Running Docker on Windows

Blimp on Windows

Blimp makes developing with Docker on Windows easy. The Docker containers don’t run on your local machine. Instead, they run in the cloud, but you can still interact with them as if they were running locally.

This avoids the issues that come from trying to locally run Linux containers on Windows.

Use Cases

Easy Docker Install

Running Docker locally requires running the Docker Daemon within a Linux VM. This can be tricky to configure properly, and the VM continuously consumes your laptop’s RAM, CPU, and disk.

The Blimp CLI is extremely lightweight since your containers aren’t running locally, so you don’t have to worry about managing the local applications required to run Docker.

Blimp works on Windows 10 Home, since it doesn’t require Hyper-V (unlike Docker Desktop).

Run without admin access

Docker Desktop requires admin access in order to install and use.

Blimp doesn’t need special privileges because it doesn’t run your containers locally. You just need the lightweight Blimp CLI, which talks to the Kelda Development Cloud to boot containers.

Efficient Volumes

Docker bind volumes are slow on Windows because they require the Windows OS and your containers to synchronize for each file operation.

This results in a 10x slow down for applications that interact with the filesystem. If you’re noticing your webpages are loading slowly, or that commands like npm install and composer are slow, you’re probably running into this issue.

Blimp addresses this issue by only synchronizing your local filesystem with the container’s filesystem when files change.

Quickstart

Getting started with Blimp is easy. Navigate to the directory containing your docker-compose.yml file, and run the following three steps.

Note: These commands must be run inside a Windows Subsystem for Linux instance. We recommend Ubuntu.

# Install the blimp CLI
curl -fsSL 'https://kelda.io/get-blimp.sh' | sh

# Create your Kelda Blimp account.
blimp login

# Boot your Docker Compose file.
# If you don't have a Docker Compose file, you can download an example from
# https://github.com/kelda/windows-example.
blimp up

Limitations

  • Blimp currently only runs in Windows WSL. Native support for Windows is on the roadmap.

  • Building Dockerfiles requires connecting to a Docker Daemon. As a workaround, you can set the DOCKER_HOST environment variable.

    See this post on configuring DOCKER_HOST with Docker Desktop. The volumes changes described in the post aren’t necessary.

    Building images in the cloud rather than locally is on our roadmap.

If you’re impacted by these limitations, let us know so that we can prioritize fixing them!