The Raspberry Pi and Docker Have a Bright Future Together

by Ostatic Staff - Aug. 24, 2016

As we've noted here before, when it comes to top open source stories of the past couple of years, it's clear that one of the biggest is the proliferation of tiny, inexpensive Linux-based computers at some of the smallest form factors ever seen. The diminutive, credit card-sized Raspberry Pi, which has been priced at only $25 and $35, has grabbed most of the headlines in this space, and came out this year in a new version with a more powerful 64-bit CPU, and, for the first time, built-in wireless functionality.

Now, the Pi is taking on Docker smarts. If you want to work with Docker on your Raspberry Pi, all you need is Hypriot OS, a new Debian derivative designed to run Docker on the Pi.

The lightweight OS requires 600MB of disk space when running, runs Engine Docker 1.12.1 and supports cluster mode. Why would you want Docker on a Raspberry Pi? The answer is that it automates the creation and deployment of apps in containers, very comparable to virtualization. 

To run Hypriot, users must install the HypriotOS flash tool on an SD card, then insert it into a Raspberry Pi. "Out of the box, you not only get the breaking features of the Docker Engine 1.12.1 and the latest versions of Docker Compose and Docker Machine, but also many improvements that enhance the performance, reliability and usability," Hypriot's developers note. They add: 

 "Just to name a few examples: we include a Linux Kernel that is optimized for running Docker, we set all recommended configuration settings stated by Docker (and more), and provide tools that make the process of downloading HypriotOS and flashing it on a SD card super easy. Even though HypriotOS 1.0.0 is fully packed with the complete and latest Docker tool set, it now comes at a size smaller than the tiniest version of Raspbian (“Raspbian Lite”). We achieved this mainly by reducing the cache’s footprint and leaving out some unused packages, so you won’t miss any features you are used to. You just need to download only 232 MB instead of 504 MB as before. With this improvements the minimum disk usage is reduced down to 600 MB."

 When the Raspberry Pi arrived a couple of years ago, it seemed like a mere novelty, but it has found applications in everything from home security to supercomputing. Now, the Pi has a future in the container space.