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Docuum performs least recently used (LRU) eviction of Docker images. 🗑️

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Docuum: LRU eviction of Docker images

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Docuum performs least recently used (LRU) eviction of Docker images to keep the disk usage below a given threshold.

Docker's built-in

docker image prune --all --filter until=…
command serves a similar purpose. However, the built-in solution isn't ideal since it uses the image creation time, rather than the last usage time, to determine which images to remove. That means it can delete frequently used images, which may be expensive to rebuild.

Docuum is ideal for use cases such as continuous integration workers, developer workstations, or any other environment in which Docker images accumulate on disk over time. Docuum works well with tools like Toast and Docker Compose.

Docuum is used by Airbnb on its fleet of 1.5k+ CI workers.

How it works

Docker doesn't record when an image was last used. To work around this, Docuum listens for notifications via

docker events
to learn when images are used. It maintains a small piece of state in a local data directory (see this for details about where this directory is on various platforms). That persisted state allows you to freely restart Docuum (or the whole machine) without losing the image usage timestamp data.

When Docuum first starts and subsequently whenever a new Docker event comes in, LRU eviction is performed until the total disk usage due to Docker images is below the given threshold. This design has a few advantages over evicting images based on a fixed time to live (TTL), which is what various other tools in the Docker ecosystem do:

  1. There is no need to configure and tune an interval to run on. Docuum evicts images immediately whenever the disk usage exceeds the threshold without waiting for any timers.
  2. Docuum uses no CPU resources when there is no Docker activity. You can run it on your laptop without worrying about draining your battery.
  3. In order to prevent your disk from filling up, it's more straightforward to set a threshold based on disk usage rather than guessing an appropriate maximum image age.

Docuum also respects the parent-child relationships between images. In particular, it will delete children of a parent before deleting the parent (even if the children were used more recently than the parent), because Docker doesn't allow images with children to be deleted.


Docuum is meant to be started once and run forever, rather than as a cron job. Once Docuum is installed, you can run it from the command line as follows:

$ docuum --threshold '30 GB'

You probably want to run Docuum as a daemon, e.g., with launchd, systemd, etc. You may consult your operating system documentation for instructions on how to do that. For macOS, for example, you can create a file (owned by root) called

with the following:
            10 GB

Now Docuum will start automatically when you restart your machine, and the logs can be found at

. If you do not wish to restart your machine, you can run
sudo launchctl load /Library/LaunchDaemons/local.docuum.plist
to start the daemon.

Here are the supported command-line options:


OPTIONS: -h, --help Prints help information

-t, --threshold <threshold>
        Sets the maximum amount of space to be used for Docker images (default: 10 GB)

-v, --version
        Prints version information


Running Docuum in a Docker container

If you prefer not to install Docuum on your system, you can run it in a container. To run it in the foreground, you can use a command like the following:

docker run \
  --init \
  --rm \
  --tty \
  --name docuum \
  --volume /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock \
  --volume docuum:/root \
  stephanmisc/docuum --threshold '15 GB'

To run it in the background:

docker run \
  --detach \
  --init \
  --rm \
  --name docuum \
  --volume /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock \
  --volume docuum:/root \
  stephanmisc/docuum --threshold '15 GB'

Easy installation

If you are running macOS or a GNU-based Linux on an x86-64 CPU, you can install Docuum with this command:

curl -LSfs | sh

The same command can be used again to update Docuum to the latest version.

NOTE: Piping

is dangerous since the server might be compromised. If you're concerned about this, you can download and inspect the installation script or choose one of the other installation methods.

Customizing the installation

The installation script supports the following environment variables:

  • VERSION=x.y.z
    (defaults to the latest version)
  • PREFIX=/path/to/install
    (defaults to

For example, the following will install Docuum into the working directory:

curl -LSfs | PREFIX=. sh

Manual installation

The releases page has precompiled binaries for macOS or Linux systems running on an x86-64 CPU. You can download one of them and place it in a directory listed in your


Installation with Cargo

If you have Cargo, you can install Docuum as follows:

cargo install docuum

You can run that command with

to update an existing installation.


  • Docuum requires Docker Engine 17.03.0 or later.
    • If you are using Docker Engine 18.09.0 or later with BuildKit mode enabled, Docker does not create intermediate images for each build step and instead uses a separate "build cache". Docuum will only clean up images, not the Buildkit build cache. BuildKit's built-in garbage collection feature can be used for the build cache (e.g.,
      docker builder prune --all --force --keep-storage '30 GB'
      ). If you are not using BuildKit mode, Docker's caching mechanism uses intermediate images, and Docuum will happily vacuum such images as usual.

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