containerd image store (Beta)

This page provides information about the ongoing integration of containerd for image and file system management in the Docker Engine.


The containerd image store feature is currently in Beta. We recommend that you do not use this feature in production environments as this feature may change or be removed from future releases.

What is the containerd image store?

containerd is a container runtime that manages the container lifecycle, and provides image and filesystem management. It’s a low-level building block, designed to be integrated into other systems, such as Docker and Kubernetes.

Docker Engine already uses containerd for container lifecycle management, which includes creating, starting, and stopping containers. This page describes the next step of containerd integration for Docker Engine: the image store.

The image store is the component responsible for pushing, pulling, and storing images. Integrating the containerd image store enables many new features in the Docker Engine, including:

  • containerd snapshotters, such as stargz for lazy-pulling images on startup, or nydus and dragonfly for peer-to-peer image distribution.
  • Natively store and build multi-platform images, and other OCI content types that may emerge in the future.
  • Ability to run Wasm containers

The image store integration is still at an early stage, so not all features are yet supported.

Enabling the containerd image store feature


After switching to the containerd image store, images and containers from the default image store won’t be visible. All of those containers and images still exist. To see them again, turn off the containerd image store feature.

The containerd image store beta feature is off by default.

To start using the feature:

  1. Navigate to Settings.
  2. Select the Experimental features tab.
  3. Next to Use containerd for pulling and storing images, select the checkbox.

To turn off this feature, clear the Use containerd for pulling and storing images checkbox.

containerd feature

Building multi-platform images

The term multi-platform image refers to a bundle of images that can run on different architectures. Out of the box, the default builder for Docker Desktop doesn’t support building multi-platform images.

$ docker buildx ls | grep "DRIVER\|*"
default *       docker
$ docker buildx build --platform=linux/amd64,linux/arm64 .
[+] Building 0.0s (0/0)
ERROR: multiple platforms feature is currently not supported for docker driver. Please switch to a different driver (eg. "docker buildx create --use")

Normally, building multi-platform images requires you to create a new builder, using a driver that supports multi-platform builds. But even then, you can’t load the multi-platform images to your local image store.

$ docker buildx create --bootstrap
[+] Building 2.4s (1/1) FINISHED
 => [internal] booting buildkit
 => => pulling image moby/buildkit:buildx-stable-1
 => => creating container buildx_buildkit_objective_blackburn0
$ docker buildx build --quiet \
  --platform=linux/amd64,linux/arm64 \
  --builder=objective_blackburn \
  --load .
ERROR: docker exporter does not currently support exporting manifest lists

Enabling the containerd image store lets you build, and load, multi-platform images to your local image store, all while using the default builder.

$ docker info --format="{{ .Driver }}"
$ docker buildx build \   
  --platform=linux/arm64,linux/amd64 \
  --tag=user/containerd-multiplatform .
[+] Building 6.2s (11/11) FINISHED                                                                                                                                                                       
 => [internal] load build definition from Dockerfile                            0.0s
 => => transferring dockerfile: 115B                                            0.0s
 => [linux/arm64 internal] load metadata for    2.0s
 => [linux/amd64 internal] load metadata for    2.1s
 => [linux/amd64 1/1] FROM    0.0s
 => => resolve    0.0s
 => [linux/arm64 1/1] FROM    0.0s
 => => resolve    0.0s
 => exporting to image                                                          0.0s
 => => exporting layers                                                         0.0s
 => => naming to                 0.0s
 => => unpacking to              0.0s
$ docker images
REPOSITORY                        TAG       IMAGE ID       CREATED          SIZE
user/containerd-multiplatform     latest    7401bb14c229   14 seconds ago   3.38MB
user/containerd-multiplatform     latest    7401bb14c229   14 seconds ago   3.26MB

You can push the multi-platform image to Docker Hub.

$ docker push user/containerd-multiplatform
Using default tag: latest
699c4e744ab4: Pushed 
878d877e4f70: Pushed 
f56be85fc22e: Pushed 
a579f49700dc: Pushed 
c41833b44d91: Pushed 
ee79e74f9211: Pushed 
d28bdb47b683: Pushed

Inspecting the tag on Docker Hub shows that the image is available for multiple platforms.

Multiplatform image tag on Docker Hub

Known issues

Docker Desktop 4.13.0 release

  • Listing images with docker images returns the error content digest not found on ARM machines after running or pulling an image with the --platform parameter.

Docker Desktop 4.12.0 release

  • The containerd image store feature requires Buildx version 0.9.0 or newer.

    • On Docker Desktop for Linux (DD4L), validate if your locally installed version meets this requirement.


      If you’re using an older version, the Docker daemon reports the following error: Multiple platforms feature is currently not supported for docker driver. Please switch to a different driver.

      Install a newer version of Buildx following the instructions on how to manually download Buildx.

  • In Docker Desktop 4.12.0, the containerd image store feature is incompatible with the Kubernetes cluster support. Turn off the containerd image store feature if you are using the Kubernetes from Docker Desktop.
  • Local registry mirror configuration isn’t implemented yet with the containerd image store. The registry-mirrors and insecure-registries aren’t taken into account by the Docker daemon.
  • The reference filter isn’t implemented yet and will return the error invalid filter 'reference' when listing images.
  • Pulling an image may fail with the error pull access denied, repository does not exist or may require authorization: server message: insufficient_scope: authorization failed, in the situation where the image does not contain a manifest list. To workaround this issue run the docker login command and pull the image again.


Thanks for trying the new features available with containerd. Give feedback or report any bugs you may find through the issues tracker on the feedback form.