Reload configuration files on SIGHUP signal

Reload configuration files on SIGHUP signal

We propose to eliminate the need to restart the glance api service when configuration files are modified. Operator can send SIGHUP signal to glance service which will reload the configuration file.

Problem description

In a production environment, an administrator will modify the glance-api.conf configuration parameters like filesystem_store_datadirs when the storage is almost full to add more capacity by adding more disks, or to increase the number of workers or log configuration etc. Then they need to restart the glance services explicitly for these changes to be loaded. Restarting service would break users connected to it which is not good from users point of view.

Proposed change

Add the ability to dynamically change configuration settings of a running glance server with no impact to service.

A running glance server consists of a parent process and one or more child processes.

On receipt of a SIGHUP signal the parent process will:

  • reload the configuration
  • send a SIGHUP to the original child processes
  • start new child processes with the new configuration
  • its listening socket will not be closed

On receipt of a SIGHUP signal each original child process will:

  • close the listening socket so as not to accept new requests
  • complete any in-flight requests
  • exit

This approach is based on nginx’s behaviour and avoids some of the disadvantages of the current oslo’s Launcher reload:

  • Race conditions: Launcher does not shutdown eventlet cleanly, existing requests can fail.
  • If all child processes are busy there can be a lengthy delay when new requests are not processed.
  • Long lived pre-SIGHUP idle client connections can stall request processing indefinitely.
  • Not all parameters can be changed, eg number of workers.
  • The wsgi pipeline cannot be changed, for example to enable caching.


An alternative may be to attempt to save and then restore long running tasks using taskflow. The process restart would then only need to deal with short lived requests (e.g. API DB lookups) and then no user visible downtime is required for regular restarts

Data model impact


REST API impact


Security impact


Notifications impact


Other end user impact


Performance Impact

If the reload takes too long (e.g., >50ms) then the API requests will be noticeably delayed.

We are proposing current worker processes to stop accepting requests and continue with what they are doing, while the parent process starts and spawn new child processes with the new configuration. So there is a possibility that the glance node will be running twice as many child processes as it is configured to run for a while. It could impact performance, especially if it is an underpowered node that is already configured to run as many child processes as it can handle without degradation.

In the author’s opinion, it is the responsibility of the operator to make sure the node will not be over-provisioned with child processes (workers). If an operator wants to run a node with no headroom for additional child processes, the author suggests that such an operator not use dynamic configuration via SIGHUP. Instead, such an operator should use the old fashioned technique of restarting the api service.

Other deployer impact

Need to document the impact of config changes for some params like workers, host, port etc.

Developer impact




Primary assignee:
Other contributors:


Core reviewer(s):
nikhil-komawar flaper87
Other reviewer(s):

Work Items

  • Add handler for SIGHUP signal
  • Reload configuration parameters
  • Unit and functional tests for coverage





Documentation Impact

Please refer to Other deployer impact

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Glance Specs