Our development and test environment uses Docker extensively. The main goal of Docker is to facilitate developing and testing code in an environment that is as close to production as possible.

Image Management

We manage Docker images differently than most. We don’t use Docker in production (yet). But, we also want our Docker images to match the server environment as closely as possible. If we were to use Dockerfiles to maintain the Docker environment and something not Docker to manage the servers, we would have duplication of effort and divergence between Docker and production and this would undermine the effectiveness of the Docker environment for mimicking production.

Instead of maintaining a Dockerfile for each image, we instead prefer to maintain Dockerfiles for base, bare bones images configured with Ansible. Then, we create and update Docker images by running an Ansible playbook on this base image.

Secure Base Images

Docker fails to take a secure approach to pulling images. For more, read Docker Insecurity. We take security seriously, so we’ve added secure image pulling into our Docker wrapper.

We introduce a special FROM syntax in Dockerfiles that initiates a secure pull of that base image. The syntax is as follows:

FROM secure:<repository>:<tag prefix>:<digest>:<URL>


FROM secure:mozsecure:ubuntu14042:sha256 e08475e91c8b342dce147346a11db16357619ed914aaad4d82be2e6ab743a167:

When encountered, we will pull the image from the URL specified, verify its digest matches what is defined, then import the image, and finally associate it with the repository specified. The Dockerfile seen by Docker is dynamically rewritten to reference the securely, just-imported image.