Docker Engine overview

Table of contents

Docker Engine is an open source containerization technology for building and containerizing your applications. Docker Engine acts as a client-server application with:

  • A server with a long-running daemon process dockerd.
  • APIs which specify interfaces that programs can use to talk to and instruct the Docker daemon.
  • A command line interface (CLI) client docker.

The CLI uses Docker APIs to control or interact with the Docker daemon through scripting or direct CLI commands. Many other Docker applications use the underlying API and CLI. The daemon creates and manages Docker objects, such as images, containers, networks, and volumes.

For more details, see Docker Architecture.


The Docker Engine is licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0. See LICENSE for the full license text.

However, for commercial use of Docker Engine obtained via Docker Desktop within larger enterprises (exceeding 250 employees OR with annual revenue surpassing $10 million USD), a paid subscription is required.