[Openstack-operators] [openstack-dev] Management of NAS (NFS/CIFS shares) in OpenStack

John Griffith john.griffith at solidfire.com
Sat Nov 24 19:26:49 UTC 2012

On Thu, Nov 22, 2012 at 12:29 AM, Blair Bethwaite <blair.bethwaite at gmail.com
> wrote:

> (Apologies if this doesn't format well - I copied and pasted from the HTML
> archive as I haven't received the associated digest yet.)
> Hi Trey,
> On Thu Nov 22 03:33:20 UTC 2012, "Trey Duskin" <trey at maldivica.com>
> wrote:
> > Forgive the ignorant question, but why is Cinder the only option for the
> > backing for "file system as a service" when there is also Swift?  The
> > blueprint that Netapp wrote up for this mentioned Swift would not be
> > suitable, but did not explain why.
> I don't think they made that thinking very clear in the blueprint, but I
> understand where they are coming from, and Michael Chapman already summed
> it up nicely:
> "block storage and network shares are both instances of granting
> individual VMs access to slices of storage resources, and as such belong
> under a single project". Object storage is fundamentally different because
> it is a model that has evolved specifically to cater for content
> download/upload over the Internet, as opposed to storage access within a
> cloud deployment. Additionally, when you start thinking about the API
> operations you'd want for volumes and shares you start to see a lot of
> similarities, not so much for object storage.
> > I don't know much about the Cinder
> > features and limitations, but in the use case of sharing and persisting
> > large datasets among compute instances, it seems to me Swift would
> provide
> > the needed scalability and durability.
> It doesn't...
> It certainly does provide scalability and durability for persisting large
> datasets - you can tar things up and use it like a tape backup - but only
> for applications that understand or can easily be made to understand object
> storage.
> It does sharing in part, but not efficiently and certainly nothing like a
> file-system based share which multiple clients can coordinate on.
> To illustrate, here are a couple of use-cases we want to be able to fulfil
> which we can't (without serious back-injury as a result of jumping through
> hoops...) at the moment:
> * Run an _existing_ Apache site from a guest that serves mostly static
> content with occasional changes (seems great for Swift right, except...),
> where the content is largely file-based hierarchical datasets currently
> sitting on a HSM system and too large to fit into the available ephemeral
> disks or volumes.
> * Host visualisation services/desktop for large datasets produced on a
> local HPC facility and sitting on its' GPFS. This requires much better
> bandwidth and latency than we can get using sshfs or NFS into the guest,
> attempting to do it over HTTP with Swift isn't going to get us that.
> --
> Cheers,
> ~Blairo
> _______________________________________________
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> OpenStack-dev at lists.openstack.org
> http://lists.openstack.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/openstack-dev
Hey Everyone,

So first off, the question is not whether NAS functionality is useful or
something that some folks would like to have.  The question really is
whether it belongs in Cinder or not, my stance has been no, however I think
if we have enough interest and we have folks that want to implement and
support it then we can move forward and see how things go.

One question I have is whether or not anybody has looked at the NFS
"adapter" that was already added in Folsom?  It seems that it might
actually address at least some of the needs that have been raised here?  To
be honest I had hoped to use that as a guage for real interest/demand for
NAS support and I haven't seen any mention of it anywhere (patches, bugs,
tests, questions etc).

Going forward, I have some concerns about the patch and the approach that's
being taken to implement this currently.  Maybe they're unwarranted, but I
am concerned about mixing in NAS api, manager and rpc in to the existing
volume code.  It seems we could organize this better and save some
confusion and quite frankly maintenance head-ache if we went about this a
bit differently.  I'm also curious about intent on how this is gated and

The way I see it there are a couple possible approaches that can be taken
on this:

1. Continue with the NFS driver approach that we started on:
This isn't the greatest option in terms of feature sets, however I think
with a bit more attention and feed-back from folks this could be viable.
 The concept would be that we abstract out the NAS specifics in the driver,
and from the perspective of the API and the rest of the Cinder project we
just treat at as a volume as we do with everything else today.  To improve
upon what's there today, some of the first steps would be creating a new
connection type, and there would be some work needed on the Nova side to
consume a Network Share.  I think this can be done fairly cleanly, it
doesn't solve the testing problems, but on the other hand it doesn't touch
as much of the core Cinder code so some of my concerns there are addressed.

2. Go all out with NAS support in Cinder as a separate service:
So this is probably the "right" answer, rather than wedge NAS support in to
all of the existing Cinder code, the idea would be to make it
a separate Cinder service.  The nice thing about this is you can run both
Block Storage and NAS on the same Cinder node at the same time to deal with
gating etc.  This would look similar to what Nova-Volume looked like inside
of Nova, there would be clear separation in the API's, Managers, Drivers
etc.  This is a bit more work that option 1, but if there really is a
demand for a robust NAS service this would be the way to go about it in my
opinion.  Not only does it provide a bit of freedom, but it also provides a
good architecture for separation if anybody is ever interested in doing the
work to start an independent NAS project.

So, from my perspective I'd be interested in feed-back regarding option 1.
 I'm interested if folks that have expressed the desire for NFS support
have looked at what was introduced in Folsom? Also I'd like to know if
there's any way that it could be improved/enhanced to better fit their
needs?  I'd be more interested in going with option 1 at least for Grizzly,
and then depending on the participation and feed-back we could decide that
it's not enough and we need to do option 2 for the F release, or perhaps
another option altogether may become evident.

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