Pool-aware Scheduler Support


Cinder currently see each volume backend as a whole, even if the backend is consists of several smaller pools with totally different capabilities and capacities. Such gap can cause strange issue - a backend appears to have enough capacity to create a copy of a volume but the backend fails to do so. Extending Cinder to support storage pools within volume backend will not only solve issues like that, it can also make Cinder scheduling decision smarter as it now knows full set of capabilities of a backend.

Problem description

Cinder has been designed to take look each volume backend as a whole since day 1. The provisioning decisions are based on the statistics reported by backends. Any backend is assumed to be a single discrete unit with a set of capabilities and single capacity. In reality this assumption is not true for many storage providers and as their storage can be further divided or partitioned into pools to offer completely different set of capabilities and capacities. That is there are storage backends are a combination of storage pools rather than one big single homogenous entity. Usually volumes/snapshots cannot be placed across pools on such backends. As a result, there are obvious problems when using them with current Cinder:

  1. A volume/snapshot that is larger than any sub-pool of the target backend be schedule the backend would fail;
  2. A sub pool may not have enough space to serve consecutive request (e.g. volume clones, snapshots) while the entire backend appears to have sufficient capacity;

These issues are very confusing and result in inconsistent user experience. Therefore it is important to extend Cinder so that it is aware of storage pools within backend and also use them as finest granularity for resource placement.

Use Cases

Proposed change

We would like to introduces pool-aware scheduler to address the need for supporting multiple pools from one storage controller.


Pool - A logical concept to describe a set of storage resource that can be used to serve core Cinder requests, e.g. volumes/snapshots. This notion is almost identical to Cinder Volume Backend, for it has simliar attributes (capacity, capability). The main difference is Pool couldnot exist on its own, it must reside in a Volume Backend. One Volume Backend can have mulitple Pools but Pools do not have sub-Pools (meaning even they have, sub-Pools do not get to exposed to Cinder, yet). Pool has a uniqueue name in backend namespace, which means Volume Backend cannot have two pools using same name.


The workflow in this change is simple: 1) Volume Backends reports how many pools and what those pools look like and are capable of to scheduler; 2) When request comes in, scheduler picks a pool that fits the need most to serve the request, it passes the request to the backend where the target pool resides in; 3) Volume driver gets the message and let the target pool to serve the request as scheduler instructed.

To support placing resources (volume/snapshot) onto a pool, these changes will be made to specific components of Cinder: 1. Volume Backends reporting capacity/capabilities at pool level; 2. Scheduler filtering/weighing based on pool capacity/capability and placing volumes/snapshots to a pool of certain backend; 3. Record which pool a resource is located on a backend and passes between scheduler and volume backend.


Rather than changing scheduler, Navneet Singh has proposed an alterntive change to make changes to Volume Manger/Driver code. In his approach, each sub-pool of a backend will be exposed as a service entity (e.g. a greenthread inside of a python process), which listens to its own RPC channel, reports its own stats to scheduler.

Related bp for this alternative: https://blueprints.launchpad.net/cinder/+spec/multiple-service-pools

Data model impact

No DB schema change involved, however, the host field of Volumes table will now include pool information but no DB migration is needed.

Original host field of Volumes:
With this change:

REST API impact


Security impact


Notifications impact

Host attribute of volumes now includes pool information in it, consumer of notification can now extend to extract pool information if needed.

Other end user impact

No impact visible to end user.

Performance Impact

The size of RPC message for each volume stats report will be bigger than before (linear to # of pools a backend has). It should not really impact the RPC facility in terms of performance and even if it did, pure text compression should easily mitigate this problem.

Other deployer impact

No special requirement for deployer to deploy new version of Cinder as it is mostly transparent changes even to deployer. The only visible change is the additional pool info encoded into host attribute of volume records.

Scheduler is better to be updated/deployed piror volume services, but this order is not mandatory.

Developer impact

For those volume backends would like expose internal pools to Cinder for more flexibility, developer should update their drivers to include all sub-pool capacities and capabilities in the volume stats it reports to scheduler. Below is an example of new stats message:

    'volume_backend_name': 'Local iSCSI', #\
    'vendor_name': 'OpenStack',           #  backend level
    'driver_version': '1.0',              #  mandatory/fixed
    'storage_protocol': 'iSCSI',          #- stats&capabilities

    'active_volumes': 10,                 #\
    'IOPS_provisioned': 30000,            #  optional custom
    'fancy_capability_1': 'eat',          #  stats & capabilities
    'fancy_capability_2': 'drink',        #/

    'pools': [
        {'pool_name': '1st pool',         #\
         'total_capacity_gb': 500,        #  mandatory stats for
         'free_capacity_gb': 230,         #  pools
         'allocated_capacity_gb': 270,    # |
         'QoS_support': 'False',          # |
         'reserved_percentage': 0,        #/

         'dying_disks': 100,              #\
         'super_hero_1': 'spider-man',    #  optional custom
         'super_hero_2': 'flash',         #  stats & capabilities
         'super_hero_3': 'neoncat'        #/
        {'pool_name': '2nd pool',
         'total_capacity_gb': 1024,
         'free_capacity_gb': 1024,
         'allocated_capacity_gb': 0,
         'QoS_support': 'False',
         'reserved_percentage': 0,

         'dying_disks': 200,
         'super_hero_1': 'superman',
         'super_hero_2': ' ',
         'super_hero_2': 'Hulk',



Primary assignee:
zhiteng-huang (winston-d)

Work Items

There are two parts of changes needed for this proposal: changes to Cinder itself (scheduler, volume manager) and changes to Cinder drivers for those backends which would like to expose pools to scheduler.

But even without Cinder drivers changes, it will work fine as usual without problem since first part of change has taken compatibility in to account.




A complete set of testing environment will need following scenarios:

1) Cinder uses backend does not support pool (only exposes single pool for entire backend); 2) Cinder uses backend supports pools (with updated driver); 3) Cinder uses mixed backends;

Create a few volumes/snapshots on the backends prior upgrades, this is for compatibility tests.

For each scenario, tests should be done in 3 steps:

1) Update cinder-scheduler (or cinder-volume), test create volume clones, snapshots of existing volumes or delete existing volumes; 2) Test create new volumes; 3) Update the rest part of Cinder (if cinder-scheduler is updated in step 1, update cinder-volume now, or vise versa), test create volume, create clones, snapshots of existing volumes or delete existing volumes.

Documentation Impact

No documentation impact for changes in Cinder itself. But drivers changes may introduce new configure options which leads to DocImpact.