OST Pool Quotas HLD

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This document specifies the High Level Design (HLD) for Lustre pool quotas

The main purposes of this document are:

  • Define the requirements for pool-bassed quotas in Lustre
  • Outline the strategy to implement pool quotas

The design use case for pool quotas will be for providing user and group usage restrictions on an SSD tier in a mixed SSD/HDD system.


This HLD provides guidance to developers who will implement the stated functionality. This document can also be used to communicate the high-level design and design considerations to other team members.


HLD was written by Nathan Rutman([email protected]) and Sergey Cheremencev([email protected]).

Functional Requirements


With heterogenous clusters consisting of some all-flash OSTs and some all-disk OSTs, it becomes desirable to limit an individual's rights to consume the higher-performance OSTs. The Lustre pools feature allows for the grouping of similar OSTs into performance tiers, and allocating files into tiers. However, it provides no methods to limit the usage of more desirable / expensive / smaller capacity tiers.

Quota controls are the natural solution to administrative limits on space resource. However, quotas in Lustre today are limited to filesystem-wide quota limits on a per-user, per-group, or per-project basis. This design proposes to extent Lustre's quotas capabilities to control allocations within pools.

User Requirements

ID Description Notes
R.poolqoutas.poolChange Changes in pool definitions should dynamically affect remaining pool quotas Both OST addition to and removal from a pool
R.poolquotas.capacity Pool quotas should limit space / capacity We state no requirement for per-pool inode quotas (this is a moderately desirable stretch goal if simple)
R.poolquotas.disable An administrator should be able to disable (and re-enable) quotas accounting for a particular pool
R.poolquotas.multiPool Any OST may be part of multiple pools. An OST may be part of multiple pools, each with different pool quotas
R.poolquotas.perGroup Each group may have a unique pool quota
R.poolquotas.perPoolQuotas Each pool may have a unique set of user, group, and project quotas
R.poolquotas.perProject Each project may have a unique pool quota
R.poolquotas.perUser Each user may have a unique pool quota
R.poolquotas.poolDel Removal of a pool should cause associated quotas limits to be removed

R.poolquotas.multiPool notes the possibility that an OST may be part of multiple pools, each with different pool quotas. Logically, this is resolved by meeting all applicable quota limits, that is, the allowable quota is the minimum of all applicable remaining quotas.

Interface Requirements

Existing LFS controls for quota controls should be extended to cover pool quotas. LFS quota reporting must also be extended to support pool quotas. As "-p" and "-P" are already used to specify project and default project quotas, long option "--pool" will be used for Pools. The same is for quota reporting "lfs quota".


Standard LFS quota controls should be used to set and check pool quotas.

Create or change a pool quota for a user

# lfs setquota -u bob --pool flash --block-hardlimit 2g /mnt/lustre

This sets a 2GB limit for user Bob on the pool named "flash".

For a group:

# lfs setquota -g interns --pool flash --block-hardlimit 2g /mnt/lustre

For comparison, the command to set a user's total capacity limit:

# lfs setquota -u bob --block-hardlimit 2g /mnt/lustre

Report quotas for a user

List quotas of user Bob for pool "flash":

$ lfs quota -u bob --pool flash /mnt/lustre

Operational Requirements

Pool changes

Lustre allows for the dynamic modification of pool definitions; an OST may be added or removed from a pool at any time. Consumed quota for a pool should be calculated based on the current pool definition R.poolqoutas.poolChange. If changes in the pool definition suddenly cause a pool quota limit to be exceeded, no new quota grants should be given to OSTs in the pool, but existing grants can continue to be used. Complete deletion of al OSTs in a pool should result in 0 pool quota used. Any quotas files previously associated with that pool should be removed R.poolquotas.poolDel.


Controls to set quotas should be restricted to the system administrator. (Presumably this is the case today.)

Design Highlights

Fundamental concepts

Files and objects do not belong to pools; OSTs belong to pools. Tracking of pool quotas is therefore based on OST tracking, not Lustre file tracking.

Each individual OST currently requests user (and group) quota grants for space to write objects on that OST. The aggregate space consumed by each user (and group) is already tracked by each OST (at the OSD layer), and feeds into the requests for more space from the quota master. The quota master determines subsequent grant sizes for individual OSTs based on the sum of the current OST consumptions.

Grant sizes from the quota master are currently "filesystem wide"; that is, they consider space consumed on all OSTs. To implement pool-based quotas, the grants can be adjusted to only consider OSTs within a Lustre pool. That is, any pool quotas decisions/impacts are hidden inside the quota master as an impact to the amount of space granted to an OST. This results in a much simpler design than previous proposals:

  • No need to store pool information with each object/file.
  • OSTs don't need to understand which pool(s) they may be part of.
  • All knowledge of pools remains local to the quota master.
  • Data written to an OST outside of a pool layout is still accounted for by the pool quota.

OSTs may be members of one or more pools, and we intend to add quota limit controls for any of these pools. If using additional space on an OST would cause a user to exceed any applicable quota limit, the user must be denied the ability to consume more space on that OST. Therefore, the quota master should grant the minimum of all applicable quota limits to any OST.

For changes in pool definition, pool quotas accounting must be adjusted for all users of the affected OST. Individual OSTs already track the total amount of space consumed for each quota user. When removing (or adding) an OST to a pool, the quota master need only add or subtract that OST's contribution to the user's pool quota.

Comparison with project quotas

Pool quotas are not like project quotas, which are file-based (files have an attribute describing which project they belong to, just as they have a user and group attribute). We do not need to track which files are part of a pool, which doesn't even make sense - files are not part of pools. Files may have objects that live on OSTs; some of those OSTs may belong to one or more pools. But the object space usage is already tracked by each OST, under the OSD quotas tracking. There is only one set of tracking needed by the OSTs, which is the space consumed by objects on the OST (totaled by user, group, or project). The quota master can add up those consumptions for each OST in various ways (global=everything, pool=subset) to determine grants.

Pool quotas are orthogonal to the user/group/project headings - each pool may have settings for user/group/project. You can have a project quota for the flash pool, just like you have a project quota for the global filesystem (which can be thought of, and indeed coded as, the pool of all OSTs).

Quotas are limits, not rights

Another confusing point is that with pool quotas, there may be multiple quotas in play. It may be initially confusing to be prevented from using "all of" one quota due to a different quota setting. In Lustre, a quota is a limit, not a right to use an amount. You don't always get to use your quota - an OST may be out of space, or some other quota is limiting. For example, if there is an inode quota and a space quota, and you hit your inode limit while you still have plenty of space, you can't use the space. For another example, quotas may easily be over-allocated: everyone gets 10PB of quota, in a 15PB system. That does not give them the right to use 10PB, it means they cannot use more than 10PB. They may very well get ENOSPC long before that - but they will not get EDQUOT.

This behavior already exists in Lustre today, but pool quotas increase the number of limits in play: user global space quota, user global inode quota, group global space quota, group global inode quota, project global space/inode quota, and now all of those limits can also be defined for each pool.

In all cases, the net effect is that the actual amount of space you can use is limited to the smallest (min) quota out of everything that is applicable. When reporting the quota limits for a user, group, or project, all of the pool quota limits set for that user/group/project should also be reported, so that a user can more easily see which of the limits has been hit.

Functional Specification

Data written by a user to an OST consumes space. If that OST is part of a pool, the consumed space must be accounted for in the pool quota consumed by that user. If the user attempts to write data beyond the quota limit, Lustre should return an EDQUOT error message to the user.

A system administrator must be able to set and check user and group quotas on any pool in the filesystem. Users must not be able to modify their own quotas.

Logical Specification

OST Changes

OST quota tracking remains unaffected. OSTs track user, group, and project quotas in the underlying local FS (ldiskfs or ZFS) as today. The OSTs continue to request new quota grants for a user or group from the quota master when OST objects are created or grow in size beyond the current granted space.

MDS changes

Handling of pool quotas is confined entirely to the quota master on the MDS. Per the Quota Protocol Design in LU-1300, the quota master maintains a per-slave index file that tracks quota grants for each identifier (uid/gid). In order to find the amount of quota granted for any identifier, the quota master dynamically sums the appropriate contributions from each OST. This is done for the full filesystem (all OSTs), but it can also be done for any subset of OSTs; that is, any pool. In fact, according to the above document, this use case was anticipated in the quota master file structure:

├── changelog_catalog
├── ...
├── quota_master
│   ├── dt-0x0
│   │   ├── 0x1020000
│   │   ├── 0x1020000-OST0000_UUID
│   │   ├── 0x1020000-OST0001_UUID
│   │   ├── 0x20000
│   │   ├── 0x20000-OST0000_UUID
│   │   ├── 0x20000-OST0001_UUID
│   │   ├── 0x2020000
│   │   ├── 0x2020000-OST0000_UUID
│   │   └── 0x2020000-OST0001_UUID
│   └── md-0x0
│       ├── 0x10000
│       ├── 0x1010000
│       └── 0x2010000
├── quota_slave
│   ├── 0x10000
│   ├── 0x10000-MDT0000
│   ├── 0x1010000
│   ├── 0x1010000-MDT0000
│   ├── 0x2010000
│   └── 0x2010000-MDT0000
├── ...

Current code anticipated support for quota pools, but expected a scheme where the pool ID comes from the slaves. We therefore can't use the existing structure without breaking our requirement that OST-side quota tracking remains unaffected.

As the scheme with pool ID is totally unused, this part could be removed. The main part of quota pool's could be not changed because it will be used for new quota pools. We just need to remove qmt's pool hash as pool's lookup mainly will be performed by OST/MDT index and all code connected with quota pool ID.

Each pool will have it's own directory with index files under quota_master directory. See details in section 5.2.3.

The format of records in index files will be the same as that currently used for the global index:

 * Global quota index support
 * Format of a global record, providing global quota settings for a given quota
 * identifier
struct lquota_glb_rec { /* 32 bytes */
        __u64 qbr_hardlimit; /* quota hard limit, in #inodes or kbytes */
        __u64 qbr_softlimit; /* quota soft limit, in #inodes or kbytes */
        __u64 qbr_time;      /* grace time, in seconds */
        __u64 qbr_granted;   /* how much is granted to slaves, in #inodes or
                              * kbytes */

There will be no per-pool grant requests from the quota slaves; there will be a single general request for grant. When a quota slave requests additional quota grant, the MDT must check the quota limits for each pool the OST is a member of. For pool files that have a matching identifier entry, the quota master calculates the minimum amount of quota grant remaining for that identifier. This provides the upper bound to the quota granted to the slave.

E.g. for this case:

lfs setquota --block-hardlimit 2097152 -u user1 --pool flash /mnt/lustre

lfs setquota --block-hardlimit 2097152 -u user2 --pool flash /mnt/lustre

lfs setquota --block-hardlimit 2097152 -u user1 /mnt/lustre

For a quota acq request for a user from an OST in the flash pool, the MDS would check both quota_master/dt-0x0/0x20000(global index file that scope all slaves) and quota_master/dt-flash/0x20000 files and return the minimal amount remaining. For an OST not in the flash pool, it would not check the quota_master/dt-flash/0x20000.

Pool changes

When a pool definition is changed (OST add or remove), the calculation of granted quota for that pool must be invalidated. At the next request for quota grant, the total already granted for the current pool definition will be recalculated. Note this may result in some identifiers suddenly being over quota; future grants to slaves will be 0, and subsequent write requests should get EDQUOT.

When a pool is deleted (lctl pool destroy), the associated quota files and subdirectories should be deleted. If the pool is re-created then new quotas limits must be re-established if desired.

Qunit changes

Lustre quotas are allocated in fixed sizes called qunit to avoid many small requests. Qunit is a part of lqe and is applied on all slaves from quota ID scope. It is calculated by master every time the global grants are modified. In the common case when quota soft limit is not set qunit is computed as follows: limit / (2 * slv_cnt). Then 75% of the quota space can be granted with current qunit value. The remaining 25% are then used with reduced qunit size (by a factor of 4) which is then divided in a similar manner.

The requirement that any OST may be part of multiple pools may cause several performance problems. Let's consider the most obvious case when pools are overlapped:

Pool1: ost1, ost2, ost3, ost4; Limit 1G

Pool2: ost4, ost5, ost6; Limit 2G

User Joe has quota limits on pool1 and pool2. The first question is how qunit should be calculated in this case. Choosing the formula: min(pool_limit/(2 * pool_slv_cnt)). For our example qunit is 128 MB for pool1 and 341 MB for pool2, so min is 128 MB. After granting over 750 MB in a pool1 qunit will be recalculated as 64 MB (pool_limt/(4* pool1_slv_cnt)). Later qunit will become smaller and smaller until it reaches qpi_least_qunit (1MB by default). Since the qunit is common for both pools it affects pool2 write performance even if pool2 has a file on OSTs 5 and 6. It looks unfair because pool2 has 1.25 GB remaining space and ideally should use much higher qunit value. Furthermore the qunit recalculation causes sending glimpse callbacks on per-ID quota locks.

The same problem could be faced with PFL.


  1. Calculate qunit per pool. In case of overlapping pools use minimum qunit. For example we have 2 pools Pool1: OST1, OST2 with qunit==12M and Pool2: OST2, OST3 with qunit==128M. In such case OST1 and OST2 should grant quota with qunit = 12M and OST3 with qunit 128M (this solution is most complicated, however it is implemented in current Pool Quotas patch that is under review).
  2. Don't use overlapping quota pools. Possibly we can forbid such pools at creation time. However it brakes R.poolquotas.multiPool requirement.
  3. Set the minimum qunit size(qpi_least_qunit) to some larger value - 4 or 16 MB. It doesn't solve the problem fully but could help.

Quota pools and LOD pools

We distinguish here between "LOD pools", grouping OSTs for file layout purposes, and "quota pools", which groups OST for quota accounting. Unfortunately, quota code does not have direct access to the LOD pool definitions due to layering restrictions between the LOV and the QMT.

The simplest way to mirror these "LOD" pools is to add the same configuration handlers to QMT and call them together with default "LOD" pools handlers. For example LCFG_POOL_NEW command now means to call obd_pool_new for 2 obd devices - lustre-MDT0000-mdtlov and lustre-QMT0000. This will create pools on both quota and lod layers in memory. OSTs will be added (and removed) in these pools by commands LCFG_POOL_ADD, LCFG_POOL_DEL.

Handling LCFG_POOL_NEW and LCFG_POOL_DESTROY commands in quota will cause creating or removing a directory with quota global files under quota_master.

The name of this directory will be built by the rule: "pool_type" + "-" + "pool_name". Where pool type could be "dt" or "md" depending on pool type. Each created quota pool directory will have 3 index files for each of 3 types: user, group, project. Finally we will have the following hierarchy:

├── quota_master
│   ├── dt-0x0
│   │   ├── 0x1020000
│   │   ├── 0x1020000-OST0000_UUID
│   │   ├── ...
│   ├── dt-pool1
│   │   ├── 0x1020000
│   │   ├── 0x20000
│   │   └── 0x2020000
│   ├── dt-pool2
│   │   ├── ...
│   ├── md-0x0
│   │   ├── 0x10000
│   │   ├── 0x1010000
│   │   └── 0x2010000
│   ├── md-pool1
│   │   ├── 0x10000
│   │   ├── 0x1010000
│   │   └── 0x2010000
│   │ ... 
├── ...

Note, md-pool1 and dt-pool1 are directories for pools of different types despite the same name.

Another possible approach is to access pools in LOD layer directly from QMT. The benefit is that we don't need to add code for quota pools that has the same functionality with the code from lod_pool.c. However, access between different layers (QMT and LOD) needs additional locking. Also the LOD layer has to notify QMT about all pool changes. This requires changes not only in QMT but in the LOD as well. We decided on the former approach in order to restrict the impact of the quota pools feature to the quota code only.

Quota pool list

All quota pool entries will be linked into a global quota_pool_list. Thus when master has a request from OST N it has to go through quota_pool_list and find all quota pool's that include OST N. Thus we will need just N compares and one pass through the list. So no reasons to store quota pools entries in something more complex.


Because there are no OST code changes and quotas grant is effective a quota master policy, the MDS code can be updated independently. Similarly, downgrading should be just as simple: quota pools file's in directory quota_master/pools will be ignored.

In case if new client sends commands with new options (lfs setquota --pool/lfs quota --pool) to old server, server should return -ENOTSUPP.

Old client should work properly with new server.

Use Cases

Typical use

For design purposes, we should concentrate on one general use case for pool quotas. In this use case, an administrator would set up a global filesystem quota for each user, say 10TB in a 1PB system. The system also has 15TB of flash, and the administrator wants to prevent any one user from using more than 1TB of flash. He creates a pool of the flash OSTs, and assigns a pool quota of 1TB each to the users. The quota consumed by the user depends on the location where he writes files; writes to the flash pool consume quota against both the global and the flash limits.

Quotas changes

New quotas on a pool

A pool named "flash" is set up with OST10 through OST20.

This sets a 2GB limit for user Bob on the pool named "flash":

  1. lfs setquota -u bob --pool flash --block-hardlimit 2g /mnt/lustre

If Bob's capacity used on the OSTs in pool "flash" exceeds 2GB, further writes will fail with EDQUOT. Bob can continue to write to any other OSTs NOT in "flash" without restriction.

Multiple quotas

A second pool is set up called "site1", comprised of OST5 through OST15. Bob is given a quota on site1 of 1GB. Bob currently has:

OSTs Used space(Gb) Pools
OST0-4 6.0 -
OST5-9 0.5 site1
OST10-15 0.4 site1, flash
OST16-20 1.0 flash

The amount of additional grant space that can be given to Bob on OST11 is therefore 0.1GB (min of site1 and flash). If Bob uses this 0.1GB, he will not be granted any more space on OST5-15, but he may be granted up to 0.5GB more on OST16-20.

Change Pool Quotas

Change to a 1GB limit for user Bob on the pool named "flash":

  1. lfs setquota -u bob --pool flash --block-hardlimit 1g /mnt/lustre

Bob is now over limit in pool "flash"

OSTs Used space(Gb) Pools
OST0-4 6.0 -
OST5-9 0.5 site1
OST10-15 0.4 site1, flash
OST16-20 1.0 flash

Bob can write nothing to OST10-20, 0.1GB to OST5-9, and unlimited to OST0-4.

Pool changes

New pool

New pools should not generate any pool quota activity.

Destroy pool

Any existing pool quota definitions for a deleted pool are removed. Future re-definition of the pool would have no quotas set.

Add OST to pool

OST16 with 0.2GB of Bob's data on it is added to pool site1. Bob is now over quota for site1. He can write nothing in either pool, but can still use non-pool OSTs.

Pool Limit Used(GB) Remaining grantable quota
- no limit 7 no limit
site1(5-16) 1 1.1 -0.1
flash(10-20) 1 1.4 -0.4

Remove OST from pool

OST16 with 0.2GB of Bob's data on it is removed from pool site1. Now Bob can write 0.1GB to site1 and unlimited to OST0-4.

Pool Limit Used(GB) Remaining grantable quota
- no limit 7 no limit
site1(5-15) 1 0.9 0.1
flash(10-20) 1 1.4 -0.4

Performance Analysis

If no pool quotas are set, the quota master has no additional work to do when administering quota grants. If a pool quota is set for a user, then the quota master may have to check more than one quota file to determine the correct minimum grant; this may have some slight performance impact on a non-cached LQE's. As the number of pools with quotas increases, this load will also increase.

Quota slaves are not impacted by pool quotas; slave code is not touched in this design. However, since additional quota limits may be imposed by pool quotas, the size of the quota unit granted for a user (quota id) will be affected by the "closest" limit applicable to that id; see 6.2.2 Qunit Changes.



While new quotas files will be created when pool quotas are configured, no existing on-disk formats are changed. Previous version of Lustre will simply ignore the new quotas files. We anticipate no backwards compatibility issues.


  1. LU-11023
  2. Lustre / Quota overview