[openstack-dev] Announcing Ekko -- Scalable block-based backup for OpenStack

Preston L. Bannister preston at bannister.us
Mon Feb 1 20:23:09 UTC 2016

Hi Fausto,

To be clear, I am not in any way critical of Freezer and the folk putting
in work. (Please, I want to be *entirely* clear on this point! Also, saw
your presentation in Vancouver.)

That said, Freezer is a bit of a Swiss-Army-Knife set of combined backup
functions. Sometimes it is better to focus on a single aspect (or few). The
new features landing in QEMU present an opportunity. A project focused
solely on that opportunity, to work through initial set of issues, makes a
lot of sense to me. (Something like how KVM forked QEMU for a time, to
build faster x86 emulation.)

I do not see these as competing projects, and more as cooperative. The Ekko
work should be able to plug into Freezer, cleanly.

Aspects of the problem, as I see:

   1. Extracting efficient instance backups from OpenStack (via new QEMU
   2. Storing backups in efficient form (general implementation, and
   vendor-specific supersets).
   3. Offering an OpenStack backup-service API, with core and
   vendor-specific extensions.

Vendors (like my employer, EMC) might be somewhat opinionated about (2),
and for reason. :)

The huge missing piece is (1), and a focused project seems to make a lot of

As to (3), that looks like a good topic for further discussion. :)

My $.02.

On Sat, Jan 30, 2016 at 5:36 PM, Fausto Marzi <fausto.marzi at gmail.com>

> Hi Preston,
> No need to apologize. They are aspect of the same problem.
> However, VMs backup is one of the many aspects that we are approaching
> here, such as:
> - VM backups
> - Volumes backups
> - Specific applications consistent data backup (i.e. MySQL, Mongo, file
> system, etc)
> - Provide capabilities to restore data even if keystone and swift are not
> available
> - Upload data during backup to multiple media storage in parallel
> - Web Interface
> - Provide capability to synchronize backups for sharded data on multiple
> nodes
> - Encryption
> - File based incremental
> - Block based incremental
> - Tenant related data backup and restore
> - Multi platform OS support (i.e. Linux, BSD, OSX, Windows, iOS, Android,
> etc)
> - Everything is upstreamed.
> This looks like a list of features... and actually it is.
> Block based and some multi platform OS aside, all the mentioned features
> are provided to the date. Most of them are available since Kilo.
> I agree with the multi API, room for vendors and to provide different
> approaches, but please let me say something (*not referring specifically
> to you or Sam or anyone*)
> All the time people say you have to do this and that, but the facts are
> that at the end of the day, always the same 6 engineers (not even full
> time) are working on it since 2 years, investing professional and personal
> time on it.
> We try to be open, to accept everybody (even the most arrogant), to
> implement features for whoever needs it, but the facts are that the only
> Companies that invested on it are HP, a bit Ericsson and Orange (apologize
> if I forgot anyone). We never said no to anyone about anything, never
> focused only to a single Company influence, never blocked a thing... and
> never will.
> Wouldn't be better to join efforts if companies need a backup solution and
> have their own requirements implemented by a common public Team, rather
> then start creating many tools to solve the same set of problems? How can
> ever competition benefit this? How can ever fragmenting projects help to
> provide a better solution?
> I'm sorry, but unless the TC or many people from the Community, tell us to
> do something different (in that case we'll do it straight away), we'll keep
> doing what we are doing, focusing on delivering what we think is the most
> advanced solution, according the resources and time we have.
> We need to understand that here the most important thing is to work in
> Team, to provide great tools to the Community, rather then thinking to be
> PTL or maintain independence just for the sake of it or focusing only on
> what's the best for a single Company. If this vision is not shared, then,
> unfortunately, good luck competing, while if the vision is shared... let's
> do together unprecedented things.
> Many thanks,
> Fausto
> On Sun, Jan 31, 2016 at 1:01 AM, Preston L. Bannister <
> preston at bannister.us> wrote:
>> Seems to me there are three threads here.
>> The Freezer folk were given a task, and did the best possible to support
>> backup given what OpenStack allowed. To date, OpenStack is simply not very
>> good at supporting backup as a service. (Apologies to the Freezer folk if I
>> misinterpreted.)
>> The patches (finally) landing in QEMU in support of incremental backup
>> could be the basis for efficient backup services in OpenStack. This is all
>> fairly high risk, in the short term. The bits that landed in QEMU 2.4 may
>> not be sufficient (there are more QEMU patches trying to land). When put
>> into production, we may find faults. For use in OpenStack, we may need
>> changes in libvirt, and/or in Nova. (Or *maybe* not if usage for backup
>> proves orthogonal.)  The only way to work out the prior is to start. The
>> timeline could be months or years.
>> There is a need for a common API for backup as a service in the cloud.
>> Something more than imitating AWS. Allow some room for vendors with
>> differing approach.
>> I see the above as not competing, but aspects of the same problem.
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