How to create a new VM Driver

This document is written for contributors who are familiar with minikube, who would like to add support for a new VM driver.

minikube relies on docker-machine drivers to manage machines. This document discusses how to modify minikube, so that this driver may be used by minikube start --driver=<new_driver>.

Creating a new driver

See machine-drivers , the fork where all new docker-machine drivers are located.

Builtin vs External Drivers

Most drivers are built-in: they are included into minikube as a code dependency, so no further installation is required. There are two primary cases you may want to use an external driver:

  • The driver has a code dependency which minikube should not rely on due to platform incompatibilities (kvm2) or licensing
  • The driver needs to run with elevated permissions (hyperkit)

External drivers are instantiated by executing a command docker-machine-driver-<name>, which begins an RPC server which minikube will talk to.

Integrating a driver

The integration process is effectively 3 steps.

  1. Create a driver shim within
    • Add Go build tag for the supported operating systems
    • Define the driver metadata to register in DriverDef
  2. Add import in pkg/minikube/cluster/default_drivers.go so that the driver may be included by the minikube build process.

The driver shim

The primary duty of the driver shim is to register a VM driver with minikube, and translate minikube VM hardware configuration into a format that the driver understands.

Registering your driver

The docs on registry are available here:

DriverDef is the main struct to define a driver metadata. Essentially, you need to define 4 things at most, which is pretty simple once you understand your driver well:

  • Name: unique name of the driver, it will be used as the unique ID in registry and as --driver option in minikube command

  • Builtin: true if the driver should be builtin to minikube (preferred). false otherwise.

  • ConfigCreator: how to translate a minikube config to driver config. The driver config will be persistent on your $USER/.minikube directory. Most likely the driver config is the driver itself.

  • DriverCreator: Only needed when driver is builtin, to instantiate the driver instance.

Integration example: vmwarefusion

All drivers are located in Take vmwarefusion as an example:

// +build darwin

package vmwarefusion

import (
    cfg ""

func init() {
        Name:          "vmwarefusion",
        Builtin:       true,
        ConfigCreator: createVMwareFusionHost,
        DriverCreator: func() drivers.Driver {
            return vmwarefusion.NewDriver("", "")

func createVMwareFusionHost(config cfg.ClusterConfig) interface{} {
    d := vmwarefusion.NewDriver(config.Name, localpath.MiniPath()).(*vmwarefusion.Driver)
    d.Boot2DockerURL = download.LocalISOResource(config.MinikubeISO)
    d.Memory = config.Memory
    d.CPU = config.CPUs
    d.DiskSize = config.DiskSize
    d.SSHPort = 22
    d.ISO = d.ResolveStorePath("boot2docker.iso")
    return d
  • Within the init() function, register a DriverDef in registry. Specify the metadata in the DriverDef. As mentioned earlier, it’s builtin, so you also need to specify DriverCreator to tell minikube how to create a drivers.Driver.
  • Another important thing is vmwarefusion only runs on MacOS. You need to add a build tag on top so it only runs on MacOS, so that the releases on Windows and Linux won’t have this driver in registry.
  • Last but not least, import the driver in pkg/minikube/cluster/default_drivers.go to include it in build.

Any Questions: please ping your friend @anfernee or the #minikube Slack channel.

Last modified November 30, 2022: update and links (63934002d)