Automatic Mapping of NVMe-style EBS Volums to Standard Block Device Paths

In the new family of AWS instances (the C5 and M5), EBS volumes are exposed as NVMe block devices. If you’re already using some form of automation to build instances, identifying the EBS device name can be a problem.

In our company we manage thousands of EBS volumes, and so we use Salt automation (but puppet, chef etc have similar problems) to programmatically manage volumes. In a single configuration run, you want to create the EBS volume and mount it, and to do that you need to know the device name. While issuing the API call to attach an EBS volume to an EC2 instance, we pass in the device name as a parameter. With older instance types, the block device driver would simply use that name to expose the new volume within the OS. But if we try mounting the same EBS volume on a C5 or M5, the device is automatically enumerated and presented as /dev/nvme[0-6]n1, losing its relation to the device name from the API call.

The solution is use UDEV, it can help to remap nvme volumes to standard block devices path.In order to do this we need to create a rule to udev in /etc/udev/rules.d/

# ebs nvme devices

KERNEL=="nvme[0-9]*n[0-9]*", ENV{DEVTYPE}=="disk", ATTRS{model}=="Amazon Elastic Block Store", PROGRAM="/sbin/ebsnvme-id -u /dev/%k", SYMLINK+="%c"

Now we need something that can convert nvme names in standard block device names. To solve this problem AWS had inserted in it’s ami a tool named ebsnvme-id, written in python and with this function. We can copy the script below in /sbin/ebsnvme-id

#!/usr/bin/env python2.7

# Copyright (C) 2017, Inc. or its affiliates.
# All Rights Reserved.
# Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License").
# You may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
# A copy of the License is located at
# or in the "license" file accompanying this file. This file is
# OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the
# specific language governing permissions and limitations under the
# License.

Read EBS device information and provide information about
the volume.

import argparse
from ctypes import *
from fcntl import ioctl
import sys

AMZN_NVME_EBS_MN = "Amazon Elastic Block Store"

class nvme_admin_command(Structure):
    _pack_ = 1
    _fields_ = [("opcode", c_uint8),      # op code
                ("flags", c_uint8),       # fused operation
                ("cid", c_uint16),        # command id
                ("nsid", c_uint32),       # namespace id
                ("reserved0", c_uint64),
                ("mptr", c_uint64),       # metadata pointer
                ("addr", c_uint64),       # data pointer
                ("mlen", c_uint32),       # metadata length
                ("alen", c_uint32),       # data length
                ("cdw10", c_uint32),
                ("cdw11", c_uint32),
                ("cdw12", c_uint32),
                ("cdw13", c_uint32),
                ("cdw14", c_uint32),
                ("cdw15", c_uint32),
                ("reserved1", c_uint64)]

class nvme_identify_controller_amzn_vs(Structure):
    _pack_ = 1
    _fields_ = [("bdev", c_char * 32),  # block device name
                ("reserved0", c_char * (1024 - 32))]

class nvme_identify_controller_psd(Structure):
    _pack_ = 1
    _fields_ = [("mp", c_uint16),       # maximum power
                ("reserved0", c_uint16),
                ("enlat", c_uint32),     # entry latency
                ("exlat", c_uint32),     # exit latency
                ("rrt", c_uint8),       # relative read throughput
                ("rrl", c_uint8),       # relative read latency
                ("rwt", c_uint8),       # relative write throughput
                ("rwl", c_uint8),       # relative write latency
                ("reserved1", c_char * 16)]

class nvme_identify_controller(Structure):
    _pack_ = 1
    _fields_ = [("vid", c_uint16),          # PCI Vendor ID
                ("ssvid", c_uint16),        # PCI Subsystem Vendor ID
                ("sn", c_char * 20),        # Serial Number
                ("mn", c_char * 40),        # Module Number
                ("fr", c_char * 8),         # Firmware Revision
                ("rab", c_uint8),           # Recommend Arbitration Burst
                ("ieee", c_uint8 * 3),      # IEEE OUI Identifier
                ("mic", c_uint8),           # Multi-Interface Capabilities
                ("mdts", c_uint8),          # Maximum Data Transfer Size
                ("reserved0", c_uint8 * (256 - 78)),
                ("oacs", c_uint16),         # Optional Admin Command Support
                ("acl", c_uint8),           # Abort Command Limit
                ("aerl", c_uint8),          # Asynchronous Event Request Limit
                ("frmw", c_uint8),          # Firmware Updates
                ("lpa", c_uint8),           # Log Page Attributes
                ("elpe", c_uint8),          # Error Log Page Entries
                ("npss", c_uint8),          # Number of Power States Support
                ("avscc", c_uint8),         # Admin Vendor Specific Command Configuration
                ("reserved1", c_uint8 * (512 - 265)),
                ("sqes", c_uint8),          # Submission Queue Entry Size
                ("cqes", c_uint8),          # Completion Queue Entry Size
                ("reserved2", c_uint16),
                ("nn", c_uint32),            # Number of Namespaces
                ("oncs", c_uint16),         # Optional NVM Command Support
                ("fuses", c_uint16),        # Fused Operation Support
                ("fna", c_uint8),           # Format NVM Attributes
                ("vwc", c_uint8),           # Volatile Write Cache
                ("awun", c_uint16),         # Atomic Write Unit Normal
                ("awupf", c_uint16),        # Atomic Write Unit Power Fail
                ("nvscc", c_uint8),         # NVM Vendor Specific Command Configuration
                ("reserved3", c_uint8 * (704 - 531)),
                ("reserved4", c_uint8 * (2048 - 704)),
                ("psd", nvme_identify_controller_psd * 32),     # Power State Descriptor
                ("vs", nvme_identify_controller_amzn_vs)]  # Vendor Specific

class ebs_nvme_device:
    def __init__(self, device):
        self.device = device

    def _nvme_ioctl(self, id_response, id_len):
        admin_cmd = nvme_admin_command(opcode = NVME_ADMIN_IDENTIFY,
                                       addr = id_response,
                                       alen = id_len,
                                       cdw10 = 1)

        with open(self.device, "rw") as nvme:
            ioctl(nvme, NVME_IOCTL_ADMIN_CMD, admin_cmd)

    def ctrl_identify(self):
        self.id_ctrl = nvme_identify_controller()
        self._nvme_ioctl(addressof(self.id_ctrl), sizeof(self.id_ctrl))

        if self.id_ctrl.vid != AMZN_NVME_VID or != AMZN_NVME_EBS_MN:
            raise TypeError("[ERROR] Not an EBS device: '{0}'".format(self.device))

    def get_volume_id(self):
        vol =

        if vol.startswith("vol") and vol[3] != "-":
            vol = "vol-" + vol[3:]

        return vol

    def get_block_device(self, stripped=False):
        dev = self.id_ctrl.vs.bdev

        if stripped and dev.startswith("/dev/"):
            dev = dev[5:]

        return dev

if __name__ == "__main__":
    parser = argparse.ArgumentParser(description="Reads EBS information from NVMe devices.")
    parser.add_argument("device", nargs=1, help="Device to query")

    display = parser.add_argument_group("Display Options")
    display.add_argument("-v", "--volume", action="store_true",
            help="Return volume-id")
    display.add_argument("-b", "--block-dev", action="store_true",
            help="Return block device mapping")
    display.add_argument("-u", "--udev", action="store_true",
            help="Output data in format suitable for udev rules")

    if len(sys.argv) < 2:

    args = parser.parse_args()

    get_all = not (args.udev or args.volume or args.block_dev)

        dev = ebs_nvme_device(args.device[0])
    except (IOError, TypeError) as err:
        print >> sys.stderr, err

    if get_all or args.volume:
        print "Volume ID: {0}".format(dev.get_volume_id())
    if get_all or args.block_dev or args.udev:
        print dev.get_block_device(args.udev)

Now you can restart the udev and test attaching ebs and checking in /dev/* you should see links from svd* or xvd* to nvme*.

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