I am trying to make images from our company Maven based applications. These apps are using some libraries which are included in a Maven repository, but fills a lot of disk space. They also have some dependencies which should be downloaded. I have seen this question which is talking about downloading dependencies (and unfortunately has no approved answer), but for me it is more important to use my local repository without adding it to the image (which increases image size from 300M to 4G) and caching downloading dependencies is in the second place.

If I wanted to ADD my local repository to the image, I would have make this Dockerfile:

FROM java:8.0_31
MAINTAINER Zeinab Abbasimazar ([email protected])
ADD .m2/ $HOME
RUN apt-get update;apt-get install -y maven;cd Development/;mvn clean install -P test
CMD ["./Component.sh &"]

Which makes this image:

sudo docker images
REPOSITORY                                   TAG                 IMAGE ID            CREATED             SIZE
maven                                        3.3.9               44ab79a0bd9e        2 hours ago         4.678 GB

This size for an image is not affordable for me; could anyone please help me on this? Is there any workaround using gitlab or Jenkins to play Maven Repository role?

2 Answers 2


Docker images are after all VM templates, i.e. they have to be more or less self-contained: you get the image, you run the environment with all the dependencies.

To approach the challenge operationally, Docker supports reuse of environments through the FROM statement i.e. you could maintain a base image and on top a much smaller image with the app itself.

But, from the strategic point of view, I would say your architects might want consider splitting the whole thing into smaller microservices - that would allow for 5 smaller images. Of course I cannot judge whether it's really possible.

  • 2
    Docker images aren't "VM templates" as containerisation isn't the same as VM.
    – Hauleth
    Aug 17, 2017 at 11:46
  • I yet have to search for the right term, but indeed with a Docker container you can simulate a host, therefore I consider containers to be lightweight VMs (in terms of Turing machine but also with a virtual network adapter and mountable virtual storage)
    – Ta Mu
    Aug 17, 2017 at 12:57
  • 2
    Turing machine has nothing to do with either Docker or VMs. Virtual Machine simulate (nomen omen) machine, while containers (like Docker) only restraint user space. The difference is crucial. And if something Docker wasn't meant as "lightweight VMs", this is role of LXC.
    – Hauleth
    Aug 17, 2017 at 13:01
  • then I need some better and correct wording to explain mgmt why and how Docker could be better than VMWare.. worth of another SE question :-)
    – Ta Mu
    Aug 17, 2017 at 15:07
  • you can think about Docker containers as a fat JARs for something other than Java. So you pack all your dependencies and provide single file that can be ran as an application (from end user viewpoint). LXC and VM are rather system-like environments where you run your init system and all the things that are normally ran during startup.
    – Hauleth
    Aug 19, 2017 at 11:15

I'm thinking about different approach to your problem. Instead of adding maven repository into the image, I will mount a volume to $HOME/.m2/repository, and another volume to $PROJECT_DIR

VOLUME /repository
RUN mkdir -p $HOME/.m2 /repository && ln -s /repository $HOME/.m2/repository

After that, add a condition check in component.sh whether this is the first run and then build the required component.

if [[ ! -e $PROJECT_DIR/app_is_ready ]]; then
  mvn clean install -P test
  touch $PROJECT_DIR/app_is_ready
<<actual run commands>>

Please be note that the example code is not handling the race condition of two (or more) instances using the same volume for PROJECT_DIR started at the same time.

Hope this help!

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