Run GitLab Runner Podman Container using Runners with Docker Executors

You can find my demo setup here:


Currently there isn’t an official GitLab Runner Executor for Podman. Due to RedHat Enterprise Linux 8 replacing Docker with Podman I had to find a simple solution for getting my Runners with Docker Executors running on RHEL8 without installing Docker natively or having to write a custom executor from scratch. The trick is to run a Podman Container running Docker inside and sharing it’s Docker Socket as a volume between containers!

Creating directory structure

I prefer to create a podman directory in /opt for all container bind mounts.

mkdir -p /opt/podman/gitlab-runner
mkdir -p /opt/podman/gitlab-runner/certs
mkdir -p /opt/podman/dind/docker
touch /opt/podman/gitlab-runner/config.toml

Docker in Podman Container

First create a Podman container using the offical dind (“Docker in Docker”) Image from Dockerhub. For this I created a simple bash script located in the /dind directory. It’s important that the “Docker in Podman” container is started before starting the GitLab Runner container.

Mounting and sharing Docker Socket

It’s important to mount /var/run as a volume so that the GitLab Runner container can access the Docker Socket. Also you will wnat to bind mount /etc/docker so that you can easily modify configuration files later on. (see bash script beneath)

podman run -d \
        --restart=always \
        --name dind \
        -v docker_run:/var/run \
        -v /opt/podman/dind/docker:/etc/docker \

Create the container:

chmod +x ./dind/

GitLab Runner Container

Docker Host

It’s important to set the DOCKER_HOST environment variable to the IP of your Podman host. As both containers should be running on the same host this would be the server’s public IP or

Docker Socket

By “importing” the /var/run volume from the “Docker in Podman” container (--volumes-from dind), the GitLab Runner can connect to the Docker Socket and is capable of using the Docker Executor.


You will be needing to add your TLS certificates (key, cert and CA cert) to /opt/podman/gitlab-runner/certs to successfully connect your Runner to the GitLab Server.

├── certs
│   ├── ca.crt
│   ├── your_host.crt
│   ├── your_host.key
│   └── your_host.pem

In case you are using internal certificates set tls_verify to false (see TLS section below)

Starting the GitLab Runner Container

podman run -d \
        --restart=always \
        --name gitlab-runner \
        -e DOCKER_HOST= \
        -v /opt/podman/gitlab-runner/certs:/etc/gitlab-runner/certs:ro \
        -v /opt/podman/gitlab-runner/config.toml:/etc/gitlab-runner/config.toml \
        --volumes-from dind \

Create and start the container:

chmod +x ./gitlab-runner/

Create and register Runnner

After starting the container, make sure to first create and register a Runner to your GitLab Server by using the GitLab Runner command line interface and following prompt wizard. Make sure to select the Docker Executor and set the default image to docker:stable when prompted.

podman exec -it gitlab-runner gitlab-runner 

Edit Runner Config

After registering your Runner edit the updated runner configuration: /opt/podman/gitlab-runner/config.toml It’s important to add /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock to the volumes array volumes = ["/var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock", "/cache"] and setting the NO_PROXY environment variables: environment = ["NO_PROXY=docker:2375,docker:2376", "no_proxy=docker:2375,docker:2376"]. This will pass the docker.socket to the Docker container that get’s spawned during a Build Process. Your now running Docker in Podman running Docker - Container Inception! ;-)


Your config.toml should look like this:

concurrent = 1
check_interval = 0

  session_timeout = 1800

  name = "docker"
  url = "https://my-gitlab-server/"
  executor = "docker"
    # in case you are using internal certificates set tls_verify to false
    tls_verify = false
    image = "docker:stable"
    privileged = true
    disable_entrypoint_overwrite = false
    oom_kill_disable = false
    disable_cache = false
    volumes = ["/var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock", "/cache"]
    environment = ["NO_PROXY=docker:2375,docker:2376", "no_proxy=docker:2375,docker:2376"]
    dns = []
    extra_hosts = []
    shm_size = 0