How to identify if a docker container files have been modified

The docker container is simply a run time copy of a docker image resources, The docker container utilizes the filesystem structure originally packed into it via the union filesystem packaged from various image layers during the docker image creation.

The docker provides a standard diff command which compares the filesystem data in docker image with the container.

Syntax:

# docker diff [CONTAINER ID | CONTAINER NAME]

Before jumping in lets examine a docker container below and take a look at filesystem by logging into it.

root@node03:~# docker ps
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE               COMMAND             CREATED             STATUS              PORTS               NAMES
e3de85aaf61c        9a0b6e4f0956        "sh"                2 months ago        Up 3 minutes                            jovial_hertz

We have a running container with a random name jovial_hertz, and we login to the container as follows

root@node03:~# docker exec -it jovial_hertz bash

We are now inside the container and now will create a directory linuxcent and the also create a ASCII text file test and then exit out from the container.

root@e3de85aaf61c:~# mkdir linuxcent
root@e3de85aaf61c:~# cd linuxcent
root@e3de85aaf61c:~# touch test
root@e3de85aaf61c:~# exit

Created a directory called linuxcent and a touched a test file and now logged out from the container with the exit command.
The docker diff command will run against the container should result in the modified data and we contemplate the results

root@node03:~# docker diff jovial_hertz 
C /root
A /root/linuxcent
A /root/linuxcent/test
C /root/.bash_history

The Flags A in front of /root/linuxcent and /root/linuxcent/test indicate that these are directory and file that were the new additions to the container and Flag C indicates that the other 2 files were changed.
Thus it helps us to compare and contrast the new changes to a container filesystem for better auditing.

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