[libvirt-users] [RFC] per-device metadata

Francesco Romani fromani at redhat.com
Fri Mar 17 15:08:40 UTC 2017

(sorry for the wrong list, I was unsure and I choose the wrong one :\)

On 03/16/2017 03:42 PM, Daniel P. Berrange wrote:
> On Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 01:46:38PM +0100, Peter Krempa wrote:
>> For techincal discussions on design it's better to post to the
>> development list.
>> On Mon, Feb 27, 2017 at 16:41:28 +0100, Francesco Romani wrote:
>>> Hi,
>> Hi,
>>> Currently libvirt supports metadata in the domain XML. This is very
>>> convenient for data related to the VM, but it is a little awkward for
>>> devices. Let's pretend I want to have extradata (say, a specific port
>>> for a virtual switch) related to a device (say, a NIC). Nowadays I can
>>> store that data in the metadata section, but I need some kind of mapping
>>> to correlate this piece of information to the specific device.
>>> I can use the device alias, but this is not available when the device is
>>> created. This is also more complex when doing hotplug/hotunplug, because
>>> I need to do update device and update metadata; if either fails, the
>>> entire operation must be considered failed.
>>> It would be nice to be able to attach metadata to the device, and this
>>> is what I'm asking for/proposing in this mail.
>>> Would it be possible in a future libvirt release?
>> In general I don't have a problem with this and if it would make the
>> life of mgmt tools easier I don't see a reason why not.
>> There's one problem though. For setter (or getter) APIs for the metadata
>> you need a way how to uniquely identify a device on which you want to
>> operate. There's no such way currently in use in libvirt so you need to
>> come up with something to do it.
> Once you have a reliable identifier for a device, it is not compelling
> to store metadata against each device as you can reliably identify the
> device from data in the existing metadata block. I don't find the
> atomicity argument very compelling, because even if hidden behind a
> single libvirt API, it is still fundamentally multiple operations in
> libvirt which are just as likely to fail as if the app did multiple
> libvirt API calls as we're not able to provide any kind of transactional
> guarantees here.

I see. From the consumer API perspective, it is still much more
convenient, but I understand this point.

> IOW, we could effectively solve this by assigning the device alias
> names at XML define time, instead of VM launch time. We historically
> didn't do this since we wanted to cope with old QEMU which didn't
> allow custom device aliases. We now mandate a new QEMU that supports
> -device, so that's no longer a problem. So I'd prefer to see us just
> define device aliases persistently and let apps use those to track
> metadata in the global metadata section.

For oVirt, being able to set aliases at XML define time is definitely
great news.

Currently we must resort to some heuristic after the first run to match
aliases with devices,
and we look forward to have a more reliable way.


Francesco Romani
Red Hat Engineering Virtualization R & D
IRC: fromani

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