Docker Upgrade Removed AUFS Storage Driver, Killed Discourse

I run a Discourse forum installation on Ubuntu 20.04.6 LTS. The Docker image uses AUFS for storage.

Today, I installed upgrades via sudo apt upgrade. Now the Discourse forum is no longer accessible, and it appears to be because a Docker upgrade removed the AUFS storage driver.

I see plenty of guides to configuring Docker to use Overlay2 instead, but I don’t see any guidance on how to migrate my existing Discourse installation to use Overlay2, especially now that I can’t start Docker to mount my AUFS volumes.

When I execute

sudo dockerd --debug

The output is

INFO[2024-05-15T19:49:04.327570182-04:00] Starting up
DEBU[2024-05-15T19:49:04.332295421-04:00] Listener created for HTTP on unix (/var/run/docker.sock)
WARN[2024-05-15T19:49:04.340758649-04:00] failed to rename /var/lib/docker/tmp for background deletion: rename /var/lib/docker/tmp /var/lib/docker/tmp-old: file exists. Deleting synchronously
DEBU[2024-05-15T19:49:04.427688615-04:00] Golang's threads limit set to 13680
DEBU[2024-05-15T19:49:04.430903802-04:00] metrics API listening on /var/run/docker/metrics.sock
DEBU[2024-05-15T19:49:04.554881397-04:00] Using default logging driver json-file
DEBU[2024-05-15T19:49:04.555543790-04:00] No quota support for local volumes in /var/lib/docker/volumes: Filesystem does not support, or has not enabled quotas
DEBU[2024-05-15T19:49:04.563660483-04:00] processing event stream                       module=libcontainerd namespace=plugins.moby
DEBU[2024-05-15T19:49:04.567109514-04:00] Error while looking up volume                 driver=local error="volume not found" volume=
DEBU[2024-05-15T19:49:04.567813165-04:00] Error while looking up volume                 driver=local error="volume not found" volume=
INFO[2024-05-15T19:49:04.574217050-04:00] [graphdriver] trying configured driver: aufs
DEBU[2024-05-15T19:49:04.574500003-04:00] daemon configured with a 15 seconds minimum shutdown timeout
DEBU[2024-05-15T19:49:04.574603992-04:00] start clean shutdown of all containers with a 15 seconds timeout...
DEBU[2024-05-15T19:49:04.578694693-04:00] Cleaning up old mountid : start.
DEBU[2024-05-15T19:49:04.579329989-04:00] Cleaning up old mountid : done.
failed to start daemon: error initializing graphdriver: [graphdriver] ERROR: the aufs storage-driver has been deprecated and removed; visit for more information: aufs

How can I restore my Discourse forum without losing any data? Can I somehow restore the AUFS storage driver and then migrate to Overlay2 storage?

You won’t lose data, it’s in /var/discourse/shared.

If docker works, just rebuild and you’ll be fine.

Unfortunately, Docker stopped working after the upgrade. You can see the error in the final line of the output I provided.

I can get Docker to start if I change the contents of /etc/docker/daemon.json from

     "storage-driver": "aufs"


     "storage-driver": "overlay2"

However, my Discourse forum still doesn’t work after making that change.

Are you saying that it will work, and maintain the users, posts, and rest of the configuration and historical data if I execute the following and restart Docker?

cd /var/discourse
git pull
./launcher rebuild app

Will rebuilding Discourse in that manner migrate all the forum data to Overlay2 storage?

I expect that will work. I can’t imagine a way that you’ll lose data.

1 Like

You were right, apparently. After changing the storage driver in /etc/docker/daemon.json to overlay2 and executing ./launcher rebuild app, the forum seems to be back up and running.

Now I wonder if I should tempt fate and do an Ubuntu release upgrade to 22.04.3 LTS. :slight_smile:

I would wait another bit and create a new 24.04 image and migrate to it rather than do an upgrade, or just move to 22.04 now. I don’t trust how much stuff doesn’t get upgraded on an upgrade. Plus, you avoid the downtime and if anything goes wrong your old server is still working.

Move a Discourse site to another VPS with rsync