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Pivotal Cloud Foundry v1.7

Using Docker in Cloud Foundry

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This topic describes Docker image support in Cloud Foundry with Diego and outlines how Cloud Foundry uses Diego to run Docker images. For more information about Diego, see the Diego Architecture topic.

A Docker image consists of a collection of layers. Each layer consists of one or both of the following:

  • Raw bits to download and mount. These bits form the file system.
  • Metadata that describes commands, users, and environment for the layer. This metadata includes the ENTRYPOINT and CMD directives, and is specified in the Dockerfile.

Understanding How Garden-Linux Creates Containers

Diego uses Garden-Linux to construct Linux containers. Garden-Linux builds Linux containers with the same kernel resource isolation features used by all Linux containers: namespaces and cgroups.

Linux container creation requires that a file system is mounted as the root file system of the container. Garden-Linux supports mounting Docker images as root file systems for the containers it constructs. Garden-Linux fetches and caches the individual layers associated with a Docker image, then combines and mounts them as the root file system, using the same libraries that power Docker.

This process yields a container with contents that exactly match the contents of the associated Docker image.

Understanding Diego Process Determination and Monitoring

Once Garden-Linux creates a container, Diego runs and monitors the processes inside of it.

To determine which processes to run, the Cloud Controller fetches the metadata associated with the Docker image and returns it to the Cloud Controller. The Cloud Controller uses this metadata to perform the following actions:

  • Runs the start command as the user specified in the Docker image
  • Instructs Diego and the Gorouter to route traffic to the lowest-numbered port exposed in the Docker image

Note: When launching an application on Diego, the Cloud Controller honors any user-specified overrides such as a custom start command or custom environment variables.

Docker Security Concerns in a Multi-Tenant Environment

The attack surface area for a Docker-based container running on Diego remains somewhat higher than that of a buildpack application because Docker allows users to fully specify the contents of their root file systems. A buildpack application runs on a trusted root filesystem.

The Garden-Linux team has implemented a host of features to allow the platform to run Docker images more securely in a multi-tenant context. In particular, Cloud Foundry uses the user-namespacing feature found on modern Linux kernels to ensure that users cannot gain escalated privileges on the host even if they escalate privileges within a container.

The Cloud Controller always runs Docker containers on Diego with user namespaces enabled. This security restriction prevents certain features, such as the ability to mount FuseFS devices, from working in Docker containers.

To mitigate security concerns, Cloud Foundry recommends that you run only trusted Docker containers on the platform. By default, the Cloud Controller does not allow Docker-based applications to run on the platform.

To allow Docker-based applications to run, a Cloud Controller administrator can enable the diego_docker feature flag with the following command:

$ cf enable-feature-flag diego_docker

To disallow Docker-based applications, a Cloud Controller administrator can run the following command:

$ cf disable-feature-flag diego_docker

Note: Disabling the diego_docker feature flag stops all Docker-based apps in your deployment within a few convergence cycles, on the order of a minute.

Pushing a Docker Image with the Cloud Foundry Command Line Interface (cf CLI)

Follow these instructions to deploy updated or new Docker images using Cloud Foundry Command Line Interface (cf CLI).

Ensure that you are running cf CLI 6.13.0 or a later version. See Installing the cf CLI for installation instructions.

Note: See Docker Support in CF + Diego for information about pushing a docker image with an earlier version of the cf CLI.

Pushing a Docker image using Docker Hub

Run cf push lattice-app -o cloudfoundry/MY-DOCKER-IMAGE to deploy a Docker image. Replace MY-DOCKER-IMAGE with the name of an image from an accessible Docker Registry.

For example, the following command pushes the lattice-app on Docker Hub to Cloud Foundry:

$ cf push lattice-app -o cloudfoundry/lattice-app

Pushing a Docker image using Docker Trusted Registries

To deploy a Docker image using Docker Trusted Registries, run:

$ cf push my-app -o MY-PRIVATE-REGISTRY.DOMAIN:5000/image/name:v2

Replace MY-PRIVATE-REGISTRY.DOMAIN with your domain name, which resolves to the private registry. In this example, 5000 is the port on which your private registry serves traffic. image/name is the name of the Docker image repository. v2 is a tag in that repository that refers to a specific image.

Docker Caveats

This section contains known issues and limitations with running Docker images in Cloud Foundry.

  • Diego supports running Docker images only from Docker registries that present the v2 registry API.

  • Diego does not currently support fetching images from private repositories.

  • Diego currently requires that the source registry for a Docker image be available when creating new application instances. If the registry is unavailable, Diego cannot start or restart applications.

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