Registry compatibility

This page contains information about hosting your own registry using the open source Docker Registry. For information about Docker Hub, which offers a hosted registry with additional features such as teams, organizations, web hooks, automated builds, etc, see Docker Hub.

Synopsis

If a manifest is pulled by digest from a registry 2.3 with Docker Engine 1.9 and older, and the manifest was pushed with Docker Engine 1.10, a security check causes the Engine to receive a manifest it cannot use and the pull fails.

Registry manifest support

Historically, the registry has supported a single manifest type known as Schema 1.

With the move toward multiple architecture images, the distribution project introduced two new manifest types: Schema 2 manifests and manifest lists. Registry 2.3 supports all three manifest types and sometimes performs an on-the-fly transformation of a manifest before serving the JSON in the response, to preserve compatibility with older versions of Docker Engine.

This conversion has some implications for pulling manifests by digest and this document enumerates these implications.

Content Addressable Storage (CAS)

Manifests are stored and retrieved in the registry by keying off a digest representing a hash of the contents. One of the advantages provided by CAS is security: if the contents are changed, then the digest no longer matches. This prevents any modification of the manifest by a MITM attack or an untrusted third party.

When a manifest is stored by the registry, this digest is returned in the HTTP response headers and, if events are configured, delivered within the event. The manifest can either be retrieved by the tag, or this digest.

For registry versions 2.2.1 and below, the registry always stores and serves Schema 1 manifests. Engine 1.10 first attempts to send a Schema 2 manifest, falling back to sending a Schema 1 type manifest when it detects that the registry does not support the new version.

Registry v2.3

Manifest push with Docker 1.10

The Engine constructs a Schema 2 manifest which the registry persists to disk.

When the manifest is pulled by digest or tag with Docker Engine 1.10, a Schema 2 manifest is returned. Docker Engine 1.10 understands the new manifest format.

When the manifest is pulled by tag with Docker Engine 1.9 and older, the manifest is converted on-the-fly to Schema 1 and sent in the response. The Docker Engine 1.9 is compatible with this older format.

When the manifest is pulled by digest with Docker Engine 1.9 and older, the same rewriting process does not happen in the registry. If it did, the digest would no longer match the hash of the manifest and would violate the constraints of CAS.

For this reason if a manifest is pulled by digest from a registry 2.3 with Docker Engine 1.9 and older, and the manifest was pushed with Docker Engine 1.10, a security check causes the Engine to receive a manifest it cannot use and the pull fails.

Manifest push with Docker 1.9 and older

The Docker Engine constructs a Schema 1 manifest which the registry persists to disk.

When the manifest is pulled by digest or tag with any Docker version, a Schema 1 manifest is returned.