Documentum D2 container image (or how not to build container images)

We already saw that OpenText clearly fails to understand the concept of container (TIP: a container is a process, not a VM) so it keeps providing “D2/da/webtop/rest” containers, when what they should provide is an “application server” container where end users would mount the custom war file on /webapps or whatever (by the way, this would simplify the yaml/helm charts from hell with the million options to try to configure D2/da/etc. via yaml).

Anyway, it seems that understanding that concept is a lost battle, however, you would expect that at least OpenText would know by now how to properly build a Docker image. Well, to anyone’s surprise (except to OpenText engineers I guess), latest D2 (22.2) image is 3.65GB!!!!!! (This is bigger than Content Server itself) 22.2 1eee2a974793 5 weeks ago 3.65GB

Let’s investigate this wizardry… If we open the image we can see several “big” folders:

Wonder what’s going on here… let’s check that 700mb folder:

Not only we have D2 exploded on Tomcat’s webapps folder, we also have the D2.war on the image… What else do we have on those +100mb folders?

Yum-update cache… (several times)

Python? on a Tomcat (D2) application server??

But, what’s going on here? Well, when you run a multi-staged container build, you need to understand that every command creates a new layer (something clearly explained in the Docker documentation) so you should be extra-careful and delete everything you copy/create in the same step if it doesn’t have to be present on the final image (as explained in the Docker best-practices documentation). So basically, when creating the image, OpenText is first copying D2.war image, then in another stage they extract the files, and then on another step the war file is deleted (or that’s what they think they are doing, but they’re just creating a new layer without the file, not really deleting it). Also, instead of running a single yum-update and deleting the cache on the same stage, the just keep running yum-updates as they need it, effectively creating multiple cache folders…

This image can be easily squashed and you’ll end up with this:

dctm-d2222 22.2 d3d968108687 13 days ago 1.83GB

Exactly the same image, but nearly 2GB smaller, and this is without even bothering to remove the cache/unnecesarry files:

We’ll see if for 22.3 OpenText learns to deliver proper containers or we still have to deal with these +3GB images…

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