Open vStorage opens up its API kimono

With the Fargo release Open vStorage opens up its API kimono. In earlier versions of Open vStorage the API was something that was well hidden in the documentation section. As a result many of our integration partners had questions on how to use the API, what exactly was possible with the API or for example what the required parameters were to take a snapshot. It was clear for everyone that we had to give the API some more spotlight.

Why an API?

An API is especially important because it dictates how the developers of these integrators can create new apps, websites and services on top of the Open vStorage storage solution. A hosting provider has for example built an OpenStack-like GUI for its KVM + Open vStorage cluster. They create vDisks on Open vStorage directly from their GUI, take snapshots and even scrub the vDisks on demand. They are consuming every aspect of our API. During this integration it became clear that keeping our API documentation up to date was a challenge. The idea grew to make the API self-describing and browsable.

Open API

APIs come in many forms but some standards are crystallizing. Open vStorage follows the Open API specification (OAI). This specification is supported by some of the big names in the IT industry such as Google, Microsoft, IBM and PayPal. It also means some great open-source tools can be leveraged such as NSwag and Swagger UI. NSwag is a Swagger API toolchain for .NET, Web API and TypeScript (jQuery, AngularJS, Angular 2, Aurelia, KnockoutJS, and more). Swagger UI is a tool that dynamically generates beautiful documentation and a sandbox to play with straight from the browser.

Browsable API

To explore the Open vStorage API, download the Swagger UI , unzip the archive and serve the dist folder from either your file system or a web server.

Next, enter in the textbox https://[ip of the GUI]/api/swagger.json and press enter.


You can now browse through the API. As an example you can verify which parameters are required to move a vDisk between Storage Routers.


One small, but important remark. Currently Swagger-UI doesn’t support OAuth2 yet. This means you can browse the API but you can’t execute API requests as these need to be authenticated.

Open vStorage Releases

release-managementSince Open vStorage is running in production at customers we need to carefully plan our releases as a small glitch might cause a disaster. For storage software there is a golden rule

If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it!

With the release of Fargo RC1 we are entering a new cycle of intermediate releases and bugfixes. Once Fargo is GA we will push out a new update at regular intervals. Before installing an update customers like to know what is exactly fixed in a certain update. That is why for each release, even an intermediate release, the release notes are documented. Let’s take as an example the Fargo Release Candidate 1. This release consists out of following packages:

The content of each package e.g. the webapps package can be found on the appropriate repository (or you can click the link in the release notes). The release notes of the package contain a summary of all fixed issues in that exact package. In case you want to be kept up to date of new releases, add the the release page as RSS feed ( to your favourite RSS Feed reader. If you prefer to be kept up to date by email, you can use Sibbell, Blogtrottr or a similar service.

Moving block storage between datacenters: the Demo

keep-calm-it-s-just-a-bloody-datacenter-moveProbably the coolest feature of the new Fargo release is the GeoScale capability, spreading data across multiple datacenters. With this feature Open vStorage can offer distributed block storage across multiple locations. In the below demo, storage is spread across 3 datacenters in la douce France (Roubaix, Strasbourg and Gravelines). The demo also explains how the storage is spread across these datacenters and shows the live migration of a running VM and its storage between 2 datanceters. The whole migration process completes within a few seconds. The GeoScale functionality can be compared with solving a Sudoku puzzle. The data gets chopped up in chunks which are distributed across all the nodes and datacenters in the cluster. As long as you have enough chunks (disk, nodes or datacenters) left, you can always recover the data. In the demo even a datacenter loss is supported.

GeoScale FAQ

Can I survive a datacenter outage?

Yes, in a GeoScale cluster, the data is spread over multiple datacenters and is available from each location. If one of these datacenters goes offline, the GeoScale cluster stays up and running and continues to serve data. Virtual Machines running in the datacenter that went down can be migrated to one of the other datacenters in just seconds without having to copy all of the data.

Will storing data across multiple datacenters not be too slow for my database, VMs, … ?

No, Open vStorage aggregates all flash (SSDs, NVMe, PCIe) within each datacenter to initiate a global cache. To speed up reads Open vStorage uses these local cache pools to speed up incoming reads and writes.

How far can the datacenters be apart?

Open vStorage supports metroscale clusters where the datacenters are only a couple of miles away, such as the greater New York region, but can even clusters where datacenters a couple of thousands of miles apart are supported.

Support for Ubuntu 16.04

ubuntuLast Friday, November 4th, the Open vStorage team released the first RC of the new Fargo version. We are really excited about Fargo as there are a lot of new features being added to it. To name some of the new features:

  • Support for Ubuntu 16.04.
  • HA for the Edge which allows automatic failover in case the host running the VolumeDriver goes down.
  • Support for Arakoon as distributed config management.
  • 64TB volumes.

Earlier versions of Open vStorage supported Ubuntu 14.04. With the release of Ubuntu 16.04, which is an Ubuntu LTS version and hence will have updates and support for the next 5 years, it was essential for us to also update the Open vStorage software to work on Ubuntu 16.04.

Get started with Ubuntu 16.04:

Installing Open vStorage on Ubuntu 16.04 is almost as easy as installing on 14.04. One change is that the software packages are now signed. Signing the packages allows you, the installer of the packages, to verify that no modifications occurred after the packages were signed. The steps to get the latest packages are as simple as:

  • Download and install Ubuntu 16.04 on the host.
  • Add the Open vStorage repo to the host:
    echo "deb unstable main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ovsaptrepo.list
  • Add the key:
    apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys 4EFFB1E7
  • Make sure the Open vStorage packages have a higher preference so our packages are installed:
    cat < /etc/apt/preferences
    Package: *
    Pin: origin
    Pin-Priority: 1000
  • Run apt-get update to get the latest packages

To install the Open vStorage software you can follow the normal flow as described here.