Docker on Windows Hyper-V

Provision of docker host

I'm gonna use Ubuntu 15.04, at moment there is troubles with DOCKER_OPTS hope will be fixed later on.

On a fresh install all you need to do:

###Install docker itself

wget -qO- | sh
sudo usermod -aG docker $USER # relogin required
docker run hello-world


How it works: Both client and server have its own cert and key files, they all are signed with same CA. While connecting both client and server verify each other certificates agains CA file they have. If all OK communication begins.

First of all we need our CA

openssl genrsa -aes256 -out ca-key.pem 4096
openssl req -new -x509 -days 365 -key ca-key.pem -sha256 -subj "/CN=*" -out ca.pem

Server certificates

openssl genrsa -out server-key.pem 4096
openssl req -subj "/CN=*" -sha256 -new -key server-key.pem -out server.csr
echo subjectAltName = IP:,IP: > extfile.cnf
openssl x509 -req -days 365 -sha256 -in server.csr -CA ca.pem -CAkey ca-key.pem -CAcreateserial -out server-cert.pem -extfile extfile.cnf
rm server.csr extfile.cnf

Here is tricky part, you need to provide your server IP here to be able to connect to it by IP address rather than by DNS.

But in my case its my local lab so I prefer doing it without IP addresses like so:

openssl genrsa -out server-key.pem 4096
openssl req -subj "/CN=*" -sha256 -new -key server-key.pem -out server.csr
openssl x509 -req -days 365 -sha256 -in server.csr -CA ca.pem -CAkey ca-key.pem -CAcreateserial -out server-cert.pem
rm server.csr

Not that in this variant I am no longer defining IP addresses so connections will be available only by host names which in our case everywhere set to start - so connection will be available from everywhere, but from now on you must deal with hosts file on your client system or configure DNS.

Client certificates

openssl genrsa -out key.pem 4096
openssl req -subj '/CN=client' -new -key key.pem -out client.csr
echo extendedKeyUsage = clientAuth > extfile.cnf
openssl x509 -req -days 365 -sha256 -in client.csr -CA ca.pem -CAkey ca-key.pem -CAcreateserial -out cert.pem -extfile extfile.cnf
rm client.csr extfile.cnf


chmod -v 0400 ca-key.pem key.pem server-key.pem
chmod -v 0444 ca.pem server-cert.pem cert.pem

What do we have now is:

  • server-key.pem, server-cert.pem and ca.pem - will be used by docker server
  • key.pem, cert.pem and ca.pem - will be used by client

Notice that both client and server do need to have same ca.pem to be able to verify certificates.


By default docker listens to socket, what wee need is to modify docker startup parameters so it will start listening network.

sudo sed -i "s|#DOCKER_OPTS=\"--dns --dns\"|DOCKER_OPTS=\"--tlsverify --tlscacert=$PWD/ca.pem --tlscert=$PWD/server-cert.pem --tlskey=$PWD/server-key.pem -H=\"|" /etc/default/docker

Be sure to set appropriate file names and paths, do not forget to remove -i parameter to check what will happen.

Unfortunatelly at this moment things will not happen, because of moving to systemd file we were edit is not used at all, hope it will be fixed soon, but for now we need do few more things.

sudo mkdir -p /etc/systemd/system/docker.service.d

cat << EOF | sudo tee -a /etc/systemd/system/docker.service.d/ubuntu.conf
ExecStart=/usr/bin/docker -d -H fd:// \$DOCKER_OPTS

sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl restart docker
sudo systemctl status docker
netstat -ntulp | grep 2376

Windows client

Windows client may be downloaded here:

To copy certificate files use something like this:

scp [email protected]:"/home/alexandr/ca.pem /home/alexandr/cert.pem /home/alexandr/key.pem" .

To verify things are working:

docker --tlsverify --tlscacert=ca.pem --tlscert=cert.pem --tlskey=key.pem -H=hvd:2376 version

Note that we are connection to hvd machine rather that its IP.

To make things easier you may set environment variables:

set DOCKER_HOST=tcp://hvd:2376
set DOCKER_CERT_PATH=C:\Users\Alexandr\Desktop

And now you should be able to run docker commands from your windows client against ubuntu vm in your hyper-v like so:

docker info | findstr "Operating System"
Operating System: Ubuntu 15.04

Docker Machine

Please take a note that there is docker-machine available for Windows which supports hyper-v out of the box. All what have beed done here may be done in few commands like:

docker-machine create -d hyper-v dev
docker-machine env dev

set DOCKER_HOST=tcp://
set DOCKER_CERT_PATH=C:\Users\Alexandr\.docker\machine\machines\dev

docker run busybox echo hello world

Docker machine will create docker host vm in hyper-v, will deal with certificates and so on. Even more, when you will be ready you can use docker machine to provision docker host in cloud providers without doing anything by hand.