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Blockbridge Volume Plugin for Docker

Version 3.1

The Blockbridge volume plugin is available as a "Managed Docker Plugin" for Docker 1.13+ and as a "Legacy Plugin" for Docker 1.12 and earlier. Both options run as a container. The Managed plugin is preferred, as installation and lifecycle management of the plugin is taken care of by Docker natively. The Blockbridge Managed Volume Plugin is available both on the Docker Hub and the Docker Store as a Docker Certified Plugin.

Why use a Blockbridge storage backend? Blockbridge enables tenant isolation, automated provisioning, encryption, secure deletion, snapshots and QoS for any storage backend: on local storage or with any storage vendor over any protocol.

The Blockbridge volume plugin is a full-featured volume plugin for Docker, enabling multi-host access to block storage data volumes. Many functions are available through the native Docker API and command line tools. More advanced functionality is accessible via the API exposed by the Blockbridge Volume Driver and accompanying command lines tools.

The table below presents the base feature list along with interface support guidelines.

Blockbridge Feature Via Docker API Via Blockbridge API
Create Volume Yes Yes
Inspect Volume Yes Yes
List Volumes Yes Yes
Remove Volume Yes Yes
Secure Transport Volumes Yes Yes
Authenticated Volumes Yes Yes
Encrypted Volumes Yes Yes
QoS Volumes Yes Yes
Create Volume Profile Yes
Inspect Volume Profile Yes
List Volume Profiles Yes
Remove Volume Profiles Yes
Volume Backup Yes
Volume Restore Yes Yes
Inspect Backup Yes
List Backups Yes
Remove Backup Yes

Quick Start

$ docker plugin install --alias blockbridge blockbridge/volume-plugin BLOCKBRIDGE_API_HOST="YOUR HOST" \

The plugin requires two environment variables to be set: BLOCKBRIDGE_API_HOST to point to the Blockbridge backend, and BLOCKBRIDGE_API_KEY as the access token to be used. For a quick-start, use the Blockbridge Storage Container as your backend. Please see for the Blockbridge container quick-start setup.

Table of Contents



For full management of the Blockbridge Volume Plugin, use the Blockbridge volumectl command, available as a container.

It it recommended to set a shell alias:

$ alias volumectl='docker run --rm -v /run/docker/plugins:/run/docker/plugins blockbridge/volumectl'

$ volumectl

    volumectl [OPTIONS] SUBCOMMAND [ARG] ...

    SUBCOMMAND                    subcommand
    [ARG] ...                     subcommand arguments

    volume                        manage volumes
    profile                       manage volume profiles
    backup                        manage volume backups
    version                       volumectl version

Global options (8 hidden):
    -h, --help                    print help (use --verbose to show hidden options)
    --verbose                     enable verbose output
    --debug                       enable additional debug
    --raw, -R                     enable raw output
    --yaml                        print yaml for raw output

Volume Create

Create a volume by specifying the driver as blockbridge (or the alias you specified when the plugin was installed). The Blockbridge volume driver supports multiple volume options and provisioning attributes to be specified.

$ volumectl volume create --name testvol
== Volume: testvol
user                  default
capacity              1GiB   

Volume Options

The volume is provisioned according to the options specified. As Blockbridge is multi-tenant storage, a User is always required. The Blockbridge Storage Container creates a default user for ease-of-use with the plugin.


The storage profile to use for the volume. A storage profile contains volume create options that make specifying the options easier as a group. See below for full description. The Blockbridge Storage Container creates a default profile.

If a default profile exists, this parameter is Optional.

Parameter name: profile


Required. The user (tenant) to provision the volume for.

Parameter name: user


Required. The volume capacity.

Parameter name: capacity


Optional. The volume type. This is defined by the backend and determines certain volume characteristics, such as IOPS rating, performance, etc.

Parameter name: type


Optional. Depends on type specified. The volume quality of service (QoS). This is a reserved, guaranteed minimum IOPS performance of the volume. It requires QoS configuration on the backend.

Parameter name: iops


Optional. Blockbridge volumes support transport security. Specify tls to access your volumes over the network with TLS.

Parameter name: transport

From Backup

Optional. The volume source to restore from. On volume create, restore from the specified backup.

Parameter name: from_backup


Optional. If the volume is configured for authentication, specify the one-time-password (OTP) in order to access the volume.

Parameter name: otp

Attribute based provisioning

In addition to the required volume options, volume provisioning attributes can be specified to determine particular qualities of the storage to provision from.

These attributes are configured by an administrator on the Blockbridge storage backend, and then specified by the volume driver as query parameters.

Attributes such as SSD, IOPS 30000, Rack 42, New York, Chicago, Production, all identify unique sets of storage pools.

Specifying provisioning attributes provides an automated and fundamental way to describe the exact storage characteristics you want to provision for your volume.

Parameter name: attributes

Volume Create Examples

$ volumectl volume create --name vol1 --user default --capacity 32GiB --type gp
== Volume: vol1
type                  gp     
user                  default
capacity              32GiB  
$ volumectl volume create --name vol2 --user default --capacity 32GiB --type provisioned --iops 10000
== Volume: vol2
type                  piops  
user                  default
capacity              100GiB 
iops                  10000
$ volumectl volume create --name vol3 --user default --capacity 1TiB --type piops --iops 20000
== Volume: vol3
type                  piops  
user                  default
capacity              1TiB   
iops                  20000

Create a volume in Docker (in-band)

There are two ways in Docker to create a volume, either explicitly via docker volume create or implicitly at docker run time.

Docker volume create (Explicit)

Create a blockbridge volume:

$ docker volume create --driver blockbridge --name datavol --opt user=block --opt capacity=32GiB

Docker volume create (Implicit)

Once a default profile has been configured (see below), create a blockbridge volume:

$ docker run --volume-driver blockbridge -v datavol:/data -it busybox sh

NOTE: you cannot pass volume options on the commandline during docker run, these can only be specified explicitly with docker volume create --opt, or a Blockbridge default volume profile must be setup. If doing an implicit volume create, a default profile must be setup

Docker run with volume

Reference existing Blockbridge volume at docker run:

$ docker run -v datavol:/data -it busybox sh

List volumes with docker

$ docker volume ls

Inspect volume with docker

$ docker volume inspect datavol

Volume Profiles

Blockbridge volume profiles are a way to describe different sets of volume options and provisioning attributes as a Storage Profile or Storage Template. Instead of specifying each individual option every time a volume is created, a volume profile can be referenced.

Create a profile with the volume driver:

$ volumectl profile create --name profile-test --user default --capacity 32GiB
== Profile: profile-test
user                  default 
capacity              32GiB   
transport             insecure

Reference the profile to create a volume. Each volume that uses this profiletest will be created for the default user with a capacity of 32GiB.

$ docker volume create --driver blockbridge --name datavol2 --opt profile=profile-test

Default profile

By naming a profile default, it will be used if no other profile is specified. NOTE: the Blockbridge Storage Container already creates a default profile.

Create a default profile:

$ volumectl profile create --name default --user default --capacity 32GiB --type gp2

Volume Profiles Provisioning Attributes

The power of volume profiles comes from defining sets of options and defining storage provisioning attributes. For example, you may have different classes of storage, Gold and Silver. You may have storage in different availability zones, different racks in a datacenter, different storage media (ssd, spinners), and for different users.

Define profiles that make sense for your environment.

(Example) Gold Storage Profile

$ volumectl profile create --name gold --user default --type provisioned-iops --iops 10000 --capacity 1TiB +ssd +production +multipath +high-iops

(Example) Availability Zone East Profile

$ volumectl profile create --name us-east --user default --capacity 10GiB +us-east +ssd -production

(Example) Rack42 Profile

$ volumectl profile create profile create --name rack42 --user block --capacity 16GiB +rack42

List Profiles

$ volumectl profile ls

Inspect one Profile

$ volumectl profile inspect rack42

Full command help

$ volumectl profile --help

Blockbridge volumes are accessible on any host, with no data copy required.

Volume Backups

Backup any volume directly to any S3-compatible object store. Your filesystem is frozen, a snapshot is taken, and your block device is converted to objects. All operations take place on the Blockbridge backend, so your backup is taken directly from your data. No host dependencies are required, and if your host crashes during your backup, the backup still takes place successfully. Backups are managed directly via the Blockbridge volume driver. Specify a volume profile to manage backups for, or with none specified the default is used.

Volume backup

Backup a volume with the volume driver

$ volumectl backup testvol

Volume restore

Restore a volume that was backed up. Use standard volume create options with a backup source specified.

$ volumectl volume create --name testvol-restore --from-backup testvol-backup

List backups

List backups for default profile.

$ volumectl backup ls

List backups for specified profile.

$ volumectl backup ls --profile profile-test

Inspect backup

$ volumectl backup inspect datavol-backup

Remove backup

$ volumectl backup rm datavol-backup

Blockbridge Storage Simulator

The Blockbridge storage backend is available as a simulator running as a Docker container.

Legacy Quick Start

For Docker version 1.12 or earlier, the Blockbridge Volume Driver is available as a legacy plugin. A compose file is available to start the driver (as a container). For most cases, using the Docker compose file will start the volume driver, and connect to the Blockbridge simulator.

docker-compose up

Additional Configuration required?

For running against Blockbridge storage (not the simulator), or for more complicated setups, additional configuration may be required. A startup script is provided for these cases.

Two environment variables are required in order to use the startup script:


Set these environment variables to point to the Blockbridge backend storage, and to authenticate with the management API. The Blockbridge simulator, or any other Blockbridge storage can be configured for use with the volume driver.

What is Blockbridge?

Blockbridge is Elastic Block Storage for everyone. Run Blockbridge on bare-metal, on a VM, or in a container, in any cloud, on any provider. Access your data directly from any Linux or Windows host as a standard block device, or use it as a Docker volume through the volume plugin in a swarm. Manage your storage via Web UI, cross-platform command-line tools, or REST API. See for more information and to download fully functional trial software, or contact us at with any questions. We’d love to hear from you!


Please let us know what you think! Contact us at or on github.