip address on port 2000 , then its request will be forwarded to 22 port on container “myserver1” and similarly request on 8000 port will be forwarded to 80 port on the container (myserver1)

linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo docker ps 
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE               COMMAND             CREATED             STATUS              PORTS                                        NAMES
ce0375f922cc        centos:7            "/bin/bash"         6 minutes ago       Up 6 minutes>22/tcp,>80/tcp   myserver1
5efb063260c8        centos:7            "/bin/bash"         38 minutes ago      Up 38 minutes                                                    mycontainer2
b5cdf552b56c        ubuntu:16.04        "/bin/bash"         About an hour ago   Up 47 minutes                                                    mycontainer1

Commit changes of a container to a Docker Image

In docker command we have commit option to save the changes of container to a docker image. Let’s assume in above container we have installed web server and want save these changes to a docker image so that in future we can launch web server container from docker image.

linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo docker commit -m "Web Service added" -a "Sunday Dec 25 2016" ce0375f922cc myserver1:v1

linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo docker images 
REPOSITORY          TAG                 IMAGE ID            CREATED             SIZE
myserver1           v1                  cac1bdb1d48a        25 seconds ago      191.8 MB
<none>              <none>              d695e1b36b68        49 seconds ago      191.8 MB
centos              7                   67591570dd29        9 days ago          191.8 MB
ubuntu              16.04               104bec311bcd        9 days ago          129 MB

Terminate / delete containers using ‘docker rm’ command

Use ‘docker rm‘ command to delete containers either based on their names and ids, Before deleting a container make sure it is stopped.

linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo docker rm mycontainer2

To delete a running container

linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo docker rm -f mycontainer2

Removing Docker images from Host’s Local image repository

docker rmi‘ command is used to delete or remove docker images from host’s local image repository

linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo docker rmi myserver1:v1
Untagged: myserver1:v1
Deleted: sha256:cac1bdb1d48a381c8bac0573dcd888e9595564f5a428bc6d1d3e97b823f646da

Note: We can also upload our customize docker images to the docker hub using docker push command but first we need to create our account on docker hub and run below commands from the terminal

linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo docker login -u docker-registry-{user_name}
linuxtechi@docker:~$ sudo docker push docker-registry-{user_name}/{docker_image_name}

That’s all for this article. Hope you got an idea how to work with containers.Please share your valuable feedback and comments.

2 Responses

  1. Alexey says:

    A great article, thank you.

    Is there any essential difference in installation and administration between Ubuntu and Debian?
    I prefer to use the Debian Linux, latest release. What are the main points I should pay attention to?

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