Expose backend hints in the port API, hint ovs-tx-steering

RFE: https://bugs.launchpad.net/neutron/+bug/1990842

Introduce a port attribute that allows passing in backend specific hints mainly to allow backend specific performance tuning.

Problem Description

Some of our performance sensitive users would like to tweak Open vSwitch’s Tx packet steering option [1] under OpenStack.

This is available since Open vSwitch v2.17.0. [2], [3]

Proposed Change

We propose to introduce two new extension: port-hints and port-hint-ovs-tx-steering.

The purpose of decomposing this feature to two extensions is extensibility: to allow other hints in the future. port-hints signals the presence of a new port attribute, for details see below. port-hint-foobar signals what values of the new port attribute (or which is the same: what hints) are known to a Neutron instance.

port-hints adds a new port attribute: hints. Its default policy is admin_only. Its value is a dict (by default empty). The dict is keyed by the standard mechanism driver aliases as in [4]. This spec allows only a single key: openvswitch. Other keys for other mechanism drivers may be introduced by later specs. The value for a mechanism_driver is possibly a complex structure, but at least a dict on the top level. In this spec we only partially define its format - introducing one hint. This is marked by the second extension port-hint-ovs-tx-steering. Definition of other hints is left to future specs. Here consider this partial body for a create port request:

    "port": {
        "hints": {
            "openvswitch": {"other_config": {"tx-steering": "thread"|"hash"}}}

Everything in hints is interpreted not as a demand, but as a suggestion. That is, neutron is free to ignore some or all of the requested hints without returning an error response or putting the port into an error status. Particularly neutron is free to ignore the requested hints when the port is bound by a different mechanism driver.

hints can be set at port create or update, but there’s no guarantee that an update to the hints after the port was bound will have any effect.

hints is intentionally not named binding:hints and it should not be affecting the binding process and decision.

In the openstack CLI we propose to expose the above API feature as:

openstack port create/set --hint HINT-ALIAS=HINT-VALUE [--hint ...] ...
openstack port unset --hints ...

For example:

openstack port create --hint ovs-tx-steering=thread ...
openstack port create --hint ovs-tx-steering=hash ...

The above CLI syntax allows key:value type hints, and can be extended to allow boolean hints if needed. There is an arbitrary but documented mapping between a HINT-ALIAS=HINT-VALUE and the fully fledged data structure passed to the API. The openstack CLI also allows an arbitrary JSON value in the –hint parameter which it passes to the API as-is.

Given the ovs-tx-steering hint passed in, ovs-agent can set the corresponding OVS interface’s other_config (using the python native interface of course, not ovs-vsctl):

sudo ovs-vsctl set Interface ovs-interface-of-the-port other_config:tx-steering=thread
sudo ovs-vsctl set Interface ovs-interface-of-the-port other_config:tx-steering=hash

The default value of hint ovs-tx-steering is thread.

API Impact

Add a new admin_only field to the port resource called hints. This field can be present in GET, POST and PUT requests. This field cannot be longer than 4095 characters. For its semantics, please see above.

DB Impact

Introduce a new table porthints and autojoin it with the ports table.

Client Impact

Relevant changes in osc and openstacksdk.


  • Unit tests.

  • Tempest tests in neutron-tempest-plugin.