Non Disruptive Backup

Currently a backup operation can only be performed when a volume is detached. This blueprint proposes to use a temporary snapshot or volume to do non-disruptive backup.

Problem description

If a volume is attached, it has to be detached first before it can be backed up. This is not efficient and it disrupts normal operations by cloud users just to do a backup.

Use Cases

The use case is that an end user would like to do a backup without detaching the volume.

Proposed change

For an attached volume, taking a temporary snapshot is usually less expensive than creating a whole temporary volume. If we can attach the snapshot and read it directly, we do not have to create another temporary volume. It is quicker to complete the backup this way.

If a driver has not implemented attach snapshot and does not have a way to read from a snapshot, we can create a temporary volume from the attached source volume, and backup the temporary volume.

For the LVM driver, because the backup service is on the same node as the volume driver, we can just read the local path of the temporary snapshot after it is created from the attached source volume. We will create a temporary snapshot, but there is no need to attach snapshot for LVM.

In the future, if the backup service can be on a different node than the volume driver, then we can look into whether to do attach snapshot for LVM as well, however, there are concerns that introducing the attach snapshot logic will complicate the LVM code. This is for the future, so it can be decided later.

This proposal will be implemented in multiple steps.

Step 1:

For the LVM driver, take a temporary snapshot of the attached volume and back it up.

  • Take a temporary snapshot

  • Do backup from the local path of the temporary snapshot

  • Cleanup temporary snapshot

For other drivers, provide a default implementation by creating a temporary volume and backing it up.

  • Create a temporary volume from the source volume

  • Attach the temporary volume

  • Do backup from the temporary volume

  • Detach the temporary volume

  • Cleanup temporary volume

Note: If the volume is not attached, it will be backed up the same way as before.

Step 2:

Provide a more optimized way for other drivers to use a temporary snapshot to backup an attached volume. For drivers that cannot read from a local path of a snapshot, we need to define an interface for attaching a snapshot, similar to attaching a volume.

  • Take a temporary snapshot

  • Attach the temporary snapshot

  • Do backup from the temporary snapshot

  • Detach the temporary snapshot

  • Cleanup temporary snapshot

Step 3 (future):

If the backup service can use the volume driver on a remote node in the future, we can provide a way for the call to happen through RPC. This is similar to step 2, except that it will call the volume manager on a remote node using RPC API to attach snapshot.


There are a couple of alternatives:

  • Detach the volume and back it up.

  • Take a snapshot of the attached volume, create a volume from the snapshot and then back it up.

Data model impact

Step 1:

Add the following new columns to the backups table for the temporary volume and snapshot id:

temp_volume_id = Column(String(36)) temp_snapshot_id = Column(String(36))

Add the following new column to the volumes table to persist the status of a volume before it is changed to ‘backing-up’ status. This will be used to restore the volume status back to either ‘available’ or ‘in-use’ after the backup is complete. This is also used for cleaning up failed backups when the backup service is restarted. This is because the cleanup procedure is different for ‘available’ and ‘in-use’ volumes.

previous_status = Column(String(255))

Step 2:

Add the following new column to the snapshots table. The snapshots table already has provider_id and provider_location like the volumes table. This provider_auth column is needed to save the authentication data when a target is created for the snapshot. This is needed if we want to attach the snapshot.

provider_auth = Column(String(255))

REST API impact

Step 1:

Change the existing create backup API to take a force flag. If the volume is ‘in-use’, the force flag has to be True. By default it is False. The force flag is not needed for ‘available’ volumes.

  • Create backup * V2/<tenant id>/backups * Method: POST * JSON schema definition for V2:

            "display_name": "nightly001",  # existing
            "display_description": "Nightly backup",  # existing
            "volume_id": "xxxxxxxx",  # existing
            "container": "nightlybackups",
            "force": True,  # new

Step 2:

The following driver APIs will be added to support attach snapshot and detach snapshot.

attach snapshot:

def _attach_snapshot(self, context, snapshot, properties,
def create_export_snapshot(self, conext, snapshot)
def initialize_connection_snapshot(self, snapshot, properties,
                                   ** kwargs)

detach snapshot:

def _detach_snapshot(self, context, attach_info, snapshot,
                     properties, force=False, remote=False)
def terminate_connection_snapshot(self, snapshot, properties,
                                  ** kwargs)
def remove_export_snapshot(self, context, snapshot)

Alternatively we can use an is_snapshot flag for volume and snapshot to share common code without adding new functions, but it will make the code confusing and hard to read. So there is a trade off between reducing code duplication and increasing code readibilty here.

Security impact


Notifications impact


Other end user impact

End user will be able to create a backup without detaching the volume.

Performance Impact

No obvious performance impact.

If we can attach the snapshot and back it up with the proposed change, it will be cleaner and easier than manually taking a snapshot, creating a volume from the snapshot, and then backing it up and deleting it.

Other deployer impact

The deployer will be able to backup an attached volume.

Developer impact

Driver developers can implement the proposed new driver APIs for more efficient backup. This is not required though. A default implementation will be provided to create a temporary volume from the source volume as discussed earlier.



Primary assignee:


Other contributors:


Work Items




Unit tests will be provided.

Documentation Impact

Documentation will be modified to describe this feature.