Deriving TripleO Parameters

This specification proposes a generic interface for automatically populating environment files with parameters which were derived from formulas; where the formula’s input came from introspected hardware data, workload type, and deployment type. It also provides specific examples of how this interface may be used to improve deployment of overclouds to be used in DPDK or HCI usecases. Finally, it proposes how this generic interface may be shared and extended by operators who optionally chose to have certain parameters prescribed so that future systems tuning expertise may be integrated into TripleO.

Problem Description

Operators must populate parameters for a deployment which may be specific to hardware and deployment type. The hardware information of a node is available to the operator once the introspection of the node is completed. However, the current process requires that the operator manually read the introspected data, make decisions based on that data and then update the parameters in an environment file. This makes deployment preparation unnecessarily complex.

For example, when deploying for DPDK, the operator must provide the list of CPUs which should be assigned to the DPDK Poll Mode Driver (PMD) and the CPUs should be provided from the same NUMA node on which the DPDK interface is present. In order to provide the correct parameters, the operator must cross check all of these details.

Another example is the deployment of HCI overclouds, which run both Nova compute and Ceph OSD services on the same nodes. In order to prevent contention between compute and storage services, the operator may manually apply formulas, provided by performance tuning experts, which take into account available hardware, type of workload, and type of deployment, and then after computing the appropriate parameters based on those formulas, manually store them in environment files.

In addition to the complexity of the DPDK or HCI usecase, knowing the process to assign CPUs to the DPDK Poll Mode Driver or isolate compute and storage resources for HCI is, in itself, another problem. Rather than document the process and expect operators to follow it, the process should be captured in a high level language with a generic interface so that performance tuning experts may easily share new similar processes for other use cases with operators.

Proposed Change

This spec aims to make three changes to TripleO outlined below.

Mistral Workflows to Derive Parameters

A group of Mistral workflows will be added for the features which are complex to determine the deployment parameters. Features like DPDK, SR-IOV and HCI require, input from the introspection data to be analyzed to compute the deployment parameters. This derive parameters workflow will provide a default set of computational formulas by analyzing the introspected data. Thus, there will be a hard dependency with node introspection for this workflow to be successful.

During the first iterations, all the roles in a deployment will be analyzed to find a service associated with the role, which requires parameter derivation. Various options of using this and the final choice for the current iteration is discsused in below section Workflow Association with Services.

This workflow assumes that all the nodes in a role have a homegenous hardware specification and introspection data of the first node will be used for processing the parameters for the entire role. This will be reexamined in later iterations, based on the need for node specific derivations. The workflow will consider the flavor-profile association and nova placement scheduler to indentify the nodes associated with a role.

Role-specific parameters are an important requirement for this workflow. If there are multiple roles with the same service (feature) enabled, the parameters which are derived from this workflow will be applied only on the corresponding role.

The input sources for these workflows are the ironic database and ironic introspection data stored in Swift, in addition to the Deployment plan stored in Swift. Computations done to derive the parameters within the Mistral workflow will be implemented in YAQL. These computations will be a separate workflow on per feature basis so that the formulas can be customizable. If an operator has to modify the default formulas, he or she has to update only this workflow with customized formula.

Applying Derived Parameters to the Overcloud

In order for the resulting parameters to be applied to the overcloud, the deployment plan, which is stored in Swift on the undercloud, will be modified with the Mistral tripleo.parameters.update action or similar.

The methods for providing input for derivation and the update of parameters which are derivation output should be consistent with the Deployment Plan Management specification [1]. The implementation of this spec with respect to the interfaces to set and get parameters may change as it is updated. However, the basic workflow should remain the same.

Trigger Mistral Workflows with TripleO

Assuming that workflows are in place to derive parameters and update the deployment plan as described in the previous two sections, an operator may take advantage of this optional feature by enabling it via plan- environment.yaml. A new section workflow_parameters will be added to the plan-environments.yaml file to accomodate the additional parameters required for executing workflows. With this additional section, we can ensure that the workflow sepcific parameters are provide only to the workflow, without polluting the heat environments. It will also be possible to provide multiple plan environment files which will be merged in the CLI before plan creation.

These additional parameters will be read by the derive params workflow directly from the merged plan-environment.yaml file stored in Swift.

It is possible to modify the created plan or modify the profile-node association, after the derive parameters workflow execution. As of now, we assume that there no such alterations done, but it will be extended after the initial iteration, to fail the deployment with some validations.

An operator should be able to derive and view parameters without doing a deployment; e.g. “generate deployment plan”. If the calculation is done as part of the plan creation, it would be possible to preview the calculated values. Alternatively the workflow could be run independently of the overcloud deployment, but how that will fit with the UI workflow needs to be determined.

Usecase 1: Derivation of DPDK Parameters

A part of the Mistral workflow which uses YAQL to derive DPDK parameters based on introspection data, including NUMA [2], exists and may be seen on GitHub [3].

Usecase 2: Derivation Profiles for HCI

This usecase uses HCI, running Ceph OSD and Nova Compute on the same node. HCI derive parameters workflow works with a default set of configs to categorize the type of the workload that the role will host. An option will be provide to override the default configs with deployment specfic configs via plan- environment.yaml.

In case of HCI deployment, the additional plan environment used for the deployment will look like:

    # HCI Derive Parameters
    HciProfile: nfv-default
        average_guest_memory_size_in_mb: 2048
        average_guest_CPU_utilization_percentage: 50
        average_guest_memory_size_in_mb: 1024
        average_guest_CPU_utilization_percentage: 20
        average_guest_memory_size_in_mb: 4096
        average_guest_CPU_utilization_percentage: 80
        average_guest_memory_size_in_mb: 8192
        average_guest_CPU_utilization_percentage: 90

In the above example, the section workflow_parameters is used to provide input parameters for the workflow in order to isolate Nova and Ceph resources while maximizing performance for different types of guest workloads. An example of the derivation done with these inputs is provided in on GitHub [4].

Other Integration of Parameter Derivation with TripleO

Users may still override parameters

If a workflow derives a parameter, e.g. cpu_allocation_ratio, but the operator specified a cpu_allocation_ratio in their overcloud deploy, then the operator provided value is given priority over the derived value. This may be useful in a case where an operator wants all of the values that were derived but just wants to override a subset of those parameters.

Handling Cross Dependency Resources

It is possible that multiple workflows will end up deriving parameters based on the same resource (like CPUs). When this happens, it is important to have a specific order for the workflows to be run considering the priority.

For example, let us consider the resource CPUs and how it should be used between DPDK and HCI. DPDK requires a set of dedicated CPUs for Poll Mode Drivers (NeutronDpdkCoreList), which should not be used for host process (ComputeHostCpusList) and guest VM’s (NovaVcpuPinSet). HCI requires the CPU allocation ratio to be derived based on the number of CPUs that are available for guest VMs (NovaVcpuPinSet). Priority is given to DPDK, followed by HOST parameters and then HCI parameters. In this case, the workflow execution starts with a pool of CPUs, then:

  • DPDK: Allocate NeutronDpdkCoreList
  • HOST: Allocate ComputeHostCpusList
  • HOST: Allocate NovaVcpuPinSet
  • HCI: Fix the cpu allocation ratio based on NovaVcpuPinSet

Derived parameters for specific services or roles

If an operator only wants to configure Enhanced Placement Awareness (EPA) features like CPU pinning or huge pages, which are not associated with any feature like DPDK or HCI, then it should be associated with just the compute service.

Workflow Association with Services

The optimal way to assosciate the derived parameter workflows with services, is to get the list of the enabled services on a given role, by previewing Heat stack. With the current limitations in Heat, it is not possible fetch the enabled services list on a role. Thus, a new parameter will be introduced on the service which is associated with a derive parameters workflow. If this parameter is referenced in the heat resource tree, on a specific role, then the corresponding derive parameter workflow will be invoked. For example, the DPDK service will have a new parameter “EnableDpdkDerivation” to enable the DPDK specific workflows.

Future integration with TripleO UI

If this spec were implemented and merged, then the TripleO UI could have a menu item for a deployment, e.g. HCI, in which the deployer may choose a derivation profile and then deploy an overcloud with that derivation profile.

The UI could better integrate with this feature by allowing a deployer to use a graphical slider to vary an existing derivation profile and then save that derivation profile with a new name. The following cycle could be used by the deployer to tune the overcloud.

  • Choose a deployment, e.g. HCI
  • Choose an HCI profile, e.g. many_small_vms
  • Run the deployment
  • Benchmark the planned workload on the deployed overcloud
  • Use the sliders to change aspects of the derivation profile
  • Update the deployment and re-run the benchmark
  • Repeat as needed
  • Save the new derivation profile as the one to be deployed in the field

The implementation of this spec would enable the TripleO UI to support the above.


The simplest alternative is for operators to determine what tunings are appropriate by testing or reading documentation and then implement those tunings in the appropriate Heat environment files. For example, in an HCI scenario, an operator could run [4] and then create a Heat environment file like the following with its output and then deploy the overcloud and directly reference this file:

    nova::compute::reserved_host_memory: 75000
    nova::cpu_allocation_ratio: 8.2

This could translate into a variety of overrides which would require initiative on the operator’s part.

Another alternative is to write separate tools which generate the desired Heat templates but don’t integrate them with TripleO. For example, and similar, would produce a set of Heat environment files as output which the operator would then include instead of output containing the following:

  • nova.conf reserved_host_memory_mb = 75000 MB
  • nova.conf cpu_allocation_ratio = 8.214286

When evaluating the above, keep in mind that only two parameters for CPU allocation and memory are being provided as an example, but that a tuned deployment may contain more.

Security Impact

There is no security impact from this change as it sits at a higher level to automate, via Mistral and Heat, features that already exist.

Other End User Impact

Operators need not manually derive the deployment parameters based on the introspection or hardware specficiation data, as it is automatically derived with pre-defined formulas.

Performance Impact

The deployment and update of an overcloud may take slightly longer if an operator uses this feature because an additional Mistral workflow needs to run to perform some analytics before applying configuration updates. However, the performance of the overcloud would be improved because this proposal aims to make it easier to tune the overcloud for performance.

Other Deployer Impact

A new configuration option is being added, but it has to be explicitly enabled, and thus it would not take immediate effect after its merged. Though, if a deployer chooses to use it and there is a bug in it, then it could affect the overcloud deployment. If a deployer uses this new option, and had a deploy in which they set a parameter directly, e.g. the Nova cpu_allocation_ratio, then that parameter may be overridden by a particular tuning profile. So that is something a deployer should be aware of when using this proposed feature.

The config options being added will ship with a variety of defaults based on deployments put under load in a lab. The main idea is to make different sets of defaults, which were produced under these conditions, available. The example discussed in this proposal and to be made available on completion could be extended.

Developer Impact

This spec proposes modifying the deployment plan which, if there was a bug, could introduce problems into a deployment. However, because the new feature is completely optional, a developer could easily disable it.



Primary assignees:
skramaja fultonj
Other contributors:
jpalanis abishop shardy gfidente

Work Items

  • Derive Params start workflow to find list of roles
  • Workflow run for each role to fetch the introspection data and trigger individual features workflow
  • Workflow to indentify if a service associated with a features workflow is enabled in a role
  • DPDK Workflow: Analysis and concluding the format of the input data (jpalanis)
  • DPDK Workflow: Parameter deriving workflow (jpalanis)
  • HCI Workflow: Run a workflow that calculates the parameters (abishop)
  • SR-IOV Workflow
  • EPA Features Workflow
  • Run the derive params workflow from CLI
  • Add CI scenario testing if workflow with produced expected output


  • NUMA Topology in introspection data (ironic-python-agent) [5]


Create a new scenario in the TripleO CI in which a deployment is done using all of the available options within a derivation profile called all-derivation-options. A CI test would need to be added that would test this new feature by doing the following:

  • A deployment would be done with the all-derivation-options profile
  • The deployment would be checked that all of the configurations had been made
  • If the configuration changes are in place, then the test passed
  • Else the test failed

Relating the above to the HCI usecase, the test could verify one of two options:

  1. A Heat environment file created with the following syntactically valid Heat:

        nova::compute::reserved_host_memory: 75000
        nova::cpu_allocation_ratio: 8.2
  2. The compute node was deployed such that the commands below return something like the following:

    [root@overcloud-osd-compute-0 ~]# grep reserved_host_memory /etc/nova/nova.conf
    [root@overcloud-osd-compute-0 ~]# grep cpu_allocation_ratio /etc/nova/nova.conf
    [root@overcloud-osd-compute-0 ~]#

Option 1 would put less load on the CI infrastructure and produce a faster test but Option 2 tests the full scenario.

If a new derived parameter option is added, then the all-derivation-options profile would need to be updated and the test would need to be updated to verify that the new options were set.

Documentation Impact

A new chapter would be added to the TripleO document on deploying with derivation profiles.