Ganeti Bulk Create

Current state and shortcomings

Creation of instances happens a lot. A fair load is done by just creating instances and due to bad allocation shifting them around later again. Additionally, if you turn up a new cluster you already know a bunch of instances, which need to exists on the cluster. Doing this one-by-one is not only cumbersome but might also fail, due to lack of resources or lead to badly balanced clusters.

Since the early Ganeti 2.0 alpha version there is a gnt-instance batch-create command to allocate a bunch of instances based on a json file. This feature, however, doesn’t take any advantages of iallocator and submits jobs in a serialized manner.

Proposed changes

To overcome this shortcoming we would extend the current iallocator interface to allow bulk requests. On the Ganeti side, a new opcode is introduced to handle the bulk creation and returning the resulting placement from the IAllocator.


Due to the design of chained jobs, we can guarantee, that with the state at which the multi-alloc opcode is run, all of the instances will fit (or all won’t). But we can’t guarantee that once the instance creation requests were submit, no other jobs have sneaked in between. This might still lead to failing jobs because the resources have changed in the meantime.



A new additional type will be added called multi-allocate to distinguish between normal and bulk operation. For the bulk operation the request will be a finite list of request dicts.

If multi-allocate is declared, request must exist and is a list of request dicts as described in Operation specific input. The result then is a list of instance name and node placements in the order of the request field.

In addition, the old allocate request type will be deprecated and at latest in Ganeti 2.8 incooperated into this new request. Current code will need slight adaption to work with the new request. This needs careful testing.


We add a new opcode OpInstanceBulkAdd. It receives a list of OpInstanceCreate on the instances field. This is done to make sure, that these two loosely coupled opcodes do not get out of sync. On the RAPI side, however, this just is a list of instance create definitions. And the client is adapted accordingly.

The opcode itself does some sanity checks on the instance creation opcodes which includes:

  • mode is not set
  • pnode and snodes is not set
  • iallocator is not set

Any of the above error will be aborted with OpPrereqError. Once the list has been verified it is handed to the iallocator as described in IAllocator. Upon success we then return the result of the IAllocator call.

At this point the current instance allocation would work with the resources available on the cluster as perceived upon OpInstanceBulkAdd invocation. However, there might be corner cases where this is not true as described in Problems.

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