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apptainer-instance-start - Start a named instance of the given container image


apptainer instance start [start options...] [startscript args...]


The instance start command allows you to create a new named instance from an
existing container image that will begin running in the background. If a
startscript is defined in the container metadata the commands in that script
will be executed with the instance start command as well. You can optionally
pass arguments to startscript

apptainer instance start accepts the following container formats

*.sif Singularity Image Format (SIF). Native to Singularity
(3.0+) and Apptainer (v1.0.0+)

*.sqsh SquashFS format. Native to Singularity 2.4+

*.img ext3 format. Native to Singularity versions < 2.4.

directory/ sandbox format. Directory containing a valid root file
system and optionally Apptainer meta-data.

instance://* A local running instance of a container. (See the instance
command group.)

library://* A SIF container hosted on a Library (no default)

docker://* A Docker/OCI container hosted on Docker Hub or another
OCI registry.

shub://* A container hosted on Singularity Hub.

oras://* A SIF container hosted on an OCI registry that supports
the OCI Registry As Storage (ORAS) specification.



a comma separated capability list to add


allow setuid binaries in container (root only)


apply cgroups from file for container processes (root only)

-B, --bind=[]

a user-bind path specification. spec has the format src[:dest[:opts]], where src and dest are outside and inside paths. If dest is not given, it is set equal to src. Mount options (’opts’) may be specified as ’ro’ (read-only) or ’rw’ (read/write, which is the default). Multiple bind paths can be given by a comma separated list.


Block IO relative weight in range 10-1000, 0 to disable


Device specific block IO relative weight


execute /sbin/init to boot container (root only)

-e, --cleanenv[=false]

clean environment before running container


apply settings for increased OCI/Docker compatibility. Infers --containall, --no-init, --no-umask, --no-eval, --writable-tmpfs.

-c, --contain[=false]

use minimal /dev and empty other directories (e.g. /tmp and $HOME) instead of sharing filesystems from your host

-C, --containall[=false]

contain not only file systems, but also PID, IPC, and environment


CPU shares for container


Number of CPUs available to container


List of host CPUs available to container


List of host memory nodes available to container


do not use or create cache


checkpoint for dmtcp to save container process state to (experimental)


checkpoint for dmtcp to use to restart container process (experimental)


list of DNS server separated by commas to add in resolv.conf


login to a Docker Repository interactively


a comma separated capability list to drop


pass environment variable to contained process


pass environment variables from file to contained process

-f, --fakeroot[=false]

run container with the appearance of running as root


A FUSE filesystem mount specification of the form ’: ’ - where is ’container’ or ’host’, specifying where the mount will be performed (’container-daemon’ or ’host-daemon’ will run the FUSE process detached). is the path to the FUSE executable, plus options for the mount. is the location in the container to which the FUSE mount will be attached. E.g. ’container:sshfs /sshfs’. Implies --pid.

-h, --help[=false]

help for start

-H, --home="/builddir"

a home directory specification. spec can either be a src path or src:dest pair. src is the source path of the home directory outside the container and dest overrides the home directory within the container.


set container hostname

-i, --ipc[=false]

run container in a new IPC namespace


let root user keep privileges in container (root only)


Memory limit in bytes


Memory soft limit in bytes


Swap limit, use -1 for unlimited swap


a mount specification e.g. ’type=bind,source=/opt,destination=/hostopt’.

-n, --net[=false]

run container in a new network namespace (sets up a bridge network interface by default)


specify desired network type separated by commas, each network will bring up a dedicated interface inside container


specify network arguments to pass to CNI plugins


do not shell evaluate env vars or OCI container CMD/ENTRYPOINT/ARGS


do NOT mount users home directory if /home is not the current working directory


use http instead of https for docker:// oras:// and library:///... URIs


do NOT start shim process with --pid


disable one or more ’mount xxx’ options set in apptainer.conf and/or specify absolute destination path to disable a ’bind path’ entry


drop all privileges from root user in container)


do not propagate umask to the container, set default 0022 umask


enable Nvidia support


use nvidia-container-cli for GPU setup (experimental)


Disable OOM killer

-o, --overlay=[]

use an overlayFS image for persistent data storage or as read-only layer of container


prompt for an encryption passphrase


enter an path to a PEM formatted RSA key for an encrypted container


write instance PID to the file with the given name


Limit number of container PIDs, use -1 for unlimited


enable experimental Rocm support

-S, --scratch=[]

include a scratch directory within the container that is linked to a temporary dir (use -W to force location)


enable security features (SELinux, Apparmor, Seccomp)


Convert SIF file to temporary sandbox before running

-u, --userns[=false]

run container in a new user namespace


run container in a new UTS namespace

-W, --workdir=""

working directory to be used for /tmp, /var/tmp and $HOME (if -c/--contain was also used)

-w, --writable[=false]

by default all Apptainer containers are available as read only. This option makes the file system accessible as read/write.


makes the file system accessible as read-write with non persistent data (with overlay support only)


$ apptainer instance start /tmp/my-sql.sif mysql

$ apptainer shell instance://mysql
Apptainer my-sql.sif> pwd
Apptainer my-sql.sif> ps
1 pts/0 00:00:00 appinit
2 pts/0 00:00:00 bash
3 pts/0 00:00:00 ps
Apptainer my-sql.sif>

$ apptainer instance stop /tmp/my-sql.sif mysql
Stopping /tmp/my-sql.sif mysql




29-Mar-2023 Auto generated by spf13/cobra