Harbor Private Docker Registry


The STFC Cloud team runs a Harbor private registry at https://harbor.stfc.ac.uk

This service allows users to upload container images, and manage their lifecycles internally. This has a number of advantages over using a public repository:

  • Login uses IRIS IAM, so existing credentials can be used rather than creating new accounts and teams on external providers.
  • Images aren’t subjected to free / paid account restrictions on other platforms.
  • Built in vulnerability scanner indicates any CVEs applicable to the image on upload and a periodic basis.
  • Projects can be made public, or privately available to a specific group of users.

Getting Started

Signing Up

Anybody with an IRIS account is able to sign up. An IRIS account can be applied for using facility credentials here.

To associate your IRIS account simply go to Harbor and click Login Via OIDC Provider. If it’s your first sign in, you will be asked to confirm basic details being shared with Harbor. Harbor will then confirm the account details (which cannot be modified).

Help for registering with IRIS IAM can be found here. <https://iris-iam.stfc.ac.uk/help/>

Signing In

If you have already signed up (as described in Signing Up) you can login by simply clicking Login Via OIDC Provider.

Entering your facility/IRIS credentials into the Harbor login page will not work, as IRIS IAM handles authentication on our behalf.

Creating a Project

Please contact us to request a new project, please include the following details in your email:

Using Harbor

Project Permissions

Permissions are presented in increasing scope, each level presented includes new permissions and all permissions from the previous level:

  • Anonymous
    A user who has not logged into Harbor using their Docker client. They can only pull from public repositories.
  • Limited Guest
    A user who can pull from private and public projects, but cannot see logs or members of a project. Useful for end-users and machines.
  • Guest
    A user who can pull images from a private project and see other members of the project.
  • Developer
    A user who can pull and push images to the project. They cannot delete an image once pushed.
  • Project Master
    A user who can also trigger manual security scans and delete images.
  • Project Admin
    This person can manage all aspects of a named project, including changing user and group permissions.
  • Harbor Administrators
    Can create and delete projects. Can update a project’s admin to be a different user as required upon support request.

Private Projects


Secrets in Images

A private project/repository does not mean users should include secrets into their Docker images. Please keep secrets separate to images by passing them through .env files or environment flags. A good rule-of-thumb is asking, “if this image ever leaked could a system become compromised from the details within”.

Users can request a private repository; the names, images and associated members of these projects are hidden from non-members.

For most use-cases a public project is preferred:

  • Images are immutable; a SHA reference cannot be changed.
  • Anonymous pulls removes the requirements on securely distributing and storing access tokens.
  • Users can start software with a single docker command, lowering the barrier of entry for deployment.

Some examples where a private projects should be considered are:

  • When software licenses are required per container instance
  • Mirroring / storing proprietary software (check License Agreement beforehand)
  • Confidential or unannounced/internal development projects
  • Where scientific data is included but subject to access restrictions

Machines will not be able to pull from a private repository without first logging in.

Vulnerability scanner

By default we configure all projects to automatically scan images pushed to harbor for vulnerabilities and we also conduct weekly scans against all images.

You can view the results by clicking into the project. Then into the repository and then you will see a summary of the vulnerabilities against each artifacts

You can hover over the Vulnerabilities field to view a summary or click into the artifact to view further details

We recommend that you resolve all Critical and High rated vulnerabilities as soon as possible.

Project Administrators can configure the project to disallow pulling of images based on the vulnerabilities against the image.

Authenticating Docker


A credentials store is highly recommended. On machines without a credentials store your token is stored in plain-text within your user profile.

Logging in grants you the ability to pull and push to projects where you have appropriate permissions:

  • Sign into Harbor
  • Take note of your profile name in the top-right
  • Click on the profile name and click User Profile
  • Copy the CLI secret can be copied using the copy action
  • On the target machine run
docker login -u <profile_name> https://harbor.stfc.ac.uk
  • It will prompt you for your access token, paste in the previously copied token
  • Docker will return if the login was a success and persist this between reboots

Rotating Access Token

This is useful if your Docker token has been, or is possibly compromised, or on a machine you no longer have access to. Rotating keys does not flag or log your account in any way, so please feel free to use this proactively.

Rotating the access token will generate a new token whilst invalidating the old token and is simple:

  • Sign into Harbor
  • Click on the profile name and click User Profile
  • Click the 3 dots next to CLI secret
  • Select Generate Secret
  • Confirm you are happy to discard your old token
  • On each machine you require access re-login

Tagging and Pushing Images

Images should include the name of the harbor server, or they will implicitly use Docker Hub:

# For tagging as part of the build
docker image build . -t harbor.stfc.ac.uk/<project_name>/<image_name>:<tag>

# For re-tagging an existing image
docker tag <old_tag> harbor.stfc.ac.uk/<project_name>/<image_name>:<tag>

Here is a worked example using the image Ubuntu, on the latest tag to a project called harbor_example

# Build a new Ubuntu image
docker image build ubuntu -t harbor.stfc.ac.uk/harbor_example/ubuntu:latest

# For re-tagging an existing Ubuntu image
docker tag ubuntu/ubuntu:latest harbor.stfc.ac.uk/harbor_example/ubuntu:latest

To push an image to the repository the following command can be used:

docker push harbor.stfc.ac.uk/<project_name>/<image_name>:<tag>

For example to mirror the image ubuntu:latest from Docker Hub into Harbor Project my_project:

# This assumes the tag step above was completed
docker image push harbor.stfc.ac.uk/my_project/ubuntu:latest

Advanced: Project Retention Rules


Up to 15 retention rules can be set on a per-project basis.

Harbor will consider all repositories and all tags eligible for deletion after a user specified number of day or after a number of artifacts.

We can also white-list or black-list tag patterns or repository names that are subject to auto-retention rules.

For example, in a project with repositories foo, bar and baz we can specify only foo, baz to be auto collected after 60 days, whilst bar will only delete tags with *beta* in their name after 20 days.

If your putting in a support request for retention rules please describe the above in a request, we will configure the rules per your description. For users manually confusing their rules an additional reference follows.

Manual Config

Harbor currently has limited regex capabilities for expressing rules. By default the repository list and tags are set to everything **.

To specify a list of items, for example foo bar baz replace ** with {foo,bar,baz} which will match all.

Care must be taken with semantic versioning. Unlike regex a * character will only match a single character input, for example a retention rule for v*.*-beta will match v1.1-beta and v9.5-beta but not v10.1-beta. Full regex support is currently in the feature-request stage upstream.

The rules for a project can be configured by:

  • Navigating to the project
  • Select the Policy tag
  • Ensure Tag Retention is selected
  • Configure the rules and schedule as required