Docker For Beginners: Learning Notes

Docker For Beginners: Learning Notes

What is Docker?

Docker is a Containerization platform that simplifies packaging, deploying, and running applications. It bundles applications and their dependencies into CONTAINERS, ensuring consistent behavior across different environments. Docker enhances efficiency and reliability, supports microservices and scalable applications, and provides tools for managing containers and secure environments. Dockerfiles define application environments, and container images can be shared across teams. Docker revolutionizes modern software development by improving development, testing, and deployment processes.

What is containerization? 📦

Containerization is a lightweight form of virtualization that encapsulates an application and its dependencies into a unit called a "container." This container includes everything needed to run the application, ensuring it works consistently across different environments. Unlike traditional virtual machines, containers share the host system's OS kernel, making them more efficient and faster to start. This approach simplifies deployment, enhances scalability and portability, and enables rapid, reliable development.

By isolating applications, containerization minimizes software conflicts and streamlines management.

Difference between VMs & Containers

AspectContainersVirtual Machines
OSShare host’s KernelHas its own Kernel
Resource UsageLightweight, efficientHeavier, more resource usage
Startup TimeQuick startSlower start
IsolationProcess-level separationFull OS isolation
PortabilityHighly portableCompatibility concerns
Resource OverheadMinimal overheadHigher overhead
Isolation LevelLighter isolationStronger isolation

Learning Resource:

Containers vs VM - Difference Between Deployment Technologies - AWS

It’s important to note that Docker containers don’t run in their own virtual machines, but share a Linux kernel. Compared to virtual machines, containers use less memory and less CPU.
However, a Linux runtime is required for Docker. Implementations on non-Linux platforms such as macOS and Windows 10 use a single Linux virtual machine. The containers share this system.

Advantages of Containerization

  • Increased Portability

  • Easier Scalability

  • Easy and Fast Deployments

  • Better Productivity

  • Improved Security

  • Consistent test environment for development and QA.

  • Cross-platform packages called images.

  • Isolation and encapsulation of application dependencies.

  • Ability to scale efficiently, easily, and in real time.

  • Enhances efficiency via easy reuse of images.


  • Compatibility issue: Windows container won’t run on Linux machines and vice-versa

Other disadvantages(I’m Marcopolo of these discoveries) 😎

  • Counter-productivity or efficiency-draining issue: Hard to turn a 5-minute task into a 5-hour task

  • Troubleshooting issue: It will be hard, to be able to find tons of dependency issues


Get Docker

Docker Architecture

Docker uses a client-server architecture to manage and run containers:

  1. Docker Client:

    • The Docker client is the command-line interface (CLI) or graphical user interface (GUI) that users interact with to build, manage, and control Docker containers.

    • It sends commands to the Docker daemon to perform various tasks.

  2. Docker Daemon:

    • The Docker daemon is a background process that manages Docker containers on a host system.

    • It listens for Docker API requests and takes care of building, running, and managing containers.

  3. Docker Registry:

    • Docker images can be stored and shared through Docker registries.

    • A Docker registry is a repository for Docker images, and it can be public (like Docker Hub) or private.

  4. Docker Hub:

    • Docker Hub is a cloud-based registry service provided by Docker, where users can find, share, and store Docker images.

    • It serves as a central repository for Docker images.

Here's a high-level overview of how Docker components interact:

  • The Docker client sends commands to the Docker daemon and receives information about containers and images.

  • Docker images are fetched or built from the Docker registry.

  • The Docker daemon handles the creation, starting, stopping, and management of containers.

Docker Workflow

More on Docker? - Ufffsss!!!!!

Dockerfile Instructions

Please click here.

Docker Image

A Docker image is a read-only template with instructions to create a container on the Docker platform. It is the starting point for anyone new to Docker.

Time for a Hands-On? - YEAHHHHH!!!!!

Challenges 😎

Challenge 1

Run a container with the nginx:1.14-alpine image and name it webapp

docker run -p 5000:80 --name webapp -d nginx:1.14-alpine

Challenge 2

Containerize Python application and push the image to DockerHub

Step 1 - Create Python/NodeJS app. (Clone from GitHub) =>Python OR NodeJS

Step 2 - Write Dockerfile for the app

Step 3 - Create image for the app

Step 4 - Run the container for the app

Step 5 - If it works push the image on DockerHub

ENV variables

  • Purpose: Environment variables in Docker are used to configure applications, control runtime behavior, and manage sensitive information.

  • Configuration: They replace hardcoded values in configuration files, enabling flexibility across different environments.

  • Dynamic Behavior: Environment variables can control feature toggles, logging levels, and runtime environments.

  • Secrets Management: Sensitive data like passwords or API keys can be securely injected into containers using environment variables.

  • Setting Variables:

    • Use ENV instruction in Dockerfile to set variables during image build.

    • Pass variables with -e or --env flag in docker run command.

    • Define them in docker-compose.yml under the environment key.

    • In Docker Swarm, set them with docker service create/update or in a Docker Compose file for Swarm.

  • Flexibility and Portability: Environment variables make Dockerized applications easier to manage and deploy across diverse environments.

Challenge 3

Run a container named shrawan-app using image sbmagar/blogging-app and set the environment variable APP_COLOR to green. Make the application available on port 75666 on the host. The application listens on port 5000.

  • Solution

      docker run -d \\
      --name shrawan-app \\
      -p 75666:5000 \\
      -e APP_COLOR=green \\

Commands & Arguments

Here, I'll just talk about main two arguments: CMD and ENTRYPOINT 😎:

Always remember that a container does not host an operating system; instead, it runs a process and will be terminated once the process is completed.


# Use a base image
FROM alpine:latest

# Run a sleep command when the container starts
CMD ["sleep", "3600"]

CMD ["sleep", "3600"]

CMD ["sleep 3600"]

it's recommended to use the first form (CMD ["sleep", "3600"]) to specify the command and its arguments as separate elements in a JSON array for clarity and to ensure proper execution.


ENTRYPOINT is a Dockerfile instruction that sets the main command to run when a container starts. It ensures the specified command is executed, unlike CMD which provides default arguments to the command.

FROM alpine:latest

# Set the sleep command as the entry point
ENTRYPOINT ["sleep"]

# Set a default sleep time of 3600 seconds (1 hour)
CMD ["3600"]


  • This Dockerfile starts with a base image of Alpine Linux.

  • The ENTRYPOINT instruction specifies that the sleep command will be the main command to run when the container starts.

  • The CMD instruction sets a default argument for the sleep command, specifying the sleep time in seconds. In this case, the default sleep time is 3600 seconds (1 hour).

Override arguments

docker run my_image **1800**   # Sleeps for 1800 seconds (30 minutes)

Communication Between containers.

for multiple containers dependent on one another we can command line argument —link

When using the --link option in Docker:

  • A secure tunnel is created between containers for communication.

  • Environment variables are set in the destination container, providing details about the linked container.

  • Docker updates the /etc/hosts file in the destination container to resolve the hostname of the linked container.

  • Access to exposed ports in the linked container is provided.

  • Example

    1. Run MySQL Container: Start the MySQL container with a name mysql-container, exposing port 3306:

       docker run --name mysql-container -e MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD=password -d mysql:latest
    2. Create a .NET Core Application: Assume you have a .NET Core application that needs to connect to the MySQL database. Build the .NET Core application and create a Docker image for it. Here's a simple Dockerfile assuming the application is published to a folder named app:

       WORKDIR /app
       COPY ./app .
       ENTRYPOINT ["dotnet", "YourApp.dll"]
    3. Run .NET Core Application Container Linked to MySQL: Now, run the .NET Core application container, linking it to the MySQL container:

       docker run --name dotnet-app --link mysql-container:mysql -d your-dotnet-image:latest

In this example:

  • -name mysql-container names the MySQL container mysql-container.

  • e MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD=password sets the MySQL root password.

  • -name dotnet-app names the .NET Core application container dotnet-app.

  • -link mysql-container:mysql links the .NET Core application container to the MySQL container with the alias mysql.

  • d runs both containers in detached mode.

Inside the .NET Core application container, you can access the MySQL database using the hostname mysql and the exposed port. Ensure your .NET Core application is set up to connect to MySQL using the correct hostname and port.

Docker version 1.9 considers the --link option a legacy feature and recommends using user-defined networks for better isolation, scalability, and ease of use in inter-container communication.

Docker Compose

To run multiple containers with one command, use a configuration file. Here are some Docker commands:

  • docker run --name redis redis:alpine

  • docker run --name redis -d redis:alpine

  • docker rm redis

  • docker run --name redis -d redis:alpine

  • docker run --name luckydrawapp --link redis:redis -p 5000:5000 luckydraw-app:latest

  • docker rm luckydrawapp

  • docker run --name luckydrawapp --link redis:redis -d -p 8085:5000 luckydraw-app:latest

version: '3.0'
        image: redis:alpine
        image: luckydraw-app:latest
            - 5000:5000

Docker Volumes

Docker volumes allow you to save data created and used by Docker containers. They enable data sharing between a host machine and Docker containers or between different containers.

Types of Volumes

  1. Named Volumes: Managed by Docker, easier to use and manage.

  2. Host Volumes: Maps a directory from the host machine into the container.

  3. Anonymous Volumes: Similar to named volumes but managed by Docker with a randomly generated name.


  1. Create a named volume:

     docker volume create my_volume
  2. Run a container with a named volume:

     docker run -v my_volume:/path/in/container image_name
  3. List all volumes:

     docker volume ls
  4. Inspect a volume:

     docker volume inspect my_volume
  5. Remove a volume:

     docker volume rm my_volume
  6. Mount a host directory as a volume:

     docker run -v /host/path:/container/path image_name

Dockerfile Example

# Define a volume
VOLUME /data

# Set working directory

# Copy files into the container
COPY . /data

Docker Compose Example

version: '3.8'

    image: my_app_image
      - my_volume:/app/data

    external: true

Key Points

  • Volumes are useful for persisting data even if containers are removed.

  • They can be shared between containers.

  • Docker volumes are stored in a part of the host filesystem managed by Docker.

These notes provide a solid overview of Docker volumes, including practical examples and commands. They cover named, host, and anonymous volumes, along with how to create, run, list, inspect, and remove volumes. Examples using Dockerfile and Docker Compose are also included. Let me know if you need more details on any topic!