[occi-wg] Nouns and Verbs (was: Syntax of OCCI API)

Sam Johnston samj at samj.net
Fri Apr 17 08:22:53 CDT 2009

On Fri, Apr 17, 2009 at 2:39 PM, Chris Webb <chris.webb at elastichosts.com>wrote:

> Sam Johnston <samj at samj.net> writes:
> > For example I should be
> > able to rsync the raw block device of a physical server to the cloud
> Off-topic: rsyncing giant files/block devices does reduce network traffic,
> but it involves an end-to-end read at both ends as well as any writes. The
> thing which is most painfully constrained for cloud infrastructure
> providers
> is disk IO, especially with traditional hard drives with long seek times,
> so
> we're unlikely to provide such an interface for fear of encouraging its
> use!
> rsyncing the contents of filesystems within block devices is far, far more
> friendly to shared storage, because by default files are skipped completely
> on the basis of size and mtime.

Interesting (albeit off topic)... a very long time ago I went for a [suite
of] interviews at Google for a Senior SRE position. One of the questions was
about distributing updates for a large site to a bunch of servers. I was
chuffed becuase I knew all about rsync (actually I've met Andrew Tridgell -
a fellow Aussie - a handful of times, read the paper, used Samba since it
was born, etc.), so I said I'd do a recursive copy of the site using
hardlinks, rsync to that copy and update a symlink to the root. This guy had
obviously planned to talk about it for the full 40 minutes becase he
proceeded to tell me I was wrong, that I should in fact be rsyncing the
block device, and then wanted to talk about specifics of how the protocol
worked. Serves me right for not reeling the answer out slowly :P

Moral of the story: this is the kind of place providers will (safely)
innovate and differentiate... we need to let them.

> Sure, snapshot's easy... you just have a "snapshot" actuator which returns
> a
> > new resource (complete with a pointer to the "live" version).
> Snapshots are easy if we're starting from scratch and are allowed to define
> their semantics, for instance a snapshot operation on a drive gives a new
> drive with copy-on-write behaviour between them.
> The problem comes when you want to retrofit this to (say) Amazon EBS, where
> snapshots are second class objects, which can be generated from and imaged
> to a block device, but are not a block device in themselves.
> If, on the other hand, you treat snapshots as a distinct type of object,
> functionality is lost from the interfaces of people who currently implement
> them better, so they do appear exactly like on-demand clones of drives.

True, but easily fixed by tracking a state and having e.g. a "mount"

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