Blockade is a utility for testing network failures and partitions in distributed applications. Blockade uses Docker containers to run application processes and manages the network from the host system to create various failure scenarios.

A common use is to run a distributed application such as a database or cluster and create network partitions, then observe the behavior of the nodes. For example in a leader election system, you could partition the leader away from the other nodes and ensure that the leader steps down and that another node emerges as leader.

Blockade features:

  • A flexible YAML format to describe the containers in your application
  • Support for dependencies between containers, using named links
  • A CLI tool for managing and querying the status of your blockade
  • When run as a daemon, a simple REST API can be used to configure your blockade
  • Creation of arbitrary partitions between containers
  • Giving a container a flaky network connection to others (drop packets)
  • Giving a container a slow network connection to others (latency)
  • While under partition or network failure control, containers can freely communicate with the host system – so you can still grab logs and monitor the application.

Blockade is written and maintained by the Dell Cloud Manager (formerly Enstratius) team and is used internally to test the behaviors of our software. We also release a number of other internal components as open source, most notably Dasein Cloud.

Blockade is inspired by the excellent Jepsen article series.

Get started with the Blockade Guide!

Development and Support

Blockade is available on github. Bug reports should be reported as issues there.


Blockade is offered under the Apache License 2.0.