[Openstack-operators] [nova][publiccloud-wg] Proposal to shelve on stop/suspend

Matt Riedemann mriedemos at gmail.com
Fri Sep 14 23:25:19 UTC 2018

tl;dr: I'm proposing a new parameter to the server stop (and suspend?) 
APIs to control if nova shelve offloads the server.

Long form: This came up during the public cloud WG session this week 
based on a couple of feature requests [1][2]. When a user stops/suspends 
a server, the hypervisor frees up resources on the host but nova 
continues to track those resources as being used on the host so the 
scheduler can't put more servers there. What operators would like to do 
is that when a user stops a server, nova actually shelve offloads the 
server from the host so they can schedule new servers on that host. On 
start/resume of the server, nova would find a new host for the server. 
This also came up in Vancouver where operators would like to free up 
limited expensive resources like GPUs when the server is stopped. This 
is also the behavior in AWS.

The problem with shelve is that it's great for operators but users just 
don't use it, maybe because they don't know what it is and stop works 
just fine. So how do you get users to opt into shelving their server?

I've proposed a high-level blueprint [3] where we'd add a new 
(microversioned) parameter to the stop API with three options:

* auto
* offload
* retain

Naming is obviously up for debate. The point is we would default to auto 
and if auto is used, the API checks a config option to determine the 
behavior - offload or retain. By default we would retain for backward 
compatibility. For users that don't care, they get auto and it's fine. 
For users that do care, they either (1) don't opt into the microversion 
or (2) specify the specific behavior they want. I don't think we need to 
expose what the cloud's configuration for auto is because again, if you 
don't care then it doesn't matter and if you do care, you can opt out of 

"How do we get users to use the new microversion?" I'm glad you asked.

Well, nova CLI defaults to using the latest available microversion 
negotiated between the client and the server, so by default, anyone 
using "nova stop" would get the 'auto' behavior (assuming the client and 
server are new enough to support it). Long-term, openstack client plans 
on doing the same version negotiation.

As for the server status changes, if the server is stopped and shelved, 
the status would be 'SHELVED_OFFLOADED' rather than 'SHUTDOWN'. I 
believe this is fine especially if a user is not being specific and 
doesn't care about the actual backend behavior. On start, the API would 
allow starting (unshelving) shelved offloaded (rather than just stopped) 
instances. Trying to hide shelved servers as stopped in the API would be 
overly complex IMO so I don't want to try and mask that.

It is possible that a user that stopped and shelved their server could 
hit a NoValidHost when starting (unshelving) the server, but that really 
shouldn't happen in a cloud that's configuring nova to shelve by default 
because if they are doing this, their SLA needs to reflect they have the 
capacity to unshelve the server. If you can't honor that SLA, don't 
shelve by default.

So, what are the general feelings on this before I go off and start 
writing up a spec?

[1] https://bugs.launchpad.net/openstack-publiccloud-wg/+bug/1791681
[2] https://bugs.launchpad.net/openstack-publiccloud-wg/+bug/1791679
[3] https://blueprints.launchpad.net/nova/+spec/shelve-on-stop




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