I’ve written about Docker before, as I am a big fan of it. And for this post, I’m going to talk about some practical situations in which I’ve used Docker in real life, both for testing and software development!
But first, let’s recap what Docker IS and IS NOT:
- Docker containers spin up quickly (1-2 seconds or less)
- Docker containers DO have separated process tress and filesystems
- Docker containers ARE NOT virtual machines
- Docker containers ARE intended to be ephemeral. (short-lived)
- You CAN, however, mount filesystems from the host machine into Docker, so those files can live on after the container shuts down (or is killed).
- You SHOULD only run one service per Docker container.
Everybody got that? Good. Now, let’s get into some real life things I’ve used Docker for.
Experimenting in Linux
Want to test out some commands or maybe a shell script that you’re worried might be destructive? No worries, try it in a Docker container, and if you nuke the filesystem, there will be no long-term consequences.
# # Start a container with Alpine Linux # $ docker run -it alpine # # Let's do something dumb # $ rm /bin/ls $ ls -l /bin/sh: ls: not found # # Just exit the container, restart it, and our filesystem is back! # / # exit [unifi:~/tmp ] $ docker run -it alpine / # ls bin dev etc home lib media mnt proc root run sbin srv sys tmp usr var
And all of the above takes just a couple of seconds! This works with other Linux distros as well, such as CentOS and Unbuntu–just change your Docker command accordingly:
docker run -it centos docker run -it ubuntu
Yes, that means you could run CentOS in a container under Ubuntu or vice-versa. Docker doesn’t care. 🙂Continue reading “The Joy of Using Docker”