Update max_map_count for ElasticSearch docker container Mac host

I'm using this container to start elasticsearch in docker. In accordance with the manual I have to update max_map_count to start the container

sudo sysctl -w vm.max_map_count=262144

but.. I can update it in my host (container) AFTER I start it while I'm unable to start it. Am I doing something wrong?

ERROR: bootstrap checks failed max virtual memory areas vm.max_map_count [65530] likely too low, increase to at least [262144]

If I try to do it on my host machine (which is Mac) I get the following error.

sysctl: unknown oid 'vm.max_map_count'

Docker engine installs the Lunix VM where all containers are running. So the command to increase the limit should be executed for the Linux host, not for the Mac.

How can I access Linux VM via terminal installed by the Docker engine?


  • On Docker Toolbox

    If you are in docker toolbox try the docker client from terminal and then make the configs:

    docker-machine ssh
    sudo sysctl -w vm.max_map_count=262144

    On Docker For Mac:

    The vm_max_map_count setting must be set within the xhyve virtual machine:

    $ screen ~/Library/Containers/com.docker.docker/Data/com.docker.driver.amd64-linux/tty

    If it asks you for a username and passwordLog in with root and no password.

    If it just has a blank screen, press RETURN.

    Then configure the sysctl setting as you would for Linux:

    sysctl -w vm.max_map_count=262144

    Exit by Control-A Control-\.

    Se the docs here.


    In some cases, this change does not persist across restarts of the VM. So, while screen'd into, edit the file /etc/sysctl.d/00-alpine.conf and add the parameter vm.max_map_count=262144 to the end of file.