[Gluster-devel] State of the 4.0 World

Dan Lambright dlambrig at redhat.com
Fri Jun 10 19:12:49 UTC 2016

----- Original Message -----
> From: "Jeff Darcy" <jdarcy at redhat.com>
> To: "Gluster Devel" <gluster-devel at gluster.org>
> Sent: Tuesday, May 3, 2016 11:50:30 AM
> Subject: [Gluster-devel] State of the 4.0 World
> One of my recurring action items at community meetings is to report to
> the list on how 4.0 is going.  So, here we go.
> The executive summary is that 4.0 is on life support.  Many features
> were proposed - some quite ambitious.  Many of those *never* had anyone
> available to work on them.  Of those that did, many have either been
> pulled forward into 3.8 (which is great) or lost what resources they had
> (which is bad).  Downstream priorities have been the biggest cause of
> those resource losses, though other factors such as attrition have also
> played a part.  Net result is that, with the singular exception of
> GlusterD 2.0, progress on 4.0 has all but stopped.  I'll provide more
> details below.  Meanwhile, I'd like to issue a bit of a call to action
> here, in two parts.
>  * Many of the 4.0 sub-projects are still unstaffed.  Some of them are
>    in areas of code where our combined expertise is thin.  For example,
>    "glusterfsd" is where we need to make many brick- and
>    daemon-management changes for 4.0, but it has no specific maintainer
>    other than the project architects so nobody touches it.  Over the
>    past year it has been touched by fewer than two patches per month,
>    mostly side effects of patches which were primarily focused elsewhere
>    (less than 400 lines changed).  It can be challenging to dive into
>    such a "fallow" area, but it can also be an opportunity to make a big
>    difference, show off one's skill, and not have to worry much about
>    conflicts with other developers' changes.  Taking on projects like
>    these is how people get from contributing to leading (FWIW it's how I
>    did), so I encourage people to make the leap.
>  * I've been told that some people have asked how 4.0 is going to affect
>    existing components for which they are responsible.  Please note that
>    only two components are being replaced - GlusterD and DHT.  The DHT2
>    changes are going to affect storage/posix a lot, so that *might* be
>    considered a third replacement.  JBR (formerly NSR) is *not* going to
>    replace AFR or EC any time soon.  In fact, I'm making significant
>    efforts to create common infrastructure that will also support
>    running AFR/EC on the server side, with many potential benefits to
>    them and their developers.  However, just about every other component
>    is going to be affected to some degree, if only to use the 4.0
>    CLI/volgen plugin interfaces instead of being hard-coded into their
>    current equivalents.  4.0 tests are also expected to be based on
>    Distaf rather than TAP (the .t infrastructure) so there's a lot of
>    catch-up to be done there.  In other cases there are deeper issues to
>    be resolved, and many of those discussions - e.g. regarding quota or
>    georep - have already been ongoing.  There will eventually be a
>    Gluster 4.0, even if it happens after I'm retired and looks nothing
>    like what I describe below.  If you're responsible for any part of
>    GlusterFS, you're also responsible for understanding how 4.0 will
>    affect that part.
> With all that said, I'm going to give item-by-item details of where we
> stand.  I'll use
> http://www.gluster.org/community/documentation/index.php/Planning40
> as a starting point, even though (as you'll see) in some ways it's out
> of date.
> * GlusterD 2 is still making good progress, under Atin's and Kaushal's
>    leadership.  There are designs for most of the important pieces, and
>    a significant amount of code which we should be able to demo soon.
>  * DHT2 had been making good progress for a while, but has been stalled
>    recently as its lead developer (Shyam) has been unavailable.
>    Hopefully we'll get him back soon, and progress will accelerate
>    again.

DHT-2 will consolidate metadata on a server. This has the potential to help gluster's tiering implementation significantly, as it will not need to replicate directories on both the hot and cold tier. Chatting with Shyam, there appears to be three work items related to tiering and DHT-2.


An unmodified tiering translator "should" work with DHT-2. But to realize DHT-2's benefits, the tiering translator would need to be modified so metadata related FOPs are directed to only go to the tier on which the metadata resides.


"metadata" refers to directories, but (per my understanding), it could possibly include the file's inode as well. This is a choice- whether or not to include the inode in the metadata server is an technical investigation to undertake.


Tier's database is currently SQLite, but it has been understood from day one that we may wish to move to a different database or algorithm. RocksDB is one candidate that is an attractive alternative. It is used in Ceph and gluster-friendly Facebook, and we can leverage their expertise with it. If DHT-2 ends up using RocksDB this furthers the argument to switch to it. We would like to generalize the interface tier uses to the database (libgfdb).

>  * Sharding got pulled forward because of its importance for other
>    efforts, so it's no longer a 4.0 feature.
>  * Client-side caching has been dropped for now, though it could still
>    return with a new design based on the lease infrastructure.
>  * Data classification (beyond just tiering) has been dropped.
>  * Multiple-network support and network QoS are very much still part of
>    the 4.0 plan as far as I'm concerned, but there's still nobody
>    available to work on them.
>  * "Better brick management" is also still an un-resourced part of the
>    4.0 plan.  A lot of the higher-level logic will go into Heketi, but
>    exporting multiple bricks through a single daemon (and port) can't
>    be.
>  * Compression/dedup have been dropped.
>  * Composite operations are already being implemented, either as part of
>    3.8 or as part of the Samba/Ganesha efforts depending on how you look
>    at it, so that's not a 4.0 feature any more.
>  * Stat/xattr caching (on the server) is a bit of a question mark.  On
>    the one hand, it should be pretty simple to implement.  On the other
>    hand, nobody has made even a minimal effort to do so.  Recent events
>    have also raised the issue of needing to do this for correctness
>    (especially around maintaining ctime across replicas) as well as
>    performance.  This would be a *great* opportunity for a currently
>    junior/novice Gluster contributor to make their mark.
>  * Code generation already exists, and is actively being used to
>    implement other 4.0 features.  My only other comment here is that
>    people should start using it instead of continuing to use macros in
>    many cases.  Every macro we add is another little nugget of technical
>    debt, causing all sorts of headaches for anyone who has to edit or
>    debug the code later.  Please do your part to stamp out macro abuse.
>  * Management plugins are part of the GlusterD 2 plan.
>  * Performance monitoring etc. (last item on list) has been dropped, for
>    lack of a well defined scope or requirements.
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