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nbdkit(1) NBDKIT nbdkit(1)

NAME

nbdkit - toolkit for creating NBD servers

SYNOPSIS

 nbdkit [-D|--debug PLUGIN|FILTER.FLAG=N]
        [-e|--exportname EXPORTNAME] [--exit-with-parent]
        [--filter FILTER ...] [-f|--foreground]
        [-g|--group GROUP] [-i|--ipaddr IPADDR]
        [--log stderr|syslog]
        [-n|--newstyle] [--no-sr] [-o|--oldstyle]
        [-P|--pidfile PIDFILE]
        [-p|--port PORT] [-r|--readonly]
        [--run CMD] [-s|--single] [--selinux-label LABEL]
        [-t|--threads THREADS]
        [--tls off|on|require]
        [--tls-certificates /path/to/certificates]
        [--tls-psk /path/to/pskfile] [--tls-verify-peer]
        [-U|--unix SOCKET] [-u|--user USER]
        [-v|--verbose] [-V|--version]
        PLUGIN [[KEY=]VALUE [KEY=VALUE [...]]]
 
 nbdkit --dump-config
 
 nbdkit PLUGIN --dump-plugin
 
 nbdkit --help

DESCRIPTION

Network Block Device (NBD) is a network protocol for accessing block devices over the network. Block devices are hard disks and things that behave like hard disks such as disk images and virtual machines.

nbdkit is both a toolkit for creating NBD servers from “unconventional” sources, and the name of an NBD server. nbdkit ships with many plugins for performing common tasks like serving local files.

Plugins and filters

nbdkit is different from other NBD servers because you can easily create new Network Block Device sources by writing a few glue functions, possibly in C, or perhaps in a high level language like Perl or Python. The liberal licensing of nbdkit is meant to allow you to link nbdkit with proprietary libraries or to include nbdkit in proprietary code.

If you want to write your own nbdkit plugin you should read nbdkit-plugin(3).

nbdkit also has a concept of filters which can be layered on top of plugins. Several filters are provided with nbdkit and if you want to write your own you should read nbdkit-filter(3).

EXAMPLES

Basic file serving

  • Serve file disk.img on port 10809 using nbdkit-file-plugin(1), and connect to it using guestfish(1):

     nbdkit file disk.img
     guestfish --rw --format=raw -a nbd://localhost
        
  • Serve file disk.img on port 10809, requiring clients to use encrypted (TLS) connections:

     nbdkit --tls=require file disk.img
        

Other nbdkit plugins

Combining plugins and filters

  • Serve only the first partition from compressed disk image disk.img.xz, combining nbdkit-partition-filter(1), nbdkit-xz-filter(1) and nbdkit-file-plugin(1).

     nbdkit --filter=partition --filter=xz file disk.img.xz partition=1
        

    To understand this command line:

                                 plugin name and plugin parameter
                                                   │
                                           ┌───────┴──────┐
                                           │              │
     nbdkit --filter=partition --filter=xz file disk.img.xz partition=1
                     │              │                          │
                     └──────────────┴────┬─────────────────────┘
                                         │
                            filters and filter parameter
        
  • Create a scratch, empty nbdkit device and inject errors and delays, for testing clients, using nbdkit-memory-plugin(1), nbdkit-error-filter(1) and nbdkit-delay-filter(1):

     nbdkit --filter=error --filter=delay memory 100M \
            error-rate=10% rdelay=1 wdelay=1
        

Writing plugins in scripting languages

Write a simple, custom plugin entirely on the command line in shell script using nbdkit-sh-plugin(3):

 nbdkit sh - <<'EOF'
   case "$1" in
     get_size) echo 1M ;;
     pread) dd if=/dev/zero count=$3 iflag=count_bytes ;;
     *) exit 2 ;;
   esac
 EOF
    

Display information

Display information about nbdkit or a specific plugin:

 nbdkit --help
 nbdkit --version
 nbdkit --dump-config
 nbdkit example1 --help
 nbdkit example1 --dump-plugin

GLOBAL OPTIONS

--help
Display brief command line usage information and exit.
-D PLUGIN.FLAG=N
-D FILTER.FLAG=N
--debug PLUGIN.FLAG=N
--debug FILTER.FLAG=N
Set the plugin or filter Debug Flag called "FLAG" to the integer value "N". See "Debug Flags" in nbdkit-plugin(3).
--dump-config
Dump out the compile-time configuration values and exit. See nbdkit-probing(1).
--dump-plugin
Dump out information about the plugin and exit. See nbdkit-probing(1).
--exit-with-parent
If the parent process exits, we exit. This can be used to avoid complicated cleanup or orphaned nbdkit processes. There are some important caveats with this, see "EXIT WITH PARENT" in nbdkit-captive(1).

An alternative to this is "CAPTIVE NBDKIT" in nbdkit-captive(1).

This option implies --foreground.

-e EXPORTNAME
--export EXPORTNAME
--export-name EXPORTNAME
--exportname EXPORTNAME
Set the exportname.

If not set, exportname "" (empty string) is used. Exportnames are not allowed with the oldstyle protocol.

-f
--foreground
--no-fork
Don't fork into the background.
--filter FILTER
Add a filter before the plugin. This option may be given one or more times to stack filters in front of the plugin. They are processed in the order they appear on the command line. See "FILTERS" and nbdkit-filter(3).
-g GROUP
--group GROUP
Change group to "GROUP" after starting up. A group name or numeric group ID can be used.

The server needs sufficient permissions to be able to do this. Normally this would mean starting the server up as root.

See also -u.

-i IPADDR
--ip-addr IPADDR
--ipaddr IPADDR
Listen on the specified interface. The default is to listen on all interfaces. See also -p.
--log=stderr
--log=syslog
Send error messages to either standard error (--log=stderr) or to the system log (--log=syslog).

The default is to send error messages to stderr, unless nbdkit forks into the background in which case they are sent to syslog.

For more details see "LOGGING" in nbdkit-service(1).

-n
--new-style
--newstyle
Use the newstyle NBD protocol. This is the default in nbdkit ≥ 1.3. In earlier versions the default was oldstyle. See nbdkit-protocol(1).
--no-sr
Do not advertise structured replies. A client must request structured replies to take advantage of block status and potential sparse reads; however, as structured reads are not a mandatory part of the newstyle NBD protocol, this option can be used to debug client fallbacks for dealing with older servers. See nbdkit-protocol(1).
-o
--old-style
--oldstyle
Use the oldstyle NBD protocol. This was the default in nbdkit ≤ 1.2, but now the default is newstyle. Note this is incompatible with newer features such as export names and TLS. See nbdkit-protocol(1).
-P PIDFILE
--pid-file PIDFILE
--pidfile PIDFILE
Write "PIDFILE" (containing the process ID of the server) after nbdkit becomes ready to accept connections.

If the file already exists, it is overwritten. nbdkit does not delete the file when it exits.

-p PORT
--port PORT
Change the TCP/IP port number on which nbdkit serves requests. The default is 10809. See also -i.
-r
--read-only
--readonly
The export will be read-only. If a client writes, then it will get an error.

Note that some plugins inherently don't support writes. With those plugins the -r option is added implicitly.

nbdkit-cow-filter(1) can be placed over read-only plugins to provide copy-on-write (or "snapshot") functionality. If you are using qemu as a client then it also supports snapshots.

--run CMD
Run nbdkit as a captive subprocess of "CMD". When "CMD" exits, nbdkit is killed. See "CAPTIVE NBDKIT" in nbdkit-captive(1).

This option implies --foreground.

-s
--single
--stdin
Don't fork. Handle a single NBD connection on stdin/stdout. After stdin closes, the server exits.

You can use this option to run nbdkit from inetd or similar superservers; or just for testing; or if you want to run nbdkit in a non-conventional way. Note that if you want to run nbdkit from systemd, then it may be better to use "SOCKET ACTIVATION" in nbdkit-service(1) instead of this option.

This option implies --foreground.

--selinux-label SOCKET-LABEL
Apply the SELinux label "SOCKET-LABEL" to the nbdkit listening socket.

The common — perhaps only — use of this option is to allow libvirt guests which are using SELinux and sVirt confinement to access nbdkit Unix domain sockets:

 nbdkit --selinux-label system_u:object_r:svirt_t:s0 ...
    
-t THREADS
--threads THREADS
Set the number of threads to be used per connection, which in turn controls the number of outstanding requests that can be processed at once. Only matters for plugins with thread_model=parallel (where it defaults to 16). To force serialized behavior (useful if the client is not prepared for out-of-order responses), set this to 1.
--tls=off
--tls=on
--tls=require
Disable, enable or require TLS (authentication and encryption support). See nbdkit-tls(1).
--tls-certificates /path/to/certificates
Set the path to the TLS certificates directory. If not specified, some built-in paths are checked. See nbdkit-tls(1) for more details.
--tls-psk /path/to/pskfile
Set the path to the pre-shared keys (PSK) file. If used, this overrides certificate authentication. There is no built-in path. See nbdkit-tls(1) for more details.
--tls-verify-peer
Enables TLS client certificate verification. The default is not to check the client's certificate.
-U SOCKET
--unix SOCKET
-U -
--unix -
Accept connections on the Unix domain socket "SOCKET" (which is a path).

nbdkit creates this socket, but it will probably have incorrect permissions (too permissive). If it is a problem that some unauthorized user could connect to this socket between the time that nbdkit starts up and the authorized user connects, then put the socket into a directory that has restrictive permissions.

nbdkit does not delete the socket file when it exits. The caller should delete the socket file after use (else if you try to start nbdkit up again you will get an "Address already in use" error).

If the socket name is - then nbdkit generates a randomly named private socket. This is useful with "CAPTIVE NBDKIT" in nbdkit-captive(1).

-u USER
--user USER
Change user to "USER" after starting up. A user name or numeric user ID can be used.

The server needs sufficient permissions to be able to do this. Normally this would mean starting the server up as root.

See also -g.

-v
--verbose
Enable verbose messages.

It's a good idea to use -f as well so the process does not fork into the background (but not required).

-V
--version
Print the version number of nbdkit and exit.

PLUGIN NAME

You can give the full path to the plugin, like this:

 nbdkit $libdir/nbdkit/plugins/nbdkit-file-plugin.so [...]

but it is usually more convenient to use this equivalent syntax:

 nbdkit file [...]

$libdir is set at compile time. To print it out, do:

 nbdkit --dump-config

PLUGIN CONFIGURATION

After specifying the plugin name you can (optionally, it depends on the plugin) give plugin configuration on the command line in the form of "key=value". For example:

 nbdkit file file=disk.img

To list all the options supported by a plugin, do:

 nbdkit --help file

To dump information about a plugin, do:

 nbdkit file --dump-plugin

Magic parameters

Some plugins declare a special "magic config key". This is a key which is assumed if no "key=" part is present. For example:

 nbdkit file disk.img

is assumed to be "file=disk.img" because the file plugin declares "file" as its magic config key. There can be ambiguity in the parsing of magic config keys if the value might look like a "key=value". If there could be ambiguity then modify the value, eg. by prefixing it with "./"

There is also a special exception for plugins which do not declare a magic config key, but where the first plugin argument does not contain an '=' character: it is assumed to be "script=value". This is used by scripting language plugins:

 nbdkit perl foo.pl [args...]

has the same meaning as:

 nbdkit perl script=foo.pl [args...]

Shebang scripts

You can use "#!" to run nbdkit plugins written in most scripting languages. The file should be executable. For example:

 #!/usr/sbin/nbdkit perl
 sub open {
   # etc
 }

(see nbdkit-perl-plugin(3) for a full example).

SIGNALS

nbdkit responds to the following signals:
"SIGINT"
"SIGQUIT"
"SIGTERM"
The server exits cleanly.
"SIGPIPE"
This signal is ignored.

ENVIRONMENT VARIABLES

"LISTEN_FDS"
"LISTEN_PID"
If present in the environment when nbdkit starts up, these trigger "SOCKET ACTIVATION" in nbdkit-service(1).

SEE ALSO

Other topics

nbdkit-captive(1) — Run nbdkit under another process and have it reliably cleaned up.

nbdkit-loop(1) — Use nbdkit with the Linux kernel client to create loop devices and loop mounts.

nbdkit-probing(1) — How to probe for nbdkit configuration and plugins.

nbdkit-protocol(1) — Which parts of the NBD protocol nbdkit supports.

nbdkit-service(1) — Running nbdkit as a service, and systemd socket activation.

nbdkit-tls(1) — Authentication and encryption of NBD connections (sometimes incorrectly called "SSL").

Plugins

nbdkit-curl-plugin(1), nbdkit-data-plugin(1), nbdkit-example1-plugin(1), nbdkit-example2-plugin(1), nbdkit-example3-plugin(1), nbdkit-example4-plugin(1), nbdkit-ext2-plugin(1), nbdkit-file-plugin(1), nbdkit-floppy-plugin(1), nbdkit-full-plugin(1), nbdkit-guestfs-plugin(1), nbdkit-gzip-plugin(1), nbdkit-iso-plugin(1), nbdkit-libvirt-plugin(1), nbdkit-linuxdisk-plugin(1), nbdkit-memory-plugin(1), nbdkit-nbd-plugin(1), nbdkit-null-plugin(1), nbdkit-partitioning-plugin(1), nbdkit-pattern-plugin(1), nbdkit-random-plugin(1), nbdkit-split-plugin(1), nbdkit-ssh-plugin(1), nbdkit-streaming-plugin(1), nbdkit-tar-plugin(1), nbdkit-vddk-plugin(1), nbdkit-zero-plugin(1) ; nbdkit-lua-plugin(3), nbdkit-ocaml-plugin(3), nbdkit-perl-plugin(3), nbdkit-python-plugin(3), nbdkit-ruby-plugin(3), nbdkit-rust-plugin(3), nbdkit-sh-plugin(3), nbdkit-tcl-plugin(3) .

Filters

nbdkit-blocksize-filter(1), nbdkit-cache-filter(1), nbdkit-cacheextents-filter(1), nbdkit-cow-filter(1), nbdkit-delay-filter(1), nbdkit-error-filter(1), nbdkit-fua-filter(1), nbdkit-log-filter(1), nbdkit-nocache-filter(1), nbdkit-noextents-filter(1), nbdkit-noparallel-filter(1), nbdkit-nozero-filter(1), nbdkit-offset-filter(1), nbdkit-partition-filter(1), nbdkit-rate-filter(1), nbdkit-readahead-filter(1), nbdkit-stats-filter(1), nbdkit-truncate-filter(1), nbdkit-xz-filter(1) .

For developers

nbdkit-plugin(3), nbdkit-filter(3).

Writing plugins in other programming languages

nbdkit-lua-plugin(3), nbdkit-ocaml-plugin(3), nbdkit-perl-plugin(3), nbdkit-python-plugin(3), nbdkit-ruby-plugin(3), nbdkit-rust-plugin(3), nbdkit-sh-plugin(3), nbdkit-tcl-plugin(3) .

NBD clients

qemu(1), nbd-client(1), guestfish(1).
http://github.com/libguestfs/nbdkit — Source code.

Other NBD servers

qemu-nbd(1), nbd-server(1), https://bitbucket.org/hirofuchi/xnbd.

Documentation for the NBD protocol

https://github.com/NetworkBlockDevice/nbd/blob/master/doc/proto.md, https://nbd.sourceforge.io/.

Similar protocols

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/iSCSI, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATA_over_Ethernet, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fibre_Channel_over_Ethernet.

Other manual pages of interest

gnutls_priority_init(3), qemu-img(1), psktool(1), systemd.socket(5).

AUTHORS

Eric Blake

Richard W.M. Jones

Yann E. MORIN

Nir Soffer

Pino Toscano

COPYRIGHT

Copyright (C) 2013-2019 Red Hat Inc.

LICENSE

Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:
  • Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
  • Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.
  • Neither the name of Red Hat nor the names of its contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission.

THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY RED HAT AND CONTRIBUTORS ''AS IS'' AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL RED HAT OR CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.

2019-08-16 nbdkit-1.14.2