Switching System-Wide Default Storage Driver From VFS to OverlayFS for Podman on Debian Bookworm

Debian Bookworm was released with Podman 4.3 and Linux kernel 6.1 so it should have decent rootless OverlayFS support. But somehow VFS was used by default running Podman rootless containers and this will have a huge impact on performance.

To switch such default away from VFS to OverlayFS, the easiest way is to install containers-storage (which is just a suggested package for podman, thus usually not considered as a dependency).


First, backup your containers if necessary.

Reset storage back to initial state

podman system reset


sudo apt update
sudo apt install containers-storage

Under the Hood

/usr/share/containers/storage.conf in the package contains a line that sets the default storage driver to OverlayFS.



podman info | grep graphDriverName

and the value should change from vfs to overlay.

Posted in Technical.

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