Blockbridge EPS

Blockbridge EPS


Blockbridge is software that transforms commodity infrastructure into secure multi-tenant storage that operates as a programmable service. It provides automatic encryption, secure deletion, quality of service, replication, and programmable security capabilities on your choice of hardware. Blockbridge uses micro-segmentation to provide isolation that allows you to concurrently operate OpenStack, Docker, and bare-metal workflows on shared resources. When used with OpenStack, isolated management domains are dynamically created on a per-project basis. All volumes and clones, within and between projects, are automatically cryptographically isolated and implement secure deletion.

Architecture reference

Blockbridge architecture


Control paths

The Blockbridge driver is packaged with the core distribution of OpenStack. Operationally, it executes in the context of the Block Storage service. The driver communicates with an OpenStack-specific API provided by the Blockbridge EPS platform. Blockbridge optionally communicates with Identity, Compute, and Block Storage services.

Block storage API

Blockbridge is API driven software-defined storage. The system implements a native HTTP API that is tailored to the specific needs of OpenStack. Each Block Storage service operation maps to a single back-end API request that provides ACID semantics. The API is specifically designed to reduce, if not eliminate, the possibility of inconsistencies between the Block Storage service and external storage infrastructure in the event of hardware, software or data center failure.

Extended management

OpenStack users may utilize Blockbridge interfaces to manage replication, auditing, statistics, and performance information on a per-project and per-volume basis. In addition, they can manage low-level data security functions including verification of data authenticity and encryption key delegation. Native integration with the Identity Service allows tenants to use a single set of credentials. Integration with Block storage and Compute services provides dynamic metadata mapping when using Blockbridge management APIs and tools.

Attribute-based provisioning

Blockbridge organizes resources using descriptive identifiers called attributes. Attributes are assigned by administrators of the infrastructure. They are used to describe the characteristics of storage in an application-friendly way. Applications construct queries that describe storage provisioning constraints and the Blockbridge storage stack assembles the resources as described.

Any given instance of a Blockbridge volume driver specifies a query for resources. For example, a query could specify '+ssd + +6nines -production iops.reserve=1000 capacity.reserve=30%'. This query is satisfied by selecting SSD resources, accessible on the network, with high resiliency, for non-production workloads, with guaranteed IOPS of 1000 and a storage reservation for 30% of the volume capacity specified at create time. Queries and parameters are completely administrator defined: they reflect the layout, resource, and organizational goals of a specific deployment.

Supported operations

  • Create, delete, clone, attach, and detach volumes
  • Create and delete volume snapshots
  • Create a volume from a snapshot
  • Copy an image to a volume
  • Copy a volume to an image
  • Extend a volume
  • Get volume statistics

Supported protocols

Blockbridge provides iSCSI access to storage. A unique iSCSI data fabric is programmatically assembled when a volume is attached to an instance. A fabric is disassembled when a volume is detached from an instance. Each volume is an isolated SCSI device that supports persistent reservations.

Configuration steps

Create an authentication token

Whenever possible, avoid using password-based authentication. Even if you have created a role-restricted administrative user via Blockbridge, token-based authentication is preferred. You can generate persistent authentication tokens using the Blockbridge command-line tool as follows:

$ bb -H bb-mn authorization create --notes "OpenStack" --restrict none
Authenticating to https://bb-mn/api

Enter user or access token: system
Password for system:
Authenticated; token expires in 3599 seconds.

== Authorization: ATH4762894C40626410
notes                 OpenStack
serial                ATH4762894C40626410
account               system (ACT0762594C40626440)
user                  system (USR1B62094C40626440)
enabled               yes
created at            2015-10-24 22:08:48 +0000
access type           online
token suffix          xaKUy3gw
restrict              none

== Access Token
access token          1/elvMWilMvcLAajl...3ms3U1u2KzfaMw6W8xaKUy3gw

*** Remember to record your access token!

Create volume type

Before configuring and enabling the Blockbridge volume driver, register an OpenStack volume type and associate it with a volume_backend_name. In this example, a volume type, ‘Production’, is associated with the volume_backend_name ‘blockbridge_prod’:

$ cinder type-create Production
$ cinder type-key Production volume_backend_name=blockbridge_prod

Specify volume driver

Configure the Blockbridge volume driver in /etc/cinder/cinder.conf. Your volume_backend_name must match the value specified in the cinder type-key command in the previous step.

volume_driver = cinder.volume.drivers.blockbridge.BlockbridgeISCSIDriver
volume_backend_name = blockbridge_prod

Specify API endpoint and authentication

Configure the API endpoint and authentication. The following example uses an authentication token. You must create your own as described in Create an authentication token.

blockbridge_api_host = [ip or dns of management cluster]
blockbridge_auth_token = 1/elvMWilMvcLAajl...3ms3U1u2KzfaMw6W8xaKUy3gw

Specify resource query

By default, a single pool is configured (implied) with a default resource query of '+openstack'. Within Blockbridge, datastore resources that advertise the ‘openstack’ attribute will be selected to fulfill OpenStack provisioning requests. If you prefer a more specific query, define a custom pool configuration.

blockbridge_pools = Production: +production +qos iops.reserve=5000

Pools support storage systems that offer multiple classes of service. You may wish to configure multiple pools to implement more sophisticated scheduling capabilities.

Configuration options

Description of BlockBridge EPS volume driver configuration options
Configuration option = Default value Description
blockbridge_api_host = None (String) IP address/hostname of Blockbridge API.
blockbridge_api_port = None (Integer) Override HTTPS port to connect to Blockbridge API server.
blockbridge_auth_password = None (String) Blockbridge API password (for auth scheme ‘password’)
blockbridge_auth_scheme = token (String) Blockbridge API authentication scheme (token or password)
blockbridge_auth_token = None (String) Blockbridge API token (for auth scheme ‘token’)
blockbridge_auth_user = None (String) Blockbridge API user (for auth scheme ‘password’)
blockbridge_default_pool = None (String) Default pool name if unspecified.
blockbridge_pools = {'OpenStack': '+openstack'} (Dict) Defines the set of exposed pools and their associated backend query strings

Configuration example

cinder.conf example file

enabled_backends = bb_devel bb_prod

volume_driver = cinder.volume.drivers.blockbridge.BlockbridgeISCSIDriver
volume_backend_name = blockbridge_prod
blockbridge_api_host = [ip or dns of management cluster]
blockbridge_auth_token = 1/elvMWilMvcLAajl...3ms3U1u2KzfaMw6W8xaKUy3gw
blockbridge_pools = Production: +production +qos iops.reserve=5000

volume_driver = cinder.volume.drivers.blockbridge.BlockbridgeISCSIDriver
volume_backend_name = blockbridge_devel
blockbridge_api_host = [ip or dns of management cluster]
blockbridge_auth_token = 1/elvMWilMvcLAajl...3ms3U1u2KzfaMw6W8xaKUy3gw
blockbridge_pools = Development: +development

Multiple volume types

Volume types are exposed to tenants, pools are not. To offer multiple classes of storage to OpenStack tenants, you should define multiple volume types. Simply repeat the process above for each desired type. Be sure to specify a unique volume_backend_name and pool configuration for each type. The cinder.conf example included with this documentation illustrates configuration of multiple types.

Testing resources

Blockbridge is freely available for testing purposes and deploys in seconds as a Docker container. This is the same container used to run continuous integration for OpenStack. For more information visit

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

Except where otherwise noted, this document is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. See all OpenStack Legal Documents.