Faster Container Image Distribution on a Variety of Tools with Lazy Pulling


Authors:   Kohei Tokunaga, Tao Peng


The presentation discusses the benefits and implementation of lazy loading and e-suggested images in container ecosystems.
  • Lazy loading can improve container startup time by prefetching data before it is needed.
  • E-suggested images allow for customization and optimization of container images.
  • Several tools and platforms support lazy loading and e-suggested images, including Podman, Buildkit, and Container Registry.
  • The presentation proposes extending the OCI image specification to include e-suggested images.
  • Lazy loading and e-suggested images can improve the efficiency and usability of container ecosystems.
Lazy loading can be compared to preheating an oven before cooking a meal. By prefetching data, containers can start up more quickly, similar to how a preheated oven can cook a meal more efficiently. E-suggested images are like a customizable recipe, allowing for optimization and customization of container images to fit specific needs.


Pull is known as one of the time-consuming steps in the container lifecycle. One of the root causes is the current OCI Image Specification because it can't run containers before the entire image contents become locally available. In this session, Kohei and Tao introduce state-of-the-art OCI-alternative image formats discussed in the community for speeding up pulling images, especially putting the focus on eStargz and nydus. These formats enable "lazy pulling" that allows container runtime to startup a container without waiting for the entire image. Over the past year, lazy pulling has been available on more and more container-related tools including Kubernetes, containerd, CRI-O, Podman, BuildKit, etc. So they will show how widely these image formats can be used on these tools in daily activity. eStargz has been proposed to OCI Image Specification as an extension and nydus has so to the next version of that spec (a.k.a. OCIv2). The talk will also share the discussion status.


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