nbdkit-tmpdisk-plugin - Man Page

create a fresh temporary filesystem for each client

Synopsis

 nbdkit tmpdisk [size=]SIZE [type=ext4|xfs|vfat|...] [label=LABEL]

 nbdkit tmpdisk [size=]SIZE command=COMMAND [VAR=VALUE ...]

Description

This nbdkit(1) plugin is used for creating temporary filesystems for thin clients.  Each time a client connects it will see a fresh, empty filesystem for its exclusive use.  The filesystem is deleted when the client disconnects.  If you want a persistent filesystem, use nbdkit-ondemand-plugin(1) instead.

When a new client connects, a blank, sparse file of the required size is created in $TMPDIR (or /var/tmp).  mkfs(8) is then run on the file to create the empty filesystem, and this filesystem is served to the client.  Unlike nbdkit-linuxdisk-plugin(1) each client of this plugin sees a different disk.

The size of the disk is chosen using the size parameter.  The filesystem type is ext4 but this can be changed using the type parameter (controlling the -t option of mkfs).  The filesystem label may be set using label.

The command parameter

Instead of running mkfs you can run an arbitrary command (a shell script fragment) to create the disk.

The other parameters to the plugin are turned into shell variables passed to the command.  For example type becomes the shell variable $type, etc.  Any parameters you want can be passed to the plugin and will be turned into shell variables (not only type and label) making this a very flexible method to create temporary disks of all kinds.

Two special variables are also passed to the shell script fragment:

$disk

The absolute path of the disk file.  Note that this is not pre-created, you must create it yourself, for example using:

 truncate -s $size "$disk"

$disk is deleted automatically when the client disconnects.

$size

The virtual size in bytes.  This is the size parameter, converted to bytes.  Note the final size served to the client is whatever disk size command creates.

Security considerations

Because each client gets a new disk, the amount of disk space required on the server can be as much as number of clients × size.  It is therefore best to limit the number of clients using nbdkit-limit-filter(1) or take steps to limit where clients can connect from using nbdkit-ip-filter(1), firewalls, or TLS client certificates.

Examples

Remote tmpfs

One use for this is to create a kind of "remote tmpfs(5)" for thin clients.  On the server you would run (see nbdkit-service(1)):

 nbdkit tmpdisk 16G

To set up each thin client follow the instructions in nbdkit-client(1).  Clients will see a fresh, empty, mounted directory after boot.

Overriding mkfs options

Using command allows you to easily override any mkfs option, for example:

 nbdkit tmpdisk 16G command='
     truncate -s $size "$disk"
     mke2fs -F -N 10000 -t ext4 "$disk"
 '

Serve a fresh blank disk to each client

Again using command, this demonstrates serving any file that you can create locally to the client.  This is different from nbdkit-memory-plugin(1) because the clients all see their own private disk (instead of all seeing the same shared disk):

 nbdkit tmpdisk 16G command=' truncate -s $size "$disk" '

Serve a fresh operating system to each client

 nbdkit tmpdisk 16G os=fedora-31 \
     command=' virt-builder -o "$disk" --size ${size}b "$os" '

Serve a throwaway snapshot of a base image to each client

You could create a base image using mke2fs(8) -d option, virt-builder(1), or similar tools.  Then in the command you could copy and serve different throwaway snapshots to each client:

 truncate -s 1G base.img
 mke2fs -d initial-content/ -F -t ext4 base.img
 nbdkit tmpdisk size=0 base=$PWD/base.img \
     command=' cp --sparse=always "$base" "$disk" '

The unusual size=0 parameter is because when using command, size is only a request (but the parameter is required).  In this case the command ignores the requested size.  The final size is the size of $disk created by the cp(1) command.

Parameters

command='COMMAND'

Instead of running mkfs(8) to create the initial filesystem, run COMMAND (a shell script fragment which usually must be quoted to protect it from the shell).  See “The command parameter” and “Examples” sections above.

label=LABEL

Select the filesystem label.  The default is not set.

[size=]SIZE

Specify the virtual size of the disk image.

If using command, this is only a suggested size.  The actual size of the resulting disk will be the size of the disk created by command.

This parameter is required.

size= is a magic config key and may be omitted in most cases. See “Magic parameters” in nbdkit(1).

type=FS

Select the filesystem type.  The default is ext4.  Most non-networked, non-cluster filesystem types supported by the mkfs(8) command can be used here.

Environment Variables

TMPDIR

The temporary disks for this plugin are created in this directory, one per connected client.  If not set this defaults to /var/tmp.

Files

$plugindir/nbdkit-tmpdisk-plugin.so

The plugin.

Use nbdkit --dump-config to find the location of $plugindir.

Version

nbdkit-tmpdisk-plugin first appeared in nbdkit 1.20.

See Also

nbdkit(1), nbdkit-plugin(3), nbdkit-data-plugin(1), nbdkit-eval-plugin(1), nbdkit-file-plugin(1), nbdkit-ip-filter(1), nbdkit-limit-filter(1), nbdkit-linuxdisk-plugin(1), nbdkit-memory-plugin(1), nbdkit-sh-plugin(1), nbdkit-loop(1), nbdkit-tls(1), mkfs(8), mke2fs(8), virt-builder(1).

Authors

Richard W.M. Jones

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.

Referenced By

nbdkit(1), nbdkit-data-plugin(1), nbdkit-file-plugin(1), nbdkit-linuxdisk-plugin(1), nbdkit-memory-plugin(1), nbdkit-ondemand-plugin(1), nbdkit-plugin(3), nbdkit-release-notes-1.20(1).

2020-09-16 nbdkit-1.23.5