On 9/9/14, 12:03 PM, Monty Taylor wrote:
On 09/04/2014 01:30 AM, Clint Byrum wrote:
Excerpts from Flavio Percoco's message of 2014-09-04 00:08:47 -0700:
Last Tuesday the TC held the first graduation review for Zaqar. During
the meeting some concerns arose. I've listed those concerns below with
some comments hoping that it will help starting a discussion before the
next meeting. In addition, I've added some comments about the project
stability at the bottom and an etherpad link pointing to a list of use
cases for Zaqar.
Hi Flavio. This was an interesting read. As somebody whose attention has
recently been drawn to Zaqar, I am quite interested in seeing it
- Concern on operational burden of requiring NoSQL deploy expertise to
the mix of openstack operational skills
For those of you not familiar with Zaqar, it currently supports 2 nosql
drivers - MongoDB and Redis - and those are the only 2 drivers it
supports for now. This will require operators willing to use Zaqar to
maintain a new (?) NoSQL technology in their system. Before expressing
our thoughts on this matter, let me say that:
1. By removing the SQLAlchemy driver, we basically removed the
for operators to use an already deployed "OpenStack-technology"
2. Zaqar won't be backed by any AMQP based messaging technology for
now. Here's a summary of the research the team (mostly done by
Victoria) did during Juno
3. We (OpenStack) used to require Redis for the zmq matchmaker
4. We (OpenStack) also use memcached for caching and as the oslo
caching lib becomes available - or a wrapper on top of dogpile.cache -
Redis may be used in place of memcached in more and more deployments.
5. Ceilometer's recommended storage driver is still MongoDB,
Ceilometer has now support for sqlalchemy. (Please correct me if I'm
That being said, it's obvious we already, to some extent, promote some
NoSQL technologies. However, for the sake of the discussion, lets assume
I truly believe, with my OpenStack (not Zaqar's) hat on, that we can't
keep avoiding these technologies. NoSQL technologies have been around
for years and we should be prepared - including OpenStack operators - to
support these technologies. Not every tool is good for all tasks - one
of the reasons we removed the sqlalchemy driver in the first place -
therefore it's impossible to keep an homogeneous environment for all
I whole heartedly agree that non traditional storage technologies that
are becoming mainstream are good candidates for use cases where SQL
based storage gets in the way. I wish there wasn't so much FUD
(warranted or not) about MongoDB, but that is the reality we live in.
With this, I'm not suggesting to ignore the risks and the extra burden
this adds but, instead of attempting to avoid it completely by not
evolving the stack of services we provide, we should probably work on
defining a reasonable subset of NoSQL services we are OK with
supporting. This will help making the burden smaller and it'll give
operators the option to choose.
- Concern on should we really reinvent a queue system rather than
piggyback on one
As mentioned in the meeting on Tuesday, Zaqar is not reinventing message
brokers. Zaqar provides a service akin to SQS from AWS with an OpenStack
flavor on top. 
I think Zaqar is more like SMTP and IMAP than AMQP. You're not really
trying to connect two processes in real time. You're trying to do fully
asynchronous messaging with fully randomized access to any message.
Perhaps somebody should explore whether the approaches taken by large
scale IMAP providers could be applied to Zaqar.
Anyway, I can't imagine writing a system to intentionally use the
semantics of IMAP and SMTP. I'd be very interested in seeing actual use
cases for it, apologies if those have been posted before.
It seems like you're EITHER describing something called XMPP that has at
least one open source scalable backend called ejabberd. OR, you've
actually hit the nail on the head with bringing up SMTP and IMAP but for
some reason that feels strange.
SMTP and IMAP already implement every feature you've described, as well
as retries/failover/HA and a fully end to end secure transport (if
installed properly) If you don't actually set them up to run as a public
messaging interface but just as a cloud-local exchange, then you could
get by with very low overhead for a massive throughput - it can very
easily be run on a single machine for Sean's simplicity, and could just
as easily be scaled out using well known techniques for public cloud
So why not use existing daemons that do this? You could still use the
REST API you've got, but instead of writing it to a mongo backend and
trying to implement all of the things that already exist in SMTP/IMAP -
you could just have them front to it. You could even bypass normal
delivery mechanisms and do neat things with local injection.
I don't care about the NoSQL question on its own. Mongo is fine. Redis
is fine. I don't think either has any features for this use case that
make a licks worth of difference compared to MySQL or Postgres, but I
also don't think they are a PROBLEM in an of themselves.
The main thing I care about here is every description I've heard of what
zaqar wants to do (which does seem to be getting clearer through this
thread) is still well implemented somewhere as an existing scalable
service. Is zaqar actually Rabbit with a REST interface? Is it ejabberd
with a rest interface? Or is it IMAP/SMTP with a REST interface. You'll
note that probably nobody would think a single server that wanted to be
both Rabbit AND IMAP/SMTP is a good idea ... at least this is one of the
reasons why we all think Microsoft Exchange is a pile of garbage, no?
I also worry about the fact that one description of zaqar was used to
communicate a need for divergent requirements (it needs to be a
high-volume fast message broker/queue - which, btw, sounds more like
Rabbit/oslo.messaging and less like what Clint describes above) ... and
that's why it wants to use falcon and not pecan and why it wants to use
mongo and not SQL. And then what we're doing it reimplementing something
like rabbit except in python (again, given as the justification for
deviating from how other bits of OpenStack work)
BUT - if that's not actually what zaqar is - if it isn't a rabbit
replacement and doesn't need to do massive high volume sub-second
queuing because what it's actually modeling is a message subscription
service that's closer to email than to anything else, then there is
nothing about the components that are happily used in the rest of
OpenStack that should be precluded from being used. A REST api written
in pecan should be fine ... as should an SQL backend, because 99% of all
operations are going to be primary key lookups where even a moderately
tuned database should be absolutely fine at keeping up.
So which is it? Because it sounds like to me it's a thing that actually
does NOT need to diverge in technology in any way, but that I've been
told that it needs to diverge because it's delivering a different set of
features - and I'm pretty sure if it _is_ the thing that needs to
diverge in technology because of its feature set, then it's a thing I
don't think we should be implementing in python in OpenStack because it
already exists and it's called AMQP.
Whether Zaqar is more like AMQP or more like email is a really strange
metric to use for considering its inclusion.
Let me put on my web application developer's hat. Whenever I've worked
on a web app, I've invariably wound up needing HTTP servers, background
workers, and some sort of queue to connect the two.
I've done the thing where I've stored queue entries in the app's
database and had the workers poll for jobs; the load adds up
surprisingly fast, and it's got some bad positive-feedback failure
modes. However, it is nice and durable, so my app doesn't lose messages.
I've done the thing where I've thrown together a VM and stuck Redis or
rabbitmq or beanstalkd on it. That gets me nice, fast queues, but no
semblance of reliability. If that one VM dies, all my queued messages
Then there's Zaqar, which is this nice HTTP API that I can use for my
application's queues. I go and make a couple of POST requests and now
I've got some queues for my application to use. My app servers POST
messages to their queues, and my background workers sit and make GET
requests for messages to process. I can have the whole thing up and
running in a few hours. Better yet, I barely have to monitor the thing.
I can poll for queue stats every few minutes and alert if the queue gets
too full, but that's all I've got to do. I don't have to worry about my
queue VM going into swap, or my queue VM's NIC getting saturated, or
kernel panics, or automatically promoting rabbitmq slaves to masters, or
waking up at 3 AM to fix my app when I lose messages during a rabbitmq
promotion, or any of that stuff. Using Zaqar means I can just worry
about my application and leave all that other garbage to my cloud provider.
If we're looking to drive adoption of OpenStack, Zaqar is a big deal.
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