A Container NAS named Phong

I recently purchased a Synology DS920+ NAS to use as a host for Linux containers and manage it via the Docker API and Terraform. This post is how I got the device to do exactly that. As to the name of the device, it is named after a ReBoot character.



The Synology DSM Docker interface makes use of the UNIX socket to communicate with Docker daemon (dockerd). So, we will include this in the list of host endpoints when making the modifications, if not we will lose use of the DSM Docker interface.

Docker Overview

Enable SSH Access

To enable SSH Access to the NAS, you can find this under Terminal & SNMP > Enable SSH service. Check the box and click Apply to have the SSH service started.

SSH Access

Once enabled, use a SSH client to connect using the password choosen when setting up the NAS device. You remember that don’t you?

 ~/ ssh [email protected]
[email protected]'s password:
Could not chdir to home directory /var/services/homes/admin: No such file or directory
[email protected]:/$ uname -a
Linux phong 4.4.59+ #25426 SMP PREEMPT Mon Dec 14 18:48:52 CST 2020 x86_64 GNU/Linux synology_geminilake_920+
[email protected]:/$

Docker Daemon Configuration Changes

Once logged in to the NAS device, proceed to the packages directory (/var/packages) and edit the Docker package Docker/etc/dockerd.json file to get UNIX sockets and a TCP endpoint. You will want to include the UNIX socket entry, as this is what the Docker DSM interface uses, not including it will prevent the showing of statistics, containers, and images. The TCP socket is used by remote Docker clients.

The package Docker configuration file can be found at /var/packages/Docker/etc/dockerd.json

   "data-root" : "/var/packages/Docker/target/docker",
   "log-driver" : "db",
   "registry-mirrors" : [],
   "storage-driver" : "btrfs",
   "hosts" : [ "unix:///var/run/docker.sock", "tcp://" ]

This configuration is insecure, it allows any client over a plaintext connection, a clear no-no today. Continue on how to secure the endpoint.

Endpoint Security

Beware that the default setup provides un-encrypted and un-authenticated direct access to the Docker API, which is just like having root - and should be secured either using the built in HTTPS encrypted socket, or by putting a secure web proxy in front of it.

The parameters of dockerd to use TLS, you will need the CA, docker certificate (I use the default Synology certificate), and certificate private key.

Note: I have internal CA that I used to issue certificate to my NAS device. This is a simple CA service running on OPNsense device.

      --tls                Use TLS; implied by --tlsverify
      --tlscacert string   Trust certs signed only by this CA (default "/root/.docker/ca.pem")
      --tlscert string     Path to TLS certificate file (default "/root/.docker/cert.pem")
      --tlskey string      Path to TLS key file (default "/root/.docker/key.pem")
      --tlsverify          Use TLS and verify the remote

Synology DSM stores certificates at this path

[email protected]:/# ls /usr/syno/etc/certificate/system/default/
cert.pem  chain.pem  fullchain.pem  privkey.pem
[email protected]:/# openssl x509 -in /usr/syno/etc/certificate/system/default/cert.pem -text

Example dockerd.json configuration that will use the default Synology certificate and chain in DSM.

   "data-root" : "/var/packages/Docker/target/docker",
   "log-driver" : "db",
   "registry-mirrors" : [],
   "storage-driver" : "btrfs",
   "hosts" : [
   "tlsverify" : true,
   "tlscacert" : "/usr/syno/etc/certificate/system/default/chain.pem",
   "tlscert" : "/usr/syno/etc/certificate/system/default/cert.pem",
   "tlskey" : "/usr/syno/etc/certificate/system/default/privkey.pem"

If you want to only allow clients with issued certifcates to connect, set the tlsverify to true. Note, you should remove any entry in hosts to ports 2375 as this will prevent the docker daemon from starting.

 ~/ docker --tlsverify --tlscacert=ca.pem --tlscert=cert.pem --tlskey=key.pem -H=phong.cormier.local:2376 version

In my case I copy the certificates (ca,cert,key) to ~/.docker/ for easying the use on the command line and keyboards :)

 ~/ mkdir -pv ~/.docker
 ~/ cp -v {ca,cert,key}.pem ~/.docker
 ~/ export DOCKER_HOST=tcp://phong.cormier.local:2376 DOCKER_TLS_VERIFY=1

If you don’t do this or your situation calls for a different CA certificate, you can use the tlscacert argument.

 ~/ docker --tls image ls 
REPOSITORY             TAG       IMAGE ID       CREATED        SIZE
nginx                  latest    35c43ace9216   3 days ago     133MB
grafana/grafana        latest    db33d19bd973   3 days ago     198MB
amazon/aws-cli         latest    caf8d46b3369   4 days ago     294MB
postgis/postgis        latest    563a1a69fd0d   5 days ago     491MB
gitlab/gitlab-runner   latest    e297d453ec30   4 weeks ago    513MB
microsoft/azure-cli    latest    8bcd2e2ef062   4 months ago   711MB

This is a more secure setup. Secure traffic in transit and authenticate clients with certificates.

Docker Command Examples

Some basic commands to run, attach, and exec on containers using Docker API endpoint. For example, to list containers.

You can pass the endpoint information on the command using -H parameter, but the docker command also honours the environment variable DOCKER_HOST.

 ~/ export DOCKER_HOST="tcp://"

Or if you are connecting to secure endpoint, use FQDN/hostname…

 ~/ export DOCKER_HOST="tcp://phong.cormier.local:2375"

Now you can use docker commands as you would if docker was running locally.

 ~/ docker container ls
CONTAINER ID   IMAGE                        COMMAND             CREATED        STATUS          PORTS     NAMES
9c1be7f52ef3   microsoft/azure-cli:latest   "/bin/sh -c bash"   17 hours ago   Up 26 minutes             ms-azure-cli
 ~/

Run a container and execute a given command

 ~/ docker run amazon/aws-cli:latest --version
aws-cli/2.1.27 Python/3.7.3 Linux/4.4.59+ docker/x86_64.amzn.2 prompt/off
 ~/

How to attach to existing container

 ~/ docker attach ms-azure-cli
bash-5.0# az --version
azure-cli                         2.19.1

You can detach from the container without stopping the container by using a keyboard shortcut, much like you would to unfocus your mouse from a virtual machine terminal applicaiton. Pressing Ctrl-P + Ctrl-Q will detach from the container, I had to also press Ctrl-C to completely return to my shell, not sure why this is the case.

If you just want to execute a simple command inside a running container exec is the Docker command you want to use

 ~/ docker exec ms-azure-cli az --version

Please let us know how we are doing: https://aka.ms/azureclihats
and let us know if you're interested in trying out our newest features: https://aka.ms/CLIUXstudy
azure-cli                         2.19.1

core                              2.19.1
telemetry                          1.0.6


Connect to FQDN

If you encounter warnings like the following, connect using the FQDN of certificate you set Docker to use, instead of the IP address, which you might have been using during a concept plaintext setup.

 ~/ docker image list
error during connect: Get x509: cannot validate certificate for because it doesn't contain any IP SANs
 ~/ export DOCKER_HOST="tcp://phong.cormier.local:2376"                            
 ~/ docker image list

Restart Server Daemon

I changed the certificate and ran in into an issue that error of incompatible key usage kept my docker client from connecting. Even though the API seemed to be offering up the correct certificate, verifying with the command openssl s_client.

error during connect: Get https://phong.hq.cormier.co:2376/v1.24/events: x509: certificate specifies an incompatible key usage

After restarging the server docker daemon, I will able to connect successfully.


This setup gets you a quick, although not the cheapest solution for Linux Docker containers.

Feb 20, 2021 - Filed in: Docker Linux Storage Certificates
Words: 1100