What is Docker and How Does It Work?

Docker has revolutionized the way we build, ship, and run applications. Its lightweight containers and portability have made it a cornerstone of modern software development and deployment. In this blog post, we’ll unravel the magic behind Docker’s functionality with the help of diagrams.

Understanding Docker

What is Docker?

At its core, Docker is a platform designed to make it easier to develop, deploy, and run applications. It accomplishes this through the use of containers, which encapsulate an application and its dependencies, ensuring consistency across different environments.

Key Components

Let’s explore the key components of Docker:

Host OS
Docker Host
Docker Daemon
Docker Images
Running Containers
Docker CLI
  • Docker Host: This is the physical or virtual machine where Docker is installed.
  • Docker Daemon (dockerd): The background process responsible for managing Docker containers on the host.
  • Docker Images: Lightweight, standalone, executable packages that include everything needed to run a piece of software, including the code, runtime, libraries, and system tools.
  • Running Containers: Instances of Docker images that are actively executing.
  • Docker CLI: The command-line interface used to interact with Docker, allowing users to build, manage, and run containers.

How Docker Works


Docker containers encapsulate an application and its dependencies, providing isolation and portability. Here’s a simplified view of the containerization process:

Application Code
Docker Build
Docker Image
Docker Registry
Docker Pull
Docker Run
  1. Dockerfile: A script containing instructions to build a Docker image.
  2. Docker Build: The process of converting a Dockerfile into a Docker image.
  3. Docker Image: A lightweight, standalone, executable package.
  4. Docker Registry: A centralized repository for sharing and storing Docker images.
  5. Docker Pull: The process of downloading a Docker image from a registry.
  6. Docker Run: Launching a container from a Docker image.

Container Lifecycle

Containers have a well-defined lifecycle:

Container Start
Container Stop
Container Restart
Docker Run
  • Docker Run: Initiates the container from an image.
  • Running: The container is actively executing.
  • Container Stop: Halts the container.
  • Stopped: The container is not actively running but retains its state.
  • Container Restart: Restarts a stopped container.

Volume and Networking

Docker provides features like volumes and networking to enhance container functionality:

Docker Volume
Docker Network
  • Docker Volume: A persistent data storage area that exists outside the container.
  • Docker Network: An isolated network environment for containers to communicate.
    Let’s enhance the blog post by adding a section that demonstrates a simple “Hello, World!” example using BusyBox and a Dockerfile.

A Simple “Hello, World!” Example

Now, let’s put our newfound knowledge into practice with a simple “Hello, World!” example using BusyBox.

Step 1: Create a Dockerfile

Create a Dockerfile with the following content:

# Use BusyBox as the base image
FROM busybox

# Set the working directory

# Create a simple "Hello, World!" file
RUN echo "Hello, World!" > greeting.txt

# Command to run upon container start
CMD cat greeting.txt

This Dockerfile sets up a working directory, creates a file named greeting.txt with the content “Hello, World!”, and specifies a command to display the contents of the file when the container starts.

Step 2: Build the Docker Image

Build the Docker image using the following command:

docker build -t hello-world-app .

This command instructs Docker to build an image named hello-world-app using the specified Dockerfile.

Step 3: Run the Docker Container

Now, run a container based on the newly created image:

docker run hello-world-app

You should see the output:

Hello, World!
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