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DockerSlim to Minify, Optimize, and Secure Docker Container in Linux

DockerSlim to Minify, Optimize, and Secure Docker Container in Linux

Most of the IT professionals who work on Docker get stuck at a point when it’s about the size of the docker containers. Sometimes the size of the docker images goes up to in GB’s which consumes large storage of the system and makes it difficult to upgrade and start the container. Fortunately we have a free Open source tool in Linux/Mac system which allows us to secure and minimize the size of the docker containers upto 30 times.

Why use DockerSlim ?

  1. To minimize the container’s size which reduces the storage usage.
  2. To create lightweight containers for faster starting
  3. Reduce bugs

In this article, we will cover how to install DockerSlim and use it to minimize the docker container.


Dockerslim is currently supported on Linux and UNIX systems including Mac. The dockerslim binary files can be downloaded from DockerSlim GitHub Repository. Go to the GitHub repository link given below, navigate to installation and download the latest binaries for your system.

DockerSlim GitHub Repository: https://github.com/docker-slim/docker-slim

Also, you can use wget command to download the latest DockerSlim binary files as:

$ wget https://downloads.dockerslim.com/releases/1.36.1/dist_linux.tar.gz

To extract the downloaded files, run the following command.

$ tar -zvxf dist_linux.tar.gz

Once the file is extracted, move the binary files to /usr/local/bin directory as:

$ sudo mv dist_linux/* /usr/local/bin

To verify the installation of DockerSlim, run the following command.

$ which docker-slim


Run the docker docker-slim with option help for useful commands and guides.

$ docker-slim help


DockerSlim provides a very useful menu-driven command line. To try the available commands, run docker-slim without any arguments . In the DockerSlim shell, type help to get the help menu in the interactive prompt.


The basic commands includes the followings:

Exit => Exit from DockerSlim shell

Xray => Shows what is inside of the container image and reverse engineers its Dockerfile

Version = > Show DockerSlim and docker version information

Lint => Analyzes container instructions in the Dockerfiles

Preparing a container to slim

To create a slim docker container, we need to have a docker image available in the local system. In this article, I have selected an httpd image. You can select the image as per your requirement. Use the following syntax to pull docker images from the dockerhub. Remember that you should have installed the docker engine and dependencies on your system

Syntax :

$ docker pull <image name>
$ docker pull httpd


Verifying the Output of the Container

Once the image is pulled, run it as the container and verify the output. In this example, I have exposed port 80 of the httpd docker container and access the default apache page using the browser.

$ docker run -d --name apache -p 80:80 httpd


Also, to check the size of the docker images run the following command

$ docker images


Using DockerSlim to build the image

Docker image has been pulled and we have verified the container is working fine. Now we will use DockerSlim to build optimized images. Use the following syntax to create minimized Docker images.

$ docker-slim build --target <image name>


$ docker-slim build --target httpd


The output shows that the size of the docker image has been reduced from 138MB to 8.1 MB which is minimized by 16.3 times from the original image.

Verifying the final image

To check the size of the final image, run the following command.

$ docker images


Running the container from the DockerSlim build image

Finally, we will create a container from the optimized image and monitor the output. As I have used httpd docker images to minimize, I am going to run an httpd container from the latest image. You can select your images accordingly.


$ docker run -d --name <name of the container > -p <host port : container port> <image name>


$ docker run -d --name apache -p 80:80 httpd.slim


httpd.slim is the optimized httpd docker image


You can find that the container is up with an optimized image. Lets browse the container in the browser and find the output.

You can find that the httpd docker container is working fine with the minimized Docker image.


In this article, we have learned about how to install DockerSlim in the Linux system and how it can be used to optimize and secure Docker containers.

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