Docker doesn't delete old/unused images or containers by itself, even if they weren't used for a long time or were only intermediary steps on the way to another image. This leads to an image sprawl that eats up a lot of disk space if not kept in check.

The right way to solve this would be to parse the output of docker inspect and remove containers and images based on certain policies. Unfortunately, a quick internet search did not turn up a script that does this.

Since I didn't want to spend the time to write such a thing myself, I resorted to what – sadly – seems to be state-of-the-art docker image management: a cronjob running those two lines:

docker ps -a | grep 'weeks ago' | awk '{print $1}' | xargs --no-run-if-empty docker rm
docker images -f "dangling=true" -q | xargs --no-run-if-empty docker rmi >/dev/null 2>&1

The first line removes containers that are older than two weeks and are not currently running (docker rm simply will not remove running containers). The second line removes images that are not used by any container and are not tagged (i.e. don't have proper repository name).

These two invocations are based on this Stack Overflow question and on this blog post by Jim Hoskins.

This solution works well enough, you probably shouldn't use it on production servers, though. :-)


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