Docker on Raspberry Pi  What is it? + Uses and Features ▷ 2021

If you have not previously worked with Raspberry devices, you will wonder how applications run without user intervention. This is one of the possibilities when you use Docker, the program that will facilitate your work with this plate.

It is available in the latest versions of this hardware and can run applications at any level, with minimal oversight from developers.

Learn what its main features and benefits are. You can also learn step by step how to install Docker on a Raspberry board and automate the processes in your project.

What is Docker and what is this tool for on a Raspberry Pi?

On very rare occasions, you will have the need to keep your Raspberry Pi connected to a keyboard and monitor. Frequently, developers turn to this tool to automate processes. Note that a Raspberry device it is like a mini computer and requires someone or “something” to give it orders so that it can fulfill its functions. That is what Docker works for, this program allows you to automate the tasks carried out by the board.

With this powerful software, administrators run libraries, applications, code at any level and control order times that the program gives to the plate. If there were no programs like Docker, a person would have to be controlling the applications that allow the team to perform its functions. In terms of an expert, it is a container operating system that virtualizes a machine, eliminating the need to directly control the applications that are needed.

Docker Features What are its coolest features on a Raspberry Pi?

Docker is a free license program, so it is freely available to developers who adapt this program to their needs.

Check out the top rated features of this app:

  • Applications run automatically: The best thing about this program is that you write code and execute it only once. Then Docker does all the work for you, and you can request that it do whatever it takes with minimal resources and at low cost.
  • They are lighter: the same work can be done with a virtual machine, but requires more hardware resources to accomplish the same task. Docker uses containers, a similar idea to a virtual machine, but not really the same.
  • Precision: As it is a program that executes a task, with Docker you get the work done on time, with the frequency and steps that you indicate. This reduces the probability of making human errors that can alter your project.
  • Free and paid support: Although most of the developer community works with the free version, Docker also offers a paid option that has more benefits and support for its customers.
  • Cost savings: This application does not require many resources (depending on the type of project), so the investment in machinery and human resources is less. The return on investment is faster compared to using other technology.
  • Increase productivity: When we automate processes, you can dedicate all your effort to another phase of the project. In addition, in case of problems, Docker has simple configurations that allow you to go back to other versions of the applications that you run and repair the damages.

What are the most important requirements to be able to use Docker on a Raspberry Pi?

Docker is a program that conforms to the latest versions of Raspberry Pi and it adapts to whatever operating system is installed on it.

Similarly, other characteristics and requirements are required for proper operation:

  • Know Docker well: This is not a program for newbies, it requires some experience in application development and server configuration.
  • Correct installation: As it is an ARM architecture, it is important to know all the components of the board and the operating system that works on it.
  • Manage the concept of images: Docker creates containers that resemble how images work. When you perform a task or adjustment in a container, it only affects that container and not the original image of the computer.
  • Create containers: once the original image is downloaded, it is time to start creating as many containers as required for the project. From this moment, the applications are installed and the tasks are scheduled.
  • Create servers: part of the tasks of a container, require a web server. Thus the tasks are carried out in an isolated environment without interfering with other web servers.

Learn step by step how to install and configure Docker on a Raspberry Pi single board computer from scratch

When you have your project defined, with the tasks that need to be automated, then we proceed to correctly install Docker on your Raspberry Pi.

We will tell you the steps to follow:

Install Raspberry Pi Imager

You will learn from scratch to install Docker on your Raspberry Pi, that is why it is important to first comply with a few previous steps when it comes to a new computer that does not have any pre-installed operating system:

  • Visit the Web raspberrypi.org.

Raspberry Official Website

  • Find the section “Install Raspberry Pi OS using Raspberry Pi Imager”.
  • Press the button “Download for Windows”.

Download Raspberry Pi Imager

  • There are also versions for macOS and the Ubuntu Linux distribution.
  • Run the installer and follow the steps.
  • You must wait for the percentage reaches 100% before running the program.

Although you should already know, it is better if you do this step in Windows 10 if you prefer to do it in this operating system. Errors are likely if you have other versions of Windows.

Install an operating system

Remember that, to make a correct installation, you must do it on the Micro SD card that your Raspberry Pi will use to run the tasks.

This must be formatted:

  • Place the Micro SD card on your Windows 10 computer.
  • Run Raspberry Pi Imager and select the operating system you want to place.

Install OS on Raspberry PI devices

  • In case of choosing Raspberry Pi OS, formerly known as Raspbian, you must select the option “Raspberry Pi OS (Other)”.
  • Choose the option “Raspberry Pi OS Lite (32-bit)”.
  • This is a version that does not have a desktop, but it is the best option for you to run Docker No problem.
  • Choose the Micro SD card where the installation will take place.
  • Press “Write”.

Install Rasbian from Raspberry Imager

Configure Docker

Now, the most important step comes because it is time to download and configure Docker, but it is all done using commands:

  • Create an SSH file so that when booting the Raspberry Pi it can be configured.

Create SSD file on Raspberry Pi

  • When you finish the setup, eject the Micro SD card from your computer and connect it to the Raspberry Pi device.

Eject Micro SD card

  • From your computer, start a terminal and using an SSH client you will be able to make the connection with the Raspberry Pi device.
  • When the operating system boots, the following is to install the necessary dependencies.

Install dependencies for Docker

  • The next step is to download “Kyes” of Docker.

Download Docker keys

  • You must install those “Kyes”.

Install kyes from Docker

  • We proceed to put docker repository.

Install Docker repositories

  • It’s time to write commands to install Docker and Docker Compose.

Install Docker and Docker Compose

  • Wait for what the process ends.
  • Finally, place username and password with this command.

User and password for Docker

  • You must exit this user before starting the Docker.

We show you how to update Docker on a Rapsberry Pi to have the most recent version of the program

Doing an update should be a straightforward and simple act, but some steps and considerations should be taken into account:

No dependencies required

Some inexperienced developers perform a fresh install docker on the Raspberry Pi board for the latest updates, but this is not really necessary. Reinstall dependencies can cause crashes when repositories are already added.

Use a simple command

It is only necessary to use an update package manager with the following command:

If the tasks you want to perform are complex, it is better to keep the application updated. If you consider that these are simple tasks, it is better to keep Docker as is.

These are the steps to uninstall Docker on a Raspberry Pi if you no longer need the application for anything useful

When you want to give your Raspberry Pi a new use, then it will be necessary to completely remove the Docker from the Micro SD card which is used to run this program on the board.

Let’s see the steps to follow:

Using a command

At the moment you want to remove Docker, you just have to write the following line from the command terminal:

  • sudo apt-get purge docker-ce

You will see how Quickly uninstall Docker from Micro SD card, but the operating system is maintained.

Format the card

When it is a bug in the program that prevents you from executing commands, then the only way is to format the Micro SD card:

  • Remove the Micro SD card from your Raspberry Pi.
  • Put the card in an adapter e insert the drive into your computer.
  • Run a format clean and safe.

The only detail with this procedure is that you also remove the operating system that controls the Raspberry Pi. The advantage is that you make sure that there is no trace of the mistakes that forced you to make this decision.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, we will answer you as soon as possible, and it will also be of great help to more members of the community. Thanks! 😉

Author: Mario José

Graduated in journalism, specialized in investigation, I seek the truth of all things. Now 100% focused on technology, computing and Internet issues.

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