[Openstack-operators] [Nova] Reconciling flavors and block device mappings

Andrew Laski andrew at lascii.com
Thu Aug 25 20:19:40 UTC 2016

Cross posting to gather some operator feedback.

There have been a couple of contentious patches gathering attention
recently about how to handle the case where a block device mapping
supersedes flavor information. Before moving forward on either of those
I think we should have a discussion about how best to handle the general
case, and how to handle any changes in behavior that results from that.

There are two cases presented:

1. A user boots an instance using a Cinder volume as a root disk,
however the flavor specifies root_gb = x where x > 0. The current
behavior in Nova is that the scheduler is given the flavor root_gb info
to take into account during scheduling. This may disqualify some hosts
from receiving the instance even though that disk space  is not
necessary because the root disk is a remote volume.

2. A user boots an instance and uses the block device mapping parameters
to specify a swap or ephemeral disk size that is less than specified on
the flavor. This leads to the same problem as above, the scheduler is
provided information that doesn't match the actual disk space to be
consumed. https://review.openstack.org/#/c/352522/

Now the issue: while it's easy enough to provide proper information to
the scheduler on what the actual disk consumption will be when using
block device mappings that undermines one of the purposes of flavors
which is to control instance packing on hosts. So the outstanding
question is to what extent should users have the ability to use block
device mappings to bypass flavor constraints?

One other thing to note is that while a flavor constrains how much local
disk is used it does not constrain volume size at all. So a user can
specify an ephemeral/swap disk <= to what the flavor provides but can
have an arbitrary sized root disk if it's a remote volume.

Some possibilities:

Completely allow block device mappings, when present, to determine
instance packing. This is what the patches above propose and there's a
strong desire for this behavior from some folks. But changes how many
instances may fit on a host which could be undesirable to some.

Keep the status quo. It's clear that is undesirable based on the bug
reports and proposed patches above.

Allow block device mappings, when present, to mostly determine instance
packing. By that I mean that the scheduler only takes into account local
disk that would be consumed, but we add additional configuration to Nova
which limits the number of instance that can be placed on a host. This
is a compromise solution but I fear that a single int value does not
meet the needs of deployers wishing to limit instances on a host. They
want it to take into account cpu allocations and ram and disk, in short
a flavor :)

And of course there may be some other unconsidered solution. That's
where you, dear reader, come in.



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