Instance Upgrade

Trove needs to address how guest instances will update their database software, the Trove guest agent, and the underlying operating system. This blueprint proposes a technique which will allow guest instances to be updated by migrating the data volume to a new instance based on an updated guest image.

Launchpad Blueprint:

Problem Description

Trove creates a database instance by creating a nova instance from a provided operating system image and attaching a volume to the instance to hold the user’s data. By using a known image with the database software preconfigured, an operator can ensure that the user will receive a known version of database software, configured with an operating system certified to work with that version of database software. This technique eliminates many of the ambiguities of provisioning applications, allowing an operator to provide a published level of service to the database user.

Unfortunately, running database instances aren’t static over their lifetimes. Over time, it may be necessary for an instance to be upgraded with security patches, new database software, or updates to the Trove guest agent. The cloud operator and the end user must be provided with a way to migrate their databases to new operating environments.

In summary, there are a number of changes that a database instance might be subjected to over time, and this spec addresses applying these types of changes. These include (but are not necessarily limited to):

  • operating system security patches
  • database security patches
  • database version upgrades
  • Trove guest agent upgrades
  • OpenStack version upgrades
  • operating system upgrades

Proposed Change

The traditional approach to system upgrades is to simply execute system utilities such as “apt-get upgrade” to upgrade all or parts of a running system. For large installations, this technique could be automated by tools such as Ansible or Salt to apply the changes to many systems. This approach isn’t ideal for database-as-a-service as there is little control over which components are upgraded, and to which version; an update could leave a database instance in a state where the database does not operate properly, or could even cause the data itself to become corrupted.

It is crucial that Trove develop a method to update instances which provides a high probability of leaving the database in a safe, consistent, and usable state.

To ensure a safe, consistent state, this blueprint proposes a technique for upgrading an instance which transitions it from one known image to a new known image running updated software. The full state of each instance state will be known. At its core, this technique will involve detaching the volume containing the database data and attaching it to a new instance based on a different (updated) image.

The bulk of the “variable” data on a Trove instance exists on the attached volume where the database stores its data. There is also some operating system state which must be preserved during this transition, consisting primarily of networking data (the instance name and ip address), some Trove configuration data (guest_info.conf and trove-guestagent.conf), and the database configuration data (such as /etc/mysql).

The core of this technique will be based on the rebuild API provided by Nova. The Nova rebuild function upgrades a running instance to a new image, ensuring that the networking configuration is applied to the new instance. The newly created instance will come up with the same network configuration (ip, hostname, and Neutron configuration) as the instance from which it was created. Trove guest functionality will be added to allow the guest to capture additional state about the instance (primarily database configuration), and re-apply that state to the system after rebuild. The result will be a running, connectable database provisioned on a new instance running updated software.

The selection of image to upgrade to will be based on the current datastore_version mechanism. Essentially, the user will be allowed to upgrade an instance to a newer datastore_version of its datastore. Safeguards will be put in place to ensure that the user is selecting an appropriate datastore_version to upgrade to; for example, the user would only be allowed to upgrade a mysql instance from datastore_version 5.5 to 5.6, not to 5.0 or 6.7.


No configuration changes are planned.


A future blueprint will outline the changes necessary to support the upgrade constraints on datastore_versions; this specification will be limited to implementing the upgrade functionality without the constraints.

Public API

A new REST API call will be added in support of this functionality.

REST API: PATCH /instances/<instance id> REST body:

    "instance": {
        "datastore_version": "<datastore_version_uuid>"

REST result:


REST return codes:

202 - Accepted. 400 - BadRequest. Server could not understand request. 404 - Not Found. <datastore_version_id> not found.

Public API Security

There are no envisioned security implications.

Python API

A new method will be implemented in the trove API. This method will upgrade a instance to the image specified by the provided datastore_version.

upgrade(instance, datastore_version)
instance:the instance to upgrade
 the datastore version, or its id, to which the trove instance will be upgraded

CLI (python-troveclient)

A new CLI call will be implemented. This new call will upgrade a instance to the image specified by the provided datastore_version.

trove upgrade <instance> <datastore_version>
instance:the instance to upgrade
 the datastore version to which the instance will be upgraded

Internal API

A new method will be added in support of this functionality.

def upgrade(self, instance_id, datastore_version_id):
    LOG.debug("Making async call to upgrade guest to %s "
              % datastore_version_id)

    cctxt = self.client.prepare(version=self.version_cap)
    cctxt.cast(self.context, "upgrade", instance_id=instance_id,

Guest Agent

Two new operations will be implemented in the guest agent API. It is expected that each datastore will (optionally) override these methods to implement any needed functionality before and after the image upgrade proceeds. Mysql, for example, would use these methods to copy its configuration data from /etc/mysql to the data volume before the image upgrade, copying them back and restarting the mysql server after the image upgrade.

It is expected that the pre_upgrade method will validate that it is possible to perform the requested upgrade; for example, there may be a configuration override specified for an instance which is not compatible with the new datastore_version. In the event that an upgrade cannot be performed, the pre_upgrade method will raise an exception - any exception will cause the taskmanager to abort the upgrade process for that instance.

def pre_upgrade(self):
    """Prepare the guest for upgrade."""
    LOG.debug("Sending the call to prepare the guest for upgrade.")
    return self._call("pre_upgrade", AGENT_HIGH_TIMEOUT, self.version_cap)

def post_upgrade(self, upgrade_info):
    """Recover the guest after upgrading the guest's image."""
    LOG.debug("Recover the guest after upgrading the guest's image.")
    self._call("post_upgrade", AGENT_HIGH_TIMEOUT, self.version_cap)

Two mechanisms are available for the pre_upgrade to communicate information to the post_upgrade. First, the value returned from the pre_upgrade step is passed to the post_upgrade step as the upgrade_info parameter; the guest is free to use this value as it sees fit, though it would typically be used to exchange a dictionary of configuration data. The second mechanism the guest will use to pass information beween phases is by storing configuration data on the data volume; this would typically be used for large configuration files.

It is expected that if the Nova rebuild command does not return an exception before beginning the rebuild process, the rebuild will succeed. Should the rebuild fail, the instance will be moved to an ERROR state and no attempt will be made to recover the instance; operator intervention will be required. Should the post_upgrade return an exception, the instance will be transitioned to an ERROR state.


The alternative to upgrading images is to upgrade via apt-get or yum in the running instance. While this is the normal procedure for upgrading instances, it has undesired implications for Trove. Trove aims to provide a known service level, but upgrading a running instance has the potential to leave an instance in an unknown state. There could also be issues around installations which don’t allow trove instances to access the internet directly as trove would have to provide some mechanism for delivering all of the deb/rpm packages required to update an instance.

Dashboard Impact (UX)




Primary assignee:


Target Milestone for completion:

Work Items

This feature has been already been prototyped. The work required to bring the prototype in line with this spec is:

  • The prototype uses image id rather than datastore_version
  • add trove.upgrade.start/end/error notifications
  • implement unit tests
  • investigate if int-tests need to be updated for this feature
  • document the upgrade procedure

Upgrade Implications




Unit tests will be added as appropriate.

An int-test will be added that tests upgrading an instance to the image that it is already running.

Documentation Impact

The “trove upgrade” command, and its corresponding python API, will need to be documented.