How to Install and Use Docker on Linux

Jonathan MathewsPublic

Docker containers

Containers are all the rage in IT — with good reason. Containers are lightweight, standalone packages that contain everything needed to run an application (code, libraries, runtime, system settings, and dependencies). Each container is deployed with its own CPU, memory, block I/O, and network resources, all without having to depend upon an individual kernel and operating system. And that is the biggest difference between a container and a virtual machine; whereas a virtual machine is a full-blown operating system platform, running on a host OS, a container is not.

Containers allow you to expand your company offerings (either internal or external) in ways you could not otherwise. For example, you can quickly deploy multiple instances of NGINX (even with multiple stagings — such as development and production). Unlike doing this with Virtual Machines, containers will not put nearly the hit on your system resources.

Docker makes creating, deploying, and managing containers incredibly simple. What’s best is that installing and using Docker is second-nature to the Linux platform.

I’m going to demonstrate how easy it is to install Docker on Linux, as well as walking you through the first steps of working with Docker. I’ll be demonstrating on the Ubuntu 16.04 Serverplatform, but the process is very similar on most all Linux distributions.

I will assume you already have Ubuntu Server 16.04 up and running and ready to go.


Since Ubuntu Server 16.04 is sans GUI, the installation and usage of Docker will be handled entirely through the command line. Before you run the installation command, make sure to update apt and then run any necessary upgrades. Do note, if your server’s kernel upgrades, you’ll need to reboot the system. Thus, you might want to plan to do this during a time when a server reboot is acceptable.

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