Docker and –userns-remap, how to manage volume permissions to share data between host and container?
In docker, files created inside containers tend to have unpredictable ownership while inspecting them from the host. The owner of the files on a volume is root (uid 0) by default, but as soon as non-root user accounts are involved in the container and writing to the file system, owners become more or less random from the host perspective.
It is a problem when you need to access volume data from the host using the same user account which is calling the docker commands.
Typical workarounds are
- forcing users uIDs at creation time in Dockerfiles (non portable)
- passing the UID of the host user to the
docker runcommand as an environment variable and then running some
chowncommands on the volumes in an entrypoint script.
Both these solutions can give some control over the actual permissions outside the container.
I expected user namespaces to be the final solution to this problem. I have run some tests with the recently released version 1.10 and –userns-remap set to my desktop account. However, I am not sure that it can make file ownership on mounted volumes easier to deal with, I am afraid that it could actually be the opposite.
Suppose I start this basic container
docker run -ti -v /data debian:jessie /bin/bash echo 'hello' > /data/test.txt exit
And then inspect the content from the host :
ls -lh /var/lib/docker/100000.100000/volumes/<some-id>/_data/ -rw-r--r-- 1 100000 100000 6 Feb 8 19:43 test.txt
This number ‘100000’ is a sub-UID of my host user, but since it does not correspond to my user’s UID, I still can’t edit test.txt without privileges. This sub-user does not seem to have any affinity with my actual regular user outside of docker. It’s not mapped back.
The workarounds mentioned earlier in this post which consisted of aligning UIDs between the host and the container do not work anymore due to the
UID->sub-UID mapping that occurs in the namespace.
Then, is there a way to run docker with user namespace enabled (for improved security), while still making it possible for the host user running docker to own the files generated on volumes?
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If you can prearrange users and groups in advance, then it’s possible to assign UIDs and GIDs in such specific way so that host users correspond to namespaced users inside containers.
Here’s an example (Ubuntu 14.04, Docker 1.10):
Create some users with fixed numeric IDs:
useradd -u 5000 ns1 groupadd -g 500000 ns1-root groupadd -g 501000 ns1-user1 useradd -u 500000 -g ns1-root ns1-root useradd -u 501000 -g ns1-user1 ns1-user1 -m
Manually edit auto-generated subordinate ID ranges in
(note there are no records for
Enable user namespaces in
service docker restart, ensure
/var/lib/docker/500000.500000directory is created.
Now, inside containers you have
user1, and on the host —
ns1-user1, with matching IDs
UPDATE: to guarantee that non-root users have fixed IDs in containers (e.g. user1 1000:1000), create them explicitly during image build.
Prepare a volume directory
mkdir /vol1 chown ns1-root:ns1-root /vol1
Try it from a container
docker run --rm -ti -v /vol1:/vol1 busybox sh echo "Hello from container" > /vol1/file exit
Try from the host
passwd ns1-root login ns1-root cat /vol1/file echo "can write" >> /vol1/file
Not portable and looks like a hack, but works.