thin LVHD storage

Design document
Revision v3
Status proposed
Review create new issue

LVHD is a block-based storage system built on top of Xapi and LVM. LVHD disks are represented as LVM LVs with vhd-format data inside. When a disk is snapshotted, the LVM LV is “deflated” to the minimum-possible size, just big enough to store the current vhd data. All other disks are stored “inflated” i.e. consuming the maximum amount of storage space. This proposal describes how we could add dynamic thin-provisioning to LVHD such that

  • disks only consume the space they need (plus an adjustable small overhead)
  • when a disk needs more space, the allocation can be done locally in the common-case; in particular there is no network RPC needed
  • when the resource pool master host has failed, allocations can still continue, up to some limit, allowing time for the master host to be recovered; in particular there is no need for very low HA timeouts.
  • we can (in future) support in-kernel block allocation through the device mapper dm-thin target.

The following diagram shows the “Allocation plane”:

Allocation plane

All VM disk writes are channelled through tapdisk which keeps track of the remaining reserved space within the device mapper device. When the free space drops below a “low-water mark”, tapdisk sends a message to a local per-SR daemon called local-allocator and requests more space.

The local-allocator maintains a free pool of blocks available for allocation locally (hence the name). It will pick some blocks and transactionally send the update to the xenvmd process running on the SRmaster via the shared ring (labelled ToLVM queue in the diagram) and update the device mapper tables locally.

There is one xenvmd process per SR on the SRmaster. xenvmd receives local allocations from all the host shared rings (labelled ToLVM queue in the diagram) and combines them together, appending them to a redo-log also on shared storage. When xenvmd notices that a host’s free space (represented in the metadata as another LV) is low it allocates new free blocks and pushes these to the host via another shared ring (labelled FromLVM queue in the diagram).

The xenvmd process maintains a cache of the current VG metadata for fast query and update. All updates are appended to the redo-log to ensure they operate in O(1) time. The redo log updates are periodically flushed to the primary LVM metadata.

Since the operations are stored in the redo-log and will only be removed after the real metadata has been written, the implication is that it is possible for the operations to be performed more than once. This will occur if the xenvmd process exits between flushing to the real metadata and acknowledging the operations as completed. For this to work as expected, every individual operation stored in the redo-log must be idempotent.

Note on running out of blocks

Note that, while the host has plenty of free blocks, local allocations should be fast. If the master fails and the local free pool starts running out and tapdisk asks for more blocks, then the local allocator won’t be able to provide them. tapdisk should start to slow I/O in order to provide the local allocator more time. Eventually if tapdisk runs out of space before the local allocator can satisfy the request then guest I/O will block. Note Windows VMs will start to crash if guest I/O blocks for more than 70s. Linux VMs, no matter PV or HVM, may suffer from “block for more than 120 seconds” issue due to slow I/O. This known issue is that, slow I/O during dirty pages writeback/flush may cause memory starvation, then other userland process or kernel threads would be blocked.

The following diagram shows the control-plane:

control plane

When thin-provisioning is enabled we will be modifying the LVM metadata at an increased rate. We will cache the current metadata in the xenvmd process and funnel all queries through it, rather than “peeking” at the metadata on-disk. Note it will still be possible to peek at the on-disk metadata but it will be out-of-date. Peeking can still be used to query the PV state of the volume group.

The xenvm CLI uses a simple RPC interface to query the xenvmd process, tunnelled through xapi over the management network. The RPC interface can be used for

  • activating volumes locally: xenvm will query the LV segments and program device mapper
  • deactivating volumes locally
  • listing LVs, PVs etc

Note that current LVHD requires the management network for these control-plane functions.

When the SM backend wishes to query or update volume group metadata it should use the xenvm CLI while thin-provisioning is enabled.

The xenvmd process shall use a redo-log to ensure that metadata updates are persisted in constant time and flushed lazily to the regular metadata area.

Tunnelling through xapi will be done by POSTing to the localhost URI

/services/xenvmd/<SR uuid>

Xapi will the either proxy the request transparently to the SRmaster, or issue an http level redirect that the xenvm CLI would need to follow.

If the xenvmd process is not running on the host on which it should be, xapi will start it.

Components: roles and responsibilities


  • one per plugged SRmaster PBD
  • owns the LVM metadata
  • provides a fast query/update API so we can (for example) create lots of LVs very fast
  • allocates free blocks to hosts when they are running low
  • receives block allocations from hosts and incorporates them in the LVM metadata
  • can safely flush all updates and downgrade to regular LVM


  • a CLI which talks the xenvmd protocol to query / update LVs
  • can be run on any host, calls (except “format” and “upgrade”) are forwarded by xapi
  • can “format” a LUN to prepare it for xenvmd
  • can “upgrade” a LUN to prepare it for xenvmd


  • one per plugged PBD
  • exposes a simple interface to tapdisk for requesting more space
  • receives free block allocations via a queue on the shared disk from xenvmd
  • sends block allocations to xenvmd and updates the device mapper target locally


  • monitors the free space inside LVs and requests more space when running out
  • slows down I/O when nearly out of space


  • provides authenticated communication tunnels
  • ensures the xenvmd daemons are only running on the correct hosts.


  • writes the configuration file for xenvmd (though doesn’t start it)
  • has an on/off switch for thin-provisioning
  • can use either normal LVM or the xenvm CLI


  • configures and manages the connections between xenvmd and the local_allocator

Queues on the shared disk

The local_allocator communicates with xenvmd via a pair of queues on the shared disk. Using the disk rather than the network means that VMs will continue to run even if the management network is not working. In particular

  • if the (management) network fails, VMs continue to run on SAN storage
  • if a host changes IP address, nothing needs to be reconfigured
  • if xapi fails, VMs continue to run.

Logical messages in the queues

The local_allocator needs to tell the xenvmd which blocks have been allocated to which guest LV. xenvmd needs to tell the local_allocator which blocks have become free. Since we are based on LVM, a “block” is an extent, and an “allocation” is a segment i.e. the placing of a physical extent at a logical extent in the logical volume.

The local_allocator needs to send a message with logical contents:

  • volume: a human-readable name of the LV
  • segments: a list of LVM segments which says “place physical extent x at logical extent y using a linear mapping”.

Note this message is idempotent.

The xenvmd needs to send a message with logical contents:

  • extents: a list of physical extents which are free for the host to use

Although for internal housekeeping xenvmd will want to assign these physical extents to logical extents within the host’s free LV, the local_allocator doesn’t need to know the logical extents. It only needs to know the set of blocks which it is free to allocate.

Starting up the local_allocator

What happens when a local_allocator (re)starts, after a

  • process crash, respawn
  • host crash, reboot?

When the local_allocator starts up, there are 2 cases:

  1. the host has just rebooted, there are no attached disks and no running VMs
  2. the process has just crashed, there are attached disks and running VMs

Case 1 is uninteresting. In case 2 there may have been an allocation in progress when the process crashed and this must be completed. Therefore the operation is journalled in a local filesystem in a directory which is deliberately deleted on host reboot (Case 1). The allocation operation consists of:

  1. pushing the allocation to xenvmd on the SRmaster
  2. updating the device mapper

Note that both parts of the allocation operation are idempotent and hence the whole operation is idempotent. The journalling will guarantee it executes at-least-once.

When the local_allocator starts up it needs to discover the list of free blocks. Rather than have 2 code paths, it’s best to treat everything as if it is a cold start (i.e. no local caches already populated) and to ask the master to resync the free block list. The resync is performed by executing a “suspend” and “resume” of the free block queue, and requiring the remote allocator to:

  • pop all block allocations and incorporate these updates
  • send the complete set of free blocks “now” (i.e. while the queue is suspended) to the local allocator.

Starting xenvmd

xenvmd needs to know

  • the device containing the volume group
  • the hosts to “connect” to via the shared queues

The device containing the volume group should be written to a config file when the SR is plugged.

xenvmd does not remember which hosts it is listening to across crashes, restarts or master failovers. The membership_monitor will keep the xenvmd list in sync with the PBD.currently_attached fields.

Shutting down the local_allocator

The local_allocator should be able to crash at any time and recover afterwards. If the user requests a PBD.unplug we can perform a clean shutdown by:

  • signalling xenvmd to suspend the block allocation queue
  • arranging for the local_allocator to acknowledge the suspension and exit
  • when the xenvmd sees the acknowlegement, we know that the local_allocator is offline and it doesn’t need to poll the queue any more

Downgrading metadata

xenvmd can be terminated at any time and restarted, since all compound operations are journalled.

Downgrade is a special case of shutdown. To downgrade, we need to stop all hosts allocating and ensure all updates are flushed to the global LVM metadata. xenvmd can shutdown by:

  • shutting down all local_allocators (see previous section)
  • flushing all outstanding block allocations to the LVM redo log
  • flushing the LVM redo log to the global LVM metadata

Queues as rings

We can use a simple ring protocol to represent the queues on the disk. Each queue will have a single consumer and single producer and reside within a single logical volume.

To make diagnostics simpler, we can require the ring to only support push and pop of whole messages i.e. there can be no partial reads or partial writes. This means that the producer and consumer pointers will always point to valid message boundaries.

One possible format used by the prototype is as follows:

  • sector 0: a magic string
  • sector 1: producer state
  • sector 2: consumer state
  • sector 3…: data

Within the producer state sector we can have:

  • octets 0-7: producer offset: a little-endian 64-bit integer
  • octet 8: 1 means “suspend acknowledged”; 0 otherwise

Within the consumer state sector we can have:

  • octets 0-7: consumer offset: a little-endian 64-bit integer
  • octet 8: 1 means “suspend requested”; 0 otherwise

The consumer and producer pointers point to message boundaries. Each message is prefixed with a 4 byte length and padded to the next 4-byte boundary.

To push a message onto the ring we need to

  • check whether the message is too big to ever fit: this is a permanent error
  • check whether the message is too big to fit given the current free space: this is a transient error
  • write the message into the ring
  • advance the producer pointer

To pop a message from the ring we need to

  • check whether there is unconsumed space: if not this is a transient error
  • read the message from the ring and process it
  • advance the consumer pointer

Journals as queues

When we journal an operation we want to guarantee to execute it never or at-least-once. We can re-use the queue implementation by pushing a description of the work item to the queue and waiting for the item to be popped, processed and finally consumed by advancing the consumer pointer. The journal code needs to check for unconsumed data during startup, and to process it before continuing.

Suspending and resuming queues

During startup (resync the free blocks) and shutdown (flush the allocations) we need to suspend and resume queues. The ring protocol can be extended to allow the consumer to suspend the ring by:

  • the consumer asserts the “suspend requested” bit
  • the producer push function checks the bit and writes “suspend acknowledged”
  • the producer also periodically polls the queue state and writes “suspend acknowledged” (to catch the case where no items are to be pushed)
  • after the producer has acknowledged it will guarantee to push no more items
  • when the consumer polls the producer’s state and spots the “suspend acknowledged”, it concludes that the queue is now suspended.

The key detail is that the handshake on the ring causes the two sides to synchronise and both agree that the ring is now suspended/ resumed.

Modelling the suspend/resume protocol

To check that the suspend/resume protocol works well enough to be used to resynchronise the free blocks list on a slave, a simple promela model was created. We model the queue state as 2 boolean flags:

bool suspend /* suspend requested */
bool suspend_ack /* suspend acknowledged *./

and an abstract representation of the data within the ring:

/* the queue may have no data (none); a delta or a full sync.
   the full sync is performed immediately on resume. */
mtype = { sync delta none }
mtype inflight_data = none

There is a “producer” and a “consumer” process which run forever, exchanging data and suspending and resuming whenever they want. The special data item sync is only sent immediately after a resume and we check that we never desynchronise with asserts:

  :: (inflight_data != none) ->
    /* In steady state we receive deltas */
    assert (suspend_ack == false);
    assert (inflight_data == delta);
    inflight_data = none

i.e. when we are receiving data normally (outside of the suspend/resume code) we aren’t suspended and we expect deltas, not full syncs.

The model-checker spin verifies this property holds.

Interaction with HA

Consider what will happen if a host fails when HA is disabled:

  • if the host is a slave: the VMs running on the host will crash but no other host is affected.
  • if the host is a master: allocation requests from running VMs will continue provided enough free blocks are cached on the hosts. If a host eventually runs out of free blocks, then guest I/O will start to block and VMs may eventually crash.

Therefore we recommend that users enable HA and only disable it for short periods of time. Note that, unlike other thin-provisioning implementations, we will allow HA to be disabled.

Host-local LVs

When a host calls SMAPI sr_attach, it will use xenvm to tell xenvmd on the SRmaster to connect to the local_allocator on the host. The xenvmd daemon will create the volumes for queues and a volume to represent the “free blocks” which a host is allowed to allocate.


The xenvmd process should export RRD datasources over shared memory named

  • sr_<SR uuid>_<host uuid>_free: the number of free blocks in the local cache. It’s useful to look at this and verify that it doesn’t usually hit zero, since that’s when allocations will start to block. For this reason we should use the MIN consolidation function.
  • sr_<SR uuid>_<host uuid>_requests: a counter of the number of satisfied allocation requests. If this number is too high then the quantum of allocation should be increased. For this reason we should use the MAX consolidation function.
  • sr_<SR uuid>_<host uuid>_allocations: a counter of the number of bytes being allocated. If the allocation rate is too high compared with the number of free blocks divided by the HA timeout period then the SRmaster-allocator should be reconfigured to supply more blocks with the host.

Modifications to tapdisk

TODO: to be updated by Germano

tapdisk will be modified to

  • on open: discover the current maximum size of the file/LV (for a file we assume there is no limit for now)
  • read a low-water mark value from a config file /etc/tapdisk3.conf
  • read a very-low-water mark value from a config file /etc/tapdisk3.conf
  • read a Unix domain socket path from a config file /etc/tapdisk3.conf
  • when there is less free space available than the low-water mark: connect to Unix domain socket and write an “extend” request
  • upon receiving the “extend” response, re-read the maximum size of the file/LV
  • when there is less free space available than the very-low-water mark: start to slow I/O responses and write a single ‘error’ line to the log.

The extend request

TODO: to be updated by Germano

The request has the following format:

Octet offsets Name Description
0,1 tl Total length (including this field) of message (in network byte order)
2 type The value ‘0’ indicating an extend request
3 nl The length of the LV name in octets, including NULL terminator
4,..,4+nl-1 name The LV name
4+nl,..,12+nl-1 vdi_size The virtual size of the logical VDI (in network byte order)
12+nl,..,20+nl-1 lv_size The current size of the LV (in network byte order)
20+nl,..,28+nl-1 cur_size The current size of the vhd metadata (in network byte order)

The extend response

The response is a single byte value “0” which is a signal to re-examime the LV size. The request will block indefinitely until it succeeds. The request will block for a long time if

  • the SR has genuinely run out of space. The admin should observe the existing free space graphs/alerts and perform an SR resize.
  • the master has failed and HA is disabled. The admin should re-enable HA or fix the problem manually.

The local_allocator

There is one local_allocator process per plugged PBD. The process will be spawned by the SM sr_attach call, and shutdown from the sr_detach call.

The local_allocator accepts the following configuration (via a config file):

  • socket: path to a local Unix domain socket. This is where the local_allocator listens for requests from tapdisk
  • allocation_quantum: number of megabytes to allocate to each tapdisk on request
  • local_journal: path to a block device or file used for local journalling. This should be deleted on reboot.
  • free_pool: name of the LV used to store the host’s free blocks
  • devices: list of local block devices containing the PVs
  • to_LVM: name of the LV containing the queue of block allocations sent to xenvmd
  • from_LVM: name of the LV containing the queue of messages sent from xenvmd. There are two types of messages:
    1. Free blocks to put into the free pool
    2. Cap requests to remove blocks from the free pool.

When the local_allocator process starts up it will read the host local journal and

  • re-execute any pending allocation requests from tapdisk
  • suspend and resume the from_LVM queue to trigger a full retransmit of free blocks from xenvmd

The procedure for handling an allocation request from tapdisk is:

  1. if there aren’t enough free blocks in the free pool, wait polling the from_LVM queue
  2. choose a range of blocks to assign to the tapdisk LV from the free LV
  3. write the operation (i.e. exactly what we are about to do) to the journal. This ensures that it will be repeated if the allocator crashes and restarts. Note that, since the operation may be repeated multiple times, it must be idempotent.
  4. push the block assignment to the toLVM queue
  5. suspend the device mapper device
  6. add/modify the device mapper target
  7. resume the device mapper device
  8. remove the operation from the local journal (i.e. there’s no need to repeat it now)
  9. reply to tapdisk

Shutting down the local-allocator

The SM sr_detach called from PBD.unplug will use the xenvm CLI to request that xenvmd disconnects from a host. The procedure is:

  1. SM calls xenvm disconnect host
  2. xenvm sends an RPC to xenvmd tunnelled through xapi
  3. xenvmd suspends the to_LVM queue
  4. the local_allocator acknowledges the suspend and exits
  5. xenvmd flushes all updates from the to_LVM queue and stops listening


xenvmd is a daemon running per SRmaster PBD, started in sr_attach and terminated in sr_detach. xenvmd has a config file containing:

  • socket: Unix domain socket where xenvmd listens for requests from xenvm tunnelled by xapi
  • host_allocation_quantum: number of megabytes to hand to a host at a time
  • host_low_water_mark: threshold below which we will hand blocks to a host
  • devices: local devices containing the PVs

xenvmd continually

  • peeks updates from all the to_LVM queues
  • calculates how much free space each host still has
  • if the size of a host’s free pool drops below some threshold:
    • choose some free blocks
  • if the size of a host’s free pool goes above some threshold:
    • request a cap of the host’s free pool
  • writes the change it is going to make to a journal stored in an LV
  • pops the updates from the to_LVM queues
  • pushes the updates to the from_LVM queues
  • pushes updates to the LVM redo-log
  • periodically flush the LVM redo-log to the LVM metadata area

The membership monitor

The role of the membership monitor is to keep the list of xenvmd connections in sync with the PBD.currently_attached fields.

We shall

  • install a host-pre-declare-dead script to use xenvm to send an RPC to xenvmd to forcibly flush (without acknowledgement) the to_LVM queue and destroy the LVs.
  • modify XenAPI Host.declare_dead to call host-pre-declare-dead before the VMs are unlocked
  • add a host-pre-forget hook type which will be called just before a Host is forgotten
  • install a host-pre-forget script to use xenvm to call xenvmd to destroy the host’s local LVs

Modifications to LVHD SR

  • sr_attach should:
    • if an SRmaster, update the MGT major version number to prevent
    • Write the xenvmd configuration file (on all hosts, not just SRmaster)
    • spawn local_allocator
  • sr_detach should:
    • call xenvm to request the shutdown of local_allocator
  • vdi_deactivate should:
    • call xenvm to request the flushing of all the to_LVM queues to the redo log
  • vdi_activate should:
    • if necessary, call xenvm to deflate the LV to the minimum size (with some slack)

Note that it is possible to attach and detach the individual hosts in any order but when the SRmaster is unplugged then there will be no “refilling” of the host local free LVs; it will behave as if the master host has failed.

Modifications to xapi

  • Xapi needs to learn how to forward xenvm connections to the SR master.
  • Xapi needs to start and stop xenvmd at the appropriate times
  • We must disable unplugging the PBDs for shared SRs on the pool master if any other slave has its PBD plugging. This is actually fixing an issue that exists today - LVHD SRs require the master PBD to be plugged to do many operations.
  • Xapi should provide a mechanism by which the xenvmd process can be killed once the last PBD for an SR has been unplugged.

Enabling thin provisioning

Thin provisioning will be automatically enabled on upgrade. When the SRmaster plugs in PBD the MGT major version number will be bumped to prevent old hosts from plugging in the SR and getting confused. When a VDI is activated, it will be deflated to the new low size.

Disabling thin provisioning

We shall make a tool which will

  • allow someone to downgrade their pool after enabling thin provisioning
  • allow developers to test the upgrade logic without fully downgrading their hosts

The tool will

  • check if there is enough space to fully inflate all non-snapshot leaves
  • unplug all the non-SRmaster PBDs
  • unplug the SRmaster PBD. As a side-effect all pending LVM updates will be written to the LVM metadata.
  • modify the MGT volume to have the lower metadata version
  • fully inflate all non-snapshot leaves

Walk-through: upgrade

Rolling upgrade should work in the usual way. As soon as the pool master has been upgraded, hosts will be able to use thin provisioning when new VDIs are attached. A VM suspend/resume/reboot or migrate will be needed to turn on thin provisioning for existing running VMs.

Walk-through: downgrade

A pool may be safely downgraded to a previous version without thin provisioning provided that the downgrade tool is run. If the tool hasn’t run then the old pool will refuse to attach the SR because the metadata has been upgraded.

Walk-through: after a host failure

If HA is enabled:

  • xhad elects a new master if necessary
  • Xapi on the master will start xenvmd processes for shared thin-lvhd SRs
  • the xhad tells Xapi which hosts are alive and which have failed.
  • Xapi runs the host-pre-declare-dead scripts for every failed host
  • the host-pre-declare-dead tells xenvmd to flush the to_LVM updates
  • Xapi unlocks the VMs and restarts them on new hosts.

If HA is not enabled:

  • The admin should verify the host is definitely dead
  • If the dead host was the master, a new master must be designated. This will start the xenvmd processes for the shared thin-lvhd SRs.
  • the admin must tell Xapi which hosts have failed with xe host-declare-dead
  • Xapi runs the host-pre-declare-dead scripts for every failed host
  • the host-pre-declare-dead tells xenvmd to flush the to_LVM updates
  • Xapi unlocks the VMs
  • the admin may now restart the VMs on new hosts.

Walk-through: co-operative master transition

The admin calls Pool.designate_new_master. This initiates a two-phase commit of the new master. As part of this, the slaves will restart, and on restart each host’s xapi will kill any xenvmd that should only run on the pool master. The new designated master will then restart itself and start up the xenvmd process on itself.

Future use of dm-thin?

Dm-thin also uses 2 local LVs: one for the “thin pool” and one for the metadata. After replaying our journal we could potentially delete our host local LVs and switch over to dm-thin.

Summary of the impact on the admin

  • If the VM workload performs a lot of disk allocation, then the admin should enable HA.
  • The admin must not downgrade the pool without first cleanly detaching the storage.
  • Extra metadata is needed to track thin provisioing, reducing the amount of space available for user volumes.
  • If an SR is completely full then it will not be possible to enable thin provisioning.
  • There will be more fragmentation, but the extent size is large (4MiB) so it shouldn’t be too bad.

Ring protocols

Each ring consists of 3 sectors of metadata followed by the data area. The contents of the first 3 sectors are:

Sector, Octet offsets Name Type Description
0,0-30 signature string Signature (“mirage shared-block-device 1.0”)
1,0-7 producer uint64 Pointer to the end of data written by the producer
1,8 suspend_ack uint8 Suspend acknowledgement byte
2,0-7 consumer uint64 Pointer to the end of data read by the consumer
2,8 suspend uint8 Suspend request byte

Note. producer and consumer pointers are stored in little endian format.

The pointers are free running byte offsets rounded up to the next 4-byte boundary, and the position of the actual data is found by finding the remainder when dividing by the size of the data area. The producer pointer points to the first free byte, and the consumer pointer points to the byte after the last data consumed. The actual payload is preceded by a 4-byte length field, stored in little endian format. When writing a 1 byte payload, the next value of the producer pointer will therefore be 8 bytes on from the previous - 4 for the length (which will contain [0x01,0x00,0x00,0x00]), 1 byte for the payload, and 3 bytes padding.

A ring is suspended and resumed by the consumer. To suspend, the consumer first checks that the producer and consumer agree on the current suspend status. If they do not, the ring cannot be suspended. The consumer then writes the byte 0x02 into byte 8 of sector 2. The consumer must then wait for the producer to acknowledge the suspend, which it will do by writing 0x02 into byte 8 of sector 1.

The FromLVM ring

Two different types of message can be sent on the FromLVM ring.

The FreeAllocation message contains the blocks for the free pool. Example message:

(FreeAllocation((blocks((pv0(12326 12249))(pv0(11 1))))(generation 2)))


                (pv0(12326 12249))
                (pv0(11 1))
        (generation 2)

This is a message to add two new sets of extents to the free pool. A span of length 12249 extents starting at extent 12326, and a span of length 1 starting from extent 11, both within the physical volume ‘pv0’. The generation count of this message is ‘2’. The semantics of the generation is that the local allocator must record the generation of the last message it received since the FromLVM ring was resumed, and ignore any message with a generated less than or equal to the last message received.

The CapRequest message contains a request to cap the free pool at a maximum size. Example message:

(CapRequest((cap 6127)(name host1-freeme)))


        (cap 6127)
        (name host1-freeme)

This is a request to cap the free pool at a maximum size of 6127 extents. The ‘name’ parameter reflects the name of the LV into which the extents should be transferred.

The ToLVM Ring

The ToLVM ring only contains 1 type of message. Example:

((volume test5)(segments(((start_extent 1)(extent_count 32)(cls(Linear((name pv0)(start_extent 12328))))))))


    (volume test5)
                (start_extent 1)
                (extent_count 32)
                            (name pv0)
                            (start_extent 12328)

This message is extending an LV named ‘test5’ by giving it 32 extents starting at extent 1, coming from PV ‘pv0’ starting at extent

  1. The ‘cls’ field should always be ‘Linear’ - this is the only acceptable value.

Cap requests

Xenvmd will try to keep the free pools of the hosts within a range set as a fraction of free space. There are 3 parameters adjustable via the config file:

  • low_water_mark_factor
  • medium_water_mark_factor
  • high_water_mark_factor

These three are all numbers between 0 and 1. Xenvmd will sum the free size and the sizes of all hosts’ free pools to find the total effective free size in the VG, F. It will then subtract the sizes of any pending desired space from in-flight create or resize calls s. This will then be divided by the number of hosts connected, n, and multiplied by the three factors above to find the 3 absolute values for the high, medium and low watermarks.

{high, medium, low} * (F - s) / n

When xenvmd notices that a host’s free pool size has dropped below the low watermark, it will be topped up such that the size is equal to the medium watermark. If xenvmd notices that a host’s free pool size is above the high watermark, it will issue a ‘cap request’ to the host’s local allocator, which will then respond by allocating from its free pool into the fake LV, which xenvmd will then delete as soon as it gets the update.

Xenvmd keeps track of the last update it has sent to the local allocator, and will not resend the same request twice, unless it is restarted.