Managing cache

Earthly cache works similarly to Dockerfile layer-based caching. In fact, the same technology is used underneath.

Cache layers

Many Earthfile commands create cache layers. A cache layer may be reused in a future build, if the conditions under which it is created are the same.

Examples of commands which create layers are COPY and RUN.

One of the main things influencing the conditions are "sources". Sources are created through commands like COPY and GIT CLONE. RUN, however, is not a source, even if the command itself involves downloading content from an external location. This means that a RUN command, on its own, would always be cached if it has been run under the same circumstances previously (except for the RUN --push variant).

For a primer into Dockerfile caching see this article. The same principles apply to Earthfiles.

Cache location

Earthly cache is persisted in a docker volume called earthly-cache on your system. When Earthly starts for the first time, it brings up a BuildKit daemon in a Docker container, which initializes the earthly-cache volume. The volume is managed by Earthly's BuildKit daemon and there is a regular garbage-collection for old cache.

Specifying cache size

The default cache size is adaptible depending on available space on your system. If you would like to limit the cache size more aggressively, you can specify a different limit by modifying the cache_size_mb setting in the configuration. For example:

global:
cache_size_mb: 10000

Resetting cache

The cache can be safely deleted manually, if the daemon is not running

docker stop earthly-buildkitd
docker rm earthly-buildkitd
docker volume rm earthly-cache

However, it is easier to simply use the command

earth prune --reset

which restarts the daemon and resets the contents of the cache volume.

See also