Keep calm and configure Docker on Linux Mint

At the office we like to work in comfortable and familiar environments, meaning everyone is free to use their preferred OS and distro — even if this means sometimes running in unexpected development trouble.

A big part of our development environment is centered around Docker: we love how it allows us to get up and running locally with the minimum amount of time and effort. Sometimes, however, things don’t go as planned.

What’s the problem?

I just installed Linux Mint 18 “Sarah”, using lvm to handle partitions, and while setting up my development environment, I’m hit by a nasty surprise: the freshly installed Docker doesn’t start.

After following all the steps for installing Docker, running `apt-get install docker-engine` fails with:

Job for docker.service failed because the control process exited with  error code. See "systemctl status docker.service" and "journalctl -xe"  for details.

Going deeper in what is the cause, systemctl tells me:

Error starting daemon: error initializing graphdriver:  \"/var/lib/docker\" contains several valid graphdrivers: aufs,  devicemapper;

Indeed, looking into /var/lib/docker, both aufs and devicemapper are available. All in all, Docker looks installed properly; the problem seems to be in starting it correctly.

Simple solution: configure it!

Since I want devicemapper as a storage driver, I configure my volumes and create the thinpool as required. At the end of this process, however, the thinpool seems to be inactive.

$ lvscan
ACTIVE '/dev/mint-vg/root' [400,00 GiB] inherit
ACTIVE '/dev/mint-vg/swap_1' [7,95 GiB] inherit
inactive '/dev/mint-vg/thinpool' [54,00 GiB] inherit
$ ls /dev/mapper/
control mint--vg-root mint--vg-swap_1

After a bit of searching for what this means, it turns out the solution lies in installing thin-provisioning-tools, and setting the correct flag by running:

$ lvchange -a y /dev/mint-vg/thinpool

A simple check shows that the thinpool is now active.

$ lvscan
ACTIVE '/dev/mint-vg/root' [400,00 GiB] inherit
ACTIVE '/dev/mint-vg/swap_1' [7,95 GiB] inherit
ACTIVE '/dev/mint-vg/thinpool' [54,00 GiB] inherit
$ ls /dev/mapper/
control mint--vg-root mint--vg-swap_1 mint--vg-thinpool mint--vg-thinpool_tdata mint--vg-thinpool_tmeta

The last step is putting together the docker configuration file as instructed in the documentation, specifying the preferred storage option.

ExecStart=/usr/bin/docker daemon -H fd:// --storage-driver=devicemapper --storage-opt=dm.thinpooldev=/dev/mapper/mint--vg-thinpool --storage-opt dm.use_deferred_removal=true

All done! Now I just need to reload the daemon, and Docker starts without a hitch.

Happy coding!

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Photo: Jamie