Fix Container Image Permissions

Running containers as non-root can be challenging when consuming container images from an upstream source such as the Docker Hub since many images are build with the intention of running as root. You may encounter this issue if your container enters a CrashLoopBackoff state, check the logs for the container and if there are Permission Denied issues then you may need to fix directory permissions in the image.

Mount an EmptyDir Volume

If the application needs access to a temporary space for doing something like generating a configuration file on launch you can mount a EmptyDir volume in the PodSpec which will ensure that whatever user the container is running as will have access to write to that directory.

apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: Deployment
  creationTimestamp: null
    app: foo
  name: foo
  replicas: 1
      app: foo
  strategy: {}
      creationTimestamp: null
        app: foo
      - image: busybox
        name: busybox
        resources: {}
        - name: workdir
          mountPath: /data
      - name: workdir
        emptyDir: {}
status: {}


Generated with oc create deployment foo --image busybox --dry-run -o yaml and then modified with volume mounts

Build a New Image

If you need to run a container in a project and mount NCCS home and project areas then we will need to build an new container and modify permissions to allow the project user the container will be running as to access the filesystem of the image.

We will use OpenShift to build a new image based on the upstream one and change owner of the directories that need to be writable during container execution. Here is an example Dockerfile which derives from an upstream image and changes ownership of directories to the user id that the container will run as in the cluster.

For example, if we are using the UID 63114 for our NCCS project user and we need to write to /opt/application-data during the runtime of the container image we could do this:

FROM upstream-image:tag
RUN chown -R 63114 /opt/application-data
USER 63114

We will use this Dockerfile to generate a BuildConfig and then build a new image in our project that has the correct permissions.

cat Dockerfile | oc new-build --dockerfile=- --to=my-image:tag

The build should start automatically, monitor it with oc logs bc/my-image -f.

Now that we have a new image with our /opt/application-data directory owned by the right user we can either update an existing deployment or create a new one with the image.

Note that in this example, I am updating the Deployment and setting the image of the container named containername and --source=istag says I am using a ImageStream tag. The ImageStream in my OpenShift project stf002 is stf002/my-image:mytag.

# Update an existing deployment called my-application
oc set image deploy/my-application containername=stf002/my-image:mytag --source=istag

# Create a new deployment with the container
oc new-app -i my-image