From: "Ben Peart" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "'Christian Couder'" <email@example.com>
Cc: "'Jeff King'" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "'git'" <email@example.com>,
"'Johannes Schindelin'" <Johannes.Schindelin@gmx.de>,
"'Ben Peart'" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: RE: [RFC] Add support for downloading blobs on demand
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2017 10:39:55 -0500 [thread overview]
Message-ID: <email@example.com> (raw)
I've completed the work of switching our read_object proposal to use a
background process (refactored from the LFS code) and have extricated it
from the rest of our GVFS fork so that it can be examined/tested
separately. It is currently based on a Git For Windows fork that I've
pushed to GitHub for anyone who is interested in viewing it at:
After some additional conversations with Christian, we're working to
combine our RFC/patch series into a single solution that should meet the
requirements of both.
The combined solution needs to have an "info" function which requests
info about a single object instead of a "have" function which must
return information on all objects the ODB knows as this doesn't scale
when the number of objects is large.
This means the "info" call has to be fast so spawning a process on every
call won't work. The background process with a versioned interface that
allows you to negotiate capabilities should solve this problem.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ben Peart [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: Tuesday, February 7, 2017 1:21 PM
> To: 'Christian Couder' <email@example.com>
> Cc: 'Jeff King' <firstname.lastname@example.org>; 'git' <email@example.com>; 'Johannes
> Schindelin' <Johannes.Schindelin@gmx.de>; Ben Peart
> Subject: RE: [RFC] Add support for downloading blobs on demand
> No worries about a late response, I'm sure this is the start of a long
> conversation. :)
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Christian Couder [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> > Sent: Sunday, February 5, 2017 9:04 AM
> > To: Ben Peart <email@example.com>
> > Cc: Jeff King <firstname.lastname@example.org>; git <email@example.com>; Johannes
> > Schindelin <Johannes.Schindelin@gmx.de>
> > Subject: Re: [RFC] Add support for downloading blobs on demand
> > (Sorry for the late reply and thanks to Dscho for pointing me to this
> > thread.)
> > On Tue, Jan 17, 2017 at 10:50 PM, Ben Peart <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> > >> From: Jeff King [mailto:email@example.com] On Fri, Jan 13, 2017 at
> > >> 10:52:53AM -0500, Ben Peart wrote:
> > >>
> > >> > Clone and fetch will pass a --lazy-clone flag (open to a better
> > >> > name
> > >> > here) similar to --depth that instructs the server to only
> > >> > return commits and trees and to ignore blobs.
> > >> >
> > >> > Later during git operations like checkout, when a blob cannot be
> > >> > found after checking all the regular places (loose, pack,
> > >> > alternates, etc), git will download the missing object and place
> > >> > it into the local object store (currently as a loose object) then
> > >> > resume the
> > operation.
> > >>
> > >> Have you looked at the "external odb" patches I wrote a while ago,
> > >> and which Christian has been trying to resurrect?
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> li
> > >> c-
> > >> inbox.org%2Fgit%2F20161130210420.15982-1-
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> vftY8JZAVUssmrXuDZ9OBy3xqNZk%3D&reserved=0
> > >>
> > >> This is a similar approach, though I pushed the policy for "how do
> > >> you get the objects" out into an external script. One advantage
> > >> there is that large objects could easily be fetched from another
> > >> source entirely (e.g., S3 or equivalent) rather than the repo itself.
> > >>
> > >> The downside is that it makes things more complicated, because a
> > >> push or a fetch now involves three parties (server, client, and the
> > >> alternate object store). So questions like "do I have all the
> > >> objects I need" are hard to reason about.
> > >>
> > >> If you assume that there's going to be _some_ central Git repo
> > >> which has all of the objects, you might as well fetch from there
> > >> (and do it over normal git protocols). And that simplifies things a
> > >> bit, at the cost of
> > being less flexible.
> > >
> > > We looked quite a bit at the external odb patches, as well as lfs
> > > and even using alternates. They all share a common downside that
> > > you must maintain a separate service that contains _some_ of the files.
> > Pushing the policy for "how do you get the objects" out into an
> > external helper doesn't mean that the external helper cannot use the main
> > The external helper is still free to do whatever it wants including
> > calling the main service if it thinks it's better.
> That is a good point and you're correct, that means you can avoid having to
> build out multiple services.
> > > These
> > > files must also be versioned, replicated, backed up and the service
> > > itself scaled out to handle the load. As you mentioned, having
> > > multiple services involved increases flexability but it also
> > > increases the complexity and decreases the reliability of the
> > > overall version control service.
> > About reliability, I think it depends a lot on the use case. If you
> > want to get very big files over an unreliable connection, it can
> > better if you send those big files over a restartable protocol and
> > service like HTTP/S on a regular web server.
> My primary concern about reliability was the multiplicative effect of making
> multiple requests across multiple servers to complete a single request.
> Having putting this all in a single service like you suggested above brings us
> back to parity on the complexity.
> > > For operational simplicity, we opted to go with a design that uses a
> > > single, central git repo which has _all_ the objects and to focus on
> > > enhancing it to handle large numbers of files efficiently. This
> > > allows us to focus our efforts on a great git service and to avoid
> > > having to build out these other services.
> > Ok, but I don't think it prevents you from using at least some of the
> > same mechanisms that the external odb series is using.
> > And reducing the number of mechanisms in Git itself is great for its
> > maintainability and simplicity.
> I completely agree with the goal of reducing the number of mechanisms in
> Git itself. Our proposal is primarily targeting speeding operations when
> dealing with large numbers of files. ObjectDB is primarily targeting large
> objects but there is a lot of similarity in how we're approaching the solution.
> I hope/believe we can come to a common solution that will solve both.
> > >> > To prevent git from accidentally downloading all missing blobs,
> > >> > some git operations are updated to be aware of the potential for
> > missing blobs.
> > >> > The most obvious being check_connected which will return success
> > >> > as if everything in the requested commits is available locally.
> > >>
> > >> Actually, Git is pretty good about trying not to access blobs when
> > >> it doesn't need to. The important thing is that you know enough
> > >> about the blobs to fulfill has_sha1_file() and sha1_object_info()
> > >> requests without actually fetching the data.
> > >>
> > >> So the client definitely needs to have some list of which objects
> > >> exist, and which it _could_ get if it needed to.
> > Yeah, and the external odb series handles that already, thanks to
> > Peff's initial work.
> I'm currently working on a patch series that will reimplement our current
> read-object hook to use the LFS model for long running background
> processes. As part of that, I am building a versioned interface that will
> support multiple commands (like get, have, put). In my initial
> implementation, I'm only supporting the "get" verb as that is what we
> currently need but my intent is to build it so that we could add have and put
> in future versions. When I have the first iteration ready, I'll push it up to our
> fork on github for review as code is clearer than my description in email.
> Moving forward, the "have" verb is a little problematic as we would "have"
> 3+ million shas that we'd be required to fetch from the server and then pass
> along to git when requested. It would be nice to come up with a way to
> avoid or reduce that cost.
> > >> The one place you'd probably want to tweak things is in the diff
> > >> code, as a single "git log -Sfoo" would fault in all of the blobs.
> > >
> > > It is an interesting idea to explore how we could be smarter about
> > > preventing blobs from faulting in if we had enough info to fulfill
> > > has_sha1_file() and sha1_object_info(). Given we also heavily prune
> > > the working directory using sparse-checkout, this hasn't been our
> > > top focus but it is certainly something worth looking into.
> > The external odb series doesn't handle preventing blobs from faulting
> > in yet, so this could be a common problem.
> Agreed. This is one we've been working on quite a bit out of necessity. If
> you look at our patch series, most of the changes are related to dealing with
> missing objects.
> > [...]
> > >> One big hurdle to this approach, no matter the protocol, is how you
> > >> are going to handle deltas. Right now, a git client tells the
> > >> server "I have this commit, but I want this other one". And the
> > >> server knows which objects the client has from the first, and which
> > >> it needs from the second. Moreover, it knows that it can send
> > >> objects in delta form directly from disk if the other side has the delta
> > >>
> > >> So what happens in this system? We know we don't need to send any
> > >> blobs in a regular fetch, because the whole idea is that we only
> > >> send blobs on demand. So we wait for the client to ask us for blob
> > >> A. But then what do we send? If we send the whole blob without
> > >> deltas, we're going to waste a lot of bandwidth.
> > >>
> > >> The on-disk size of all of the blobs in linux.git is ~500MB. The
> > >> actual data size is ~48GB. Some of that is from zlib, which you get
> > >> even for non-deltas. But the rest of it is from the delta
> > >> compression. I don't think it's feasible to give that up, at least
> > >> not for "normal" source repos like linux.git (more on that in a minute).
> > >>
> > >> So ideally you do want to send deltas. But how do you know which
> > >> objects the other side already has, which you can use as a delta
> > >> base? Sending the list of "here are the blobs I have" doesn't scale.
> > >> Just the sha1s start to add up, especially when you are doing
> > >> incremental
> > fetches.
> > To initialize some paths that the client wants, it could perhaps just
> > ask for some pack files, or maybe bundle files, related to these paths.
> > Those packs or bundles could be downloaded either directly from the
> > main server or from other web or proxy servers.
> > >> I think this sort of things performs a lot better when you just
> > >> focus on large objects. Because they don't tend to delta well
> > >> anyway, and the savings are much bigger by avoiding ones you don't
> > >> want. So a directive like "don't bother sending blobs larger than
> > >> 1MB" avoids a lot of these issues. In other words, you have some
> > >> quick shorthand to communicate between the client and server: this
> > >> what I have, and what I
> > don't.
> > >> Normal git relies on commit reachability for that, but there are
> > >> obviously other dimensions. The key thing is that both sides be
> > >> able to express the filters succinctly, and apply them efficiently.
> > >
> > > Our challenge has been more the sheer _number_ of files that exist
> > > in the repo rather than the _size_ of the files in the repo. With
> > > >3M source files and any typical developer only needing a small
> > > percentage of those files to do their job, our focus has been
> > > pruning the tree as much as possible such that they only pay the
> > > cost for the files they actually need. With typical text source
> > > files being 10K - 20K in size, the overhead of the round trip is a
> > > significant part of the overall transfer time so deltas don't help
> > > as much. I agree that large files are also a problem but it isn't my top
> focus at this point in time.
> > Ok, but it would be nice if both problems could be solved using some
> > common mechanisms.
> > This way it could probably work better in situations where there are
> > both a large number of files _and_ some big files.
> > And from what I am seeing, there could be no real downside from using
> > some common mechanisms.
> Agree completely. I'm hopeful that we can come up with some common
> mechanisms that will allow us to solve both problems.
> > >> If most of your benefits are not from avoiding blobs in general,
> > >> but rather just from sparsely populating the tree, then it sounds
> > >> like sparse clone might be an easier path forward. The general idea
> > >> is to restrict not just the checkout, but the actual object
> > >> transfer and reachability (in the tree dimension, the way shallow
> > >> clone limits it in the time dimension, which will require
> > >> cooperation between the client
> > and server).
> > >>
> > >> So that's another dimension of filtering, which should be expressed
> > >> pretty
> > >> succinctly: "I'm interested in these paths, and not these other
> > >> ones." It's pretty easy to compute on the server side during graph
> > >> traversal (though it interacts badly with reachability bitmaps, so
> > >> there would need to be some hacks there).
> > >>
> > >> It's an idea that's been talked about many times, but I don't
> > >> recall that there were ever working patches. You might dig around
> > >> in the list archive under the name "sparse clone" or possibly "narrow
> > >
> > > While a sparse/narrow clone would work with this proposal, it isn't
> > > required. You'd still probably want all the commits and trees but
> > > the clone would also bring down the specified blobs. Combined with
> > > using "depth" you could further limit it to those blobs at tip.
> > >
> > > We did run into problems with this model however as our usage
> > > patterns are such that our working directories often contain very
> > > sparse trees and as a result, we can end up with thousands of
> > > entries in the sparse checkout file. This makes it difficult for
> > > users to manually specify a sparse-checkout before they even do a
> > > clone. We have implemented a hashmap based sparse-checkout to deal
> > > with the performance issues of having that many entries but that's a
> > > different RFC/PATCH. In short, we found that a "lazy-clone" and
> > > downloading blobs on demand provided a better developer experience.
> > I think both ways are possible using the external odb mechanism.
> > >> > Future Work
> > >> > ~~~~~~~~~~~
> > >> >
> > >> > The current prototype calls a new hook proc in
> > >> > sha1_object_info_extended and read_object, to download each
> > >> > missing blob. A better solution would be to implement this via a
> > >> > long running process that is spawned on the first download and
> > >> > listens for requests to download additional objects until it
> > >> > terminates when the parent git operation exits (similar to the
> > >> > recent long running smudge and clean filter
> > >> work).
> > >>
> > >> Yeah, see the external-odb discussion. Those prototypes use a
> > >> process per object, but I think we all agree after seeing how the
> > >> git-lfs interface has scaled that this is a non-starter. Recent
> > >> versions of git-lfs do the single- process thing, and I think any
> > >> sort of external-odb hook should be modeled on that protocol.
> > I agree that the git-lfs scaling work is great, but I think it's not
> > necessary in the external odb work to have the same kind of
> > single-process protocol from the beginning (though it should be possible
> and easy to add it).
> > For example if the external odb work can be used or extended to handle
> > restartable clone by downloading a single bundle when cloning, this
> > would not need that kind of protocol.
> > > I'm looking into this now and plan to re-implement it this way
> > > before sending out the first patch series. Glad to hear you think
> > > it is a good protocol to model it on.
> > Yeah, for your use case on Windows, it looks really worth it to use
> > this kind of protocol.
> > >> > Need to investigate an alternate batching scheme where we can
> > >> > make a single request for a set of "related" blobs and receive
> > >> > single a packfile (especially during checkout).
> > >>
> > >> I think this sort of batching is going to be the really hard part
> > >> to retrofit onto git. Because you're throwing out the procedural
> > >> notion that you can loop over a set of objects and ask for each
> > >> You have to start deferring computation until answers are ready.
> > >> Some operations can do that reasonably well (e.g., checkout), but
> > >> something like "git log -p" is constantly digging down into history.
> > >> I suppose you could just perform the skeleton of the operation
> > >> _twice_, once to find the list of objects to fault in, and the
> > >> second time to
> > actually do it.
> > In my opinion, perhaps we can just prevent "git log -p" from faulting
> > in blobs and have it show a warning saying that it was performed only
> > on a subset of all the blobs.
> You might be surprised at how many other places end up faulting in blobs. :)
> Rename detection is one we've recently been working on.
> > [...]
prev parent reply other threads:[~2017-02-23 15:40 UTC|newest]
Thread overview: 13+ messages / expand[flat|nested] mbox.gz Atom feed top
2017-01-13 15:52 [RFC] Add support for downloading blobs on demand Ben Peart
2017-01-13 21:07 ` Shawn Pearce
2017-01-17 21:50 ` Ben Peart
2017-01-17 22:05 ` Martin Fick
2017-01-17 22:23 ` Stefan Beller
2017-01-18 18:27 ` Ben Peart
2017-01-17 18:42 ` Jeff King
2017-01-17 21:50 ` Ben Peart
2017-02-05 14:03 ` Christian Couder
2017-02-07 18:21 ` Ben Peart
2017-02-07 21:56 ` Jakub Narębski
2017-02-08 2:18 ` Ben Peart
2017-02-23 15:39 ` Ben Peart [this message]
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