When talking about attaching a Cinder volume there are three steps that must happen before the volume is available in the host:

  1. Retrieve connection information from the host where the volume is going to be attached. Here we would be getting iSCSI initiator name, IP, and similar information.

  2. Use the connection information from step 1 and make the volume accessible to it in the storage backend returning the volume connection information. This step entails exporting the volume and initializing the connection.

  3. Attaching the volume to the host using the data retrieved on step 2.

If we are running cinderlib and doing the attach in the same host, then all steps will be done in the same host. But in many cases you may want to manage the storage backend in one host and attach a volume in another. In such cases, steps 1 and 3 will happen in the host that needs the attach and step 2 on the node running cinderlib.

Projects in OpenStack use the OS-Brick library to manage the attaching and detaching processes. Same thing happens in cinderlib. The only difference is that there are some connection types that are handled by the hypervisors in OpenStack, so we need some alternative code in cinderlib to manage them.

Connection objects’ most interesting attributes are:

  • connected: Boolean that reflects if the connection is complete.

  • volume: The Volume to which this instance holds the connection information.

  • protocol: String with the connection protocol for this volume, ie: iscsi, rbd.

  • connector_info: Dictionary with the connection information from the host that is attaching. Such as it’s hostname, IP address, initiator name, etc.

  • conn_info: Dictionary with the connection information the host requires to do the attachment, such as IP address, target name, credentials, etc.

  • device: If we have done a local attachment this will hold a dictionary with all the attachment information, such as the path, the type, the scsi_wwn, etc.

  • path: String with the path of the system device that has been created when the volume was attached.

Local attach

Once we have created a volume with cinderlib doing a local attachment is really simple, we just have to call the attach method from the Volume and we’ll get the Connection information from the attached volume, and once we are done we call the detach method on the Volume.

vol = lvm.create_volume(size=1)
attach = vol.attach()
with open(attach.path, 'w') as f:
    f.write('*' * 100)

This attach method will take care of everything, from gathering our local connection information, to exporting the volume, initializing the connection, and finally doing the local attachment of the volume to our host.

The detach operation works in a similar way, but performing the exact opposite steps and in reverse. It will detach the volume from our host, terminate the connection, and if there are no more connections to the volume it will also remove the export of the volume.


The Connection instance returned by the Volume attach method also has a detach method, but this one behaves differently than the one we’ve seen in the Volume, as it will just perform the local detach step and not the termiante connection or the remove export method.

Remote connection

For a remote connection, where you don’t have the driver configuration or access to the management storage network, attaching and detaching volumes is a little more inconvenient, and how you do it will depend on whether you have access to the metadata persistence storage or not.

In any case the general attach flow looks something like this:

  • Consumer gets connector information from its host.

  • Controller receives the connector information from the consumer. - Controller exports and maps the volume using the connector information and gets the connection information needed to attach the volume on the consumer.

  • The consumer gets the connection information. - The consumer attaches the volume using the connection information.

With access to the metadata persistence storage

In this case things are easier, as you can use the persistence storage to pass information between the consumer and the controller node.

Assuming you have the following variables:

  • persistence_config configuration of your metadata persistence storage.

  • node_id unique string identifier for your consumer nodes that doesn’t change between reboots.

  • cinderlib_driver_configuration is a dictionary with the Cinder backend configuration needed by cinderlib to connect to the storage.

  • volume_id ID of the volume we want to attach.

The consumer node must store its connector properties on start using the key-value storage provided by the persistence plugin:

import socket
import cinderlib as cl


kv = cl.Backend.persistence.get_key_values(node_id)
if not kw:
    storage_nw_ip = socket.gethostbyname(socket.gethostname())
    connector_dict = cl.get_connector_properties('sudo', storage_nw_ip,
                                                 True, False)
    value = json.dumps(connector_dict, separators=(',', ':'))
    kv = cl.KeyValue(node_id, value)

Then when we want to attach a volume to node_id the controller can retrieve this information using the persistence plugin and export and map the volume for the specific host.

import cinderlib as cl

storage = cl.Backend(**cinderlib_driver_configuration)

kv = cl.Backend.persistence.get_key_values(node_id)
if not kv:
    raise Exception('Unknown node')
connector_info = json.loads(kv[0].value)
vol = storage.Volume.get_by_id(volume_id)
vol.connect(connector_info, attached_host=node_id)

Once the volume has been exported and mapped, the connection information is automatically stored by the persistence plugin and the consumer host can attach the volume:

vol = storage.Volume.get_by_id(volume_id)
connection = vol.connections[0]
print('Volume %s attached to %s' % (, connection.path))

When attaching the volume the metadata plugin will store changes to the Connection instance that are needed for the detaching.

No access to the metadata persistence storage

This is more inconvenient, as you’ll have to handle the data exchange manually as well as the OS-Brick library calls to do the attach/detach.

First we need to get the connector information on the host that is going to do the attach:

from os_brick.initiator import connector

connector_dict = connector.get_connector_properties('sudo', storage_nw_ip,
                                                    True, False)

Now we need to pass this connector information dictionary to the controller node. This part will depend on your specific application/system.

In the controller node, once we have the contents of the connector_dict variable we can export and map the volume and get the info needed by the consumer:

import cinderlib as cl

storage = cl.Backend(**cinderlib_driver_configuration)

vol = storage.Volume.get_by_id(volume_id)
conn = vol.connect(connector_info, attached_host=node_id)
connection_info = conn.connection_info

We have to pass the contents of connection_info information to the consumer node, and that node will use it to attach the volume:

import os_brick
from os_brick.initiator import connector

connector_dict = connection_info['connector']
conn_info = connection_info['conn']
protocol = conn_info['driver_volume_type']

conn = connector.InitiatorConnector.factory(
    protocol, 'sudo', user_multipath=True,
    device_scan_attempts=3, conn=connector_dict)
device = conn.connect_volume(conn_info['data'])
print('Volume attached to %s' % device.get('path'))

At this point we have the device variable that needs to be stored for the disconnection, so we have to either store it on the consumer node, or pass it to the controller node so we can save it with the connector info.

Here’s an example on how to save it on the controller node:

conn = vol.connections[0]
conn.device = device


At the time of this writing this mechanism doesn’t support RBD connections, as this support is added by cinderlib itself.


If we want to use multipathing for local attachments we must let the Backend know when instantiating the driver by passing the use_multipath_for_image_xfer=True:

import cinderlib

lvm = cinderlib.Backend(

Multi attach

Multi attach support has been added to Cinder in the Queens cycle, and it’s not currently supported by cinderlib.

Other methods

All other methods available in the Snapshot class will be explained in their relevant sections:

  • load will be explained together with json, jsons, dump, and dumps properties, and the to_dict method in the Serialization section.

  • refresh will reload the volume from the metadata storage and reload any lazy loadable property that has already been loaded. Covered in the Serialization and Resource tracking sections.

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