Trying out rkt
This document introduces the basics of getting rkt and running a container with it. For a more in-depth guide to building application containers and running them with rkt, check out the getting started guide.
Giving rkt a spin takes just a few basic steps, detailed below.
- Install rkt:
- CoreOS Container Linux comes with rkt installed and configured. You can skip straight to running a container with rkt.
- On other Linux distributions, grab the latest rkt binary, or the distribution's rkt package.
- On Mac or Windows, you can use a Vagrant virtual machine to run rkt
- Configure rkt: Optional steps that make it simpler to experiment with rkt.
- Download and run a container with rkt.
Using rkt on Linux
rkt is written in Go and can be compiled for several CPU architectures. The rkt project distributes binaries for amd64. These rkt binaries will run on any modern Linux amd64 kernel.
Running the latest rkt binary
To start running the latest version of rkt on amd64, grab the release directly from the rkt GitHub project:
wget https://github.com/rkt/rkt/releases/download/v1.29.0/rkt-v1.29.0.tar.gz tar xzvf rkt-v1.29.0.tar.gz cd rkt-v1.29.0 ./rkt help
Installing rkt from a Linux distribution package
Another easy way to run rkt is to install it with your system's package manager, like apt on Debian or dnf on Fedora. Check for your Linux distribution in the distributions list to see if a rkt package is available.
Running rkt in a Vagrant virtual machine
If your operating system isn't Linux, it's easy to run rkt in a Linux virtual machine with Vagrant. The instructions below start a virtual machine with rkt installed and ready to run.
Vagrant on Mac and Windows
For Mac (and other Vagrant) users we have set up a
Vagrantfile. Make sure you have Vagrant 1.5.x or greater installed.
First, download the
Vagrantfile and start a Linux machine with rkt installed by running
git clone https://github.com/rkt/rkt cd rkt vagrant up
Vagrant on Linux
To use Vagrant on a Linux machine, you may want to use libvirt as a VMM instead of VirtualBox. To do so, install the necessary plugins, convert the box, and start the machine using the
vagrant plugin install vagrant-libvirt vagrant plugin install vagrant-mutate vagrant mutate ubuntu/xenial64 libvirt vagrant up --provider=libvirt
Accessing the Vagrant VM and running rkt
With a subsequent
vagrant ssh you will have access to run rkt:
If you are running an outdated version of VirtualBox, it may be that SSH asks for a password. You can find the password for the
ubuntu user in
vagrant ssh rkt --help
Consult the rkt manual for more details:
The Vagrant setup also includes bash-completion to assist with rkt subcommands and options.
Container networking on a Vagrant VM
To reach pods from your host, determine the IP address of the Vagrant machine:
vagrant ssh -c 'ip address' ... 3: enp0s8: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc pfifo_fast state UP group default qlen 1000 link/ether 08:00:27:04:e4:5d brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff inet 172.28.128.3/24 brd 172.28.128.255 scope global enp0s8 valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever ...
In this example, the Vagrant machine has the IP address
The following command starts an
nginx container, for simplicity using host networking to make the pod directly accessible on the host's network address and ports. Signature validation isn't supported for Docker registries and images, so
--insecure-options=image switches off the signature check:
sudo rkt run --net=host --insecure-options=image docker://nginx
The nginx container is now accessible on the host under
In order to use containers with the default contained network, a route to the 172.16.28.0/24 container network must be configured from the host through the VM:
On Linux, execute:
sudo ip route add 172.16.28.0/24 via 172.28.128.3
On Mac OSX, execute:
sudo route -n add 172.16.28.0/24 172.28.128.3
Now nginx can be started using the default contained network:
$ sudo rkt run --insecure-options=image docker://nginx $ rkt list UUID APP IMAGE NAME STATE CREATED STARTED NETWORKS 0c3ab969 nginx registry-1.docker.io/library/nginx:latest running 2 minutes ago 2 minutes ago default:ip4=172.16.28.2
In this example, the nginx container was assigned the IP address 172.16.28.2 (the address assigned on your system may vary). Since we established a route from the host to the
172.16.28.0/24 pod network the nginx container is now accessible on the host under
Success! The rest of the guide can now be followed normally.
Configuring a rkt host
Once rkt is present on a machine, some optional configuration steps can make it easier to operate.
rkt supports running under SELinux mandatory access controls, but an SELinux policy needs to be tailored to your distribution. New rkt users on distributions other than Container Linux should temporarily disable SELinux to make it easier to get started. If you can help package rkt for your distro, including SELinux policy support, please lend a hand!
Optional: Set up privilege separation
To allow different subcommands to use the least necessary privilege, rkt recognizes a
rkt group that has read-write access to the rkt data directory. This allows
rkt fetch, which downloads and verifies images, to run as an unprivileged user who is a member of the
If you skip this section, you can still run
sudo rkt fetch instead, but setting up a
rkt group is a good basic security practice for production use. The rkt repo includes a
setup-data-dir.sh script that can help set up the appropriate permissions for unprivileged execution of subcommands that manipulate the local store, but not the execution environment:
sudo groupadd rkt export WHOAMI=$(whoami); sudo gpasswd -a $WHOAMI rkt sudo ./dist/scripts/setup-data-dir.sh
Trust the signing key to validate unprivileged fetches
Trust the signing key for etcd images. This step must be run as root because access to the keystore is restricted from even the
sudo ./rkt trust --prefix coreos.com/etcd
Fetch an image as an unprivileged member of the rkt group
Test this out by retrieving an etcd image using a non-root user in the rkt group. Make sure your shell is restarted to enable the
rkt group for your user, or
newgrp rkt to enable it and continue in the same session.
Now fetch the etcd image as an unprivileged user:
./rkt fetch coreos.com/etcd:v3.1.7
Success! Now rkt can fetch and download images as an unprivileged user.
Building an App Container Image
rkt's native image format is the App Container Image (ACI), defined in the App Container spec. The
acbuild tool is a simple way to get started building ACIs. The appc build repository has resources for building ACIs from a number of popular applications.
docker2aci tool converts Docker images to ACIs, or rkt can convert images directly from Docker registries on the fly.
Downloading an ACI
rkt uses content addressable storage (CAS) to store an ACI on disk. In this example, an image is downloaded and added to the CAS. Downloading an image before running it is not strictly necessary – if an image is not present in the store, rkt will attempt to retrieve it – but it illustrates how rkt works.
Trusting the signing key
$ sudo rkt trust --prefix=coreos.com/etcd Prefix: "coreos.com/etcd" Key: "https://coreos.com/dist/pubkeys/aci-pubkeys.gpg" GPG key fingerprint is: 8B86 DE38 890D DB72 9186 7B02 5210 BD88 8818 2190 CoreOS ACI Builder <email@example.com> Are you sure you want to trust this key (yes/no)? yes Trusting "https://coreos.com/dist/pubkeys/aci-pubkeys.gpg" for prefix "coreos.com/etcd". Added key for prefix "coreos.com/etcd" at "/etc/rkt/trustedkeys/prefix.d/coreos.com/etcd/8b86de38890ddb7291867b025210bd8888182190"
For more information, see the detailed, step-by-step guide for the signing procedure.
Fetching the ACI
$ rkt fetch coreos.com/etcd:v3.1.7 rkt: searching for app image coreos.com/etcd:v3.1.7 rkt: fetching image from https://github.com/coreos/etcd/releases/download/v3.1.7/etcd-v3.1.7-linux-amd64.aci Downloading aci: [========================================== ] 3.47 MB/3.7 MB Downloading signature from https://github.com/coreos/etcd/releases/download/v3.1.7/etcd-v3.1.7-linux-amd64.asc rkt: signature verified: CoreOS ACI Builder <firstname.lastname@example.org> sha512-7d28419b27d5ae56cca97f4c6ccdd309c...
Downloading images from private registries
Downloading container images from a private registry usually involves passing usernames and passwords or other kinds of credentials to the server. rkt supports different authentication regimes with configuration files. The configuration documentation describes the file format and gives examples of setting up authentication with HTTP
basic auth, OAuth bearer tokens, and other methods.
The image in the local store
For the curious, it is possible to list the hash-identified files written to disk in rkt's CAS:
$ find /var/lib/rkt/cas/blob/ /var/lib/rkt/cas/blob/ /var/lib/rkt/cas/blob/sha512 /var/lib/rkt/cas/blob/sha512/1e /var/lib/rkt/cas/blob/sha512/1e/sha512-7d28419b27d5ae56cca97f4c6ccdd309c95b967ca0119f6962b187d1287ec9967f49e367c36b0e44ecd73675bc06d112dec86386d0e9b84c2265cddd45d15020
According to the App Container specification, the SHA-512 hash is that of the
tar file compressed in the ACI, and can be examined with standard tools:
$ wget https://github.com/coreos/etcd/releases/download/v3.1.7/etcd-v3.1.7-linux-amd64.aci ... $ gzip -dc etcd-v3.1.7-linux-amd64.aci > etcd-v3.1.7-linux-amd64.tar $ sha512sum etcd-v3.1.7-linux-amd64.tar 7d28419b27d5ae56cca97f4c6ccdd309c95b967ca0119f6962b187d1287ec9967f49e367c36b0e44ecd73675bc06d112dec86386d0e9b84c2265cddd45d15020 etcd-v3.1.7-linux-amd64.tar
Running an ACI with rkt
After it has been retrieved and stored locally, an ACI can be run by pointing
rkt run at either the original image reference (in this case,
coreos.com/etcd:v3.1.7), the ACI hash, or the full URL of the ACI. Therefore the following three examples are equivalent:
Running the container by ACI name and version
$ sudo rkt run coreos.com/etcd:v3.1.7 ... Press ^] three times to kill container
Running the container by ACI hash
$ sudo rkt run sha512-1eba37d9b344b33d272181e176da111e ... ^]]]
Running the container by ACI URL
$ sudo rkt run https://github.com/coreos/etcd/releases/download/v3.1.7/etcd-v3.1.7-linux-amd64.aci ... ^]]]
When given an ACI URL,
rkt will do the appropriate ETag checking to fetch the latest version of the container image.
Exiting rkt pods
As shown above, repeating the
^] escape character three times kills the pod and detaches from its console to return to the user's shell.
The escape character
^] is generated by
Ctrl-] on a US keyboard. The required key combination will differ on other keyboard layouts. For example, the Swedish keyboard layout uses
Ctrl-å on OS X, or
Ctrl-^ on Windows, to generate the
^] escape character.