Cinder Mitaka Design Summit Summary

7 minute read

Will the Real Block Storage Service Please Stand Up

Should Cinder be usable outside of a full OpenStack environment. There are several solutions out there for providing a Software Defined Storage service with plugins for various backends. Most of the functionality used for these is already done by Cinder. So the question is, should Cinder try to be that ubiquitous SDS interface?

The concern is that Cinder should either try to address this broader use case or be left behind. Especially since there is already a lot of overlap in functionality, and end users already asking about it.

Some concern about doing this is whether it will be a distraction from our core purpose – to be a solid and useful service for providing block storage in an OpenStack cloud.

On the other hand, some folks have played around with doing this already and found there really are only a few key issues with being able to use Cinder without something like Keystone. Based on this, it was decided we will spend some time looking into doing this, but at a lower priority than our core work.

Availability Zones in Cinder

Recently it was highlighted that there are issues between AZs used in Cinder versus AZs used in Nova. When Cinder was originally branched out of the Nova code base we picked up the concept of Availability Zones, but the ideas was never fully implemented and isn’t exactly what some expect it to be in its current state.

Speaking with some of the operators in the room, there were two main desires for AZ interaction with Nova – either the AZ specified in Nova needs to match one to one with the AZ in Cinder, or there is no connection between the two and the Nova AZ doesn’t matter on the Cinder side.

There is currently a workaround in Cinder. If the config file value for allow_availability_zone_fallback is set to True, if a request for a new volume comes in with a Nova AZ not present, the default Cinder AZ will be used instead.

A few options for improving AZ support were suggested. At least for those present, the current “dirty fix” workaround is sufficient. If further input makes it clear that this is not enough, we can look in to one of the proposed alternatives to address those needs.

API Microversions

Some projects, particularly Nova and Manila, have already started work on supporting API microversions. We plan on leveraging their work to add support in Cinder. Scott D’Angelo has done some work porting that framework from Manila into a spec and proof of concept in Cinder.

API microversions would allow us to make breaking API changes while still providing backward compatibility to clients that expect the existing behavior. It may also allow us to remove functionality more easily.

We still want to be restrictive about modifying the API. Just because this will make it slightly easier to do, it still has an ongoing maintenance cost, and slightly a higher one at that, that we will want to limit as much as possible.

A great explanation of the microversions concept was written up by Sean Dague here:

Experimental APIs

Building on the work with microversions, we would use that to expose experimental APIs and make it explicit that they are experimental only and could be removed at any time, without the normal window provided with deprecating other features.

Although there were certainly some very valid concerns raised about doing this, and whether it would be useful or not, general consensus was that it would be good to support it.

After further discussion, it was pointed out that there really isn’t anything in the works that needs this right now, so it may be delayed. The issue there being that if we wait to do it, when we actually do need to use it for something it won’t be ready to go.

Cinder Nova Interaction

Great joint session with some of the Nova folks. Talked through some of the issues we’ve had with the interaction between Nova and Cinder and areas where we need to improve it.

Some of the decisions were:

  • Working on support for multiattach. Will delay encryption support until non-encrypted issues get worked out.

  • Rootwrap issues with the use of os-brick. Priv-sep sounds like it is the better answer. Will need to wait for that to mature before we can switch away from rootwrap though.

  • API handling changes. A lot of cases where an API call is made and it is assumed to succeed. Will use event notifications to report results back to Nova. Requires changes on both sides.

  • Specs will be submitted for coordinated handling for extending volumes.

  • Volume related Nova bugs were highlighted. Cinder team will try to help triage and resolve some of those.

Volume Manager Locks

Covered in cross-project discussion on DLM. Will use tooz as an abstraction layer. Default will use local locks, so no change for those that don’t need it, but ability to plug in DLMs like zookeeper, etc., for those that need the DLM functionlity.

C-Vol Active/Active HA

Discussed the desire to be able to run the c-vol service in an a/a configuration. It can kind of be done now with things like pacemaker, but there are definite issues and is considered risky. The desire is to build in support to Cinder to be able to run A/A, but we don’t want to impose heavy requirements on operators running smaller deployments or deployments that do not require A/A.

Based on the DLM discussion, we should be able to support this based on end user configuration. If appropriate locking is in place within the Cinder code and using the tooz locking abstraction, on single node installations it will just work without extra overhead. If A/A is desired, configuring tooz to use a distributed locking mechanism will provide locking across nodes without changes to the code.

ABC Work

General agreement that our inheritance model is currently a mess and needs to be cleaned up. Need to work through it. Either collapse all into a common, simpler, driver base or make our inhertance model usable. Report capbilities rather than discover via inheritance?

Cinder Driver Interface

This is a common area of confusion for new driver developers and we have even found that folks involved with the project for some time weren’t always clear on what was expected for each call. This is an attempt to capture those details more clearly without needing to trace through all of the code to understand the basics.

Eric has started documenting our driver requirements and is making great progress. This should also help to have a better reference as we work through the ABC and inheritance cleanup.

Driver Deadlines

General consensus that past restrictions were a good attempt to bring some order and focus to work during the cycle, but there were too many different deadlines to keep track of and it didn’t really solve all our problems as well as we had hoped.

Based on the discussion, deadlines for the Mitaka cycle have been adjusted. See the mailing list post for full details:

Working Session Sprints

We spent the day Friday working through a long list of various topics to discuss. Some of the highlights from the discussion are:

  • Consistency group replication. We are looking in to what this would look like now, though there was a lot of concern about adding on top of basic replication before we at least have a few drivers implementing it. This spec should be used for awareness for the current drivers looking at replication support to make sure they are ready for the next step.

  • We have consistency groups, but some arrays support concepts such as replication groups or even arbitrary grouping of volumes. No changes planned at this point, but some ideas being floated around for having a more generic volume grouping to support other scenarios. Snapshot backup. We support backing up volumes, but we don’t support backing up snapshots currently. A spec is in the works to make this a supported option.

  • Config file setting inheritance. To make it clear what settings are inherited by later sections and what are not, considering adding a new section to clearly break out what should apply to everything and what should be specific to each section.

  • We discussed if there was any functionality to pull in to the set of minimum required features. Nothing was selected at this time. We may add some after all current drivers have more functionality that can be considered de facto minimum features.

  • We need functional tests. Some work has started, but help is needed to expand this. Could be a big win for ensuring better test coverage.

  • Ongoing work for conversion to objects and RPC versioning. It was agreed this is something we want and it should be completed. This will allow rolling upgrades. We plan to support only N-1 upgrades.

  • Call out for attention to the LVM driver. Anyone who would like to help maintain it – help would be welcome.

Priorities for Mitaka

  • Active/Active High Availability
  • Rolling upgrade support
  • API Microversions
  • Functional testing
  • Completion of replication

For the first time, all Design Summit sessions were live streamed and recorded for later playback. All sessions are available on the openstack-cinder YouTube channel:

A big thank you to Walter Boring for making this possible.