Recently we introduced a Key/Value store in LINSTOR® and exposed it in a developer-friendly way in the Python API (python-linstor). The first question is why would one want such a Key/Value store in LINSTOR when there are many high performance implementations such as etcd. The request for a K/V store was mainly driven by LINSTOR plugin developers. For example many plugins need to store some kind of meta data like a description for a resource. Existing, non-LINSTOR plugins sometimes store such information in a local json file or in a file per resource. This, on one hand, is clumsy and on the other hand in a distributed system like DRBD® LINSTOR, the data needs be available on all nodes.
In LINSTOR a K/V store has a unique name (e.g., one per plugin) and it can store up to 510 bytes for a key, and 4096 bytes for the value. The implementation in python-linstor provides an interface that mimics a Python3 dictionary. In addition to the discussed unique name, the K/V store as implemented in the Python library also provides so called namespaces. One can think of a namespace as a UNIX directory structure where components of a path (i.e., the namespace) are separated by a /. In the following we show an example using the Python library:
import linstor kv = linstor.KV('myKV', namespace='/foo/bar/') kv['key'] = 'val' list(kv.items()) -> [('key', 'val')] kv.namespace = '/' list(kv.items()) -> [('/foo/bar/key', 'val')] kv['foo/baz/key'] = 'valbaz' kv.namespace = '/foo/bar' list(kv.items()) -> [('key', 'val')] # keys in /foo/baz not visible
Key/Value Store makes life easier
Developers already familiar with LINSTOR details might know there is a concept that sounds similar to what the K/V store can do, the so called “AUX props”. One can attach meta data to basically every LINSTOR object. While they sound similar, there are noteworthy differences:
• An AUX prop is tied to the according object. When the object is gone, the meta data is gone. This might be desired and can be an advantage.
• The K/V store exists as long as the LINSTOR cluster exists. Data is not attached to another LINSTOR object. Depending on the situation this might be an advantage compared to a plain AUX property.
• The K/V store has a much nicer interface. It just behaves like a Python dictionary.
• The K/V store and its namespace implementation make it a lot easier to store hierarchical data.
• Searching AUX props can be difficult: For example to find a specific AUX prop set on volume definition, one would have to iterate over the AUX props of.
All in all the K/V store makes the life of a plugin developer much easier. BTW: The text of this blog post easily fits into a single K/V pair 😀