Start containers automaticallyEstimated reading time: 2 minutes
As of Docker 1.2, restart policies are the built-in Docker mechanism for restarting containers when they exit. If set, restart policies will be used when the Docker daemon starts up, as typically happens after a system boot. Restart policies will ensure that linked containers are started in the correct order.
Using a process manager
Docker does not set any restart policies by default, but be aware that they will conflict with most process managers. So don’t set restart policies if you are using a process manager.
When you have finished setting up your image and are happy with your
running container, you can then attach a process manager to manage it.
When you run
docker start -a, Docker will automatically attach to the
running container, or start it if needed and forward all signals so that
the process manager can detect when a container stops and correctly
Here are a few sample scripts for systemd and upstart to integrate with Docker.
The examples below show configuration files for two popular process managers,
upstart and systemd. In these examples, we’ll assume that we have already
created a container to run Redis with
--name=redis_server. These files define
a new service that will be started after the docker daemon service has started.
description "Redis container" author "Me" start on filesystem and started docker stop on runlevel [!2345] respawn script /usr/bin/docker start -a redis_server end script
[Unit] Description=Redis container Requires=docker.service After=docker.service [Service] Restart=always ExecStart=/usr/bin/docker start -a redis_server ExecStop=/usr/bin/docker stop -t 2 redis_server [Install] WantedBy=default.target
If you intend to use this as a system service, put the above contents in a file
/etc/systemd/system directory, e.g.
If you need to pass options to the redis container (such as
then you’ll need to use
docker run rather than
docker start. This will
create a new container every time the service is started, which will be stopped
and removed when the service is stopped. Make sure you don’t use “
“detached mode”. The command run from “
ExecStart” needs to run in the foreground.
[Service] ... ExecStart=/usr/bin/docker run --env foo=bar --name redis_server redis ExecStop=/usr/bin/docker stop -t 2 redis_server ExecStopPost=/usr/bin/docker rm -f redis_server ...
To start using the service, reload systemd and start the service:
systemctl daemon-reload systemctl start docker-redis_server.service
To enable the service at system startup, execute:
systemctl enable docker-redis_server.service