Driver options and operating system defaults

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When Docker Machine provisions containers on local network provider or with a remote, cloud provider such as Amazon Web Services, you must define both the driver for your provider and a base operating system. There are over 10 supported drivers and a generic driver for adding machines for other providers.

Each driver has a set of options specific to that provider. These options provide information to machine such as connection credentials, ports, and so forth. For example, to create an Azure machine:

Grab your subscription ID from the portal, then run docker-machine create with these details:

$ docker-machine create -d azure --azure-subscription-id="SUB_ID" --azure-subscription-cert="mycert.pem" A-VERY-UNIQUE-NAME

To see a list of providers and review the options available to a provider, see the reference for that driver.

In addition to the provider, you have the option of identifying a base operating system. It is an option because Docker Machine has defaults for both local and remote providers. For local providers such as VirtualBox, Fusion, Hyper-V, and so forth, the default base operating system is Boot2Docker. For cloud providers, the base operating system is the latest Ubuntu LTS the provider supports.

Operating System Version Notes
Boot2Docker 1.5+ default for local
Ubuntu 12.04+ default for remote
RancherOS 0.3+  
Debian 8.0+ experimental
RedHat Enterprise Linux 7.0+ experimental
CentOS 7+ experimental
Fedora 21+ experimental

To use a different base operating system on a remote provider, specify the provider’s image flag and one of its available images. For example, to select a debian-8-x64 image on DigitalOcean you would supply the --digitalocean-image=debian-8-x64 flag.

If you change the base image for a provider, you may also need to change the SSH user. For example, the default Red Hat AMI on EC2 expects the SSH user to be ec2-user, so you would have to specify this with --amazonec2-ssh-user ec2-user.

machine, driver, base, operating system