docker-machine scp

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Copy files from your local host to a machine, from machine to machine, or from a machine to your local host using scp.

The notation is machinename:/path/to/files for the arguments; in the host machine’s case, you don’t have to specify the name, just the path.


Consider the following example:

$ cat foo.txt
cat: foo.txt: No such file or directory
$ docker-machine ssh dev pwd
$ docker-machine ssh dev 'echo A file created remotely! >foo.txt'
$ docker-machine scp dev:/home/docker/foo.txt .
foo.txt                                                           100%   28     0.0KB/s   00:00
$ cat foo.txt
A file created remotely!

Just like how scp has a -r flag for copying files recursively, docker-machine has a -r flag for this feature.

In the case of transferring files from machine to machine, they go through the local host’s filesystem first (using scp’s -3 flag).

Specifying file paths for remote deployments

When you copy files to a remote server with docker-machine scp for app deployment, make sure docker-compose and the Docker daemon know how to find them. You can specify absolute paths, e.g. /home/myuser/workspace in a Compose file, which will be mounted into the container at /workspace, from the absolute path on the remote host where the Docker daemon is running. Local client paths (e.g., on your laptop) will not work for daemons running on a remote machine, so avoid using relative paths.

For example, imagine you want to transfer your local directory /Users/londoncalling/webapp to a remote machine and bind mount it into a container on the remote host. (We’ll suppose the remote user is ubuntu.) You could do something like this:

$ docker-machine scp -r /Users/londoncalling/webapp MACHINE-NAME:/home/ubuntu/webapp

Then write a docker-compose file that bind mounts it in:

version: "3.1"
    image: alpine
    command: cat /app/root.php
    - "/home/ubuntu/webapp:/app"

And we can try it out like so:

$ eval $(docker-machine env MACHINE-NAME)
$ docker-compose run webapp
machine, scp, subcommand