Back up DTR

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

This topic applies to Docker Enterprise.

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Backups do not cause downtime for DTR.

DTR backup contents

All metadata and authZ information for a given DTR cluster is backed up.

Data Backed up Description
Configurations yes DTR settings and cluster configurations
Repository metadata yes Metadata such as image architecture, repositories, images deployed, and size
Access control to repos and images yes Data about who has access to which images and repositories
Notary data yes Signatures and digests for images that are signed
Scan results yes Information about vulnerabilities in your images
Certificates and keys yes Certificates, public keys, and private keys that are used for mutual TLS communication
Image content no The images you push to DTR. This can be stored on the file system of the node running DTR, or other storage system, depending on the configuration. Needs to be backed up separately, depends on DTR configuration
Users, orgs, teams no Create a UCP backup to back up this data
Vulnerability database no Can be redownloaded after a restore

This data is persisted on the host running DTR, using named volumes. Learn more about DTR named volumes.

Perform DTR backup

You should always create backups from the same DTR replica, to ensure a smoother restore. If you have not previously performed a backup, the web interface displays a warning:

To create a DTR backup, perform the following steps:

  1. Run DTR Backup command
  2. Back up DTR image content
  3. Back up DTR metadata
  4. Verify your backup

Run the DTR backup command (CLI)

Find your replica ID

Since you need your DTR replica ID during a backup, the following covers a few ways for you to determine your replica ID:

UCP web interface

You can find the list of replicas by navigating to Shared Resources > Stacks or Swarm > Volumes (when using swarm mode) on the UCP web interface.

UCP client bundle

From a terminal [using a UCP client bundle]((/ee/ucp/user-access/cli/), run:

$ docker ps --format "{{.Names}}" | grep dtr

# The list of DTR containers with <node>/<component>-<replicaID>, e.g.
# node-1/dtr-api-a1640e1c15b6
SSH access

Another way to determine the replica ID is to SSH into a DTR node and run the following:

$ REPLICA_ID=$(docker inspect -f '{{.Name}}' $(docker ps -q -f name=dtr-rethink) | cut -f 3 -d '-')
&& echo $REPLICA_ID

Back up image content

Since you can configure the storage backend that DTR uses to store images, the way you back up images depends on the storage backend you’re using.

If you’ve configured DTR to store images on the local file system or NFS mount, you can backup the images by using SSH to log in to a DTR node, and creating a tar archive of the dtr-registry volume:

$ sudo tar -cf {{ image_backup_file }} \
-C /var/lib/docker/volumes/ dtr-registry-<replica-id>

If you’re using a different storage backend, follow the best practices recommended for that system.

Back up DTR metadata

To create a DTR backup, load your UCP client bundle, and run the following command, replacing the placeholders with real values:

$ read -sp 'ucp password: ' UCP_PASSWORD;

This prompts you for the UCP password. Next, run the following to back up your DTR metadata and save the result into a tar archive. You can learn more about the supported flags in the reference documentation.

$ docker container run \
  --rm \
  --interactive \
  --log-driver none \
  docker/dtr:2.7.4 backup \
  --ucp-url <ucp-url> \
  --ucp-insecure-tls \
  --ucp-username <ucp-username> \
  --existing-replica-id <replica-id> > dtr-backup-v2.7.4.tar.gz


  • <ucp-url> is the url you use to access UCP.
  • <ucp-username> is the username of a UCP administrator.
  • <replica-id> is the id of the DTR replica to backup.

By default the backup command doesn’t stop the DTR replica being backed up. This means you can take frequent backups without affecting your users.

You can use the --offline-backup option to stop the DTR replica while taking the backup. If you do this, remove the replica from the load balancing pool.

Also, the backup contains sensitive information like private keys, so you can encrypt the backup by running:

gpg --symmetric dtr-backup-v2.7.4.tar.gz

This prompts you for a password to encrypt the backup, copies the backup file and encrypts it.

Verify your backup

To validate that the backup was correctly performed, you can print the contents of the tar file created. The backup of the images should look like:

tar -tf dtr-backup-v2.7.4.tar.gz


And the backup of the DTR metadata should look like:

tar -tf 

# The archive should look like this

If you’ve encrypted the metadata backup, you can use:

gpg -d  | tar -t

You can also create a backup of a UCP cluster and restore it into a new cluster. Then restore DTR on that new cluster to confirm that everything is working as expected.

Where to go next

enterprise, backup, dtr, disaster recovery