Cinder API Microversions

Cinder API Microversions

We need a way to be able to introduce changes to the REST API to both fix bugs and add new features. Some of these changes are backwards incompatible and we currently have no way of doing this. This becomes especially important to introduce backwards incompatible changes to the Nova - Cinder API. Credit and thanks to the authors of the Nova spec upon which this is based, especially Christopeher Yeoh and Sean Dague, and to the Manila team, especially Clinton Knight.

Blueprint: https://blueprints.launchpad.net/cinder/+spec/cinder-api-microversions

Problem description

Many changes to the Cinder REST API require changes to the consumers of the API. For example, If we need to add a required parameter to a method that is called by Nova, we’d need both the Nova calling code and the cinderclient that Nova uses to change. But newer Cinder versions with the change must work with older Nova versions, and there is no mechanism for this at the moment. Adding microversions will solve this problem. With microversions, the highest supported version will be negotiated by a field in the HTTP header that is sent to the Cinder API. In the case where the field ‘versions’ is not sent (i.e. clients and scripts that pre-date this change), then the lowest supported version would be used. This means that our current Cinder API v2 would be the default, and consumers of the API that wished to use a newer version could do so.

Not in Scope: Experimental APIs. This will be done separately. Note that Experimental APIs are only different in how we choose to use the API microversions. For Nova, a microversion does not have to be backwards compatible, and a microversion might remove an API. In this definition of microversions, the Experimental APIs that are used by Manila are no different from microversions that are used by Nova. This spec assumes that Cinder will take the route used by Manila, and use the Experimental API HTTP header to indicate an API that might cause a backwards incompatible change and/or be removed. These policies do not have to be determined now, and can be decided at the time that patches with new microversions are merged.

Use Cases

  • Allows developers to modify the Cinder API in backwards compatible way and signal to users of the API dynamically that the change is available without having to create a new API extension.
  • Allows developers to modify the Cinder API in a non backwards compatible way whilst still supporting the old behaviour. Users of the REST API are able to decide if they want the Cinder API to behave in the new or old manner on a per request basis. Deployers are able to make new backwards incompatible features available without removing support for prior behaviour as long as there is support to do this by developers.
  • Users of the REST API are able to, on a per request basis, decide which version of the API they want to use (assuming the deployer supports the version they want). This means that a deployer who does not upgrade will not break compatibility, and clients that do not upgrade will also remain compatible.

Proposed change

Cinder will use a framework we will call ‘API Microversions’ for allowing changes to the API while preserving backward compatibility. The basic idea is that a user has to explicitly ask for their request to be treated with a particular version of the API. So breaking changes can be added to the API without breaking users who don’t specifically ask for it. This is done with an HTTP header X-OpenStack-Cinder-API-Version which is a monotonically increasing semantic version number starting from 2.1.

If a user makes a request without specifying a version, they will get the DEFAULT_API_VERSION as defined in cinder/api/openstack/wsgi.py. This value is currently 2.0 and is expected to remain so for quite a long time.

For the purposes of this discussion, “the API” is all core and optional extensions in the Cinder tree. Please note that extensions cannot be versioned. It has been discussed that the Cinder team should therefore move the API extensions into core. This move of extensions to core will take some time, and should not block making changes to the API. Since changes to the API extensions cannot be versioned using the API-microversions decorator, we will have to accept this until the work to move extensions to core is completed.

Versioning of the API should be a single monotonic counter. It will be of the form X.Y where it follows the following convention:

  • X will only be changed if a significant backwards incompatible API change is made which affects the API as whole. That is, something that is only very very rarely incremented.
  • Y when you make any change to the API. Note that this includes semantic changes which may not affect the input or output formats or even originate in the API code layer. We are not distinguishing between backwards compatible and backwards incompatible changes in the versioning system. It will, however, be made clear in the documentation as to what is a backwards compatible change and what is a backwards incompatible one.

Note that groups of similar changes across the API will not be made under a single version bump. This will minimise the impact on users as they can control changes that they want to be exposed to.

A backwards compatible change is defined as one which would be allowed under the OpenStack API Change Guidelines

A version response would look as follows for GET http://<cinder_URL>:8776

{
   "versions": [
       {
           "id": "v2.0",
           "links": [
               {
                   "href": "http://docs.openstack.org/",
                   "rel": "describedby",
                   "type": "text/html"
               },
               {
                   "href": "http://10.10.10.77:8776/v2/",
                   "rel": "self"
               }
           ],
           "media-types": [
               {
                   "base": "application/json",
                   "type": "application/vnd.openstack.volume+json;version=1"
               },
               {
                   "base": "application/xml",
                   "type": "application/vnd.openstack.volume+xml;version=1"
               }
           ],
           "min_version": "",
           "status": "SUPPORTED",
           "updated": "2014-06-28T12:20:21Z",
           "version": ""
       },
       {
           "id": "v2.1",
           "links": [
               {
                   "href": "http://docs.openstack.org/",
                   "rel": "describedby",
                   "type": "text/html"
               },
               {
                   "href": "http://10.10.10.77:8776/v2/",
                   "rel": "self"
               }
           ],
           "media-types": [
               {
                   "base": "application/json",
                   "type": "application/vnd.openstack.volume+json;version=1"
               },
               {
                   "base": "application/xml",
                   "type": "application/vnd.openstack.volume+xml;version=1"
               }
           ],
           "min_version": "2.0",
           "status": "CURRENT",
           "updated": "2015-09-16T11:33:21Z",
           "version": "2.1"
       }
   ]
}

This specifies the min and max version that the server can understand. min_version will start at 2.0 representing the v2.0 API. Note that this assumes we will drop support for v1.0 in Mitaka. It may eventually be increased if there are support burdens we don’t feel are adequate to support. This response indicates a version of 2.1 as the current version. This number would change with each monotonic increment of the API microversion.

Client Interaction

A client specifies the version of the API they want via the following approach, a new header:

X-OpenStack-Cinder-API-Version: 2.114

This conceptually acts like the accept header. This is a global API version.

Semantically this means:

  • If X-OpenStack-Cinder-API-Version is not provided, act as if min_version was sent.
  • If X-OpenStack-Cinder-API-Version is sent, respond with the API at that version. If that’s outside of the range of versions supported, return 406 Not Acceptable.
  • If X-OpenStack-Cinder-API-Version: latest (special keyword) return max_version of the API.

NOTE about use of “latest” as a microversion: A client should never use “latest” when calling the Cinder API, since it is possible that the client does not have support for the latest server API microversion. The use of “latest” is strictly for testing. An experimental (non-gating) Tempeset test should use the microversion “latest” to detect when the Tempest tests themselves must be updated. This experimental test will fail using “latest” when the Tempest tests are out of date, and we will thus have an automated way to detect when Tempest must be updated.

This means out of the box, with an old client, an OpenStack installation will return vanilla OpenStack responses at v2. The user or SDK will have to ask for something different in order to get new features.

Two extra headers are always returned in the response:

  • X-OpenStack-Cinder-API-Version: version_number
  • Vary: X-OpenStack-Cinder-API-Version

The first header specifies the version number of the API which was executed.

The second header is used as a hint to caching proxies that the response is also dependent on the X-OpenStack-Cinder-API-Version and not just the body and query parameters. See RFC 2616 section 14.44 for details.

Implementation design details

On each request the X-OpenStack-Cinder-API-Version header string will be converted to an APIVersionRequest object in the wsgi code. Routing will occur in the usual manner with the version object attached to the request object (which all API methods expect). The API methods can then use this to determine their behaviour to the incoming request.

Types of changes we will need to support:

* Status code changes (success and error codes)
* Allowable body parameters (affects input validation schemas too)
* Allowable url parameters
* General semantic changes
* Data returned in response
* Removal of resources in the API
* Removal of fields in a response object or changing the layout of the response

Note: This list is not meant to be an exhaustive list

Within a controller case, methods can be marked with a decorator to indicate what API versions they implement. For example:

@api_version(min_version='2.0', max_version='2.9')
def show(self, req, id):
   pass

@api_version(min_version='2.17')
def show(self, req, id):
   pass

An incoming request for version 2.2 of the API would end up executing the first method, whilst an incoming request for version 2.17 of the API would result in the second being executed.

For cases where the method implementations are very similar with just minor differences a lot of duplicated code can be avoided by versioning internal methods intead. For example:

@api_version(min_version='2.0')
def _version_specific_func(self, req, arg1):
   pass

@api_version(min_version='2.5')
def _version_specific_func(self, req, arg1):
   pass

def show(self, req, id):
   .... common stuff ....
   self._version_specific_func(req, "foo")
      .... common stuff ....

Reducing the duplicated code minimizes maintenance overhead. So the technique we use would depend on individual circumstances of what code is common/different and where in the method it is.

A version object is passed down to the method attached to the request object so it is also possible to do very specific checks in a method. For example:

def show(self, req, id):
  .... stuff ....

  if req.ver_obj.matches(start_version, end_version):
    .... Do version specific stuff ....

  ....  stuff ....

Note that end_version is optional in which case it will match any version greater than or equal to start_version.

Some prototype code which explains how this work is available here: https://github.com/scottdangelo/TestCinderAPImicroversions

The validation schema decorator would also need to be extended to support versioning

@validation.schema(schema_definition, min_version, max_version)

Note that both min_version and max_version would be optional parameters.

A method, extension, or a field in a request or response can be removed from the API by specifying a max_version:

@api_version(min_version='2.0', max_version='2.9')
def show(self, req, id):
  ....  stuff ....

If a request for version 2.11 is made by a client, the client will receive a 404 as if the method does not exist at all. If the minimum version of the API as whole was brought up to 2.10 then the extension itself could then be removed.

The minimum version of the API as a whole would only be increased by a consensus decision between Cinder developers who have the overhead of maintaining backwards compatibility and deployers and users who want backwards compatibility forever.

Because we have a monotonically increasing version number across the whole of the API rather than versioning individual plugins we will have potential merge conflicts like we currently have with DB migration changesets. Sorry, I don’t believe there is any way around this, but welcome any suggestions!

Client Expectations

As with systems which supports version negotiation, a robust client consuming this API will need to also support some range of versions otherwise that client will not be able to be used in software that talks to multiple clouds.

The concrete example is nodepool in OpenStack Infra. Assume there is a world where it is regularly connecting to 4 public clouds. They are at the following states:

- Cloud A:
  - min_ver: 2.100
  - max_ver: 2.300
- Cloud B:
  - min_ver: 2.200
  - max_ver: 2.450
- Cloud C:
  - min_ver: 2.300
  - max_ver: 2.600
- Cloud D:
  - min_ver: 2.400
  - max_ver: 2.800

No single version of the API is available in all those clouds based on the age of some of them. However within the client SDK certain basic functions like boot will exist, though one might get different additional data based on the version of the API. The client should smooth over these differences when possible.

Realistically this is a problem that exists today, except there is no infrastructure to support creating a solution to solve it.

Alternatives

One alternative is to make all the backwards incompatible changes at once and do a major API release. For example, change the url prefix to /v3 instead of /v2. And then support both implementations for a long period of time. This approach has been difficult in the past and has cause long periods of time before adoption by various users.

Data model impact

None

REST API impact

As described above there would be additional version information added to the GET /. These should be backwards compatible changes.

Otherwise there are no changes unless a client header as described is supplied as part of the request.

Security impact

None

Notifications impact

None

Other end user impact

SDK authors will need to start using the X-OpenStack-Cinder-API-Version header to get access to new features. The fact that new features will only be added in new versions will encourage them to do so.

python-cinderclient is in an identical situation and will need to be updated to support the new header in order to support new API features.

Performance Impact

None

Other deployer impact

None

Developer impact

This will affect how Cinder developers modify the REST API code and add new extensions. This will affect the Volume Manager and the ability to remove locks and instead return VolumeIsBusy for volumes in various -ing states.

Implementation

Assignee(s)

Primary assignee:
Scott DAngelo

Work Items

Dependencies

Any Cinder spec which makes backwards incompatible changes to the API is dependent on this spec

Testing

It is not feasible for tempest to test all possible combinations of the API supported by microversions. We will have to pick specific versions which are representative of what is implemented. The existing Cinder tempest tests will be used as the baseline for future API version testing.

Documentation Impact

Documents concerning the API will need to reflect these changes. These are begun in the WIP cinder code changes, and will live in cinder/api/openstack/rest_api_version_history.rst

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

Except where otherwise noted, this document is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. See all OpenStack Legal Documents.

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