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8.1: Docker Run Options

Docker Run Options

We saw the basic syntax for running containers earlier in the course:


This lesson provides a summary of the most important configuration options when running containers with Docker.

Docker Compose vs Docker Run

There are two primary ways to run containers with Docker Desktop, docker run and docker compose.

For one-off containers, you can use docker run is sufficient.

That being said, docker compose allows you to specify all of your application configuration within a YAML file, making it more intuitive and easier to work with for applications with multiple containerized services.

Docker run vs docker compose

Common Docker Run Options

  1. -d (Detach): Run a container in the background.
docker run -d ubuntu sleep 5
  1. --entrypoint (Entry Point): Override the entry point defined in the Dockerfile.
docker run --entrypoint echo ubuntu hello
  1. --env or -e (Environment Variables): Set environment variables at runtime
docker run --env MY_ENV=hello ubuntu printenv
  1. --init (Initialization): Run Docker's initialization script and spawn the process as a subprocess.
docker run --init ubuntu ps
  1. -i (Interactive) and -t (TTY): Have an interactive TTY session inside the container.
docker run -it ubuntu
  1. --mount and --volume (Volume): Persist data outside of the container layer in a volume.
docker run \
  -e POSTGRES_PASSWORD=foobarbaz \
  --volume pgdata:/var/lib/postgresql/data \
  1. --name (Name): Provide a specific name for a container.
docker run -d --name my_container ubuntu sleep 99
  1. --network or --net (Network): Connect to a specific Docker network.
docker run --network my_network ubuntu
  1. --platform (Platform): Specify the architecture to run the container image.
docker run --platform linux/arm64/v8 ubuntu dpkg --print-architecture
  1. --publish or -p (Publish): Connect a port from the host system to that of the container.
docker run -p 3000:3000 api-node
  1. --restart (Restart): Restart the container based on the specified policy (always, unless-stopped, or never).
docker run --restart unless-stopped ubuntu

12. `--rm` (Remove): Remove the container when the process exits.
docker run --name this_one_will_remain ubuntu
docker run --rm --name this_one_will_be_gone ubuntu

# grepping for these containers shows that the --rm one is gone
docker image ls -a | grep this_one_will

Advanced Configuration Options

  1. --cap-add and --cap-drop: Specify which Linux capabilities should be accessible from the container.
  2. --cgroup-parent: Specify which cgroup ID the container should be associated with.
  3. --cpu-shares: Specify the percentage of CPU cycles the container should have access to.
  4. --cpuset: Specify which CPU cores the container should run on.
  5. --device-read-bps and --device-write-bps: Control the device throughput and bandwidth the container has access to.
  6. --gpus: Access GPUs within the container.
  7. --health-* (e.g. --health-cmd, --health-interval, etc...): Specify a health check for Docker to periodically ping the container.
  8. --memory: Specify the amount of memory the container process should have access to.
  9. --pids-limit: Specify the number of subprocesses the container should be allowed to manage.
  10. --privileged: Grant the container access to all privileges.
  11. --read-only: Set the container layer of the file