Export/Import docker container and other docker cleanup activities

Import/export containers

Moving containers between hosts is simple:

docker export NAME | gzip > NAME.gz
# Copy the gz file to the other host - I'm using s3cmd and get external backup while doing it
zcat NAME.gz | docker import - NAME

It is probably a good idea to create a local copy of the configuration as well (just in case):

docker commit container-name new-image-name
docker run [...same arguments as the other one...] new-image-name

Other cleanup

Check how much memory different processes and containers are using:

docker stats list_of_containers
# Run this in the host to see all processes or within a container to see process for the specific container
ps aux --sort --rss

docker system df show free disk space but is not available in older versions. Another way is to do docker commit container and then docker images and you’ll see how much disk that is used. This way we also get a commit point that new containers can be started from.

top and free will show general CPU and memory information (as usual).

Use this information to stop processes that consume system resources and aren’t used.


screen is a good tool for running processes in the background when logged in via ssh if you want to log off without interrupting the process. Detach without stopping any processes with ctrl-a d.

reconnect with screen -r. It is also possible to have several windows. Create a new window with ctrl-a c and switch between windows with ctrl-a n.