Docker on Debian 8


There is a potential for broken software after this upgrade as we are moving to a non-stable kernel (in regards to mainline Debian). Please take backups and only proceed if you are comfortable with this process.

Install Docker

To begin with, we're going to install docker just like we would for any other OS by following Docker's official documentation for Debian.

Once you've done that, if you run docker info you'll notice some missing features at the bottom, something like the output below.

WARNING: No memory limit support
WARNING: No swap limit support
WARNING: No kernel memory limit support
WARNING: No oom kill disable support
WARNING: No cpu cfs quota support
WARNING: No cpu cfs period support

Update GRUB Startup

To fix the memory limit support issues, we just need to add two arguments to our default grub startup. Start by opening /etc/default/grub and adding the following arguments to GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT.

swapaccount=1 cgroup_enable=memory

The line should then look like the one below — assuming nothing else was in the quote to begin with.

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="swapaccount=1 cgroup_enable=memory"

After doing that, run sudo update-grub to update our grub configuration.

Add Backports Repo

We then need to enable the jessie-backports apt repository to install a newer kernel. To do this, run the commands below.

echo deb jessie-backports main > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/jessie-backports.list
echo deb jessie-backports main contrib non-free > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/jessie-backports.list
sudo apt update

To find the most recent kernels, run apt-cache search linux-image which will list all of the ones available. In this case, we'll install the 4.8.0kernel using the command below. Once we've done that, it is time to reboot the server to start using this kernel.

apt install -t jessie-backports linux-image-4.9.0-0.bpo.3-amd64

Update Software & Setup Docker

Now that we're on the new kernel you probably need to update some software to take advantage of it. To do this, simply run the command below.

apt update && apt upgrade

Once that is done, we need to make an adjustment to docker to use overlay2 rather than aufs since aufs is not supported on this kernel currently. Run the command below to do so.

sed -i 's,/usr/bin/dockerd,/usr/bin/dockerd --storage-driver=overlay2,g' /lib/systemd/system/docker.service

Finally, update systemd and start docker using the following commands.

systemctl daemon-reload
service docker start

Docker should now be running and reporting no errors if you run docker info!