Design for parallelized instance creations and opportunistic locking

Current state and shortcomings

As of Ganeti 2.6, instance creations acquire all node locks when an instance allocator (henceforth “iallocator”) is used. In situations where many instance should be created in a short timeframe, there is a lot of congestion on node locks. Effectively all instance creations are serialized, even on big clusters with multiple groups.

The situation gets worse when disk wiping is enabled (see gnt-cluster(8)) as that can take, depending on disk size and hardware performance, from minutes to hours. Not waiting for DRBD disks to synchronize (wait_for_sync=false) makes instance creations slightly faster, but there’s a risk of impacting I/O of other instances.

Proposed changes

The target is to speed up instance creations in combination with an iallocator even when the cluster’s balance is sacrificed in the process. The cluster can later be re-balanced using hbal. The main objective is to reduce the number of node locks acquired for creation and to release un-used locks as fast as possible (the latter is already being done). To do this safely, several changes are necessary.

Locking library

Instead of forcibly acquiring all node locks for creating an instance using an iallocator, only those currently available will be acquired.

To this end, the locking library must be extended to implement opportunistic locking. Lock sets must be able to only acquire all locks available at the time, ignoring and not waiting for those held by another thread.

Locks (SharedLock) already support a timeout of zero. The latter is different from a blocking acquisition, in which case the timeout would be None.

Lock sets can essentially be acquired in two different modes. One is to acquire the whole set, which in turn will also block adding new locks from other threads, and the other is to acquire specific locks by name. The function to acquire locks in a set accepts a timeout which, if not None for blocking acquisitions, counts for the whole duration of acquiring, if necessary, the lock set’s internal lock, as well as the member locks. For opportunistic acquisitions the timeout is only meaningful when acquiring the whole set, in which case it is only used for acquiring the set’s internal lock (used to block lock additions). For acquiring member locks the timeout is effectively zero to make them opportunistic.

A new and optional boolean parameter named opportunistic is added to LockSet.acquire and re-exported through GanetiLockManager.acquire for use by mcpu. Internally, lock sets do the lock acquisition using a helper function, __acquire_inner. It will be extended to support opportunistic acquisitions. The algorithm is very similar to acquiring the whole set with the difference that acquisitions timing out will be ignored (the timeout in this case is zero).

New lock level

With opportunistic locking used for instance creations (controlled by a parameter), multiple such requests can start at (essentially) the same time and compete for node locks. Some logical units, such as LUClusterVerifyGroup, need to acquire all node locks. In the latter case all instance allocations would fail to get their locks. This also applies when multiple instance creations are started at roughly the same time.

To avoid situations where an opcode holding all or many node locks causes allocations to fail, a new lock level must be added to control allocations. The logical units for instance failover and migration can only safely determine whether they need all node locks after the instance lock has been acquired. Therefore the new lock level, named “node-alloc” (shorthand for “node-allocation”) will be inserted after instances (LEVEL_INSTANCE) and before node groups (LEVEL_NODEGROUP). Similar to the “big cluster lock” (“BGL”) there is only a single lock at this level whose name is “node allocation lock” (“NAL”).

As a rule-of-thumb, the node allocation lock must be acquired in the same mode as nodes and/or node resources. If all or a large number of node locks are acquired, the node allocation lock should be acquired as well. Special attention should be given to logical units started for all node groups, such as LUGroupVerifyDisks, as they also block many nodes over a short amount of time.


The iallocator interface does not need any modification. When an instance is created, the information for all nodes is passed to the iallocator plugin. Nodes for which the lock couldn’t be acquired and therefore shouldn’t be used for the instance in question, will be shown as offline.


The opcodes OpInstanceCreate and OpInstanceMultiAlloc will gain a new parameter to enable opportunistic locking. By default this mode is disabled as to not break backwards compatibility.

A new error type is added to describe a temporary lack of resources. Its name will be ECODE_TEMP_NORES. With opportunistic locks the opcodes mentioned before only have a partial view of the cluster and can no longer decide if an instance could not be allocated due to the locks it has been given or whether the whole cluster is lacking resources. Therefore it is required, upon encountering the error code for a temporary lack of resources, for the job submitter to make this decision by re-submitting the job or by re-directing it to another cluster.