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Welcome to libstorage-ng

libstorage-ng is the designated successor of libstorage, a C++ library used by YaST to perform most storage related tasks.

The main idea of libstorage-ng compared to libstorage is to keep all information about storage devices in a graph instead of lists. A second and even more interesting use-case for a graph are the actions performed when committing the queued changes to the system.

Device Graph

Storing the devices in libstorage as a graph looks like a natural approach. Here is a simple graph showing a disk with a partition table, two partitions and two filesystems where one is encrypted:

luks.png

You might have seen the diagram above in YaST. But in libstorage-ng it is a direct dump of internal data structure instead of a cumbersome transformation.

The graph approach has several advantages compared to the list of list design of libstorage:

  • No pseudo containers for e.g. MD RAID, tmpfs or NFS are needed.

  • Possibility to have special objects for IMSM and DDF RAID containers.

  • Some operations are trivial compared to the current libstorage, e.g. getting all devices using a device is just a plain BFS.

Together with the redesign of the device objects several features are now simple, e.g. using unpartitioned disks for filesystems, renaming LVM volume groups and logical volumes, switching between partitioned and unpartitioned MD RAID.

Action Graph

When committing the queued changes to the system libstorage-ng has to analyse what steps are needed and in which order they must be done. Unfortunately the code in libstorage has evolved and many if statements span several lines of code.

The new approach of libstorage-ng looks different:

  • Two device graphs (the first is the current system, the second the staging system) are compared and the required steps are stored as vertices of a graph. E.g. a step is to create a partition.

  • Dependencies are added as edges to the graph. E.g. when creating two partitions on a disk the ordering is important (otherwise the partition numbers get swapped).

  • A topological sort calculates the order in which the steps can be executed.

Here is a simply action graph for creating two partitions used by a volume group with one logical volume.

action.png

Legend: The color indicates whether an action creates (green), modifies (blue) or deletes (red) and object.

The new approach of libstorage-ng has several advantages:

  • Better testability: The code to generate the actions and their dependencies can be checked in a testsuite. Only testing the actions themself needs to be done on an actual system.

  • Checking the dependencies instead of the ordering is more robust. The ordering can be correct "by luck" while dependencies are explicit.

  • The topological sort can also be used to find actions that can be done in parallel. This might be used for filesystem creation (although modern filesystems have fast mkfs commands).

Here is a more complex action graph with dependencies for partition creation and mount ordering. One filesystem is mounted twice resulting in cross device dependencies.

complex-action.png

When you compile libstorage-ng you can find more action graphs in the testsuite/dependencies directory.

Testsuites

The library has several testsuites.

  • Device graph: Checks basic manipulation of device graphs, e.g. adding or removing objects and copying graphs.

  • Dependencies: Checks the action graph after comparing system and staging device graphs.

  • SystemInfo: Checks parsers for external commands.

  • Probe: Mocks external commands (SystemInfo) and checks that the probed device graph is correct.

  • Utils: Checks utility functions, e.g. parsing sizes and udev encoding names.

  • Python and Ruby Bindings: Since these are SWIG generated the scope is to test every concept, e.g. exceptions, runtime polymorphism and data types (input, output and ranges).

  • Integration tests: Small Python scripts that test one or a few commit actions. Not run automatically yet.

Status

Check the status of already implemented and still missing functionality.

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