Add distinction layer in domain model

To improve the stability and performance it is suggested to make changes in the domain by adding distinction layer, which will store all changes of the object and pass to DB only modified attributes.

Problem description

Current Glance Images v2 architectures have a defect associated with risks of race conditions arising under heavy load on the system. Here is an example of the race condition: Suppose an image has properties {"foo": "bar", "goo": "far"}. User1 wants to change {"foo": "baz"}. User2 wants to change {"goo": "yuck"}. If user1 and user2 make concurrent requests, they both get the same data to work with. Suppose user1’s change gets written first, resulting in: {"foo": "baz", "goo": "far"}. Then user2’s change is written, resulting in: {"foo": "bar", "goo": "yuck"}. User1’s change has been reverted, which is not desired behavior.

Besides this, there is an issue of unreasonably increased load on the database when updating. This problem occurs because all image fields are being updated each time whether they’ve been modified or not, so there is lots of unnecessary traffic on the database. Also there is an issue an issue with changing the status of the image.

These issues do not appear at low load, but in the future, with wider use, it can lead to serious problems, such as loss of information and unstable behaviour.

A more detailed description of the problems can be found on references [7] and [8].

Proposed change

When updating of image the original image is retrieved from the database. Distinction layer creates dict representation of modified image and compares it with the original one. Then it passes to DB layer dict of modified attributes.

Continuing the example from the previous section, consider the situation after user1’s update has been processed and {"foo": "baz"} in the database. User2’s distinction layer image record contains {"foo": "bar"}, since that was the state of the image when the fetch occurred. However, since user2’s change request doesn’t touch foo, only {"goo": "yuck"} will be written to the database. Thus the final image record will have {"foo": "baz", "goo": "yuck"} as both users intend. Of course, if user2 does actually change the value of foo, then user2’s change will be persisted in the database, but this is expected behavior.


There have been attempts to solve the problem using inheritance. References on commits [1], [2]. But commits were abandoned, because inheritance is contrary to the Glance design strategy of favoring flat hierarchies and preferring aggregation over inheritance.

Alternatively, it was suggested to forbid updates while an image is in “saving” state. But this idea was rejected, because images tend to be in status ‘saving’ for a relatively long period, and users expect to be able to modify the image record during this time. Also it fixes only a special case, when status is ‘saving’, but the whole problem with race conditions and unreasonably increased load on the database is still here.

Data model impact


REST API impact


Security impact


Notifications impact


Other end user impact


Performance Impact

Performance tests were conducted. We used the database: MySQL Ver 14.14 Distrib 5.5.47 We determined the time spent in update one parameter of image. Tests showed the dependence of the execution time of the number of requests. Test code is presented in [3].

We tested two versions of the code: 1) “master” branch; 2) commit “Add distinction layer” [6].

The results are presented in table [4] and graph [5].

Graph showed the dependence of the execution time of the number of requests: * Blue line - “master” branch; * Red line - commit “Add distinction layer” [6].

The testing concluded that the use of distinction layer accelerates update average of 34.54%.

Other deployer impact


Developer impact






mfedosin nikhil rosmaita

Work Items

  1. Implement distinction layer:
    1. Create a distinction layer and add it to ‘’

    2. Add classes ImageProxy, ImageRepoProxy, ImageFactoryProxy.

    3. Add to ImageRepoProxy class methods get, add, save.

    4. Add the class ImageRepoProxy additional methods to implement the logic.

    5. Make the appropriate changes in the ‘db/simple/’, ‘db/simple/’, ‘db/’.

  2. Add related functional and unit tests.

  3. Write a documentation about this layer.




Unit and functional tests will be added as appropriate.

Documentation Impact

All changes have to be described in detail in the related documentation section.