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HPE Nimble Storage Advanced Data Services Emulator for Containers
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Nemo: HPE Nimble Storage Advanced Data Services Emulator for Containers

Nemo is a Docker Volume plugin that strives to be compatible with the HPE Nimble Storage Docker Volume plugin. Nemo uses OpenZFS to emulate the snapshot and cloning capabilities of the HPE Nimble Storage plugin. OpenZFS is also capable of storing volume metadata similar how NimbleOS stores metadata which makes it simple to emulate the behavior.


HPE Nimble Storage is not using OpenZFS in any of its products. Nemo is a tool to educate users how to integrate Advanced Data Services into DevOps workflows using common developer and IT operations tools without owning or using a HPE Nimble Storage product. Nemo is not supported by HPE Nimble Storage.

What is Advanced Data Services?

HPE Nimble Storage has spent a decade refining enterprise data management features relevant for common enterprise applications. It ranges from data reduction capabilities such as adaptive data compression, data deduplication, using snapshots and clones of volumes to reduce copies and representation of data. Data protection is a cornerstone in Enterprise data management and replication of snapshots to downstream arrays and the public cloud are table stakes. The end-game is to drive data efficiency beyond what is possible with conventional storage media and software-defined storage. Commodity hardware with highly specialized software utilizing sea of sensors allows customers to enjoy a support experience aggregated across the entire install base through a SaaS engine (HPE InfoSight) through big data predictive analytics.

It all might sound like a keynote sales pitch but bringing these capabilities to software developers and DevOps teams is extremely powerful yet it's difficult for individuals who work high up in the stack, several layers above the storage admin, to realize how to exploit these advanced data services in their day-to-day work. Delivering features faster with higher quality is becoming more tangible where a business technological prowess over the competitor is the only advantage to win in the real world. Development cycles for new featuers are measured in hours, not quarters.

So, Nemo bridges the gap from cheerful exploration of managing data, clones of data, optimizing build pipelines and "wall timing" benchmarks from push to first customer exposure. By properly vetting workflows in dev environments such as a public cloud, your offline laptop during a flight or dedicated iron QA/stage/canary environment without owning a single pience of equipment from HPE. When Docker Compose files and Kubernetes deployment specifications have been iteratively vetted, they may safely be deployed to production as all stateful apps have used real data and interfaced with the same components in a closed environment as it would production.

OpenZFS is extremely powerful for what it is, an Open Source project. It has a few very similiar features to CASL (the filesystem NimbleOS uses and had a decade of hardening with over 10,000 customers) and we can therefor emulate the features the HPE Nimble Storage Docker Volume plugin provides. Many of the examples illustrated over a long series of blog posts available here can be followed using Nemo instead of using a physical array or having a HPE Cloud Volumes account by only using your laptop.


While aspiring to be as feature complete as possible, certain things are not possible to emulate or to achieve with OpenZFS.

  • Not supported by HPE Nimble Storage
  • Locally scoped Docker Volume driver - meaning volumes are not shared between nodes in a cluster
  • Certain volume options are "vanity options", meaning they get set, but doesn't do anything. Run docker volume create -d nemo -o help for list of vanity options
  • The output of docker volume inspect is not fully accurate with several missing representations and all field values are strings, not the actual JSON representation of its data type.


Nemo has only been built and tested with OpenZFS on Ubuntu 18.04 and is the preferred runtime environment. Nemo will eventually be packaged in binary form to multiple outlets to ease integration into popular tools and environments. Nemo is compatible with Docker 1.13+ and is 100% Docker Volume API compatible.

Building and Running Nemo

Building on a vanilla installed Ubuntu 18.04:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install zfsutils-linux libzfslinux-dev golang git 
git clone && cd Nemo

Nemo assumes a pre-created OpenZFS pool by the name of 'tank', run ./nemo -h for optional placements. If there is no extra devices on your host OS to create a pool, here's a recipe to create a pool on a sparse file through a loop device:

dd if=/dev/zero of=/tmp/tank bs=512 seek=20M count=1
sudo losetup /tmp/tank
sudo zpool create tank /dev/loop0

Nemo will now be able to run with default settings:

sudo ./nemo

Switch to another terminal, you should now be able to run:

sudo docker volume create -d nemo -o help

Runtime Implementations

The goal is to make Nemo available in as many developer centric container ecosystems as possible. This list will grow over time:


Please file issues on this GitHub repo for bug reports, inquiries and help tickets. If you like to chat, join the HPE DEV slack at, #NimbleStorage


Contributions to Nemo from outside HPE require a contributor license agreement (CLA) with HPE. It's a legality to ensure contributors understands their contributions are subject to the Open Source license this software is made available.

Other OpenZFS Docker Volume plugins

This is not the first Docker Volume plugin for OpenZFS. The primary purpose of Nemo is for it to be an emulator for the HPE Nimble Storage Docker Volume plugin, it may have uses outside of that, but please checkout these projects that inspired Nemo:


(C) Copyright 2018 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Development LP

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may
not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain
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    Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
    distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT
    WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the
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