Official Grafana docker image on OpenShift

Running offical docker images from docker hub on OpenShift Origin can be painful as it uses arbitrary user ids by default. Often you end up building your own or using 3rd party forks/clones of the offical image, which leds to additional effort to keep it up to date in terms of security and/or version upgrades.

Technically speaking, OpenShift Origin generates a dynamic uid to launch a container which will not have an associated entry in the containers /etc/passwd file. At docker image build time this user does not exist so chown files and/or directories to this uid is not possible.

Grafana’s docker image


Grafana runs its service as grafana user and uses an entrypoint script which runs as root and launches grafana-server as grafana user by using gosu, see on

If you start the container using a default docker command it will launch grafana-server as you would expect:

docker run -it grafana/grafana:latest

Bypassing gosu by using a custom entrypoint

If you use a different entrypoint you will bypass and stay root.

docker run -it --entrypoint=/bin/sh grafana/grafana:4.4.3
# whoami

Platforms as OpenShift Origin which share a huge amount of containers among its shared infrastructure use docker’s --user switch to launch the container.

docker run -it --user 12345 --entrypoint=/bin/sh grafana/grafana:4.4.3
$ whoami
whoami: cannot find name for user ID 12345

Why this does not work on OpenShift

Since the container get’s started with a arbitrary user id - which is not root - it cannot chown directories to another users. This leds to the error message which are caused by these lines in

chown: changing ownership of '/var/lib/grafana': Operation not permitted
chown: changing ownership of '/var/log/grafana': Operation not permitted

Bypassing entrypoint and mounting volumes

First you might think, I’m going to build my own docker images, which bring’s an additional effort to maintain your own image. In some cases this might be necessary, but for Grafana you can just specify your own entrypoint.:

docker run --user 12345 -it \
    --entrypoint=/usr/sbin/grafana-server grafana/grafana:4.4.3 \
    --homepath=/usr/share/grafana \

This works fine, but how to bring this to OpenShift Origin?

Deploy Grafana on OpenShift

I’ve created a new project grafana-test and used the OpenShift Origin web interface or the command line tool oc to deploy the grafana/grafana:4.4.3 image from docker hub:

oc create project grafana-test
oc new-app grafana/grafana:4.4.3

--> Found Docker image d649e9c (4 weeks old) from Docker Hub for "grafana/grafana:4.4.3"

    * An image stream will be created as "grafana:4.4.3" that will track this image
    * This image will be deployed in deployment config "grafana"
    * Port 3000/tcp will be load balanced by service "grafana"
      * Other containers can access this service through the hostname "grafana"
    * This image declares volumes and will default to use non-persistent, host-local storage.
      You can add persistent volumes later by running 'volume dc/grafana --add ...'
    * WARNING: Image "grafana/grafana:4.4.3" runs as the 'root' user which may not be permitted by your cluster administrator

--> Creating resources ...
    imagestream "grafana" created
    deploymentconfig "grafana" created
    service "grafana" created
--> Success
    Run 'oc status' to view your app.

There’s a warning - as I mentioned above - this container will run as root which might be not allowed. And as expected it will not start and OpenShift Origin displays following error message:

oc status

In project grafana-test on server

svc/grafana -
  dc/grafana deploys istag/grafana:4.4.3
    deployment #1 running for 4 minutes - 0/1 pods (warning: 5 restarts)

  * pod/grafana-1-m15lp is crash-looping

1 error identified, use 'oc status -v' to see details.
../../_images/openshift-grafana-error.png ../../_images/openshift-grafana-permission.png

Fix permission issues for Grafana deploymentconfig

There are several things to fix.

  1. We have to inject a configmap with Grafana‘s configuration file, because it cannot read the configfile in /etc/grafana/grafana.ini or if a volume was mounted automatically, there’s no configuration file.
  2. We have to adjust the entrypoint and arguments for container startup as described in the kubernetes documentation for command and args.


Let’s start to create a configuration file for Grafana. Adjust it to your needs and store it as grafana.ini in your current working directory. Mine is listed below.

data = /var/lib/grafana
logs = /var/log/grafana
plugins = /var/lib/grafana/plugins

# Either "console", "file", "syslog". Default is console and  file
# Use space to separate multiple modes, e.g. "console file"
mode = console

# default admin user, created on startup
admin_user = root
admin_password = secret

Now create a ConfigMap which contains the content of the configuration file.

oc create configmap grafana-config --from-file=grafana.ini=./grafana.ini
configmap "grafana-config" created

That’s it.

Putting it all together in a DeploymentConfig

Let’s continue by modifying Grafana‘s deploymentconfig by opening it for local editing, which seems to be the easiest way to adjust all those settings. You could also edit this in the OpenShift Origin YAML editor on the deploymentconfig’s page.

../../_images/openshift-grafana-yaml-editor.png ../../_images/openshift-grafana-edit-deploymentconfig.png
oc edit deploymentconfig grafana

Fix the volume mounts which were created automatically because they’re exposed as VOLUME within the Grafana docker file.

apiVersion: v1
kind: DeploymentConfig
      - image: grafana/grafana:4.4.3
        - mountPath: /etc/grafana
          name: grafana-config
        - mountPath: /var/lib/grafana
          name: grafana-data
        - mountPath: /var/log/grafana
          name: grafana-log
      - name: grafana-config
          defaultMode: 420
          name: grafana-config
      - name: grafana-data
        emptyDir: {}
      - name: grafana-log
        emptyDir: {}


You might want to use a persistantVolumeClaim to store Grafana data on a persistent storage.

Entrypoint and arguments

Add command and args as shown below. I’ve also dropped the ImageStream and use the original docker hub image (which should not make and difference).

apiVersion: v1
kind: DeploymentConfig
      - image: grafana/grafana:4.4.3
        - /usr/sbin/grafana-server
        - '--homepath=/usr/share/grafana'
        - '--config=/etc/grafana/grafana.ini'

Save and close your editor, the new DeploymentConfig will automatically be uploaded by oc after the file handle is freed up and following message will be shown in your terminal:

deploymentconfig "grafana" edited

Now check OpenShift Origin web interface and enjoy.

../../_images/openshift-grafana-new-deployment.png ../../_images/openshift-grafana-running.png ../../_images/openshift-grafana-logs.png

Just expose the the Service to the world if you want:

oc expose grafana
route "grafana" exposed


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