[Gluster-devel] Gluster driver for Archipelago - Development process

Vijay Bellur vbellur at redhat.com
Wed Dec 4 06:29:05 UTC 2013

On 12/04/2013 06:45 AM, Anand Avati wrote:
> On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 7:34 AM, Vijay Bellur <vbellur at redhat.com
> <mailto:vbellur at redhat.com>> wrote:
>     Adding gluster-devel as there is a good amount of detail on the
>     ongoing integration with Archipelago.
>                 1. There are no async operations for
>                 open/create/close/stat/unlink,
>                 which are necessary for various operations of Archipelago.
>             Is there more description on how various operations of
>             Archipelago
>             rely on async operations for open/create etc.? I must admit
>             that I
>             haven't gone through your code but will definitely do so to
>             get a
>             better understanding.
>         Sure, I 'll explain our rationale but first, let me provide some
>         insight
>         on the fundamental logic of Archipelago to understand the context on
>         which we operate:
>         An Archipelago volume is a COW volume, consisting of many contiguous
>         pieces (volume chunks), typically 4MB in size. It is COW since
>         it may
>         share read-only chunks with other volumes (e.g. if the volumes are
>         created from the same OS image) and creates new chunks to write to
>         them. In order to refer to a chunk, we assign a name to it (e.g.
>         volume1_0002) which can be considered as the object name (Rados)
>         or file
>         name (Gluster, NFS).
>         The above logic is handled by separate Archipelago entities
>         (mappers,
>         volume composers). This means that the storage driver’s only
>         task is to
>         read/write chunks from and to the storage. Also, given that
>         there is one
>         such driver per host - where 50 VMs can be running - means that
>         it must
>         handle a lot of chunks.
>         Now, back to our storage driver and the need for full
>         asynchronism. When
>         it receives a read/write request for a chunk, it will generally
>         need to
>         open the file, create it if it doesn’t exist, perform the I/O and
>         finally close the file. Having non-blocking read/write but blocking
>         open/create/close essentially makes this request a blocking request.
>         This means that if the driver supports e.g. 64 in-flight
>         requests, it
>         needs to have 64 threads to be able to manage all of them.
>     open/create/close are not completely synchronous in gluster with
>     open-behind and write-behind translators loaded in the client side
>     graph. open-behind and write-behind translators by default are part
>     of the client side graph in GlusterFS. With open-behind translator,
>     open() system call is short circuited by GlusterFS and the actual
>     open happens in the background. For create, an open with O_CREAT |
>     O_EXCL flags would be handled by open-behind. Similarly an actual
>     close is done in the background by the write-behind translator. As
>     such, Archipelago should not experience significant latency with
>     open & close operations.
> A create (O_CREAT with or without O_EXCL) is currently not handled by
> open-behind and will always be synchronous with a network round trip.

My bad that I overlooked this behavior for create. Alex - would it work 
if we were to invoke a callback with user provided context for 
asynchronous creates from libgfapi?

> An
> open() on an existing file is cut-short by open-behind. But even that
> might not be sufficient because the path resolver (lookup() etc.) always
> works synchronously with network round-drops for path based operations.
> We will need to design new APIs for true async path based operations
> (with path resolver also executed asynchronously).

True asynchronous behavior would be good to have. If tests with 
Archipelago do not show significant latency for open operations, we can 
possibly defer this to phase 2 of our integration and go ahead with the 
existing open-behind implementation for now.

>         Let’s assume that open/create/close are indeed non-blocking or
>         virtually
>         nonexistent [1]. Most importantly, this would greatly reduce the
>         read/write latency, especially for 4k requests. Another benefit
>         is the
>         ability to use a much smaller number of threads. However, besides
>         read/write, there are also other operations that the driver must
>         support
>         such as stat()ing or deleting a file. If these operations are
>         blocking, this means that a spurious delete and stat can stall our
>         driver. Once more, it needs to have a lot of threads to be
>         operational.
> Currently stat() and unlink() are synchronous too.
> Note that internally all the operations in gluster are asynchronous in
> their true nature. gfapi provides "convenience wrappers" for these calls
> in a synchronous way. It is trivial to expose the asynchronous calls
> through gfapi, but we haven't done so for the path based operations
> because there hasn't been a need thus far. And without even a single
> consumer, we did not want to reason about the semantics of async path calls.
> Do you have an example driver/header which shows the ideal behavior for
> the async path based calls? Will you provide a context pointer and
> expect to receive it in the callback? Or do you expect the API to return
> a stub for the async call dispatch and poll on it?
>                 2. There is no way to create notifications on a file (as
>                 Rados can
>                 with its objects).
>             How are these notifications consumed?
>         They are consumed by the lock/unlock operations that are also
>         handled by
>         our driver. For instance, the Rados driver can wait
>         asynchronously for
>         someone to unlock an object by registering a watch to the object
>         and a
>         callback function. Conversely, the unlock operation makes sure
>         to send a
>         notification to all watchers of the object. Thus, the lock/unlock
>         operation can happen asynchronously [2].
>         I have read that Gluster supports Posix locks, but this is not the
>         locking scheme we have in mind. We need a persistent type of
>         lock that
>         would stay on a file even if the process closed the file
>         descriptor or
>         worse, crashed.
>     How would you recover if a process that held the lock goes away
>     forever? We can provide an option to make this kind of behavior
>     possible with posix-locks translator.
>         Our current solution is to  create a “lock file” e.g.
>         “volume1_0002_lock” with the owner name written in it. Thus, the
>         lock/unlock operations generally happen as follows:
>         a) Lock: Try to exclusively create a lock file. If successful,
>         write the
>         owner id to it. If not, sleep for 1 second and retry.
>         b) Unlock: Read a lock file and its owner. If we are the owner,
>         delete
>         it. Else, fail.
>         As you can see, this is not an elegant way and is subject to race
>         conditions. If Gluster can provide a better solution, we would
>         be more
>         than happy to know about it.
> Currently our locking API exposed through gfapi is POSIX-like
> (synchronous, non-persistent). We have other internal locking mechanisms
> (entry-lk for locking an abstract name/string in a directory and
> inode-lk - nested range locks in a file) which are currently not exposed
> through gfapi. But these are not persistent either. Providing async API
> version of these calls is not hard (if we have a good understanding
> about things like whether the caller provides a context pointer or
> expects a call specific stub from the API etc). However I'm not sure
> (yet) how to provide persistent locks (and what the right behavior
> should be in the event of crash of the caller). You may be able to
> simulate (somewhat) persistent locks in the driver using a combination
> of sync/async locking APIs + xattrs.

The requirement from Archipelago seems to necessitate avoiding clean up 
of locks during release/flush/disconnect. There are some complexities 
that we will run into if we want to provide this behavior. Understanding 
the lock recovery and cleanup semantics better will help us in 
determining the right way out here.


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