NAME

nbdkit - toolkit for creating NBD servers

SYNOPSIS

 nbdkit [-D|--debug PLUGIN|FILTER|nbdkit.FLAG=N]
        [-e|--exportname EXPORTNAME] [--exit-with-parent]
        [--filter FILTER ...] [-f|--foreground]
        [-g|--group GROUP] [-i|--ipaddr IPADDR]
        [--log stderr|syslog|null]
        [-n|--newstyle] [--mask-handshake MASK] [--no-sr] [-o|--oldstyle]
        [-P|--pidfile PIDFILE]
        [-p|--port PORT] [-r|--readonly]
        [--run CMD] [-s|--single] [--selinux-label LABEL] [--swap]
        [-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] [--vsock]
        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

Other nbdkit plugins

Combining plugins and filters

Writing plugins in shell script

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).

-D nbdkit.FLAG=N
--debug nbdkit.FLAG=N

(nbdkit ≥ 1.18)

Set the nbdkit server Debug Flag called FLAG to the integer value N. See "SERVER DEBUG FLAGS" below.

--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 a preferred exportname to expose in the shell environment created during --run. The use of this option without --run has no effect. This option does not change what nbdkit advertises as a server, but can aid in writing a captive client that wants to access particular content from a plugin that differentiates content based on the client's choice of export name.

If not set, the --run environment is set to access the default exportname "" (empty string).

-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
--log=null

Send error messages to standard error (--log=stderr), or to the system log (--log=syslog), or discard them completely (--log=null, not recommended for normal use).

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 ...
--swap

(nbdkit ≥ 1.18)

Specifies that the NBD device will be used as swap space loop mounted on the same machine which is running nbdkit. To avoid deadlocks this locks the whole nbdkit process into memory using mlockall(2). This may require additional permissions, such as starting the server as root or raising the RLIMIT_MEMLOCK (ulimit(1) -l) limit on the process.

-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.

The --dump-config option provides separate major and minor numbers and may be easier to parse from shell scripts.

--vsock

(nbdkit ≥ 1.16)

Use the AF_VSOCK protocol (instead of TCP/IP). You must use this in conjunction with -p/--port. See "AF_VSOCK" in nbdkit-service(1).

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).

SERVER DEBUG FLAGS

As well as enabling or disabling debugging in the server using --verbose you can control extra debugging in the server using the -D nbdkit.* flags listed in this section. Note these flags are an internal implementation detail of the server and may be changed or removed at any time in the future.

-D nbdkit.backend.controlpath=0
-D nbdkit.backend.controlpath=1
-D nbdkit.backend.datapath=0
-D nbdkit.backend.datapath=1

These flags control the verbosity of nbdkit backend debugging messages (the ones which show every request processed by the server). The default for both settings is 1 (normal debugging) but you can set them to 0 to suppress these messages.

-D nbdkit.backend.datapath=0 is the more useful setting which lets you suppress messages about pread, pwrite, zero, trim, etc. commands. When transferring large amounts of data these messages are numerous and not usually very interesting.

-D nbdkit.backend.controlpath=0 suppresses the non-datapath commands (config, open, close, can_write, etc.)

-D nbdkit.tls.log=N

Enable TLS logging. N can be in the range 0 (no logging) to 99. See gnutls_global_set_log_level(3).

-D nbdkit.tls.session=1

Print additional information about the TLS session, such as the type of authentication and encryption, and client certificate information.

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-client(1) — How to mount NBD filesystems on a client machine.

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-security(1) — Lists past security issues in nbdkit.

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-cdi-plugin(1), nbdkit-curl-plugin(1), nbdkit-data-plugin(1), nbdkit-eval-plugin(1), nbdkit-example1-plugin(1), nbdkit-example2-plugin(1), nbdkit-example3-plugin(1), nbdkit-example4-plugin(1), nbdkit-file-plugin(1), nbdkit-floppy-plugin(1), nbdkit-full-plugin(1), nbdkit-guestfs-plugin(1), nbdkit-gzip-plugin(1), nbdkit-info-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-ondemand-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-tmpdisk-plugin(1), nbdkit-torrent-plugin(1), nbdkit-vddk-plugin(1), nbdkit-zero-plugin(1) ; nbdkit-cc-plugin(3), nbdkit-golang-plugin(3), 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-ddrescue-filter(1), nbdkit-delay-filter(1), nbdkit-error-filter(1), nbdkit-exitlast-filter(1), nbdkit-exportname-filter(1), nbdkit-ext2-filter(1), nbdkit-extentlist-filter(1), nbdkit-fua-filter(1), nbdkit-gzip-filter(1), nbdkit-ip-filter(1), nbdkit-limit-filter(1), nbdkit-log-filter(1), nbdkit-nocache-filter(1), nbdkit-noextents-filter(1), nbdkit-nofilter-filter(1), nbdkit-noparallel-filter(1), nbdkit-nozero-filter(1), nbdkit-offset-filter(1), nbdkit-partition-filter(1), nbdkit-pause-filter(1), nbdkit-rate-filter(1), nbdkit-readahead-filter(1), nbdkit-retry-filter(1), nbdkit-stats-filter(1), nbdkit-swab-filter(1), nbdkit-tar-filter(1), nbdkit-tls-fallback-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-cc-plugin(3), nbdkit-golang-plugin(3), 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) .

Release notes for previous releases of nbdkit

nbdkit-release-notes-1.4(1), nbdkit-release-notes-1.6(1), nbdkit-release-notes-1.8(1), nbdkit-release-notes-1.10(1), nbdkit-release-notes-1.12(1), nbdkit-release-notes-1.14(1), nbdkit-release-notes-1.16(1), nbdkit-release-notes-1.18(1), nbdkit-release-notes-1.20(1), nbdkit-release-notes-1.22(1).

NBD clients

guestfish(1), libnbd(3), nbd-client(1), nbdfuse(1), nbdsh(1), qemu(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) 2013-2020 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:

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.