Getting my Oracle Database 12c Release 2 up and running on Mac via Docker

I love to follow in the footsteps of people who are braver, smarter and more knowledgeable than me.

So I was happy to wait till SQL Maria (Maria Colgan) published her blog post on Oracle Database 12c now available on Docker, with step-by-step instructions for taking advantage of the new Docker image for 12.2 now available (specifically, 12.2 via Docker on Github, 12.2 via Docker at the Docker Store).

I am happy to report that I can now connect SQL Developer to my containerized 12.2 database. Thank you, Maria, for a very helpful post!

Now, I am not going to repeat everything Maria already wrote. That would be silly. I will simply point out some things you might find helpful as you do the same thing I did (follow in Maria's footsteps - which, literally, meant lots of copy-pasting rather dumbly).

1. Watch out for those dashes when you copy/paste.

Docker was not responding as expected to my commands and I (well, actually, Gerald) eventually noticed that the dash, copied from the blog post, was too long - it had been translated into a different character. So watch out for that! You might need to retype the command yourself.

I hate that.


2. Create your own folder for your Oracle Database files. I know it should be obvious. But I am a copy-paste sorta guy, and probably the only one in the world who would copy this command into my terminal and expect it to work:

docker run --name oracle -p 1521:1521 -p 5500:5500 
-v /Users/mcolgan-mac/oradata:/opt/oracle/oradata 

And it did - once I created my own folder for the files, and replaced that in the command.

Oh and by the way, that entire command (once you swap out mcolgan-mac for your own foler) needs to be one one line.

After that, everything went very smoothly and, again following Maria's wonderfully clear steps, I had my database up and running.

Then I set up my connection in SQL Developer:

and voila! My own 12.2 database running in a Docker container, on my Mac.

Thanks, Maria!
Thanks, Gerald!
Thanks, Docker!
Thanks, Oracle!


  1. The image is used to create a container, and the first time the container is created it creates a database, and then subsequently the database is just started. While good for greenfield installations of a new database, how would this compare to a VBOX which has an Enterprise Manager , a repository and multiple databases installed in it? Out of interest, can the same sort of complexity be duplicated in Docker?

    1. Hi Porus,

      The same setup could be accomplished in Docker however, this is really an anti-pattern for containerization. Docker containers are not VM replacements. In the scenario above you would run one or many database containers all with their own databases and run another container (or many if you wish) that runs OEM and its infrastructure. This gives you more flexibility when you need to scale one or just a few of the components. If you just want to have a sandbox environment for OEM and many databases, although doable via Docker, you are probably better off to stick to VBox.


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