How to Store Docker Images and Containers on an External Drive

Barbie Espinol

Graphic showing the Docker logo

Docker outlets downloaded illustrations or photos, running containers, and persistent volume data in a solitary shared listing root on your process travel. You can customize your configuration to use an external generate, network share, or next inside disc if you need to have to incorporate storage to your set up.


The principal part of this information applies to Docker Motor for Linux and Docker Desktop on Home windows and Mac. You are going to have to have to locate your Docker daemon.json file on all a few platforms. This will be in one of the next destinations:

  • /and so forth/docker/daemon.json on Linux.
  • %programdata%dockerconfigdaemon.json on Windows.
  • ~/Library/Containers/com.docker.docker/Information/databases/com.docker.driver.amd64-linux/etcetera/docker/daemon.json on Mac.

Docker advises that Home windows and Mac users update the config file by way of the UI, as a substitute of manually implementing improvements in a textual content editor. You can access the options monitor by heading to Preferences > Docker Engine > Edit file in the Docker Desktop interface.

Changing Your Details Listing

The site of Docker’s facts directory is managed by the knowledge-root location in your config file. Outdated Docker variations released prior to 17.06 utilized graph in its place. You can look at the variation you have bought by running the docker edition command.

$ docker model
Server: Docker Motor - Community
    Edition: 20.10.17

Find or include the appropriate important inside of the config file. Established your wanted listing path as its worth. Here’s a Linux instance that’ll retailer Docker facts to an exterior push mounted in the filesystem:

    "info-root": "/mnt/docker-facts"

You have to restart the Docker daemon soon after you make the transform:

$ sudo company docker restart

Docker Desktop can be restarted on Windows and Mac by exiting it and then launching a new occasion.

You should duplicate the contents of your recent information directory to the new route if you want to keep your present written content. In any other case you are going to commence with a cleanse slate, unable to access previously made containers and images.

$ sudo rsync -aSv /var/lib/docker/ /mnt/docker-knowledge

Transforming the Information Listing Without the need of a Restart

You can shift your info directory without restarting the daemon by developing a symlink from /var/lib/docker to your new place. This could be practical if you are jogging out of room on a host wherever an unscheduled Docker provider restart isn’t a viable selection.

Duplicate your existing Docker details to your new listing:

$ sudo rsync -aSv /var/lib/docker/ /mnt/docker-knowledge

Then produce a symlink that resolves /var/lib/docker to the goal spot:

$ sudo ln -s /mnt/docker-information/ /var/lib/docker

Do not use this method for workloads that quickly modify filesystem details. There’s a hazard of inconsistencies developing if information receives published in the time amongst you copying the present listing and building the symlink.

What Essentially Modifications?

Changing Docker’s root directory affects all the various info sorts that the daemon outlets. This incorporates your visuals, containers, set up plugins, Swarm configuration, and volumes, as properly as the Docker build cache.

Modifying the path will compose all this details to your new location. You cannot selectively go certain types to different mount details. This signifies it is significant to decide on a storage area that will offer you great over-all general performance. Making use of a slow external drive could harm the responsiveness of docker CLI operations, even if it would fit specified varieties of details these kinds of as extensive-time period picture storage.

In the absence of per-form details route aid, pruning unused methods can be a greater way to manage Docker’s storage requirements. As a substitute of allocating Docker far more place, cleanse up redundant assets and force unused visuals to a separate central registry. This can absolutely free up appreciable room on your host.

A person-Time Use of a Distinct Data Listing

You can manually commence Docker Motor with a distinct knowledge directory by passing the --info-root flag when you get started the daemon. This can be made use of to change amongst information directories or run a clear occasion devoid of your existing information.

$ sudo /usr/bin/dockerd --information-root /mnt/docker-facts

The flag will override the listing route specified by the daemon.json file. The configured directory will stay intact so you can revert to that instance in the long term.


Docker outlets all its info which includes designed and pulled photographs, established containers, and volumes within a solitary directory tree. The root is commonly /var/lib/docker but you can customize it by introducing a setting to your config file or providing the --information-root flag when you get started the daemon.

Shifting the details directory indicates your current details won’t surface in Docker except you duplicate it to the new route. You can use this feature to retain quite a few impartial Docker storage repositories, these kinds of as a single for private assignments and a further for perform. You’ll will need to restart the daemon ahead of you swap contexts even though, as only just one instance can operate concurrently.

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