Building Docker Images Tutorial


Docker images play a crucial role in containerization and are the building blocks for running applications in Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). In this tutorial, you will learn how to build Docker images for your applications, customize them with dependencies and configurations, and prepare them for deployment in AKS.

Step 1: Create a Dockerfile

A Dockerfile is a text file that contains a set of instructions for building a Docker image. It defines the base image, sets up the environment, installs dependencies, and specifies how to run the application. Here's an example Dockerfile for a simple Node.js application:

FROM node:14-alpine
COPY package*.json ./
RUN npm install
COPY . .
CMD ["npm", "start"]

This Dockerfile instructs Docker to use the official Node.js 14-alpine image as the base image, sets the working directory to "/app", copies the package.json file, installs the dependencies using npm, copies the application code, exposes port 3000, and defines the command to start the application.

Step 2: Build the Docker Image

To build a Docker image, navigate to the directory containing the Dockerfile in a terminal or command prompt and run the following command:

docker build -t myapp:1.0 .

This command builds the Docker image with the tag "myapp:1.0" using the current directory as the build context. Docker reads the instructions from the Dockerfile and executes them to create the image.

Step 3: Test and Validate the Image

After the Docker image is built, you can test and validate it locally before deploying it to AKS. Run the following command to create a container from the image and test it:

docker run -p 3000:3000 myapp:1.0

This command runs a container from the "myapp:1.0" image and maps port 3000 on the local machine to port 3000 in the container. You can access the application in a web browser at http://localhost:3000 and verify its functionality.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Not properly defining the base image or using a bloated base image, leading to larger image sizes and potential security vulnerabilities.
  • Overlooking the importance of optimizing Dockerfile instructions for caching and build efficiency.
  • Not cleaning up unnecessary dependencies or artifacts, resulting in larger image sizes and potential security risks.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What is the difference between an image and a container in Docker?

    An image is a read-only template that contains the application's code, libraries, and dependencies. A container is a running instance of an image that can be started, stopped, and deleted.

  2. Can I use Docker images from public registries in AKS?

    Yes, you can use Docker images from public registries like Docker Hub in AKS by referencing the image in your Kubernetes deployment manifests.

  3. How can I optimize the size of my Docker images?

    To optimize the size of Docker images, you can use a minimal base image, remove unnecessary dependencies, use multi-stage builds, and leverage Docker's layer caching mechanism.

  4. Can I build Docker images with private dependencies?

    Yes, you can build Docker images with private dependencies by including the necessary authentication and access credentials in the Dockerfile or leveraging a private package registry.

  5. What is the purpose of the CMD instruction in a Dockerfile?

    The CMD instruction specifies the default command to be executed when a container is started from the Docker image. It can be overridden with a command provided during container runtime.


Building Docker images is a critical step in leveraging the power of containerization in Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). By following the steps outlined in this tutorial, you can create Docker images for your applications, customize them using a Dockerfile, and test them locally before deployment. Docker images provide a portable and scalable way to package and distribute your applications, enabling seamless deployment and management in AKS.