Pipeline Architecture


This feature enables flexible pipeline architecture to allow Searchlight to configure multiple publishers to consume enhanced data.

Problem Description

Currently when a notification comes to Searchlight, it gets processed in a notification handler. The handler enriches notifications in a number of ways and indexes enriched data into Elasticsearch. This is a simple and straightforward approach because Elasticsearch is the only storage backend in Searchlight now. As we are going to introduce notification forwarder [1], this process becomes inflexible. A pipeline architecture is needed to provide extra flexibility for users to define where enriched data is published to. It also allows Searchlight to support other non-elasticsearch backends in the future.

Proposed Change

We propose that Searchlight change to a pipeline architecture to provide flexibility for forwarding notifications.

The current main message flow in Searchlight is looking like the below: Source(Notifications) -> Enrichment&Index to Elasticsearch.

Currently notification handlers wait for notifications, transform them and index data into Elasticsearch. It’s tight coupled and not modular. A consistent workflow is needed.

With pipeline in place, the main message flow would look like: Source(Notifications) -> Data Transformer(Enrichment) -> Publishers(Elasticsearch, Zaqar).

To achieve this, some refactors to Searchlight are needed. Notification handlers focus solely on capturing supported notification events. After that, notifications are forwarded to data transformers. There are mainly two kinds of data transformation. One is to normalize a notification into an OpenStack resource payload. The payload is api compatible format without publisher additional metadata. The normalization is always done by either calling OpenStack API services or updating existing Elasticsearch data. These resource transformers are plugin-dependent. For example, a nova create instance notification could be normalized into a server info document. Besides resource data enrichment, there might be some publisher metadata to be attached, like user role field, parent child relationship, version in Elasticsearch. These transformations should be separated from resource data enrichment.

Publishers should implement a method to accept enriched data, notification information, as well as an action indicated resources CURD. For example, if a nova server has been updated, publishers in the pipeline will receive server full info, server update notification and an ‘update’ action. It is entirely up to the publisher to decide how to deal with those information.

We see Elasticsearch indexing as a case of publisher. It could be the default publisher because for some plugins resource update needs to fetch old documents from Elasticsearch, partial update doesn’t work without Elasticsearch, though in the future we may solve this issue. The order of publishers in the pipeline doesn’t matter. Publisher can choose how to deal with errors, either request a requeue or just ignore the exception. The requeue operation is especially useful for Elasticsearch publisher, because data integrity is important for search functions of Searchlight. Requeue should not affect other configured publishers, thus a filter is needed to make sure publishers won’t deliver same message twice.

Currently Searchlight gets its data in two ways, one is incremental updates via notifications, the other is full indexing to ElasticSearch via API calls. Incremental updates are notified to all the publishers configured in the pipeline. For reindexing, it is up to publishers to decide if they want reindexing or not.

There are two alternatives of pipeline design. One is the pipeline only consists of publishers. Notifications are normalized by resource transformer, then passed to configured publishers. Publishers could attach specific metadata inside themselves. Users can only control what publishers Searchlight data is heading for. Another alternative is make both transformers and publishers configurable. By combining different transformers and publishers, one can produce different pipeline on same notification.