faqs.org - Internet FAQ Archives

RFC 7047 - The Open vSwitch Database Management Protocol


Or Display the document by number




Independent Submission                                          B. Pfaff
Request for Comments: 7047                                 B. Davie, Ed.
Category: Informational                                     VMware, Inc.
ISSN: 2070-1721                                            December 2013

             The Open vSwitch Database Management Protocol

Abstract

   Open vSwitch is an open-source software switch designed to be used as
   a vswitch (virtual switch) in virtualized server environments.  A
   vswitch forwards traffic between different virtual machines (VMs) on
   the same physical host and also forwards traffic between VMs and the
   physical network.  Open vSwitch is open to programmatic extension and
   control using OpenFlow and the OVSDB (Open vSwitch Database)
   management protocol.  This document defines the OVSDB management
   protocol.  The Open vSwitch project includes open-source OVSDB client
   and server implementations.

Status of This Memo

   This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is
   published for informational purposes.

   This is a contribution to the RFC Series, independently of any other
   RFC stream.  The RFC Editor has chosen to publish this document at
   its discretion and makes no statement about its value for
   implementation or deployment.  Documents approved for publication by
   the RFC Editor are not a candidate for any level of Internet
   Standard; see Section 2 of RFC 5741.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
   and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at
   http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7047.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2013 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction ....................................................3
      1.1. Requirements Language ......................................3
      1.2. Terminology ................................................3
   2. System Overview .................................................4
   3. OVSDB Structure .................................................5
      3.1. JSON Usage .................................................6
      3.2. Schema Format ..............................................7
   4. Wire Protocol ..................................................12
      4.1. RPC Methods ...............................................12
           4.1.1. List Databases .....................................12
           4.1.2. Get Schema .........................................13
           4.1.3. Transact ...........................................13
           4.1.4. Cancel .............................................16
           4.1.5. Monitor ............................................16
           4.1.6. Update Notification ................................18
           4.1.7. Monitor Cancellation ...............................19
           4.1.8. Lock Operations ....................................19
           4.1.9. Locked Notification ................................21
           4.1.10. Stolen Notification ...............................21
           4.1.11. Echo ..............................................22
   5. Database Operations ............................................22
      5.1. Notation ..................................................22
      5.2. Operations ................................................27
           5.2.1. Insert .............................................27
           5.2.2. Select .............................................28
           5.2.3. Update .............................................29
           5.2.4. Mutate .............................................29
           5.2.5. Delete .............................................30
           5.2.6. Wait ...............................................31
           5.2.7. Commit .............................................32
           5.2.8. Abort ..............................................32
           5.2.9. Comment ............................................32
           5.2.10. Assert ............................................33
   6. IANA Considerations ............................................33
   7. Security Considerations ........................................33
   8. Acknowledgements ...............................................34
   9. References .....................................................34
      9.1. Normative References ......................................34
      9.2. Informative References ....................................34

1.  Introduction

   In virtualized server environments, it is typically required to use a
   vswitch (virtual switch) to forward traffic between different virtual
   machines (VMs) on the same physical host and between VMs and the
   physical network.  Open vSwitch [OVS] is an open-source software
   switch designed to be used as a vswitch in such environments.  Open
   vSwitch (OVS) is open to programmatic extension and control using
   OpenFlow [OF-SPEC] and the OVSDB (Open vSwitch Database) management
   protocol.  This document defines the OVSDB management protocol.  The
   Open vSwitch project includes open-source OVSDB client and server
   implementations.

   The OVSDB management protocol uses JSON [RFC4627] for its wire format
   and is based on JSON-RPC version 1.0 [JSON-RPC].

   The schema of the Open vSwitch database is documented in [DB-SCHEMA].
   This document specifies the protocol for interacting with that
   database for the purposes of managing and configuring Open vSwitch
   instances.  The protocol specified in this document also provides
   means for discovering the schema in use, as described in
   Section 4.1.2.

   The OVSDB management protocol is intended to allow programmatic
   access to the Open vSwitch database as documented in [DB-SCHEMA].
   This database holds the configuration for one Open vSwitch daemon.
   As currently defined, this information describes the switching
   behavior of a virtual switch and does not describe the behavior or
   configuration of a routing system.  In the event that the schema is
   extended in a future release to cover elements of the routing system,
   implementers and operators need to be aware of the work of the IETF's
   I2RS working group that specifies protocols and data models for real-
   time or event driven interaction with the routing system.

1.1.  Requirements Language

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this
   document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].

1.2.  Terminology

   UUID:       Universally Unique Identifier.  A 128-bit identifier that
               is unique in space and time [DCE].

   OVS:        Open vSwitch.  An open-source virtual switch.

   OVSDB:      The database that is used for the purpose of configuring
               OVS instances.

   JSON:       Javascript Object Notation [RFC4627].

   JSON-RPC:   JSON Remote Procedure Call [JSON-RPC].

   Durable:    Reliably written to non-volatile storage (e.g., disk).
               OVSDB supports the option to specify whether or not
               transactions are durable.

   Note that the JSON specification [RFC4627] provides precise
   definitions of a number of important terms such as JSON values,
   objects, arrays, numbers, and strings.  In all cases, this document
   uses the definitions from [RFC4627].

2.  System Overview

   Figure 1 illustrates the main components of Open vSwitch and the
   interfaces to a control and management cluster.  An OVS instance
   comprises a database server (ovsdb-server), a vswitch daemon
   (ovs-vswitchd), and, optionally, a module that performs fast-path
   forwarding.  The "management and control cluster" consists of some
   number of managers and controllers.  Managers use the OVSDB
   management protocol to manage OVS instances.  An OVS instance is
   managed by at least one manager.  Controllers use OpenFlow to install
   flow state in OpenFlow switches.  An OVS instance can support
   multiple logical datapaths, referred to as "bridges".  There is at
   least one controller for each OpenFlow bridge.

   The OVSDB management interface is used to perform management and
   configuration operations on the OVS instance.  Compared to OpenFlow,
   OVSDB management operations occur on a relatively long timescale.
   Examples of operations that are supported by OVSDB include:

   o  Creation, modification, and deletion of OpenFlow datapaths
      (bridges), of which there may be many in a single OVS instance;

   o  Configuration of the set of controllers to which an OpenFlow
      datapath should connect;

   o  Configuration of the set of managers to which the OVSDB server
      should connect;

   o  Creation, modification, and deletion of ports on OpenFlow
      datapaths;

   o  Creation, modification, and deletion of tunnel interfaces on
      OpenFlow datapaths;

   o  Creation, modification, and deletion of queues;

   o  Configuration of QoS (quality of service) policies and attachment
      of those policies to queues; and

   o  Collection of statistics.

   OVSDB does not perform per-flow operations, leaving those instead to
   OpenFlow.

          +----------------------+
          |      Control &       |
          |     Management       |
          |      Cluster         |
          +----------------------+
             |                \
             | OVSDB           \ OpenFlow
             | Mgmt             \
             |                   \
       +============================================+
       | +--------------+       +--------------+    |
       | |              |       |              |    |
       | | ovsdb-server |-------| ovs-vswitchd |    |
       | |              |       |              |    |
       | +--------------+       +--------------+    |
       |                               |            |
       |                        +----------------+  |
       |                        | Forwarding Path|  |
       |                        +----------------+  |
       +============================================+

                     Figure 1: Open vSwitch Interfaces

   Further information about the usage of the OVSDB management protocol
   is provided in [DB-SCHEMA].

3.  OVSDB Structure

   This section outlines the overall structure of databases in OVSDB.
   As described here, the database is reasonably generic.  For the
   complete and current description of the database schema as used in
   OVS, refer to [DB-SCHEMA].  See also Section 4.1.2 for information on
   how the OVSDB management protocol may be used to discover the schema
   currently in use.

3.1.  JSON Usage

   OVSDB uses JSON [RFC4627] for both its schema format and its wire
   protocol format.  The JSON implementation in Open vSwitch has the
   following limitations:

   o  Null bytes (\u0000) SHOULD NOT be used in strings.

   o  Only UTF-8 encoding is supported.

   The descriptions below use the following shorthand notations for JSON
   values.  Terminology follows [RFC4627].

   <string>
      A JSON string.  Any Unicode string is allowed.  Implementations
      SHOULD disallow null bytes.

   <id>
      A JSON string matching [a-zA-Z_][a-zA-Z0-9_]*. <id>s that begin
      with _ are reserved to the implementation and MUST NOT be used by
      the user.

   <version>
      A JSON string that contains a version number that matches [0-9]+
      \.[0-9]+\.[0-9]+

   <boolean>
      A JSON true or false value.

   <number>
      A JSON number.

   <integer>
      A JSON number with an integer value, within the range -(2**63)...+
      (2**63)-1.

   <json-value>
      Any JSON value.

   <nonnull-json-value>
      Any JSON value except null.

   <error>
      A JSON object with the following members:

           "error": <string>          required
           "details": <string>        optional

      The value of the "error" member is a short string, specified in
      this document, that broadly indicates the class of the error.
      Most "error" strings are specific to contexts described elsewhere
      in this document, but the following "error" strings may appear in
      any context where an <error> is permitted:

      "error": "resources exhausted"
         The operation requires more resources (memory, disk, CPU, etc.)
         than are currently available to the database server.

      "error": "I/O error"
         Problems accessing the disk, network, or other required
         resources prevented the operation from completing.

      Database implementations MAY use "error" strings not specified in
      this document to indicate errors that do not fit into any of the
      specified categories.  Optionally, an <error> MAY include a
      "details" member, whose value is a string that describes the error
      in more detail for the benefit of a human user or administrator.
      This document does not specify the format or content of the
      "details" string.  An <error> MAY also have other members that
      describe the error in more detail.  This document does not specify
      the names or values of these members.

3.2.  Schema Format

   An Open vSwitch configuration database consists of a set of tables,
   each of which has a number of columns and zero or more rows.  A
   schema for the database is represented by <database-schema>, as
   described below.

   <database-schema>
      A JSON object with the following members:

           "name": <id>                            required
           "version": <version>                    required
           "cksum": <string>                       optional
           "tables": {<id>: <table-schema>, ...}   required

      The "name" identifies the database as a whole.  It must be
      provided to most JSON-RPC requests to identify the database being
      operated on.

      The "version" reports the version of the database schema.  It is
      REQUIRED to be present.  Open vSwitch semantics for "version" are
      described in [DB-SCHEMA].  Other schemas may use it differently.

      The "cksum" optionally reports an implementation-defined checksum
      for the database schema.  Its use is primarily as a tool for
      schema developers, and clients SHOULD ignore it.

      The value of "tables" is a JSON object whose names are table names
      and whose values are <table-schema>s.

   <table-schema>
      A JSON object with the following members:

         "columns": {<id>: <column-schema>, ...}   required
         "maxRows": <integer>                      optional
         "isRoot": <boolean>                       optional
         "indexes": [<column-set>*]                optional

      The value of "columns" is a JSON object whose names are column
      names and whose values are <column-schema>s.

      Every table has the following columns whose definitions are not
      included in the schema:

         "_uuid": This column, which contains exactly one UUID value, is
         initialized to a random value by the database engine when it
         creates a row.  It is read-only, and its value never changes
         during the lifetime of a row.

         "_version": Like "_uuid", this column contains exactly one UUID
         value, initialized to a random value by the database engine
         when it creates a row, and it is read-only.  However, its value
         changes to a new random value whenever any other field in the
         row changes.  Furthermore, its value is ephemeral: when the
         database is closed and reopened, or when the database process
         is stopped and then started again, each "_version" also changes
         to a new random value.

      If "maxRows" is specified, as a positive integer, it limits the
      maximum number of rows that may be present in the table.  This is
      a "deferred" constraint, enforced only at transaction commit time
      (see the "transact" request in Section 4.1.3).  If "maxRows" is
      not specified, the size of the table is limited only by the
      resources available to the database server. "maxRows" constraints
      are enforced after unreferenced rows are deleted from tables with
      a false "isRoot".

      The "isRoot" boolean is used to determine whether rows in the
      table require strong references from other rows to avoid garbage
      collection.  (See the discussion of "strong" and "weak" references
      below in the description of <base-type>.)  If "isRoot" is

      specified as true, then rows in the table exist independent of any
      references (they can be thought of as part of the "root set" in a
      garbage collector).  If "isRoot" is omitted or specified as false,
      then any given row in the table may exist only when there is at
      least one reference to it, with refType "strong", from a different
      row (in the same table or a different table).  This is a
      "deferred" action: unreferenced rows in the table are deleted just
      before transaction commit.

      For compatibility with schemas created before "isRoot" was
      introduced, if "isRoot" is omitted or false in every
      <table-schema> in a given <database-schema>, then every table is
      part of the root set.

      If "indexes" is specified, it must be an array of zero or more
      <column-set>s.  A <column-set> is an array of one or more strings,
      each of which names a column.  Each <column-set> is a set of
      columns whose values, taken together within any given row, must be
      unique within the table.  This is a "deferred" constraint,
      enforced only at transaction commit time, after unreferenced rows
      are deleted and dangling weak references are removed.  Ephemeral
      columns may not be part of indexes.

   <column-schema>
      A JSON object with the following members:

         "type": <type>                            required
         "ephemeral": <boolean>                    optional
         "mutable": <boolean>                      optional

      The "type" specifies the type of data stored in this column.

      If "ephemeral" is specified as true, then this column's values are
      not guaranteed to be durable; they may be lost when the database
      restarts.  A column whose type (either key or value) is a strong
      reference to a table that is not part of the root set is always
      durable, regardless of this value.  (Otherwise, restarting the
      database could lose entire rows.)

      If "mutable" is specified as false, then this column's values may
      not be modified after they are initially set with the "insert"
      operation.

   <type>
      The type of a database column.  Either an <atomic-type> or a JSON
      object that describes the type of a database column, with the
      following members:

         "key": <base-type>                 required
         "value": <base-type>               optional
         "min": <integer>                   optional
         "max": <integer> or "unlimited"    optional

      If "min" or "max" is not specified, each defaults to 1.  If "max"
      is specified as "unlimited", then there is no specified maximum
      number of elements, although the implementation will enforce some
      limit.  After considering defaults, "min" must be exactly 0 or
      exactly 1, "max" must be at least 1, and "max" must be greater
      than or equal to "min".

      If "min" and "max" are both 1 and "value" is not specified, the
      type is the scalar type specified by "key".

      If "min" is not 1 or "max" is not 1, or both, and "value" is not
      specified, the type is a set of scalar type "key".

      If "value" is specified, the type is a map from type "key" to type
      "value".

   <base-type>
      The type of a key or value in a database column.  Either an
      <atomic-type> or a JSON object with the following members:

         "type": <atomic-type>            required
         "enum": <value>                  optional
         "minInteger": <integer>          optional, integers only
         "maxInteger": <integer>          optional, integers only
         "minReal": <real>                optional, reals only
         "maxReal": <real>                optional, reals only
         "minLength": <integer>           optional, strings only
         "maxLength": <integer>           optional, strings only
         "refTable": <id>                 optional, UUIDs only
         "refType": "strong" or "weak"    optional, only with "refTable"

      An <atomic-type> by itself is equivalent to a JSON object with a
      single member "type" whose value is the <atomic-type>.

      "enum" may be specified as a <value> whose type is a set of one or
      more values specified for the member "type".  If "enum" is
      specified, then the valid values of the <base-type> are limited to
      those in the <value>.

      "enum" is mutually exclusive with the following constraints:

         If "type" is "integer", then "minInteger" or "maxInteger" or
         both may also be specified, restricting the valid integer
         range.  If both are specified, then "maxInteger" must be
         greater than or equal to "minInteger".

         If "type" is "real", then "minReal" or "maxReal" or both may
         also be specified, restricting the valid real range.  If both
         are specified, then "maxReal" must be greater than or equal to
         "minReal".

         If "type" is "string", then "minLength" and "maxLength" or both
         may be specified, restricting the valid length of value
         strings.  If both are specified, then "maxLength" must be
         greater than or equal to "minLength".  String length is
         measured in characters.

         If "type" is "uuid", then "refTable", if present, must be the
         name of a table within this database.  If "refTable" is
         specified, then "refType" may also be specified.  If "refTable"
         is set, the effect depends on "refType":

         +  If "refType" is "strong" or if "refType" is omitted, the
            allowed UUIDs are limited to UUIDs for rows in the named
            table.

         +  If "refType" is "weak", then any UUIDs are allowed, but
            UUIDs that do not correspond to rows in the named table will
            be automatically deleted.  When this situation arises in a
            map, both the key and the value will be deleted from the
            map.

      "refTable" constraints are "deferred" constraints: they are
      enforced only at transaction commit time (see the "transact"
      request in Section 4.1.3).  The other constraints on <base-type>
      are "immediate", enforced immediately by each operation.

   <atomic-type>
      One of the strings "integer", "real", "boolean", "string", or
      "uuid", representing the specified scalar type.

4.  Wire Protocol

   The database wire protocol is implemented in JSON-RPC 1.0 [JSON-RPC].
   While the JSON-RPC specification allows a range of transports,
   implementations of this specification SHOULD operate directly over
   TCP.  See Section 6 for discussion of the TCP port.

4.1.  RPC Methods

   The following subsections describe the RPC methods that are
   supported.  As described in the JSON-RPC 1.0 specification, each
   request comprises a string containing the name of the method, a
   (possibly null) array of parameters to pass to the method, and a
   request ID, which can be used to match the response to the request.
   Each response comprises a result object (non-null in the event of a
   successful invocation), an error object (non-null in the event of an
   error), and the ID of the matching request.  More details on each
   method, its parameters, and its results are described below.

   An OVSDB server MUST implement all of the following methods.  An
   OVSDB client MUST implement the "Echo" method and is otherwise free
   to implement whichever methods suit the implementation's needs.

   The operations that may be performed on the OVS database using these
   methods (e.g., the "transact" method) are described in Section 5.

4.1.1.  List Databases

   This operation retrieves an array whose elements are the names of the
   databases that can be accessed over this management protocol
   connection.

   The request object contains the following members:

   o  "method": "list_dbs"

   o  "params": []

   o  "id": <nonnull-json-value>

   The response object contains the following members:

   o  "result": [<db-name>,...]

   o  "error": null

   o  "id": same "id" as request

4.1.2.  Get Schema

   This operation retrieves a <database-schema> that describes hosted
   database <db-name>.

   The request object contains the following members:

   o  "method": "get_schema"

   o  "params": [<db-name>]

   o  "id": <nonnull-json-value>

   The response object contains the following members:

   o  "result": <database-schema>

   o  "error": null

   o  "id": same "id" as request

   In the event that the database named in the request does not exist,
   the server sends a JSON-RPC error response of the following form:

   o  "result": null

   o  "error": "unknown database"

   o  "id": same "id" as request

4.1.3.  Transact

   This RPC method causes the database server to execute a series of
   operations in the specified order on a given database.

   The request object contains the following members:

   o  "method": "transact"

   o  "params": [<db-name>, <operation>*]

   o  "id": <nonnull-json-value>

   The value of "id" MUST be unique among all in-flight transactions
   within the current JSON-RPC session.  Otherwise, the server may
   return a JSON-RPC error.

   The "params" array for this method consists of a <db-name> that
   identifies the database to which the transaction applies, followed by
   zero or more JSON objects, each of which represents a single database
   operation.  Section 5 describes the valid operations.  The database
   server executes each of the specified operations in the specified
   order, except if an operation fails, then the remaining operations
   are not executed.  The set of operations is executed as a single
   atomic, consistent, isolated transaction.  The transaction is
   committed if and only if every operation succeeds.  Durability of the
   commit is not guaranteed unless the "commit" operation, with
   "durable" set to true, is included in the operation set.  See
   Section 5 for more discussion of the database operations.

   The response object contains the following members:

   o  "result": [<object>*]

   o  "error": null

   o  "id": same "id" as request

   Regardless of whether errors occur in the database operations, the
   response is always a JSON-RPC response with null "error" and a
   "result" member that is an array with the same number of elements as
   "params".  Each element of the "result" array corresponds to the same
   element of the "params" array.  The "result" array elements may be
   interpreted as follows:

   o  A JSON object that does not contain an "error" member indicates
      that the operation completed successfully.  The specific members
      of the object are specified below in the descriptions of
      individual operations.  Some operations do not produce any
      results, in which case the object will have no members.

   o  An <error> indicates that the matching operation completed with an
      error.

   o  A JSON null value indicates that the operation was not attempted
      because a prior operation failed.

   In general, "result" contains some number of successful results,
   possibly followed by an error, in turn followed by enough JSON null
   values to match the number of elements in "params".  There is one
   exception: if all of the operations succeed, but the results cannot
   be committed, then "result" will have one more element than "params",
   with the additional element being an <error>.  In this case, the
   possible "error" strings include the following:

   "error": "referential integrity violation"
      When the commit was attempted, a column's value referenced the
      UUID for a row that did not exist in the table named by the
      column's <base-type> key or value "refTable" that has a "refType"
      of "strong".  (This can be caused by inserting a row that
      references a nonexistent row, by deleting a row that is still
      referenced by another row, by specifying the UUID for a row in the
      wrong table, and other ways.)

   "error": "constraint violation"
      A number of situations can arise in which the attempted commit
      would lead to a constraint on the database being violated.  (See
      Section 3.2 for more discussion of constraints.)  These situations
      include:

      *  The number of rows in a table exceeds the maximum number
         permitted by the table's "maxRows" value.

      *  Two or more rows in a table had the same values in the columns
         that comprise an index.

      *  A column with a <base-type> key or value "refTable" whose
         "refType" is "weak" became empty due to deletion(s), and this
         column is not allowed to be empty because its <type> has a
         "min" of 1.  Such deletions may be the result of rows that it
         referenced being deleted (or never having existed, if the
         column's row was inserted within the transaction).

   "error": "resources exhausted"
      The operation requires more resources (memory, disk, CPU, etc.)
      than are currently available to the database server.

   "error": "I/O error"
      Problems accessing the disk, network, or other required resources
      prevented the operation from completing.

   If "params" contains one or more "wait" operations, then the
   transaction may take an arbitrary amount of time to complete.  The
   database implementation MUST be capable of accepting, executing, and
   replying to other transactions and other JSON-RPC requests while a
   transaction or transactions containing "wait" operations are
   outstanding on the same or different JSON-RPC sessions.

4.1.4.  Cancel

   The "cancel" method is a JSON-RPC notification, i.e., no matching
   response is provided.  It instructs the database server to
   immediately complete or cancel the "transact" request whose "id" is
   the same as the notification's "params" value.  The notification
   object has the following members:

   o  "method": "cancel"

   o  "params": [the "id" for an outstanding request]

   o  "id": null

   If the "transact" request can be completed immediately, then the
   server sends a response in the form described for "transact"
   (Section 4.1.3).  Otherwise, the server sends a JSON-RPC error
   response of the following form:

   o  "result": null

   o  "error": "canceled"

   o  "id": the "id" member of the canceled request.

   The "cancel" notification itself has no reply.

4.1.5.  Monitor

   The "monitor" request enables a client to replicate tables or subsets
   of tables within an OVSDB database by requesting notifications of
   changes to those tables and by receiving the complete initial state
   of a table or a subset of a table.  The request object has the
   following members:

   o  "method": "monitor"

   o  "params": [<db-name>, <json-value>, <monitor-requests>]

   o  "id": <nonnull-json-value>

   The <json-value> parameter is used to match subsequent update
   notifications (see below) to this request.  The <monitor-requests>
   object maps the name of the table to be monitored to an array of
   <monitor-request> objects.

   Each <monitor-request> is an object with the following members:

       "columns": [<column>*]            optional
       "select": <monitor-select>        optional

   The columns, if present, define the columns within the table to be
   monitored. <monitor-select> is an object with the following members:

       "initial": <boolean>              optional
       "insert": <boolean>               optional
       "delete": <boolean>               optional
       "modify": <boolean>               optional

   The contents of this object specify how the columns or table are to
   be monitored, as explained in more detail below.

   The response object has the following members:

   o  "result": <table-updates>

   o  "error": null

   o  "id": same "id" as request

   The <table-updates> object is described in detail in Section 4.1.6.
   It contains the contents of the tables for which "initial" rows are
   selected.  If no tables' initial contents are requested, then
   "result" is an empty object.

   Subsequently, when changes to the specified tables are committed, the
   changes are automatically sent to the client using the "update"
   monitor notification (see Section 4.1.6).  This monitoring persists
   until the JSON-RPC session terminates or until the client sends a
   "monitor_cancel" JSON-RPC request.

   Each <monitor-request> specifies one or more columns and the manner
   in which the columns (or the entire table) are to be monitored.  The
   "columns" member specifies the columns whose values are monitored.
   It MUST NOT contain duplicates.  If "columns" is omitted, all columns
   in the table, except for "_uuid", are monitored.  The circumstances
   in which an "update" notification is sent for a row within the table
   are determined by <monitor-select>:

   o  If "initial" is omitted or true, every row in the table is sent as
      part of the response to the "monitor" request.

   o  If "insert" is omitted or true, "update" notifications are sent
      for rows newly inserted into the table.

   o  If "delete" is omitted or true, "update" notifications are sent
      for rows deleted from the table.

   o  If "modify" is omitted or true, "update" notifications are sent
      whenever a row in the table is modified.

   If there is more than one <monitor-request> in an array, then each
   <monitor-request> in the array should specify both "columns" and
   "select", and the "columns" MUST be non-overlapping sets.

4.1.6.  Update Notification

   The "update" notification is sent by the server to the client to
   report changes in tables that are being monitored following a
   "monitor" request as described above.  The notification has the
   following members:

   o  "method": "update"

   o  "params": [<json-value>, <table-updates>]

   o  "id": null

   The <json-value> in "params" is the same as the value passed as the
   <json-value> in "params" for the corresponding "monitor" request.
   <table-updates> is an object that maps from a table name to a
   <table-update>.  A <table-update> is an object that maps from the
   row's UUID to a <row-update> object.  A <row-update> is an object
   with the following members:

    "old": <row>   present for "delete" and "modify" updates
    "new": <row>   present for "initial", "insert", and "modify" updates

   The format of <row> is described in Section 5.1.

   Each table in which one or more rows has changed (or whose initial
   view is being presented) is represented in <table-updates>.  Each row
   that has changed (or whose initial view is being presented) is
   represented in its <table-update> as a member with its name taken
   from the row's "_uuid" member.  The corresponding value is a
   <row-update>:

   o  The "old" member is present for "delete" and "modify" updates.
      For "delete" updates, each monitored column is included.  For
      "modify" updates, the prior value of each monitored column whose
      value has changed is included (monitored columns that have not
      changed are represented in "new").

   o  The "new" member is present for "initial", "insert", and "modify"
      updates.  For "initial" and "insert" updates, each monitored
      column is included.  For "modify" updates, the new value of each
      monitored column is included.

   Note that initial views of rows are not presented in update
   notifications, but in the response object to the monitor request.
   The formatting of the <table-updates> object, however, is the same in
   either case.

4.1.7.  Monitor Cancellation

   The "monitor_cancel" request cancels a previously issued monitor
   request.  The request object members are:

   o  "method": "monitor_cancel"

   o  "params": [<json-value>]

   o  "id": <nonnull-json-value>

   The <json-value> in "params" matches the <json-value> in "params" for
   the ongoing "monitor" request that is to be canceled.  No more
   "update" messages will be sent for this table monitor.  The response
   to this request has the following members:

   o  "result": {}

   o  "error": null

   o  "id": the request "id" member

   In the event that a monitor cancellation request refers to an unknown
   monitor request, an error response with the following members is
   returned:

   o  "result": null

   o  "error": "unknown monitor"

   o  "id": the request "id" member

4.1.8.  Lock Operations

   Three RPC methods, "lock", "steal", and "unlock", provide support to
   clients to perform locking operations on the database.  The database
   server supports an arbitrary number of locks, each of which is
   identified by a client-defined ID.  At any given time, each lock may

   have at most one owner.  The precise usage of a lock is determined by
   the client.  For example, a set of clients may agree that a certain
   table can only be written by the owner of a certain lock.  OVSDB
   itself does not enforce any restrictions on how locks are used -- it
   simply ensures that a lock has at most one owner.

   The RPC request objects have the following members:

   o  "method": "lock", "steal", or "unlock"

   o  "params": [<id>]

   o  "id": <nonnull-json-value>

   The response depends on the request and has the following members:

   o  "result": {"locked": boolean} for "lock"

   o  "result": {"locked": true} for "steal"

   o  "result": {} for "unlock"

   o  "error": null

   o  "id": same "id" as request

   The three methods operate as follows:

   o  "lock": The database will assign this client ownership of the lock
      as soon as it becomes available.  When multiple clients request
      the same lock, they will receive it in first-come, first-served
      order.

   o  "steal": The database immediately assigns this client ownership of
      the lock.  If there is an existing owner, it loses ownership.

   o  "unlock": If the client owns the lock, this operation releases it.
      If the client has requested ownership of the lock, this cancels
      the request.

      (Closing or otherwise disconnecting a database client connection
      unlocks all of its locks.)

   For any given lock, the client MUST alternate "lock" or "steal"
   operations with "unlock" operations.  That is, if the previous
   operation on a lock was "lock" or "steal", it MUST be followed by an
   "unlock" operation, and vice versa.

   For a "lock" operation, the "locked" member in the response object is
   true if the lock has already been acquired and false if another
   client holds the lock and the client's request for it was queued.  In
   the latter case, the client will be notified later with a "locked"
   message (Section 4.1.9) when acquisition succeeds.

   These requests complete and send a response quickly, without waiting.
   The "locked" and "stolen" notifications (see below) report
   asynchronous changes to ownership.

   Note that the scope of a lock is a database server, not a database
   hosted by that server.  A client may choose to implement a naming
   convention, such as "<db-name>__<lock-name>", which can effectively
   limit the scope of a lock to a particular database.

4.1.9.  Locked Notification

   The "locked" notification is provided to notify a client that it has
   been granted a lock that it had previously requested with the "lock"
   method described above.  The notification has the following members:

   o  "method": "locked"

   o  "params": [<id>]

   o  "id": null

   "Params" contains the name of the lock that was given in the "lock"
   request.  The notified client now owns the lock named in "params".

   The database server sends this notification after the reply to the
   corresponding "lock" request (but only if the "locked" member of the
   response was false) and before the reply to the client's subsequent
   "unlock" request.

4.1.10.  Stolen Notification

   The "stolen" notification is provided to notify a client, which had
   previously obtained a lock, that another client has stolen ownership
   of that lock.  The notification has the following members:

   o  "method": "stolen"

   o  "params": [<id>]

   o  "id": null

   The notified client no longer owns the lock named in "params".  The
   client MUST still issue an "unlock" request before performing any
   subsequent "lock" or "steal" operation on the lock.

   If the client originally obtained the lock through a "lock" request,
   then it will automatically regain the lock later after the client
   that stole it releases it.  (The database server will send the client
   a "locked" notification at that point to let it know.)

   If the client originally obtained the lock through a "steal" request,
   the database server won't automatically reassign it ownership of the
   lock when it later becomes available.  To regain ownership, the
   client must "unlock" and then "lock" or "steal" the lock again.

4.1.11.  Echo

   The "echo" method can be used by both clients and servers to verify
   the liveness of a database connection.  It MUST be implemented by
   both clients and servers.  The members of the request are:

   o  "method": "echo"

   o  "params": JSON array with any contents

   o  "id": <json-value>

   The response object has the following members:

   o  "result": same as "params"

   o  "error": null

   o  "id": the request "id" member

5.  Database Operations

   This section describes the operations that may be specified in the
   "transact" method described in Section 4.1.3.

5.1.  Notation

   We introduce the following notation for the discussion of operations.

    <db-name>
      An <id> that names a database.  The valid <db-name>s can be
      obtained using a "list_dbs" request.  The <db-name> is taken from
      the "name" member of <database-schema>.

   <table>
      An <id> that names a table.

   <column>
      An <id> that names a table column.

   <row>
      A JSON object that describes a table row or a subset of a table
      row.  Each member is the name of a table column paired with the
      <value> of that column.

   <value>
      A JSON value that represents the value of a column in a table row,
      one of <atom>, <set>, or <map>.

   <atom>
      A JSON value that represents a scalar value for a column, one of
      <string>, <number>, <boolean>, <uuid>, or <named-uuid>.

   <set>
      Either an <atom>, representing a set with exactly one element, or
      a 2-element JSON array that represents a database set value.  The
      first element of the array must be the string "set", and the
      second element must be an array of zero or more <atom>s giving the
      values in the set.  All of the <atom>s must have the same type.

   <map>
      A 2-element JSON array that represents a database map value.  The
      first element of the array must be the string "map", and the
      second element must be an array of zero or more <pair>s giving the
      values in the map.  All of the <pair>s must have the same key and
      value types.

      (JSON objects are not used to represent <map> because JSON only
      allows string names in an object.)

   <pair>
      A 2-element JSON array that represents a pair within a database
      map.  The first element is an <atom> that represents the key, and
      the second element is an <atom> that represents the value.

   <uuid>
      A 2-element JSON array that represents a UUID.  The first element
      of the array must be the string "uuid", and the second element
      must be a 36-character string giving the UUID in the format
      described by RFC 4122 [RFC4122].  For example, the following
      <uuid> represents the UUID 550e8400-e29b-41d4-a716-446655440000:

      ["uuid", "550e8400-e29b-41d4-a716-446655440000"]

   <named-uuid>
      A 2-element JSON array that represents the UUID of a row inserted
      in an "insert" operation within the same transaction.  The first
      element of the array must be the string "named-uuid", and the
      second element should be the <id> specified as the "uuid-name" for
      an "insert" operation within the same transaction.  For example,
      if an "insert" operation within this transaction specifies a
      "uuid-name" of "myrow", the following <named-uuid> represents the
      UUID created by that operation:

      ["named-uuid", "myrow"]

      A <named-uuid> may be used anywhere a <uuid> is valid.  This
      enables a single transaction to both insert a new row and then
      refer to that row using the "uuid-name" that was associated with
      that row when it was inserted.  Note that the "uuid-name" is only
      meaningful within the scope of a single transaction.

   <condition>
      A 3-element JSON array of the form [<column>, <function>, <value>]
      that represents a test on a column value.  Except as otherwise
      specified below, <value> MUST have the same type as <column>.  The
      meaning depends on the type of <column>:

      integer or real
         <function> must be "<", "<=", "==", "!=", ">=", ">",
         "includes", or "excludes".

         The test is true if the column's value satisfies the relation
         <function> <value>, e.g., if the column has value 1 and <value>
         is 2, the test is true if <function> is "<", "<=", or "!=", but
         not otherwise.

         "includes" is equivalent to "=="; "excludes" is equivalent to
         "!=".

      boolean or string or uuid
         <function> must be "!=", "==", "includes", or "excludes".

         If <function> is "==" or "includes", the test is true if the
         column's value equals <value>.  If <function> is "!=" or
         "excludes", the test is inverted.

      set or map
         <function> must be "!=", "==", "includes", or "excludes".

         If <function> is "==", the test is true if the column's value
         contains exactly the same values (for sets) or pairs (for
         maps).  If <function> is "!=", the test is inverted.

         If <function> is "includes", the test is true if the column's
         value contains all of the values (for sets) or pairs (for maps)
         in <value>.  The column's value may also contain other values
         or pairs.

         If <function> is "excludes", the test is true if the column's
         value does not contain any of the values (for sets) or pairs
         (for maps) in <value>.  The column's value may contain other
         values or pairs not in <value>.

         If <function> is "includes" or "excludes", then the required
         type of <value> is slightly relaxed, in that it may have fewer
         than the minimum number of elements specified by the column's
         type.  If <function> is "excludes", then the required type is
         additionally relaxed in that <value> may have more than the
         maximum number of elements specified by the column's type.

   <function>
      One of "<", "<=", "==", "!=", ">=", ">", "includes", or
      "excludes".

   <mutation>
      A 3-element JSON array of the form [<column>, <mutator>, <value>]
      that represents a change to a column value.  Except as otherwise
      specified below, <value> must have the same type as <column>.  The
      meaning depends on the type of <column>:

      integer or real
         <mutator> must be "+=", "-=", "*=", "/=", or (integer only)
         "%=".  The value of <column> is changed to the sum, difference,
         product, quotient, or remainder, respectively, of <column> and
         <value>.

         Constraints on <column> are ignored when parsing <value>.

      boolean, string, or uuid
         No valid <mutator>s are currently defined for these types.

      set
         Any <mutator> valid for the set's element type may be applied
         to the set, in which case the mutation is applied to each
         member of the set individually. <value> must be a scalar value
         of the same type as the set's element type, except that
         constraints are ignored when parsing <value>.

         If <mutator> is "insert", then each of the values in the set in
         <value> is added to <column> if it is not already present.  The
         required type of <value> is slightly relaxed, in that it may
         have fewer than the minimum number of elements specified by the
         column's type.

         If <mutator> is "delete", then each of the values in the set in
         <value> is removed from <column> if it is present there.  The
         required type is slightly relaxed in that <value> may have more
         or less than the maximum number of elements specified by the
         column's type.

      map
         <mutator> must be "insert" or "delete".

         If <mutator> is "insert", then each of the key-value pairs in
         the map in <value> is added to <column> only if its key is not
         already present.  The required type of <value> is slightly
         relaxed, in that it may have fewer than the minimum number of
         elements specified by the column's type.

         If <mutator> is "delete", then <value> may have the same type
         as <column> (a map type), or it may be a set whose element type
         is the same as <column>'s key type:

         +  If <value> is a map, the mutation deletes each key-value
            pair in <column> whose key and value equal one of the key-
            value pairs in <value>.

         +  If <value> is a set, the mutation deletes each key-value
            pair in <column> whose key equals one of the values in
            <value>.

         For "delete", <value> may have any number of elements,
         regardless of restrictions on the number of elements in
         <column>.

   <mutator>
      One of "+=", "-=", "*=", "/=", "%=", "insert", or "delete".

5.2.  Operations

   The operations that may be performed as part of a "transact" RPC
   request (see Section 4.1.3) are described in the following
   subsections.  Each of these operations is a JSON object that may be
   included as one of the elements of the "params" array that is one of
   the elements of the "transact" request.  The details of each object,
   its semantics, results, and possible errors are described below.

5.2.1.  Insert

   The "insert" object contains the following members:

      "op": "insert"          required
      "table": <table>        required
      "row": <row>            required
      "uuid-name": <id>       optional

   The corresponding result object contains the following member:

      "uuid": <uuid>

   The operation inserts "row" into "table".  If "row" does not specify
   values for all the columns in "table", those columns receive default
   values.  The default value for a column depends on its type.  The
   default for a column whose <type> specifies a "min" of 0 is an empty
   set or empty map.  Otherwise, the default is a single value or a
   single key-value pair, whose value(s) depend on its <atomic-type>:

   o  "integer" or "real": 0

   o  "boolean": false

   o  "string": "" (the empty string)

   o  "uuid": 00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000

   The new row receives a new, randomly generated UUID.  If "uuid-name"
   is supplied, then it is an error if <id> is not unique among the
   "uuid-name"s supplied on all the "insert" operations within this
   transaction.  The UUID for the new row is returned as the "uuid"
   member of the result.

   The errors that may be returned are as follows:

   "error": "duplicate uuid-name"
      The same "uuid-name" appears on another "insert" operation within
      this transaction.

   "error": "constraint violation"
      One of the values in "row" does not satisfy the immediate
      constraints for its column's <base-type>.  This error will occur
      for columns that are not explicitly set by "row" if the default
      value does not satisfy the column's constraints.

5.2.2.  Select

   The "select" object contains the following members:

      "op": "select"                required
      "table": <table>              required
      "where": [<condition>*]       required
      "columns": [<column>*]        optional

   The corresponding result object contains the following member:

      "rows": [<row>*]

   The operation searches "table" for rows that match all the conditions
   specified in "where".  If "where" is an empty array, every row in
   "table" is selected.

   The "rows" member of the result is an array of objects.  Each object
   corresponds to a matching row, with each column specified in
   "columns" as a member, the column's name as the member name, and its
   value as the member value.  If "columns" is not specified, all the
   table's columns are included (including the internally generated
   "_uuid" and "_version" columns).  If two rows of the result have the
   same values for all included columns, only one copy of that row is
   included in "rows".  Specifying "_uuid" within "columns" will avoid
   dropping duplicates, since every row has a unique UUID.

   The ordering of rows within "rows" is unspecified.

5.2.3.  Update

   The "update" object contains the following members:

      "op": "update"                required
      "table": <table>              required
      "where": [<condition>*]       required
      "row": <row>                  required

   The corresponding result object contains the following member:

      "count": <integer>

   The operation updates rows in a table.  It searches "table" for rows
   that match all the conditions specified in "where".  For each
   matching row, it changes the value of each column specified in "row"
   to the value for that column specified in "row".  The "_uuid" and
   "_version" columns of a table may not be directly updated with this
   operation.  Columns designated read-only in the schema also may not
   be updated.

   The "count" member of the result specifies the number of rows that
   matched.

   The error that may be returned is:

   "error": "constraint violation"
      One of the values in "row" does not satisfy the immediate
      constraints for its column's <base-type>.

5.2.4.  Mutate

   The "mutate" object contains the following members:

      "op":  "mutate"               required
      "table": <table>              required
      "where": [<condition>*]       required
      "mutations": [<mutation>*]    required

   The corresponding result object contains the following member:

      "count": <integer>

   The operation mutates rows in a table.  It searches "table" for rows
   that match all the conditions specified in "where".  For each
   matching row, it mutates its columns as specified by each <mutation>
   in "mutations", in the order specified.

   The "_uuid" and "_version" columns of a table may not be directly
   modified with this operation.  Columns designated read-only in the
   schema also may not be updated.

   The "count" member of the result specifies the number of rows that
   matched.

   The errors that may be returned are:

   "error":  "domain error"
      The result of the mutation is not mathematically defined, e.g.,
      division by zero.

   "error":  "range error"
      The result of the mutation is not representable within the
      database's format, e.g., an integer result outside the range
      INT64_MIN...INT64_MAX or a real result outside the range
      -DBL_MAX...DBL_MAX.

   "error": "constraint violation"
      The mutation caused the column's value to violate a constraint,
      e.g., it caused a column to have more or fewer values than are
      allowed, an arithmetic operation caused a set or map to have
      duplicate elements, or it violated a constraint specified by a
      column's <base-type>.

5.2.5.  Delete

   The "delete" object contains the following members:

      "op":  "delete"               required
      "table": <table>              required
      "where": [<condition>*]       required

   The corresponding result object contains the following member:

      "count": <integer>

   The operation deletes all the rows from "table" that match all the
   conditions specified in "where".  The "count" member of the result
   specifies the number of deleted rows.

5.2.6.  Wait

   The "wait" object contains the following members:

      "op": "wait"                        required
      "timeout": <integer>                optional
      "table": <table>                    required
      "where": [<condition>*]             required
      "columns": [<column>*]              required
      "until": "==" or "!="               required
      "rows": [<row>*]                    required

   There is no corresponding result object.

   The operation waits until a condition becomes true.

   If "until" is "==", it checks whether the query on "table" specified
   by "where" and "columns", which is evaluated in the same way as
   specified for "select", returns the result set specified by "rows".
   If it does, then the operation completes successfully.  Otherwise,
   the entire transaction rolls back.  It is automatically restarted
   later, after a change in the database makes it possible for the
   operation to succeed.  The client will not receive a response until
   the operation permanently succeeds or fails.

   If "until" is "!=", the sense of the test is negated.  That is, as
   long as the query on "table" specified by "where" and "columns"
   returns "rows", the transaction will be rolled back and restarted
   later.

   If "timeout" is specified, then the transaction aborts after the
   specified number of milliseconds.  The transaction is guaranteed to
   be attempted at least once before it aborts.  A "timeout" of 0 will
   abort the transaction on the first mismatch.

   The error that may be returned is:

   "error":  "timed out"
      The "timeout" was reached before the transaction was able to
      complete.

5.2.7.  Commit

   The "commit" object contains the following members:

      "op": "commit"                      required
      "durable": <boolean>                required

   There is no corresponding result object.

   If "durable" is specified as true, then the transaction, if it
   commits, will be stored durably (to disk) before the reply is sent to
   the client.  This operation with "durable" set to false is
   effectively a no-op.

   The error that may be returned is:

   "error": "not supported"
      When "durable" is true, this database implementation does not
      support durable commits.

5.2.8.  Abort

   The "abort" object contains the following member:

      "op":  "abort"                      required

   There is no corresponding result object (the operation never
   succeeds).

   The operation aborts the entire transaction with an error.  This may
   be useful for testing.

   The error that will be returned is:

   "error": "aborted"
      This operation always fails with this error.

5.2.9.  Comment

   The "comment" object contains the following members:

      "op": "comment"                    required
      "comment": <string>                required

   There is no corresponding result object.

   The operation provides information to a database administrator on the
   purpose of a transaction.  The ovsdb-server implementation, for
   example, adds comments in transactions that modify the database to
   the database journal.  This can be helpful in debugging, e.g., when
   there are multiple clients writing to a database.  An example of this
   can be seen in the ovs-vsctl tool, a command line tool that interacts
   with ovsdb-server.  When performing operations on the database, it
   includes the command that was invoked (e.g., "ovs-vsctl add-br br0")
   as a comment in the transaction, which can then be seen in the
   journal alongside the changes that were made to the tables in the
   database.

5.2.10.  Assert

   The assert object contains the following members:

      "op": "assert"                     required
      "lock": <id>                       required

   Result object has no members.

   The assert operation causes the transaction to be aborted if the
   client does not own the lock named <id>.

   The error that may be returned is:

   "error": "not owner"
      The client does not own the named lock.

6.  IANA Considerations

   IANA has assigned TCP port 6640 for this protocol.  Earlier
   implementations of OVSDB used another port number, but compliant
   implementations should use the IANA-assigned number.

   IANA has updated the reference for port 6640 to point to this
   document.

7.  Security Considerations

   The main security issue that needs to be addressed for the OVSDB
   protocol is the authentication, integrity, and privacy of
   communications between a client and server implementing this
   protocol.  To provide such protection, an OVSDB connection SHOULD be
   secured using Transport Layer Security (TLS) [RFC5246].  The precise
   details of how clients and servers authenticate each other is highly
   dependent on the operating environment.  It is often the case that

   OVSDB clients and servers operate in a tightly controlled
   environment, e.g., on machines in a single data center where they
   communicate on an isolated management network.

8.  Acknowledgements

   Thanks to Jeremy Stribling and Justin Pettit for their helpful input
   to this document.

9.  References

9.1.  Normative References

   [DCE]        "DCE: Remote Procedure Call", Open Group CAE
                Specification C309, ISBN 1-85912-041-5, August 1994.

   [JSON-RPC]   "JSON-RPC Specification, Version 1.0",
                <http://json-rpc.org/wiki/specification>.

   [RFC2119]    Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
                Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [RFC4122]    Leach, P., Mealling, M., and R. Salz, "A Universally
                Unique IDentifier (UUID) URN Namespace", RFC 4122,
                July 2005.

   [RFC4627]    Crockford, D., "The application/json Media Type for
                JavaScript Object Notation (JSON)", RFC 4627, July 2006.

   [RFC5246]    Dierks, T. and E. Rescorla, "The Transport Layer
                Security (TLS) Protocol Version 1.2", RFC 5246,
                August 2008.

9.2.  Informative References

   [DB-SCHEMA]  "Open vSwitch Database Schema",
                <http://openvswitch.org/ovs-vswitchd.conf.db.5.pdf>.

   [OF-SPEC]    Open Networking Foundation, "OpenFlow Switch
                Specification, version 1.3.3", October 2013,
                <https://www.opennetworking.org>.

   [OVS]        "Open vSwitch", <http://openvswitch.org/>.

Authors' Addresses

   Ben Pfaff
   VMware, Inc.
   3401 Hillview Ave.
   Palo Alto, CA  94304
   USA

   EMail: blp@nicira.com

   Bruce Davie (editor)
   VMware, Inc.
   3401 Hillview Ave.
   Palo Alto, CA  94304
   USA

   EMail: bsd@nicira.com

 

User Contributions:

Comment about this RFC, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

CAPTCHA