I am trying to understand how I can increase the available space docker offers to the containers.

TL;DR - How can I attribute more hard disk space to docker containers?

My core system:

docker info
Containers: 15
 Running: 12
 Paused: 0
 Stopped: 3
Images: 19
Server Version: 17.06.2-ce
Storage Driver: overlay2
 Backing Filesystem: extfs
 Supports d_type: true
 Native Overlay Diff: true
Logging Driver: json-file
Cgroup Driver: cgroupfs
 Volume: local
 Network: bridge host macvlan null overlay
 Log: awslogs fluentd gcplogs gelf journald json-file logentries splunk syslog
Swarm: inactive
Runtimes: runc
Default Runtime: runc
Init Binary: docker-init
containerd version: 6e23458c129b551d5c9871e5174f6b1b7f6d1170
runc version: 810190ceaa507aa2727d7ae6f4790c76ec150bd2
init version: 949e6fa
Security Options:
  Profile: default
Kernel Version: 4.9.58-xxxx-std-ipv6-64
Operating System: Debian GNU/Linux 9 (stretch)
OSType: linux
Architecture: x86_64
CPUs: 4
Total Memory: 7.625GiB
Name: ns3306175
Docker Root Dir: /var/lib/docker
Debug Mode (client): false
Debug Mode (server): false
Registry: https://index.docker.io/v1/
Experimental: false
Insecure Registries:
Live Restore Enabled: false

WARNING: No cpu cfs quota support
WARNING: No cpu cfs period support

Running df -h

/dev/root        20G  5.9G   13G  33% /
devtmpfs        3.9G     0  3.9G   0% /dev
tmpfs           3.9G     0  3.9G   0% /dev/shm
tmpfs           3.9G  404M  3.5G  11% /run
tmpfs           5.0M     0  5.0M   0% /run/lock
tmpfs           3.9G     0  3.9G   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
/dev/sda2       487M   24M  435M   6% /boot
/dev/sda4       1.8T   68M  1.7T   1% /home
overlay          20G  5.9G   13G  33% /var/lib/docker/overlay2/af4736dc572f48a34fd13bfd9c139358fefbbd79c8bd26716b26ba9dd2fe894d/merged
shm              64M     0   64M   0% /var/lib/docker/containers/c5b5bd3ebcf6a45558aa995711f4e2678582cbf7b21a11c087965de2a5a1c34/shm .. and more

My idea now - I want to have the sda4 space available in my containers. If I spawn a container and df -h I only have access to:

overlay          20G  5.9G   13G  33% /
tmpfs           3.9G     0  3.9G   0% /dev
tmpfs           3.9G     0  3.9G   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
/dev/root        20G  5.9G   13G  33% /etc/hosts
shm              64M     0   64M   0% /dev/shm
tmpfs           3.9G     0  3.9G   0% /sys/firmware

1 Answer 1


You could move the docker directory to somewhere under /home and create a symlink /var/lib/docker pointing to the new location. For example:

### shut down docker first
systemctl stop docker

mv /var/lib/docker /home/
ln -s /home/docker/ /var/lib/

### restart docker now
systemctl start docker

Use another directory if /home/docker already exists.

Instead of, or as well as, the symlink from /var/lib/docker -> /home/docker, you could also reconfigure docker so that it expects to find its directory under /home rather than /var/lib.

  • Hello cas, thanks for your reply. I thought about this too - but putting symlinks feels not a good practice. I am thinking about doing it by using the docker storage driver - docs.docker.com/engine/userguide/storagedriver/… .. Did you think about this? Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 12:31
  • "move and symlink" is perfectly normal practice, nothing at all bad about it. As is "move and reconfigure" (personally, I tend to do both: mv the data, reconfigure the daemon to look in the new location, and make a symlink so that scripts etc which expect data to be in the old location can still find it). The device-mapper storage driver looks like it's a wrapper around LVM...so unless you're already using LVM (and it doesn't look like you are), you won't be able to use without doing a backup/repartition/reformat/restore of sda (or, at least. your /home partition).
    – cas
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 13:12
  • Hello Cas, thanks again for the assistance! I think you are right that the effort of "setup" lvm "just" for this might be overhead. I will try your solution! Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 18:12
  • After a very long detour, finally stumbled upon this answer and it fixed my issue. (basically I was searching for the answer to 'how to expand disk space for my docker image', while it was actually my host partition that was hosed) Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 23:22

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