From Fedora Project Wiki


Revision as of 15:15, 7 December 2008 by Dwysocha (talk | contribs) (Architecture / Requirements)

Introduction / Problem Description

LVM is currently being used by other software projects. These projects interface with LVM by calling the LVM commandline either by invoking a shell or calling the string-based liblvmcmd. These interface methods are problematic for the following reasons:

  1. Interacting with LVM requires creating and parsing command line strings
  2. Error handling is problematic
  3. High level CLI functionality may not meet the needs of all consumers
  4. CLI is complex, often leading to improper use or confusion
  5. The command line utilities have to be called with a system call type interface which could lead into problems. Strict string analysis and type checking is needed altogether with escaping values.
  6. Return values have to be parsed to get the wanted information. This requires to use the locale C to be able to parse the output.
  7. If an error occurs in a command line tool, used by an application with a system call type interface, the application only knows what happened if it is parsing error messages. Because of LANG=C for the call, the error message is in english but might not be useful for the user with a different language. It might be needed that the application understands what went wrong to propose a solution. There might also be the need to process lvm commands without user interaction (think of kickstart install).
  8. Changes in the output format of informational output or error messages will lead into parsing problems.

libLVM proposes to create a real API for use by application programs to overcome at least some of the aforementioned limitations.

libLVM features will be driven by the needs of the known primary consumers of the API which are anaconda, system-config-storage, libvirt, and others as detailed in Appendix A. Note that some requests from existing LVM consumers in context of libLVM are really requests for LVM design changes or functionality. While important to meeting the needs of libLVM consumers, many of these issues are orthogonal to libLVM and so will be listed separately, and most likely not appear in the intial release.

One of the main drivers of libLVM is the anaconda storage rewrite, and specifically, system-config-storage. Much of the contents of the initial release of libLVM centers around supporting this effort.

Architecture / Requirements

The architecture of libLVM is currently evolving along an object-based design. A CLI architecture was considered along with an object design, with pros / cons of each approach outlined. As of 12/3/2008, it was clear that most current stakeholders prefer the object based design.

The current architecture is outlined in an API Proposal.

The key objectives of the architecture are:

  1. Object based. This means handles to PV, VG, and LV objects are returned to the caller, and a get/set paradigm on the objects is used.
  2. Thread-safe.
  3. Fine-grained error handling, but minimize error code maintenance. Current direction is to try to use errno values, and not define libLVM-specific error codes. (This would mean APIs would return '0' for success.)

libLVM Release content

The functionality of libLVM will be divided into releases, with the first release targetting the most widely used functionality of existing consumers.

The first release of libLVM will contain the equivalent of the following CLI commands:

  1. pvs: pv_name,vg_name,pv_size,pv_free,pv_attr,pv_fmt,pv_uuid,vg_extent_size, dev_size
  2. vgs: vg_name,vg_attr,vg_size,vg_extent_size,vg_free_count,max_lv,max_pv,vg_uuid,vg_free_count
  3. lvs: lv_name,vg_name,stripes,stripesize,lv_attr,lv_uuid,devices,origin,snap_percent,seg_start,seg_size,vg_extent_size,lv_size,vg_free_count,vg_attr
  4. "pvcreate -ff -y -f pvname"
  5. "pvremove -ff -y pvname"
  6. "vgcreate -v -An -s pesize vgname pvname"
  7. "vgremove -f vgname
  8. "lvcreate -v -L lvsize -n lvname -An vgname"
  9. "lvremove -f -v"
  10. "vgchange -ay -v"
  11. "vgchange -an -v"
  12. "vgscan -v"
  13. "vgmknodes -v"
  14. "vgextend vgname pvname"
  15. "vgreduce vgname pvname"
  16. --config option with devices filters for various commands

In addition to the above functionalty used by existing consumers, the following LVM RFEs were noted in discussions with existing LVM CLI consumers as items of interest. The first release of libLVM may or may not contain any of these items as they are open to debate, and they may not be possible in the timeframe of the first libLVM release.

  1. Allow duplicate volumes to be activated for virtualized guest image manipulation (
  2. Provide an interface for efficient scanning of disks for LVM metadata. LVM should take as input one or more devices to scan and not try to figure out the set of devices as it does today in its dev-cache subsystem. In this new mode of operation, with LVM's dev-cache disabled, it will be the application's responsibility to handle any errors or incomplete information that results from limiting LVM to a set of devices. The following BZs relate to the scanning problem: (5.3 bz ON_QA),,,
  3. Cloning volumes:

The remaining LVM functionality group of lowest priority is listed below. This functionality was found in some consumers but was prioritized to a later release of libLVM.

  1. lvcreate --snapshot --name lvname --size lvsize origin_path
  2. lvresize -An -L lvsize -v lvname
  3. vgcreate --physicalextentsize pesize -c clustered vgname
  4. vgchange -c clustered vgname
  5. lvchange -an path; lvchange -ay path
  6. lvreduce -f -L size lvpath
  7. lvextend -L lvsize path
  8. /etc/lvm/lvm.conf: get/set locking_type


Deliverables will be a shared object library ( with matching header file (liblvm2.h). Documentation will be included and may be in the form of header file comments, coding examples, man pages, and/or web pages.


The following people are identified as having a significant role in libLVM.

  • Alasdair Kergon ( libLVM design review, signoff
  • Thomas Woerner ( system-config-storage requirements, libLVM coding, unit testing, design
  • Petr Rockai ( libLVM coding, unit testing, design
  • Dave Wysochanski ( libLVM coding, unit testing, design
  • Dave Lehman ( anaconda storage project requirements, anaconda signoff
  • Peter Jones ( anaconda requirements input
  • David Zeuthen <>: Device-kit disks requirements, signoff
  • Tom Coughlan <>: libLVM planning, milestone signoff


The general timeframe for all libLVM deliverables will be Fedora 11:

As of Nov 2008, I have received no detailed input regarding dates of specific libLVM functionality needs. Thus, the below timeline with deliverables is subject to change. Based on previous fedora releases, and the fact that F10 was just released at the end of Nov 2008, we will target libLVM development to conclude by April, 2009.

Milestones in the project are as follows:

Project Plan
11/18/2008 - 11/26/2008: Draft project plan
12/02/2008 - 12/02/2008: Draft functional spec due
11/26/2008 - 12/12/2008: Plan review; update project plan and functional spec
12/12/2008 - 12/16/2008: Updated plan due with final functional spec
12/16/2008 - 12/22/2008: Final plan approval; monthly status review
01/01/2009 - 04/01/2009: libLVM development
01/26/2009 - 01/26/2009: Monthly status review
02/23/2009 - 02/23/2009: Monthly status review
03/30/2009 - 03/30/2009: Monthly status review

Implementation tasks will focus on a specific portion of libLVM and will be broken into no more than 2 week increments. Tasks will begin after plan approval, tenatively starting 1/5/2009.

Implementation Tasks
12/07/2008 - 12/13/2008: Initial library build and initialization w/unit test infrastructure
12/14/2008 - 12/20/2008: pvcreate
12/21/2008 - 01/03/2009: vgcreate
01/04/2009 - 01/10/2009: pvremove, vgremove
01/11/2009 - 01/17/2009: Unit test existing functionality
01/20/2009 - 01/20/2009: Milestone; F11 Alpha
xx/xx/2009 - xx/xx/2009: configuration (/etc/lvm.conf)
xx/xx/2009 - xx/xx/2009: scanning
xx/xx/2009 - xx/xx/2009: scanning
xx/xx/2009 - xx/xx/2009: pvs
xx/xx/2009 - xx/xx/2009: vgs
xx/xx/2009 - xx/xx/2009: lvs
xx/xx/2009 - xx/xx/2009: Improve error codes / handling
02/15/2009 - 02/21/2009: Unit test existing functionality
xx/xx/2009 - xx/xx/2009: lvcreate
xx/xx/2009 - xx/xx/2009: vgremove
xx/xx/2009 - xx/xx/2009: lvremove
xx/xx/2009 - xx/xx/2009: vgchange -ay, -an
xx/xx/2009 - xx/xx/2009: vgextend
xx/xx/2009 - xx/xx/2009: vgreduce
03/22/2009 - 03/31/2009: Final unit testing

Outstanding Issues

  1. Decide on API architecture (object or functional)
  2. Translation of LVM error messages (twoerner to Investigate transifex for translation of error messages)
  3. Require 'force' parameter to API commands

Risk Analysis / Mitigation

The key risks are:

  1. Refactoring of existing LVM tool code. We will mitigate this risk with upstream LVM nightly tests.
  2. Object-based locking. The object design of the API will break up CLI operations into smaller functional chunks, and locks will be tied to handles which may change the frequency and duration of locking. This may have specific risks to clustered LVM. Mitigation should include some form of clustered LVM regression tests done on a monthly basis during the key development period (either upstream nightly tests or RHTS).

Appendix A: Per consumer LVM functionality usage/needs


  • "pvs --noheadings --units b --nosuffix --options pv_name,vg_name,dev_size"
  • "pvremove -ff -y -v pvname"
  • "pvcreate -ff -y -v pvname"
  • "pvcreate -ff -y -v node"
  • "vgs --noheadings --units b --nosuffix --options vg_name,vg_size,vg_extent_size,vg_free"
  • "vgcreate -v -An -s pesize vgname"
  • "vgremove -v vgname"
  • "vgscan -v"
  • "vgmknodes -v"
  • "vgchange -ay -v"
  • "vgchange -an -v"
  • "lvs --noheadings --units b --nosuffix --separator --options vg_name,lv_name,attr
  • "lvdisplay -C --units b vg_name,lv_name,lv_size,origin"
  • "lvcreate -v -L lvsize -n lvname -An vgname"
  • "lvremove -f -v"
  • "lvresize -An -L lvsize -v"


  • All functionality as listed for anaconda.
  • Allow duplicate volumes to be activated for virtualized guest image manipulation.


  • Provide an interface for efficient scanning of disks for LVM metadata

(Needs more detail / bz)


  • "vgchange -ay", "vgchange -an"
  • lvs --separator , --noheadings --units b --unbuffered --nosuffix --options "lv_name,uuid,devices,seg_size,vg_extent_size" VGNAME
  • pvs --noheadings -o pv_name,vg_name
  • vgcreate
  • pvcreate
  • vgs --separator : --noheadings --units b --unbuffered --nosuffix --options "vg_size,vg_free" VGNAME
  • vgremove -f
  • pvremove
  • lvcreate --name LVNAME -L SIZE
  • lvremove -f
  • vgscan
  • Cloning volumes:

conga (rhel5 extraction)

  • pvs --options pv_name,vg_name,pv_size,pv_free,pv_attr,pv_fmt,pv_uuid,vg_extent_size
  • lvs --units b --options lv_name,vg_name,stripes,stripesize,lv_attr,lv_uuid,devices,origin,snap_percent,seg_start,seg_size,vg_extent_size,lv_size,vg_free_count,vg_attr
  • pvdisplay -c
  • vgs -o vg_name,vg_attr,vg_size,vg_extent_size,vg_free_count,max_lv,max_pv,vg_uuid
  • lvsdisplay -c --units b
  • lvs -o lv_name,vg_name,origin
  • pvcreate -y -f path
  • pvremove -y -f path
  • vgcreate --physicalextentsize pesize -c clustered vgname
  • vgremove vgname
  • vgextend vgname pv_path
  • vgreduce vgname pv_path
  • vgchange -c clustered vgname
  • lvcreate --name lvname --size lvsize vgname
  • lvcreate --snapshot --name lvname --size lvsize origin_path
  • lvchange -an path; lvchange -ay path
  • lvremove --force path
  • lvreduce -f -L size lvpath
  • lvextend -L lvsize path
  • /etc/lvm/lvm.conf: get/set locking_type