[openstack-dev] [Nova] Some thoughts on API microversions

Sean Dague sean at dague.net
Thu Aug 4 18:37:38 UTC 2016

On 08/04/2016 12:47 PM, John Garbutt wrote:
> On 4 August 2016 at 14:18, Andrew Laski <andrew at lascii.com> wrote:
>> On Thu, Aug 4, 2016, at 08:20 AM, Sean Dague wrote:
>>> On 08/03/2016 08:54 PM, Andrew Laski wrote:
>>>> I've brought some of these thoughts up a few times in conversations
>>>> where the Nova team is trying to decide if a particular change warrants
>>>> a microversion. I'm sure I've annoyed some people by this point because
>>>> it wasn't germane to those discussions. So I'll lay this out in it's own
>>>> thread.
>>>> I am a fan of microversions. I think they work wonderfully to express
>>>> when a resource representation changes, or when different data is
>>>> required in a request. This allows clients to make the same request
>>>> across multiple clouds and expect the exact same response format,
>>>> assuming those clouds support that particular microversion. I also think
>>>> they work well to express that a new resource is available. However I do
>>>> think think they have some shortcomings in expressing that a resource
>>>> has been removed. But in short I think microversions work great for
>>>> expressing that there have been changes to the structure and format of
>>>> the API.
>>>> I think microversions are being overused as a signal for other types of
>>>> changes in the API because they are the only tool we have available. The
>>>> most recent example is a proposal to allow the revert_resize API call to
>>>> work when a resizing instance ends up in an error state. I consider
>>>> microversions to be problematic for changes like that because we end up
>>>> in one of two situations:
>>>> 1. The microversion is a signal that the API now supports this action,
>>>> but users can perform the action at any microversion. What this really
>>>> indicates is that the deployment being queried has upgraded to a certain
>>>> point and has a new capability. The structure and format of the API have
>>>> not changed so an API microversion is the wrong tool here. And the
>>>> expected use of a microversion, in my opinion, is to demarcate that the
>>>> API is now different at this particular point.
>>>> 2. The microversion is a signal that the API now supports this action,
>>>> and users are restricted to using it only on or after that microversion.
>>>> In many cases this is an artificial constraint placed just to satisfy
>>>> the expectation that the API does not change before the microversion.
>>>> But the reality is that if the API change was exposed to every
>>>> microversion it does not affect the ability I lauded above of a client
>>>> being able to send the same request and receive the same response from
>>>> disparate clouds. In other words exposing the new action for all
>>>> microversions does not affect the interoperability story of Nova which
>>>> is the real use case for microversions. I do recognize that the
>>>> situation may be more nuanced and constraining the action to specific
>>>> microversions may be necessary, but that's not always true.
>>>> In case 1 above I think we could find a better way to do this. And I
>>>> don't think we should do case 2, though there may be special cases that
>>>> warrant it.
>>>> As possible alternate signalling methods I would like to propose the
>>>> following for consideration:
>>>> Exposing capabilities that a user is allowed to use. This has been
>>>> discussed before and there is general agreement that this is something
>>>> we would like in Nova. Capabilities will programatically inform users
>>>> that a new action has been added or an existing action can be performed
>>>> in more cases, like revert_resize. With that in place we can avoid the
>>>> ambiguous use of microversions to do that. In the meantime I would like
>>>> the team to consider not using microversions for this case. We have
>>>> enough of them being added that I think for now we could just wait for
>>>> the next microversion after a capability is added and document the new
>>>> capability there.
>>> The problem with this approach is that the capability add isn't on a
>>> microversion boundary, as long as we continue to believe that we want to
>>> support CD deployments this means people can deploy code with the
>>> behavior change, that's not documented or signaled any way.
> +1
> I do wonder if we want to relax our support of CD, to some extent, but
> thats a different thread.
>> The fact that the capability add isn't on a microversion boundary is
>> exactly my point. There's no need for it to be in many cases. But it
>> would only apply for capability adds which don't affect the
>> interoperability of multiple deployments.
>> The signaling would come from the ability to query the capabilities
>> listing. A change in what that listing returns indicates a behavior
>> change.
>> Another reason I like the above mechanism is that it handles differences
>> in policy better as well. As much as we say that two clouds with the
>> same microversions available should accept the same requests and return
>> the same responses that's not actually true due to policy checks. I know
>> we discussed removing the ability to modify the response based on policy
>> so I'm not referring to that. What I mean is that a full action could be
>> disabled for a user. In this situation the microversion is useless
>> because it can't signal this behavior to the user, while a capabilities
>> list could.
> I would hate to bloat the list of possible capabilities, like we had
> with lots of silly little "extensions".
> I am personally leaning towards a more course grained set of
> high-level policy and capabilities, so its more human understandable.

This is the thing that feels like it's going to be the best model to
me... but I'll also say that we're a few weeks out from freeze, so the
bulk of my brain power is still on stuff that needs to make it for freeze.

So I'd love to dive deep into different approaches here, but I can't see
spending the necessary brain power until the release is in the can.


Sean Dague

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