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"Docker" is a word used to refer to the company Docker Inc., the container runtime application they developed, and many related technologies. In our usage here, we are typically referring to the Docker runtime for containers, and will try to otherwise specify with more description.

The Docker runtime has become a very popular technology for software applications and cyberinfrastructure implementations in a broad range of areas. Here we will focus on scientific software applications running in Docker on Red Cloud. Please not that Docker is only available in Red Cloud, not available on CAC Private Clusters. Some Private Clusters, however, may have Singularity installed, which can run Docker images after they have been converted. For more information, please see the documentation for your cluster.

Getting Started


For a complete list of instructions, see the Docker installation guide. Docker provides instructions for both types of Linux instance types available in Red Cloud: Ubuntu and CentOS. While there are instructions for Windows, we do not recommend running Docker on Windows in Red Cloud. For this step-by-step guide, we will use a Ubuntu VM.

  1. First, launch a new instance, specifically a new Linux instance with the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS image. Access the instance via ssh.
  2. Make sure the system is up-to-date:
    • sudo apt update and sudo apt upgrade
    • You may need to run sudo reboot and reconnect once the instance has finished restarting.

Once installed, see the post installation instructions (, specifically the first step on user groups. Next, their getting started page ( provides a good base for using Docker.

Using A Docker Image

Useful Commands

Creating a Dockerfile