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Docker Volume Manager

This is a tool for managing your Docker volumes.

Basically, since volumes are not yet first-class citizens in Docker they can be
difficult to manage. Most people tend to have extra volumes laying around which
are not in use because they didn't get removed with the container they were used

You can run this tool remotely just as you do with the Docker CLI. It reads
DOCKER_HOST or you can specify a host using the same syntax as with Docker, with
-H unix:///path/to/sock.sock or --host unix:///path/to/sock.sock.
This also works with TCP endpoints

Use this to see all your volumes, inspect them, export them, or clean them up.

The primary goal of this project is to spec out UI/API for inclusion in Docker.
Some of the implementation is hacky since I specifically wanted the CLI for this
to act just like the Docker CLI, that is that it doesn't need to be running on
the host or have access to the host's filesystem for it to work.


The export function is horribly inefficient, for a couple of reasons:

1) The tools is inteded to be used remotely, so there is no direct access to the
host FS, and as such the volumes or container filesystems.

2) The docker cp command, and the coorpsonding API's, do not support volumes.
For instance you cannot do docker cp jolly_torvalds:/path/to/volume like you
can for things not in volumes. well, you can, but it won't be the data in the
volume... it will be the data at that location from the container's FS

To work around these issues the export function actually copies data from a volume
into a container's FS, then uses the docker cp apis to pull it.


You can use the provided Dockerfile which will compile a binary for you or build

docker build -t docker-volumes
docker run --name docker-volumes docker-volumes
docker cp docker-volumes:/opt/docker-volumes/docker-volumes ./

By default when compiling from the Dockerfile it will compile for linux/amd64.
You can customize this using environment variables as such:

docker run -d --name docker-volumes -e GOOS=darwin -e GOARCH=amd64 docker-volumes

This would make a binary for darwin/amd64 (OSX), available for docker cp at the
same location as above.

Alternatively, if you already have golang installed on your system you can
compile it yourself:

git clone
cd docker-volumes
go get
go build



  • list - Lists all volumes on the host
  • inspect - Get details of a volume, takes ID or name from output of list
  • rm - Removes a volume. A volume is only removed if no containers are using it
  • export - Creates an archive of the volume and outputs it to stdout. You can
    optionally pause all running containers (which are using the requested volume)
    before exporting the volume using --pause
  • import - Import a tarball generated by the export command from stdin to a
    specified container. Be default it will import it into the same directory path
    the volume existed on (eg, if it came from /data, it will put it into /data)
    You can optionally specify a different volume path, but a volume must exist at
    that path already or you will get an error
   docker-volumes - The missing volume manager for Docker

   docker-volumes [global options] command [command options] [arguments...]


  Brian Goff - <>

   list        List all volumes
   inspect    Get details of volume
   rm        Delete a volume
   export    Export a as a tarball. Prints to stdout
   import    Import a tarball produced by the export command the specified container
   help, h    Shows a list of commands or help for one command

   --host, -H '/var/run/docker.sock'    Location of the Docker socket [$DOCKER_HOST]
   --help, -h                show help
   --version, -v            print the version
Docker Pull Command
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