Optimizing the image size
The bigger your image is the larger the surface area for an attack is. The following tutorial to "Building Small Containers" from Google is an excellent video to showcase the importance of optimizing your Dockerfiles:
Let's start by reducing the number of layers. To keep track of the improvements, we will follow the image size after each new Dockerfile.
FROM ubuntu:18.04 WORKDIR /usr/videos ENV LC_ALL=C.UTF-8 RUN apt-get update RUN apt-get install -y curl python RUN curl -L https://yt-dl.org/downloads/latest/youtube-dl -o /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl RUN chmod a+x /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl RUN useradd -m appuser USER appuser ENTRYPOINT ["/usr/local/bin/youtube-dl"]
We will glue all
RUN commands together to reduce the number of layers we are making in our image.
FROM ubuntu:18.04 WORKDIR /usr/videos ENV LC_ALL=C.UTF-8 RUN apt-get update && apt-get install -y \ curl python && \ curl -L https://yt-dl.org/downloads/latest/youtube-dl -o /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl && \ chmod a+x /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl && \ useradd -m appuser USER appuser ENTRYPOINT ["/usr/local/bin/youtube-dl"]
As a sidenote not directly related to docker: remember that if needed, it is possible to bind packages to versions with
curl=1.2.3 - this will ensure that if the image is built at the later date the image is more likely to work as the versions are exact. On the other hand, the packages will be old and have security issues.
docker image history we can see that our single
RUN layer adds 76.7 megabytes to the image:
$ docker image history youtube-dl IMAGE CREATED CREATED BY SIZE COMMENT f221975422c3 About a minute ago /bin/sh -c #(nop) ENTRYPOINT ["/usr/local/b… 0B 940a7510dc5d About a minute ago /bin/sh -c #(nop) USER appuser 0B 31062eddb851 About a minute ago /bin/sh -c apt-get update && apt-get install… 76.7MB ...
The next step is to remove everything that is not needed in the final image. We don't need the apt source lists anymore, so we can glue the next line to our single
.. && \ rm -rf /var/lib/apt/lists/*
Now, after we build, the size of the layer is 45.6MB megabytes. We can optimize even further by removing the
curl. We can remove
curl and all the dependencies it installed with
.. && \ apt-get purge -y --auto-remove curl && \ rm -rf /var/lib/apt/lists/*
..which brings us down to 34.9MB.
Now our slimmed down container should work, but:
$ docker container run -v "$(pwd):/usr/videos" youtube-dl https://imgur.com/JY5tHqr [Imgur] JY5tHqr: Downloading webpage ERROR: Unable to download webpage: <urlopen error [SSL: CERTIFICATE_VERIFY_FAILED] certificate verify failed (_ssl.c:590)> (caused by URLError(SSLError(1, u'[SSL: CERTIFICATE_VERIFY_FAILED] certificate verify failed (_ssl.c:590)'),))
--auto-remove also removed dependencies, like:
Removing ca-certificates (20170717~18.04.1) ...
We can now see that our
youtube-dl worked previously because of our
curl dependencies. If
youtube-dl would have been installed as a package, it would have declared
ca-certificates as its dependency.
Now what we could do is to first
purge --auto-remove and then add
ca-certificates back with
apt-get install or just install
ca-certificates along with other packages before removing
FROM ubuntu:18.04 WORKDIR /usr/videos ENV LC_ALL=C.UTF-8 RUN apt-get update && apt-get install -y \ curl python ca-certificates && \ curl -L https://yt-dl.org/downloads/latest/youtube-dl -o /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl && \ chmod a+x /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl && \ apt-get purge -y --auto-remove curl && \ rm -rf /var/lib/apt/lists/* && \ useradd -m appuser USER appuser ENTRYPOINT ["/usr/local/bin/youtube-dl"]
From the build output we can see that
ca-certificates also adds
The following additional packages will be installed: openssl The following NEW packages will be installed: ca-certificates openssl
and this brings us to 36.9 megabytes in our
RUN layer (from the original 76.7 megabytes).
Our Ubuntu base image adds the most megabytes to our image (approx 113MB). Alpine Linux provides a popular alternative base in https://hub.docker.com/_/alpine/ that is around 4 megabytes. It's based on altenative glibc implementation musl and busybox binaries, so not all software run well (or at all) with it, but our python container should run just fine. We'll create the following
FROM alpine:3.13 WORKDIR /usr/videos ENV LC_ALL=C.UTF-8 RUN apk add --no-cache curl python3 ca-certificates && \ curl -L https://yt-dl.org/downloads/latest/youtube-dl -o /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl && \ chmod a+x /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl && \ apk del curl && \ adduser -D userapp USER userapp ENTRYPOINT ["/usr/local/bin/youtube-dl"]
- The package manager is
apkand it can work without downloading sources (caches) first with
useraddis missing, but
- Most of the package names are the same - there's a good package browser at https://pkgs.alpinelinux.org/packages.
Now when we build this file with
:alpine-3.13 as the tag:
$ docker build -t youtube-dl:alpine-3.13 -f Dockerfile.alpine .
It seems to run fine:
$ docker container run -v "$(pwd):/usr/videos" youtube-dl:alpine-3.13 https://imgur.com/JY5tHqr
From the history we can see that the our single
RUN layer size is 39.4MB
$ docker image history youtube-dl:alpine-3.13 IMAGE... ... 14cfb0b531fb 20 seconds ago /bin/sh -c apk add --no-cache curl python ca… 39.4MB ... <missing> 3 weeks ago /bin/sh -c #(nop) ADD file:093f0723fa46f6cdb… 5.61MB
So in total our Alpine variant is about 45 megabytes, significantly less than our Ubuntu based image.
Back in part 1 we published the ubuntu version of youtube-dl with tag latest.
We can publish both variants without overriding the other by publishing them with a describing tag:
$ docker image tag youtube-dl:alpine-3.13 <username>/youtube-dl:alpine-3.13 $ docker image push <username>/youtube-dl:alpine-3.13
OR, if we don't want to upkeep the ubuntu version anymore we can replace our Ubuntu image by pushing this as the latest. Someone might depend on the image being ubuntu though.
$ docker image tag youtube-dl:alpine-3.13 <username>/youtube-dl $ docker image push <username>/youtube-dl
Also remember that unless specified the
:latest tag will always just refer to the latest image build & pushed - that can basically contain anything.
Multi-stage builds are useful when you need some tools just for the build but not for the execution of the image CMD. This is an easy way to reduce size in some cases.
Let's create a website with Jekyll, build the site for production and serve the static files with nginx. Start by creating the recipe for Jekyll to build the site.
FROM ruby:3 WORKDIR /usr/app RUN gem install jekyll RUN jekyll new . RUN jekyll build
This creates a new Jekyll application and builds it. We could start thinking about optimizations at this point but instead we're going add a new FROM for nginx, this is what resulting image will be. And copy the built static files from the ruby image to our nginx image.
FROM ruby:3 as build-stage ... FROM nginx:1.19-alpine COPY --from=build-stage /usr/app/_site/ /usr/share/nginx/html
This copies contents from the first image
/usr/share/nginx/html Note the naming from ruby to build-stage. We could also use external image as a stage,
--from=python:3.7 for example. Lets build and check the size difference:
$ docker build . -t jekyll $ docker image ls REPOSITORY TAG IMAGE ID CREATED SIZE jekyll latest 5f8839505f37 37 seconds ago 109MB ruby latest 616c3cf5968b 28 hours ago 870MB
As you can see, even though our jekyll image needed ruby during the build process, its considerably smaller since it only has nginx and the static files.
docker container run -it -p 8080:80 jekyll also works as expected.
Often the best choice is to use a FROM scratch image as it doesn't have anything we don't explicitly add there, making it most secure option over time.