How I Solved: Cannot connect to the Docker daemon at tcp://dind:2375. Is the docker daemon running?

OK, tl;dr, this is not a true fix. However, it works. Or worked for me.

The issue I have been facing, the one that has cost me my entire Saturday morning, is this:

➜  gitlab-ci docker-compose up 
Creating network "gitlab-ci_default" with the default driver
Creating gitlab-ci_runner_1_28ccd2f6e08d          ... done
Creating gitlab-ci_register-runner_1_6ddb7e90a9d3 ... done
Creating gitlab-ci_dind_1_bb210df194a2            ... done
Attaching to gitlab-ci_runner_1_3cb60d519ae8, gitlab-ci_register-runner_1_941db09830b5, gitlab-ci_dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4
runner_1_3cb60d519ae8 | Runtime platform                                    arch=amd64 os=linux pid=7 revision=61e7606f version=14.1.0~beta.182.g61e7606f
runner_1_3cb60d519ae8 | Starting multi-runner from /etc/gitlab-runner/config.toml...  builds=0
runner_1_3cb60d519ae8 | Running in system-mode.                            
runner_1_3cb60d519ae8 |                                                    
runner_1_3cb60d519ae8 | Configuration loaded                                builds=0
runner_1_3cb60d519ae8 | listen_address not defined, metrics & debug endpoints disabled  builds=0
runner_1_3cb60d519ae8 | [session_server].listen_address not defined, session endpoints disabled  builds=0
register-runner_1_941db09830b5 | Runtime platform                                    arch=amd64 os=linux pid=7 revision=61e7606f version=14.1.0~beta.182.g61e7606f
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | Generating RSA private key, 4096 bit long modulus (2 primes)
register-runner_1_941db09830b5 | Running in system-mode.                            
register-runner_1_941db09830b5 |                                                    
register-runner_1_941db09830b5 | Registering runner... succeeded                     runner=cjX3zQG_
register-runner_1_941db09830b5 | Runner registered successfully. Feel free to start it, but if it's running already the config should be automatically reloaded! 
gitlab-ci_register-runner_1_941db09830b5 exited with code 0
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | .............................++++
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | ...........................................................................................................................................................++++
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | e is 65537 (0x010001)
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | Generating RSA private key, 4096 bit long modulus (2 primes)
runner_1_3cb60d519ae8 | Configuration loaded                                builds=0
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | .......++++
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | .............++++
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | e is 65537 (0x010001)
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | Signature ok
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | subject=CN = docker:dind server
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | Getting CA Private Key
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | /certs/server/cert.pem: OK
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | Generating RSA private key, 4096 bit long modulus (2 primes)
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | ................................................................++++
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | ...................................................................................................................++++
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | e is 65537 (0x010001)
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | Signature ok
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | subject=CN = docker:dind client
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | Getting CA Private Key
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | /certs/client/cert.pem: OK
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.193084271Z" level=info msg="Starting up"
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.194256426Z" level=warning msg="could not change group /var/run/docker.sock to docker: group docker not found"
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.198038066Z" level=info msg="libcontainerd: started new containerd process" pid=53
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.198088131Z" level=info msg="parsed scheme: "unix"" module=grpc
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.198099583Z" level=info msg="scheme "unix" not registered, fallback to default scheme" module=grpc
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.198127773Z" level=info msg="ccResolverWrapper: sending update to cc: {[{unix:///var/run/docker/containerd/containerd.sock  <nil> 0 <nil>}] <nil> <nil>}" module=grpc
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.198154133Z" level=info msg="ClientConn switching balancer to "pick_first"" module=grpc
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.211367108Z" level=info msg="starting containerd" revision=d71fcd7d8303cbf684402823e425e9dd2e99285d version=v1.4.6
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.236199982Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.content.v1.content"..." type=io.containerd.content.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.236321650Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.snapshotter.v1.aufs"..." type=io.containerd.snapshotter.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.240984040Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.snapshotter.v1.btrfs"..." type=io.containerd.snapshotter.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.241236268Z" level=info msg="skip loading plugin "io.containerd.snapshotter.v1.btrfs"..." error="path /var/lib/docker/containerd/daemon/io.containerd.snapshotter.v1.btrfs (ext4) must be a btrfs filesystem to be used with the btrfs snapshotter: skip plugin" type=io.containerd.snapshotter.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.241270029Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.snapshotter.v1.devmapper"..." type=io.containerd.snapshotter.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.241295950Z" level=warning msg="failed to load plugin io.containerd.snapshotter.v1.devmapper" error="devmapper not configured"
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.241311248Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.snapshotter.v1.native"..." type=io.containerd.snapshotter.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.241375982Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.snapshotter.v1.overlayfs"..." type=io.containerd.snapshotter.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.241537098Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.snapshotter.v1.zfs"..." type=io.containerd.snapshotter.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.241730231Z" level=info msg="skip loading plugin "io.containerd.snapshotter.v1.zfs"..." error="path /var/lib/docker/containerd/daemon/io.containerd.snapshotter.v1.zfs must be a zfs filesystem to be used with the zfs snapshotter: skip plugin" type=io.containerd.snapshotter.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.241748382Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.metadata.v1.bolt"..." type=io.containerd.metadata.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.241783028Z" level=warning msg="could not use snapshotter devmapper in metadata plugin" error="devmapper not configured"
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.241794800Z" level=info msg="metadata content store policy set" policy=shared
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.262730870Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.differ.v1.walking"..." type=io.containerd.differ.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.262764458Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.gc.v1.scheduler"..." type=io.containerd.gc.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.262808206Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.service.v1.introspection-service"..." type=io.containerd.service.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.262843956Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.service.v1.containers-service"..." type=io.containerd.service.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.262862664Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.service.v1.content-service"..." type=io.containerd.service.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.262875776Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.service.v1.diff-service"..." type=io.containerd.service.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.262889612Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.service.v1.images-service"..." type=io.containerd.service.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.262902664Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.service.v1.leases-service"..." type=io.containerd.service.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.262923290Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.service.v1.namespaces-service"..." type=io.containerd.service.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.262946006Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.service.v1.snapshots-service"..." type=io.containerd.service.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.262959263Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.runtime.v1.linux"..." type=io.containerd.runtime.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.263113401Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.runtime.v2.task"..." type=io.containerd.runtime.v2
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.263225410Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.monitor.v1.cgroups"..." type=io.containerd.monitor.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.263552551Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.service.v1.tasks-service"..." type=io.containerd.service.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.263577871Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.internal.v1.restart"..." type=io.containerd.internal.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.263616499Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.grpc.v1.containers"..." type=io.containerd.grpc.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.263632647Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.grpc.v1.content"..." type=io.containerd.grpc.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.263648459Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.grpc.v1.diff"..." type=io.containerd.grpc.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.263661513Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.grpc.v1.events"..." type=io.containerd.grpc.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.263674151Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.grpc.v1.healthcheck"..." type=io.containerd.grpc.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.263687079Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.grpc.v1.images"..." type=io.containerd.grpc.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.263699853Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.grpc.v1.leases"..." type=io.containerd.grpc.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.263789801Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.grpc.v1.namespaces"..." type=io.containerd.grpc.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.263807278Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.internal.v1.opt"..." type=io.containerd.internal.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.263947799Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.grpc.v1.snapshots"..." type=io.containerd.grpc.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.263971592Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.grpc.v1.tasks"..." type=io.containerd.grpc.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.263987446Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.grpc.v1.version"..." type=io.containerd.grpc.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.264001179Z" level=info msg="loading plugin "io.containerd.grpc.v1.introspection"..." type=io.containerd.grpc.v1
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.264194211Z" level=info msg=serving... address=/var/run/docker/containerd/containerd-debug.sock
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.264252887Z" level=info msg=serving... address=/var/run/docker/containerd/containerd.sock.ttrpc
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.264299356Z" level=info msg=serving... address=/var/run/docker/containerd/containerd.sock
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.264314178Z" level=info msg="containerd successfully booted in 0.053975s"
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.271530892Z" level=info msg="parsed scheme: "unix"" module=grpc
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.271565662Z" level=info msg="scheme "unix" not registered, fallback to default scheme" module=grpc
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.271592175Z" level=info msg="ccResolverWrapper: sending update to cc: {[{unix:///var/run/docker/containerd/containerd.sock  <nil> 0 <nil>}] <nil> <nil>}" module=grpc
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.271613087Z" level=info msg="ClientConn switching balancer to "pick_first"" module=grpc
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.272302289Z" level=info msg="parsed scheme: "unix"" module=grpc
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.272321745Z" level=info msg="scheme "unix" not registered, fallback to default scheme" module=grpc
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.272351355Z" level=info msg="ccResolverWrapper: sending update to cc: {[{unix:///var/run/docker/containerd/containerd.sock  <nil> 0 <nil>}] <nil> <nil>}" module=grpc
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.272365620Z" level=info msg="ClientConn switching balancer to "pick_first"" module=grpc
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.342826242Z" level=warning msg="Your kernel does not support swap memory limit"
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.342846686Z" level=warning msg="Your kernel does not support CPU realtime scheduler"
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.342999134Z" level=info msg="Loading containers: start."
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.417804617Z" level=info msg="Default bridge (docker0) is assigned with an IP address 172.17.0.0/16. Daemon option --bip can be used to set a preferred IP address"
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.465223597Z" level=info msg="Loading containers: done."
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.494192010Z" level=info msg="Docker daemon" commit=b0f5bc3 graphdriver(s)=overlay2 version=20.10.7
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.494297708Z" level=info msg="Daemon has completed initialization"
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.559800797Z" level=info msg="API listen on /var/run/docker.sock"
dind_1_a0ef0b8a29e4 | time="2021-06-19T09:44:43.565866502Z" level=info msg="API listen on [::]:2376"
runner_1_3cb60d519ae8 | Checking for jobs... received                       job=870 repo_url=https://example.com/myrepo/myproject.git runner=A6qDsS-H
runner_1_3cb60d519ae8 | ERROR: Failed to remove network for build           error=networksManager is undefined job=870 network= project=90 runner=A6qDsS-H
runner_1_3cb60d519ae8 | WARNING: Preparation failed: Cannot connect to the Docker daemon at tcp://dind:2375. Is the docker daemon running? (docker.go:865:0s)  job=870 project=90 runner=A6qDsS-H
runner_1_3cb60d519ae8 | Will be retried in 3s ...                           job=870 project=90 runner=A6qDsS-H
runner_1_3cb60d519ae8 | ERROR: Failed to remove network for build           error=networksManager is undefined job=870 network= project=90 runner=A6qDsS-H
runner_1_3cb60d519ae8 | WARNING: Preparation failed: Cannot connect to the Docker daemon at tcp://dind:2375. Is the docker daemon running? (docker.go:865:0s)  job=870 project=90 runner=A6qDsS-H
runner_1_3cb60d519ae8 | Will be retried in 3s ...                           job=870 project=90 runner=A6qDsS-H
runner_1_3cb60d519ae8 | ERROR: Failed to remove network for build           error=networksManager is undefined job=870 network= project=90 runner=A6qDsS-H
runner_1_3cb60d519ae8 | WARNING: Preparation failed: Cannot connect to the Docker daemon at tcp://dind:2375. Is the docker daemon running? (docker.go:865:0s)  job=870 project=90 runner=A6qDsS-H
runner_1_3cb60d519ae8 | Will be retried in 3s ...                           job=870 project=90 runner=A6qDsS-H
runner_1_3cb60d519ae8 | ERROR: Job failed (system failure): Cannot connect to the Docker daemon at tcp://dind:2375. Is the docker daemon running? (docker.go:865:0s)  duration_s=9.004197071 job=870 project=90 runner=A6qDsS-H
runner_1_3cb60d519ae8 | WARNING: Failed to process runner                   builds=0 error=Cannot connect to the Docker daemon at tcp://dind:2375. Is the docker daemon running? (docker.go:865:0s) executor=docker runner=A6qDsS-H

The critical lines being:

WARNING: Preparation failed: Cannot connect to the Docker daemon at tcp://dind:2375. Is the docker daemon running? (docker.go:865:0s)

This setup is for GitLab CI, where I run GitLab Runner through docker compose.

Here’s my docker-compose.yaml config, for what it’s worth:

version: '3'

services:

  dind:
    restart: always
    privileged: true
    volumes:
    - /var/lib/docker
    image: docker:17.09.0-ce-dind 
    entrypoint: ["dockerd-entrypoint.sh", "--tls=false", "--storage-driver=overlay2"]

  runner:
    restart: always
    image: gitlab/gitlab-runner:alpine
    volumes:
    - ./gitlab/runner:/etc/gitlab-runner:Z
    - ./gitlab/runner/builds:/builds
    environment:
    - DOCKER_HOST=tcp://dind:2375
      
  register-runner:
    restart: 'no'
    image: gitlab/gitlab-runner:alpine
    volumes:
    - ./gitlab/runner:/etc/gitlab-runner:Z
    command:
    - register
    - --non-interactive
    - --locked=false
    - --name=mybox
    - --executor=docker
    - --docker-image=docker:19.03.12
    - --docker-privileged
    environment:
    - CI_SERVER_URL=http://example.com/
    - REGISTRATION_TOKEN=my-token-here

(careful, this won’t copy paste due to WP funking up the encoding)

Note, the docker image version used by dind is the most important part here. The docker image version used by register-runner doesn’t seem to matter.

Prior to this I tried the very latest docker image, then docker:19.03.12 as per the official GitLab docs (at the time of writing), and then fortunately, I had my ancient configs which gave me the heads up to try a much older version of Docker.

So it seems using the older docker version ‘fixes’ this. I don’t know why – and I don’t have time (nor really, the inclination) to investigate. If you’re looking for a quick fix, hopefully this works for you. And if you do have the proper fix, please let me know via a comment.

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