Stanchion is an application to enforce the serialization of requests for Riak CS.
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Serializing requests since 2012


Stanchion is an application to enforce the serialization of requests. It consists of two main parts: a simple HTTP interface and a processing backend that manages requests and interacts with a local Riak instance.

The HTTP interface is intended to be simple and maintain backward compatibility while the backend is intended to be replaced with a more robust and efficient means of handling the serialization.

HTTP Interface

The HTTP interface currently has resources to support the creation of users and the creation and deletion of buckets.

A POST request to the /users resource is used to create a new user. The body of the POST should be a JSON document with the following structure:

    "name": "JoeBob",
    "display_name": "joe",
    "email": "",
    "key_id": "12345",
    "key_secret": "joesecret",
    "id": "abababababababababababab"

A POST request to the /buckets resource is used to create a new bucket. The body of the POST should be a JSON document with the following structure:

    "bucket": "somebucket",
    "requester": "12345"

A DELETE request to the resource of the specific bucket to be deleted is the way to delete a bucket. If the bucket is name mybucket, a DELETE would be issued to /buckets/mybucket. The key id of the party requesting the bucket deletion should be included as the value of a requester query string parameter. If the key id of the requesting party is 12345 then the query string would be ?requester=12345.

Request Processing Backend

The request processing backend currently consists of a supervised gen_server process that accepts synchronous requests to create users, create buckets, or delete buckets. Forcing all of these request types through a single server ensures that they are serialized and enables conflicts to be detected and handled. It also comes with several weaknesses.

The first weakness is that this approach is not highly available. The stanchion application will only be running a single server. If is unavailable for any reason user and bucket requests will not be allowed to complete successfully. This is a trade-off to cleanly enforce uniqueness of bucket names and user ids.

A single server process is also susceptible to getting behind in request processing. Its message queue may become backed up, memory usage may spike, and in the worst case the erlang virtual machine could crash due to all system memory being used. The noticeable effect for the end-user is high latency for these bucket or user requests. In the near-term there are things that can be done to improve this situation, but the long-term best approach is probably some sort of distributed coordination that is both more robust and efficient.

Client Module

An erlang client module called velvet (velvet connects stanchions to enforce queuing) is available to simplify the interaction with stanchion.

The velvet module exports functions to create a user, create a bucket, and delete a bucket. The interface may be expanded in the future to support listing all bucket, listing buckets owned by a particular user, and a function to ping the stanchion server.


Local Riak Interface

Specify appropriate values for the IP address and protocol buffers port to use to connect to the local Riak cluster. These are represented by the riak_ip and riak_pb_port properties in the app.config file. The default values for the IP and port are and 8087 respectively.

Admin User Credentials

Specify the administrative user credentials. These credentials /must/ be the same as those of the administrative user configured for the Riak cluster. Use the admin_key and admin_secret properties in the app.config file to specify the credentials.

Sample Usage

Create a user

UserJson = "{\"name\": \"Joe Bob\",\"display_name\": \"joe\",\"email\": \"\",\"key_id\": \"12345\",\"key_secret\": \"joesecret\",\"id\": \"abababababababababababab\"}".
velvet:create_user("", 8085, "application/json", UserJson, [{ssl, false}]).

Create a bucket

BucketJson = "{\"bucket\": \"somebucket\",\"requester\": \"12345\"}".
velvet:create_user("", 8085, "application/json", BucketJson, [{ssl, false}]).

Delete a bucket

velvet:delete_bucket("", 8085, <<"somebucket">>, "12345", [{ssl, false}]).