Golem images and usage explained

Golem Image

A Golem image is a software package that contains libraries, tools, configurations, dependencies, and settings that are required to execute your tasks on a remote computer. The image is used to create the environment (VM) where your tasks are executed.

Execution environment

Golem's virtual machine runtime is currently a primary execution environment. This runtime allows provider nodes to run Docker-like images defined by Golem application developers. The runtime is a binary used by the yagna service on provider nodes. A given runtime is responsible for running a certain type of image (we have separate runtimes for VMs and for WASM code). In the case of Golem VMs, the runtime being used is ya-runtime-vm.

Golem image creation

Golem images are based on Docker images that are converted using the gvmkit-build tool to a .gvmi file format. The conversion brings a visible advantage for users. By using SquashFS we significantly reduced the size of the images thus saving file space and shortening the time needed to transfer the image to the provider node. Another benefit is running images in VMs instead of running them as Docker containers, which provides a separation of providers and requestor data and processes.

The general process of creating a Golem image looks like this:

  • Define the image content in Docker format
  • Build a Docker image from the Dockerfile
  • Convert to Golem image using gvmkit-build (example)

See our Create Golem Image Tutorial on how to use the tool.

Publishing the image

Once your image is built and tested, you can push it to a remote repository so that it becomes available to providers within the Golem Network. Golem manages a freely-accessible repository that everybody can push into without any special requirements.

Golem image use

For providers to be able to download and use the image you specify in your demand, the image must be available for them, so you need to publish it. Images can be identified by their image hash or a tag name. The type of identifier depends on the way you publish your image and is driven by intended usage.

If you intend to use your image just for testing then it is enough to use image hash and upload them anonymously to the registry. If you intend to work on a more complex project where you would like to use several different versions of your image or collaborate with other users - you should consider creating an account in the registry and use tags to describe your images. Both cases are illustrated in our examples.

  • Publishing the image anonymously. (example)
  • Publishing the image using tags. (example)
  • Using the tag or hash in a requestor script. (example)

Dockerfile command support

All the Docker commands that are related to the definition of the image content are supported. So if you can create a Docker image from your Dockerfile, you should be able to convert it to a Golem image.

Please take into account the following points:


If your application requires transferring files to and/or from the provider node, you'll need to specifically define a place (or places) in the container's file system that will be used for file transfers. These places are called volumes.

Additionally, in the case of large files, it is recommended to generate and store them in directories defined using the VOLUME clause. In such cases, they are stored on the host's disk drive and do not consume the storage available in RAM.


When you define the image (in Dockerfile) do not copy your files into folders that are defined as volumes. When a Golem virtual machine is started, a new directory is created in the host's file system for each of the defined volumes. This directory is then made available inside the VM under its specified path (for example: /golem/input).


This will define the default directory to be used in shell commands sent to a remote computer once the VM is running.


Because of how Golem's VM execution unit works, Docker's ENTRYPOINT and CMD statements are effectively ignored. You need to pass the relevant initialization commands as part of the task sent to a remote computer as a part of your task function or use the beforeEach() method. See examples.

Images, Virtual Machines, and file system content

When you engage a provider, its provider_agent runs exe-unit (a runtime) to run your image or WASM code. In the case of Golem Images that are run in VMs, the runtime being used is ya-runtime-vm.

In Golem terms, such an image run on the provider is called an Activity. Activities are utilized to execute requestor tasks. Unless an activity is terminated, all subsequent tasks that will be scheduled on the same provider will use the same activity - meaning the same image container with its history. That means that within the lifecycle of the Activity, the state of the file system is maintained. One consequence is that any file system changes - be it updates to volumes or other locations within the VM - performed within a single execution of a task, will still be present when subsequent tasks get executed.

See also