Modified: 06 Jan 2023 17:17 UTC
Stability: Unknown

Joyent's implementation of the Docker Remote API has some added features as well as omissions where the API conflicted with the needs of deploying containers across Triton data centers.


Container behavior and contents

Extra Processes


In containers you may see a zsched process in addition to your other processes. It owns the kernel threads that do work on behalf of your zone. The PID of this process should always show up as 0, though some versions of ps on Linux filter this out.


If you don't have docker:noipmgmtd set in your internal_metadata, you will have an additional process ipmgmtd. This is the SmartOS daemon that manages network interfaces and TCP/IP tunables. The default if you use sdc-docker is that docker:noipmgmtd will be true when you're provisioning a regular LX docker container, and false if you're provisioning a SmartOS container.

Extra Files


This is the log from the dockerinit process which sets up the container for your initial process and then exec()s it. This log exists only for debugging problems with the way the initial process has been setup.

Extra Filesystems


If you run mount or df you will see several filesystems mounted in from /native. These are bits from the SmartOS host mounted in to support the LX emulation.

objfs on /system/object

This is the SmartOS kernel object filesystem. The contents of the filesystem are dynamic and reflect the current state of the system. See:


for more information.

ctfs on /system/contract

This is the SmartOS contract file system which is the interface to the SmartOS contract subsystem.



for more information.

Exit Statuses

When a container exits the exit status as returned by sdc-docker will currently be different from that which would be returned by Docker Inc's docker. This is due to differences in the way we handle processes within zones. This is currently considered to be a deficiency and should be improved by DOCKER-41.

Performance of container management functions

Actions performed against sdc-docker are slower, and sometimes much slower than those same actions performed against a local docker. This is something we are working on, and intend to keep improving over time.

Docker Remote API methods and Docker CLI commands

In most cases Joyent has taken great efforts to be bug for bug compatible with Docker Inc's API implementation (see restart policies). Please see documentation for specific methods for any known divergence and file bugs as needed.

SDC Docker implements all the API methods necessary to build and deploy Docker containers in the cloud, though there are some missing docker API methods. Here's the list of API methods currently unimplemented as of this writing, but expect it to get shorter by the day:

docker diff, docker events, docker export, docker import, docker load, docker network, docker node, docker pause, docker save, docker service, docker swarm, docker unpause, docker update


Images and private registries

SDC Docker supports the integration with Docker Hub and third party registries through Docker's Registry v2 API (the deprecated v1 API is not supported).

Container Logging

SDC Docker implements most of the log driver functionality as described in Docker's documentation. The differences in behavior when using these drivers are documented in the Log Drivers feature page.

In addition to the divergence in the use of these drivers, SDC Docker handles logging differently than Docker. With Docker, logs are only written to the host when the log driver is set to 'json-file'. With SDC Docker the logs are written to the host for every log driver except 'none'. These logs are captured because while the network-based log drivers are good for real-time log analysis, they can potentially lose messages due to conditions like remote host unavailablity and race conditions in startup/shutdown. The host logs are written to local storage by the zoneadmd process that manages the zone and therefore avoids these problems.

The storage for these log files will be within a container's quota but not visible from within the container itself. Operators will see these logs at /zones/:uuid/logs/stdio.log*. These will be rotated to another file in the same directory with a timestamp extension when they reach a max-size value. The max-size can be specified when using the json-file log driver. Otherwise the default (currently defaults to 50M) is set in the SDC configuration. This can be adjusted by an operator through the DEFAULT_MAX_LOG_SIZE property in the docker service's SAPI metadata.

For the user of SDC Docker, this additional log when using a log driver other than json-file is not of much use yet, but are important to know about as they do use space from the user's container. In the future, these logs will be automatically consumed and uploaded to Manta which will free this space and give users access to all their logs.

For the operator of SDC Docker these additional logs will require some cleanup process for long-lived containers when Manta support is not available.

Container Labels

Triton uses (and reserves) a number of custom container labels, to provide specific Triton features. These are:

The triton.* namespace is reserved for Triton specific use cases, these label names are currently defined:

The com.joyent.* namespace is reserved for Joyent/Triton specific use cases, these label names are currently defined:

Other Differences

SDC Docker supports certain versions of Docker CLI and Compose clients. Check the supported versions and the individual command references to see which command options can be used with SDC Docker.