Add connector object to create_export call

There are a good number of volume drivers in Cinder today, that are using initialize_connection to do the work of exporting a volume as a target to an initiator (nova compute host). One of the reasons that those drivers are doing that, is because the create_export method API doesn’t include the connector object being passed in. This spec outlines adding the connector object to the standard volume driver API for create_export.

Problem description

There are many drivers in Cinder today that are doing volume target exports inside of initialize_connection, instead of the create_export method. One of the reasons for this is a documented understanding of what the differences between these 2 methods is supposed to be. The other problem that prevents drivers from doing the work inside of create_export, is that create_export is missing the connector object coming from the initiator. Some backends require the connector object, which contains the initiator information, in order to export a target from their array. So, drivers end up moving all of that exporting code into initialize_connection, because that’s the only driver call that has the connector object.

The other issue with Cinder drivers doing the exporting of volume targets in initialize_connection, is that Nova calls initialize_connection repeatedly during other processes not involved with attaching a volume, such as live migration. Nova will call a driver’s initialize_connection simply to fetch the connection_information about an exported volume, not because it wants to attach a volume.

Use Cases

The main use case is attaching a volume. When someone calls Cinder to attach a volume, they eventually call the volume manager’s initialize_connection method. The volume manager’s initialize_connection method first calls create_export, with the intention of asking the driver to create a target that is exported from the array to an initiator. Then the volume manager calls the driver’s initialize_connection to fetch the target information to pass back to the caller, to discover the volume showing up.

Proposed change

The proposed change is simple. Add the already existing connector object in the call to create_export. This makes the connector object universally available to all drivers during create_export time. Then each driver can eventually be changed by each maintainer to do the target exporting, instead of during initialize_connection time.


We can do nothing, and ask that each driver maintainer be more careful about doing any creating of exports inside of initialize_connection if they already exist. This basically makes create_export useless and a noop for all of those drivers. I’d rather see every driver use each method as they were intended, so to make reviewing drivers more consistent across all of Cinder.

Data model impact


REST API impact


Security impact


Notifications impact


Other end user impact


Performance Impact

If driver developers move the creating of the exports into create_export, then any calls into initialize_connection should be faster, depending on the driver of course.

Other deployer impact


Developer impact

Once the connector object is available inside of create_export, then it’s possible for drivers to migrate their existing export creation code from initialize_connection into create_export. Reviewers should also be looking for this in existing and future reviews, and not approving drivers that ignore create_export.



Primary assignee:


Work Items

First is to update the base’s create_export method. Then each other driver that defines create_export will have to accept the new connector object.

Then the volume manager call to create_export will need to pass the connector.




Any and all Unit tests will need to be updated to note the new connector object parameter. Driver’s unit tests will need to be updated as well.

Documentation Impact



A lot of research has gone into this, due to the efforts of trying to make Nova live migration with cinder volumes work. There is an existing etherpad that talks about the known issues of Nova, Cinder interaction. That etherpad also lists out the Cinder drivers that have potential problems with live migration due to creating exports inside of initialize_connection.