I currently try to use dm-integrity to run in standalone mode. For that I install a plain ubuntu server 20.04 in a virtual box VM.

In the next steps I create the dm-integrity device, a ext4 filesystem and mount it:

integritysetup format /dev/sdb
integritysetup open /dev/sdb hdd-int
mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/hdd-int
mkdir /data
mount /dev/mapper/hdd-int /data
echo "/dev/mapper/hdd-int /data ext4 defaults 0 0" >> /etc/fstab

NOTE: For simplification I use /dev/sdb instead of /dev/disk/by-id/<ID>.

Now I reboot and see, that the device /dev/mapper/hdd-int does not exist and therefore the mount to /data failed.

Now my Question: How can I permanently persist the information of the dm-integrity device, so that the mount after a reboot is already there? Should create a line in /etc/fstab? Or is there another config file?

3 Answers 3


Disclaimer: This is not a standard implementation by any means and also has not been battle tested in practice. It may break at any time. Use at your own risk. Make backups!!!

So in addition to my theoretical answer, here's an example implementation for Standalone DM-Integrity in a fresh Ubuntu 20.04 Desktop install. Steps 1-4 is the setup and installation process, Step 5-8 the custom udev rule and hook.


  • a drive using the GPT partitioning scheme (for providing PARTLABEL, since integrity lacks UUID)
  • one or more partitions using DM-Integrity, identified by integrity-somename label.
  • custom udev rule to set up DM-Integrity for each labelled partition
  • custom initramfs hook to include integritysetup binary as well as the udev rule for early setup

Step-by-step implementation:

1. Create partitions

The key point here is that every integrity partition gets a partition label, in this example one integrity-root and one integrity-home, to be used for the root / and /home partitions respectively.

# parted /dev/vda
GNU Parted 3.3
Using /dev/vda
Welcome to GNU Parted! Type 'help' to view a list of commands.
(parted) unit mib                                                         
(parted) mklabel gpt
(parted) disk_set pmbr_boot on                                            
(parted) mkpart grub 1MiB 2MiB
(parted) set 1 bios_grub on
(parted) mkpart boot 2MiB 1024MiB
(parted) set 2 lvm on                                                     
(parted) mkpart integrity-root 1024MiB 10240MiB
(parted) set 3 lvm on                                                     
(parted) mkpart integrity-home 10240MiB 100%                              
(parted) set 4 lvm on                                                     
(parted) print free                                                       
Model: Virtio Block Device (virtblk)
Disk /dev/vda: 19456MiB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: gpt
Disk Flags: pmbr_boot

Number  Start     End       Size     File system  Name            Flags
        0.02MiB   1.00MiB   0.98MiB  Free Space
 1      1.00MiB   2.00MiB   1.00MiB               grub            bios_grub
 2      2.00MiB   1024MiB   1022MiB               boot            lvm
 3      1024MiB   10240MiB  9216MiB               integrity-root  lvm
 4      10240MiB  19455MiB  9215MiB               integrity-home  lvm
        19455MiB  19456MiB  0.98MiB  Free Space

Information: You may need to update /etc/fstab.

Verify that the partitions appear under /dev/disk/by-partlabel accordingly:

# ls -l /dev/disk/by-partlabel
total 0
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 May  2 17:52 boot -> ../../vda2
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 May  2 17:52 grub -> ../../vda1
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 May  2 17:52 integrity-home -> ../../vda4
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 May  2 17:52 integrity-root -> ../../vda3

2. Set up Integrity

With the partitions set up, you actually have to turn them into integrity devices.

# integritysetup format /dev/disk/by-partlabel/integrity-root 

This will overwrite data on /dev/disk/by-partlabel/integrity-root irrevocably.

Are you sure? (Type uppercase yes): YES
Formatted with tag size 4, internal integrity crc32c.
Wiping device to initialize integrity checksum.
You can interrupt this by pressing CTRL+c (rest of not wiped device will contain invalid checksum).
Finished, time 01:14.903, 9081 MiB written, speed 121.2 MiB/s

# integritysetup open /dev/disk/by-partlabel/integrity-root integrity-root

Repeat the same for /dev/disk/by-partlabel/integrity-home, then verify it exists under /dev/mapper:

# ls -l /dev/mapper
total 0
crw------- 1 root root 10, 236 May  2  2020 control
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root       7 May  2 18:07 integrity-home -> ../dm-1
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root       7 May  2 18:07 integrity-root -> ../dm-0

Note this naming scheme technically collides with LVM, so you should not use integrity as a VG name.

3. Filesystem, RAID or LVM

With integrity in place, you also have to create a filesystem. Otherwise the Ubuntu installer does not know what to make of this mystery device and tries to create a partition table on it, instead.

# mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/integrity-root
# mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/integrity-home

So this is the point where you put your filesystem on the integrity device.

Alternatively you can go with RAID or LVM here. You could also go with LUKS, I suppose, but why would you do that when LUKS2 already has built-in support for Integrity? If you choose LUKS here, chances are you're following the wrong tutorial.

4. Install Ubuntu

The Ubuntu desktop installer technically does not support integrity at all, however since you set up the filesystems manually, it will allow you to use them anyway. It just won't be able to boot without further steps below.

  • In the "Installation type" dialog, select "Something else" (for manual partitioning)
  • "Change" integrity-root to mount point /
  • "Change" integrity-home to mount point /home

Don't forget about your bootloader! (Impossible to use an integrity device for it)

  • "Change" /dev/vda1 to "Reserved BIOS boot area"
  • "Change" /dev/vda2 to mount point /boot
  • Leave the other partitions alone (don't format the integrity devices)

Note this will be completely different for an UEFI Secure Boot setup. For simplicity, this example uses good old legacy bios grub booting.

Finally it should look like this:

Ubuntu installer Installation type showing integrity-root as /, integrity-home as /home, vda2 as /boot

Click "Install Now".

If you continue, the changes listed below will be written to the disks. Otherwise, you will be able to make further changes manually.

WARNING: This will destroy all data on any partitions you have removed as well as on the partitions that are going to be formatted.

The partition tables of the following devices are changed:

Virtual disk 1 (vda)

The following partitions are going to be formatted:

LVM VG integrity, LV home as ext4
LVM VG integrity, LV root as ext4
partition #2 of Virtual disk 1 (vda) as ext2

Since we're basically fooling the installer into using an integrity device as target, it wrongly assumes LVM VG-LV constellation. Just ignore it and proceed.

However, don't reboot. It won't work just yet.

While the installation is running, you can verify it's going smoothly by running lsblk in a terminal:

# lsblk
vda                252:0    0    19G  0 disk  
├─vda1             252:1    0     1M  0 part  
├─vda2             252:2    0  1022M  0 part  /target/boot
├─vda3             252:3    0     9G  0 part  
│ └─integrity-root 253:0    0   8.9G  0 crypt /target
└─vda4             252:4    0     9G  0 part  
  └─integrity-home 253:1    0   8.9G  0 crypt /target/home

Even lsblk does not support integrity devices yet, it wrongfully assumes them to be crypt devices. No matter, everything is going to the right place if integrity-root is /target, integrity home is /target/home and /dev/vda2 is /target/boot.

When the installation is finished, select "Continue testing" instead of "Reboot now".

5. Chroot & install integritysetup

To make Ubuntu actually support mounting the Standalone Integrity partitions, you'll have to chroot into your fresh install and set up a custom udev rule and initramfs hook.

# mount /dev/mapper/integrity-root /target
# mount /dev/mapper/integrity-home /target/home
# mount /dev/vda2 /target/boot
# mount --bind /dev /target/dev
# mount --bind /proc /target/proc
# mount --bind /run /target/run
# mount --bind /sys /target/sys
# chroot /target

Now, integritysetup is probably not installed yet. If you used RAID or LVM, this is also where you have to make sure mdadm, lvm and others are installed too.

# apt-get install cryptsetup

6. Custom udev rule

Custom udev rules go into /etc/udev/rules.d. For reference, the standard rule that creates the /dev/disk/by-partlabel/ links looks like this:


So our custom rule could look like this:

ENV{ID_PART_ENTRY_SCHEME}=="gpt", ENV{ID_PART_ENTRY_NAME}=="integrity-?*", RUN+="/usr/sbin/integritysetup open $env{DEVNAME} $env{ID_PART_ENTRY_NAME}"

Save it as /etc/udev/rules.d/99-integrity.rules.

This should make udev run integritysetup open for every partition with an integrity-xyz partition label. Note that these names have to be unique system-wide, so in a RAID setup, each drive needs to use different partition labels.

7. Custom initramfs hook (Ubuntu specific)

By itself, the udev rule might already work fine, if root / itself is not on Integrity. The standard initramfs should mount a non-integrity rootfs fine, at which point the full system takes over to handle everything else.

But with the rootfs itself on Integrity, we need the initramfs to set it up for us, or it won't be able to mount rootfs, and fail booting. That means adding the integritysetup binary as well as the udev rule itself.

With Ubuntu's initramfs-tools, this can be achieved by creating a custom hook script:

    echo "$PREREQ"

case $1 in
        exit 0

. /usr/share/initramfs-tools/hook-functions

# Begin real processing below this line

force_load dm_integrity
copy_exec /usr/sbin/integritysetup /usr/sbin
copy_file text /etc/udev/rules.d/99-integrity.rules

Save it as /etc/initramfs-tools/hooks/integrity.

8. Update initramfs

As with all changes to initramfs configuration, you have to rebuild the initramfs to take effect:

# update-initramfs -u -k all
update-initramfs: Generating /boot/initrd.img-5.4.0-28-generic
cryptsetup: WARNING: target 'integrity-root' not found in /etc/crypttab
update-initramfs: Generating /boot/initrd.img-5.4.0-26-generic
cryptsetup: WARNING: target 'integrity-root' not found in /etc/crypttab

Unfortunately, Ubuntu's default cryptsetup hook is confused and mistakes the integrity device for a cryptsetup one. Thankfully the warning is harmless and can be ignored.

9. Reboot

If everything went well, after rebooting from the Live CD to the installed system, in a terminal lsblk should greet you like this:

integrity@ubuntu $ lsblk
vda                252:0    0   19G  0 disk  
├─vda1             252:1    0    1M  0 part  
├─vda2             252:2    0 1022M  0 part  /boot
├─vda3             252:3    0    9G  0 part  
│ └─integrity-root 253:0    0  8,9G  0 crypt /
└─vda4             252:4    0    9G  0 part  
  └─integrity-home 253:1    0  8,9G  0 crypt /home

And since lsblk misidentifies them as crypt devices, check dmsetup table to see they're in fact integrity devices:

integrity@ubuntu:~$ sudo dmsetup table
[sudo] password for integrity: 
integrity-root: 0 18598008 integrity 252:3 0 4 J 6 journal_sectors:130944 interleave_sectors:32768 buffer_sectors:128 journal_watermark:50 commit_time:10000 internal_hash:crc32c
integrity-home: 0 18595960 integrity 252:4 0 4 J 6 journal_sectors:130944 interleave_sectors:32768 buffer_sectors:128 journal_watermark:50 commit_time:10000 internal_hash:crc32c

At that point, you're done. Enjoy your new Linux system with Standalone Integrity!

(Until it breaks, anyway. Use at your own risk, make backups!!!)

  • Wow. Thanks a lot. I will experimt a little bit with that.
    – schlagi123
    Commented May 6, 2020 at 7:05

Unfortunately, for now it's rather complicated. Standalone DM-Integrity is not widely adopted at all, so there simply is no standard way to set it up.

You have to create your own initramfs hook / systemd service / init script to handle it on your own. And every time you boot a live CD / rescue system, you also have to set it up by hand.

If you want to go that route, you have to consider additional problems. For example, the backing device does not have any UUID, so it can't be identified. You can work around it by using PARTUUID or PARTLABEL, but that's still a lot less reliable than regular UUIDs.

So, although it's not impossible, expect various issues to pop up that need to be solved somehow.

Unless you have very strong reasons not to, the most practical way to use DM-Integrity for now is to use LUKS 2 with its optional integrity support enabled (cryptsetup luksFormat --integrity ...).

cryptsetup/LUKS is widely adopted. It provides the UUID necessary to identify the backing device, and the early bootup phase is already supported pretty much everywhere. So short of setting it up in the first place, like you would any other LUKS device, you pretty much don't have to do anything else to make it work.

  • Thanks, but encryption is in my case not the point, except I can use luksFormat without encrypting. I think it would be nicer, if it works like LVM that handels the mapper devices and has also the needed scripts. But I think there is currently no packacke with this scripts. Correct me if I am wrong.
    – schlagi123
    Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 14:09
  • 1
    @schlagi123 I don't think LVM has support for dm-integrity yet, or I'd have suggested that. Even with LUKS, it's still considered experimental. The other convenient method I can think of is to use a checksumming filesystem instead of dm-integrity. Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 14:37
  • 2
    @schlagi123 Very few people seem to use it in general. I found support dm-integrity standalone mode, a request to add it to systemd 2+ years ago, no reactions to date. So you just have to make one on your own. Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 14:39
  • I know the checksumming filesystems ZFS and BTRFS, but I think ZFS is problematically because of the licence problematic and BTRFS is in my opinion not stable enougt. (Correct me by BTRFS if I'm wrong.) Are there other filesystems? In my case I had planed the following stack: HDDs -> dm-integrity -> md-raid (mdadm) -> LVM
    – schlagi123
    Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 17:30
  • 1
    @frostschutz @schlagi123 LVM does support dm-integrity, but only on RAID LVs with parity (RAID1, RAID5, RAID6, etc). See man lvmraid and search for "integrity".
    – ATLief
    Commented Apr 7, 2022 at 17:46

Just adding for those people searching (like i did), that by now, it's supported out of the box by many Linux distributions by systemd.

(Old Debian 11/Bullseye didn't but now Debian 12/Bookworm does)

First you have to install the cryptsetup-bin package (dm-integrity tools are in this package even if you don't use the crypt functionnalities). Then do the integritysetup format /dev/yourdevice

then get its partition UUID with the command: blkid

And create (or add to) the file: /etc/integritytab

With contents with the partition UUID you got from blkid like:

my-integrity-device PARTUUID=12345678-0123-4567-abcd-1234abcd5678

At next reboots, you'll see a /dev/mapper/my-integrity-device that allows the usual mount/fstab use cases.

(There are more options for using devices/partitions/labels, see man integritytab for those)

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