Denis Gontcharov
On Airflow


On Airflow


Airflow: using the DockerOperator with the LocalExecutor in Docker Compose

A short guide to configure a minimal setup.

Denis Gontcharov's photo
Denis Gontcharov
·Aug 26, 2021·

3 min read

Airflow: using the DockerOperator with the LocalExecutor in Docker Compose

This guide will allow you to run the DockerOperator using the LocalExecutor with Apache Airflow deployed on Docker Compose. The guide is split into four consecutive steps:

  1. Preparing the docker-compose.yaml
  2. Adding a new services in the docker-compose.yaml
  3. Creating a DAG that connects to the Docker API using this proxy
  4. Testing the DockerOperator

To deploy Airflow on Docker with Docker Compose you should fetch the docker-compose.yaml:

curl -LfO ''

For more information about running Airflow in Docker refer to the following documentation.

1. Preparing the docker-compose.yaml

First you need to adapt the standard docker-compose.yaml file to work with the LocalExecutor and DockerOperator:

  1. line 50: replace CeleryExecutor with LocalExecutor
  2. line 58: add the apache-airflow-providers-docker==2.1.0 package to _PIP_ADDITIONAL_REQUIREMENTS
  3. comment out or delete lines: 53, 65-66, 85-94, 118-128, 140-150

Note that the apache-airflow-providers version must be 2.1.0 or higher.

You can now initialize the environment with:

docker-compose up airflow-init

2. Adding a new services in the docker-compose.yaml

You have to add one additional service to the docker-compose.yaml to use the DockerOperator.

# Required because of DockerOperator. For secure access and handling permissions.
  image: tecnativa/docker-socket-proxy:0.1.1
    IMAGES: 1
    AUTH: 1
    POST: 1
  privileged: true
    - /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock:ro
  restart: always

This service allows to mount the Docker socket more securely. You can find more information about this Docker image here.

3. Creating a DAG that connects to the Docker API using this proxy

Below is an example DAG that uses the DockerOperator:

curl -LfO ''

Place this file inside the dags/ folder.

You have to modify the task t3 that uses the DockerOperator for it to work with the docker-socker-proxy:

  • line 45: set the api_version to at least 1.30
  • line 46: replace localhost with docker-socket-proxy
  • line 47: change the command to "echo TEST DOCKER SUCCESSFUL"
from datetime import timedelta

from airflow import DAG
from airflow.operators.bash import BashOperator
from airflow.providers.docker.operators.docker import DockerOperator
from airflow.utils.dates import days_ago

dag = DAG(
        'owner': 'airflow',
        'depends_on_past': False,
        'email': [''],
        'email_on_failure': False,
        'email_on_retry': False,
        'retries': 1,
        'retry_delay': timedelta(minutes=5),

t1 = BashOperator(task_id='print_date', bash_command='date', dag=dag)

t2 = BashOperator(task_id='sleep', bash_command='sleep 5', retries=3, dag=dag)

t3 = DockerOperator(
    docker_url='tcp://docker-socket-proxy:2375',  # Set your docker URL
    command='echo TEST DOCKER SUCCESSFUL',

t4 = BashOperator(task_id='print_hello', bash_command='echo "hello world!!!"', dag=dag)

t1 >> t2
t1 >> t3
t3 >> t4

4. Testing DockerOperator

Now trigger the docker_sample dag through the Airflow webserver UI.

In the Logs of the docker_op_tester task run you will see:


This indicates that the DockerOperator was successfully executed.

You can find the relevant files in my GitHub repo.

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