[openstack-dev] [Heat] Using Job Queues for timeout ops

Clint Byrum clint at fewbar.com
Thu Nov 13 18:59:56 UTC 2014

Excerpts from Zane Bitter's message of 2014-11-13 09:55:43 -0800:
> On 13/11/14 09:58, Clint Byrum wrote:
> > Excerpts from Zane Bitter's message of 2014-11-13 05:54:03 -0800:
> >> On 13/11/14 03:29, Murugan, Visnusaran wrote:
> >>> Hi all,
> >>>
> >>> Convergence-POC distributes stack operations by sending resource actions
> >>> over RPC for any heat-engine to execute. Entire stack lifecycle will be
> >>> controlled by worker/observer notifications. This distributed model has
> >>> its own advantages and disadvantages.
> >>>
> >>> Any stack operation has a timeout and a single engine will be
> >>> responsible for it. If that engine goes down, timeout is lost along with
> >>> it. So a traditional way is for other engines to recreate timeout from
> >>> scratch. Also a missed resource action notification will be detected
> >>> only when stack operation timeout happens.
> >>>
> >>> To overcome this, we will need the following capability:
> >>>
> >>> 1.Resource timeout (can be used for retry)
> >>
> >> I don't believe this is strictly needed for phase 1 (essentially we
> >> don't have it now, so nothing gets worse).
> >>
> >
> > We do have a stack timeout, and it stands to reason that we won't have a
> > single box with a timeout greenthread after this, so a strategy is
> > needed.
> Right, that was 2, but I was talking specifically about the resource 
> retry. I think we agree on both points.
> >> For phase 2, yes, we'll want it. One thing we haven't discussed much is
> >> that if we used Zaqar for this then the observer could claim a message
> >> but not acknowledge it until it had processed it, so we could have
> >> guaranteed delivery.
> >>
> >
> > Frankly, if oslo.messaging doesn't support reliable delivery then we
> > need to add it.
> That is straight-up impossible with AMQP. Either you ack the message and 
> risk losing it if the worker dies before processing is complete, or you 
> don't ack the message until it's processed and you become a blocker for 
> every other worker trying to pull jobs off the queue. It works fine when 
> you have only one worker; otherwise not so much. This is the crux of the 
> whole "why isn't Zaqar just Rabbit" debate.

I'm not sure we have the same understanding of AMQP, so hopefully we can
clarify here. This stackoverflow answer echoes my understanding:


Not ack'ing just means they might get retransmitted if we never ack. It
doesn't block other consumers. And as the link above quotes from the
AMQP spec, when there are multiple consumers, FIFO is not guaranteed.
Other consumers get other messages.

So just add the ability for a consumer to read, work, ack to
oslo.messaging, and this is mostly handled via AMQP. Of course that
also likely means no zeromq for Heat without accepting that messages
may be lost if workers die.

Basically we need to add something that is not "RPC" but instead
"jobqueue" that mimics this:


I've always been suspicious of this bit of code, as it basically means
that if anything fails between that call, and the one below it, we have
lost contact, but as long as clients are written to re-send when there
is a lack of reply, there shouldn't be a problem. But, for a job queue,
there is no reply, and so the worker would dispatch, and then
acknowledge after the dispatched call had returned (including having
completed the step where new messages are added to the queue for any
newly-possible children).

Just to be clear, I believe what Zaqar adds is the ability to peek at
a specific message ID and not affect it in the queue, which is entirely
different than ACK'ing the ones you've already received in your session.

> Most stuff in OpenStack gets around this by doing synchronous calls 
> across oslo.messaging, where there is an end-to-end ack. We don't want 
> that here though. We'll probably have to make do with having ways to 
> recover after a failure (kick off another update with the same data is 
> always an option). The hard part is that if something dies we don't 
> really want to wait until the stack timeout to start recovering.

I fully agree. Josh's point about using a coordination service like
Zookeeper to maintain liveness is an interesting one here. If we just
make sure that all the workers that have claimed work off the queue are
alive, that should be sufficient to prevent a hanging stack situation
like you describe above.

> > Zaqar should have nothing to do with this and is, IMO, a
> > poor choice at this stage, though I like the idea of using it in the
> > future so that we can make Heat more of an outside-the-cloud app.
> I'm inclined to agree that it would be hard to force operators to deploy 
> Zaqar in order to be able to deploy Heat, and that we should probably be 
> cautious for that reason.
> That said, from a purely technical point of view it's not a poor choice 
> at all - it has *exactly* the semantics we want (unlike AMQP), and at 
> least to the extent that the operator wants to offer Zaqar to users 
> anyway it completely eliminates a whole backend that they would 
> otherwise have to deploy. It's a tragedy that all of OpenStack has not 
> been designed to build upon itself in this way and it causes me physical 
> pain to know that we're about to perpetuate it.
> >>> 2.Recover from engine failure (loss of stack timeout, resource action
> >>> notification)
> >>>
> >>> Suggestion:
> >>>
> >>> 1.Use task queue like celery to host timeouts for both stack and resource.
> >>
> >> I believe Celery is more or less a non-starter as an OpenStack
> >> dependency because it uses Kombu directly to talk to the queue, vs.
> >> oslo.messaging which is an abstraction layer over Kombu, Qpid, ZeroMQ
> >> and maybe others in the future. i.e. requiring Celery means that some
> >> users would be forced to install Rabbit for the first time.
> >>
> >> One option would be to fork Celery and replace Kombu with oslo.messaging
> >> as its abstraction layer. Good luck getting that maintained though,
> >> since Celery _invented_ Kombu to be it's abstraction layer.
> >>
> >
> > A slight side point here: Kombu supports Qpid and ZeroMQ. Oslo.messaging
> You're right about Kombu supporting Qpid, it appears they added it. I 
> don't see ZeroMQ on the list though:
> http://kombu.readthedocs.org/en/latest/userguide/connections.html#transport-comparison

They, confusingly, call it zmq, and it may not be in a recent release:


> > is more about having a unified API than a set of magic backends. It
> > actually boggles my mind why we didn't just use kombu (cue 20 reactions
> > with people saying it wasn't EXACTLY right), but I think we're committed
> Well, we also have to take into account the fact that Qpid support was 
> added only during the last 9 months, whereas oslo.messaging was 
> implemented 3 years ago and time travel hasn't been invented yet (for 
> any definition of 'yet').

Go back in time 3 years ago, and perhaps we could have done all the work
we've done in kombu. Hindsight though.

> > to oslo.messaging now. Anyway, celery would need no such refactor, as
> > kombu would be able to access the same bus as everything else just fine.
> Interesting, so that would make it easier to get Celery added to the 
> global requirements, although we'd likely still have headaches to deal 
> with around configuration.

Yeah, I'm not advocating for celery, just pointing out that it has
become more like what we already deploy. :)

> >>> 2.Poll database for engine failures and restart timers/ retrigger
> >>> resource retry (IMHO: This would be a traditional and weighs heavy)
> >>>
> >>> 3.Migrate heat to use TaskFlow. (Too many code change)
> >>
> >> If it's just handling timed triggers (maybe this is closer to #2) and
> >> not migrating the whole code base, then I don't see why it would be a
> >> big change (or even a change at all - it's basically new functionality).
> >> I'm not sure if TaskFlow has something like this already. If not we
> >> could also look at what Mistral is doing with timed tasks and see if we
> >> could spin some of it out into an Oslo library.
> >>
> >
> > I feel like it boils down to something running periodically checking for
> > scheduled tasks that are due to run but have not run yet. I wonder if we
> > can actually look at Ironic for how they do this, because Ironic polls
> > power state of machines constantly, and uses a hash ring to make sure
> > only one conductor is polling any one machine at a time. If we broke
> > stacks up into a hash ring like that for the purpose of singleton tasks
> > like timeout checking, that might work out nicely.
> +1 for something like this, and +2 if we can get it from a library we 
> don't have to write ourselves (whether it be TaskFlow or something spun 
> out of Mistral or Ironic into Oslo).

Right, those things are fairly generic and would definitely fit nicely
in a library.

So, the simplest possible solution, I think, is to lock resource id +
graph version. Since we are scared of Zookeeper, we'll need a periodic
job in the engines that looks for stale locks, or we have to wait for
another stack operation to check for them.

More information about the OpenStack-dev mailing list