Database Management

Database Management

The default metadata driver for Glance uses SQLAlchemy, which implies there exists a backend database which must be managed. The glance-manage binary provides a set of commands for making this easier.

The commands should be executed as a subcommand of ‘db’:

glance-manage db <cmd> <args>


In the Ocata release (14.0.0), the database migration engine was changed from SQLAlchemy Migrate to Alembic. This necessitated some changes in the glance-manage tool. While the user interface has been kept as similar as possible, the glance-manage tool included with the Ocata and more recent releases is incompatible with the “legacy” tool. If you are consulting these documents for information about the glance-manage tool in the Newton or earlier releases, please see the Legacy Database Management page.

Migration Scripts

The migration scripts are stored in the directory: glance/db/sqlalchemy/alembic_migrations/versions

As mentioned above, these scripts utilize the Alembic migration engine, which was first introduced in the Ocata release. All database migrations up through the Liberty release are consolidated into one Alembic migration script named liberty_initial. Mitaka migrations are retained, but have been rewritten for Alembic and named using the new naming convention.

A fresh Glance installation will apply the following migrations:

  • liberty-initial
  • mitaka01
  • mitaka02
  • ocata01


The “old-style” migration scripts have been retained in their current directory in the Ocata release so that interested operators can correlate them with the new migrations. This directory will be removed in future releases.

In particular, the “old-style” script for the Ocata migration, is retained for operators who are conversant in SQLAlchemy Migrate and are interested in comparing it with a “new-style” Alembic migration script. The Alembic script, which is the one actually used to do the upgrade to Ocata, is

Sync the Database

glance-manage db sync [VERSION]

Place an existing database under migration control and upgrade it to the specified VERSION or to the latest migration level if VERSION is not specified.


Prior to Ocata release the database version was a numeric value. For example: for the Newton release, the latest migration level was 44. Starting with Ocata, database version is a revision name corresponding to the latest migration included in the release. For the Ocata release, there is only one database migration and it is identified by revision ocata01. So, the database version for Ocata release is ocata01.

This naming convention will change slightly with the introduction of zero-downtime upgrades, which is EXPERIMENTAL in Ocata, but is projected to be the official upgrade method beginning with the Pike release. See Zero-Downtime Database Upgrades below for more information.

Determining the Database Version

glance-manage db version

This will print the current migration level of a Glance database.

Upgrading an Existing Database

glance-manage db upgrade [VERSION]

This will take an existing database and upgrade it to the specified VERSION.

Downgrading an Existing Database

Upgrades involve complex operations and can fail. Before attempting any upgrade, you should make a full database backup of your production data. As of Kilo, database downgrades are not supported, and the only method available to get back to a prior database version is to restore from backup [1].


Zero-Downtime Database Upgrades


This feature is EXPERIMENTAL in the Ocata release. We encourage operators to try it out, but its use in production environments is currently NOT SUPPORTED.

A zero-downtime database upgrade enables true rolling upgrades of the Glance nodes in your cloud’s control plane. At the appropriate point in the upgrade, you can have a mixed deployment of release n (for example, Ocata) and release n-1 (for example, Newton) Glance nodes, take the n-1 release nodes out of rotation, allow them to drain, and then take them out of service permanently, leaving all Glance nodes in your cloud at release n.

That’s a rough sketch of how a rolling upgrade would work. For full details, see Rolling Upgrades.


Downgrading a database is not supported. See Downgrading an Existing Database for more information.

The Expand-Migrate-Contract Cycle

For Glance, a zero-downtime database upgrade has three phases:

  1. Expand: in this phase, new columns, tables, indexes, or triggers are added to the database.
  2. Migrate: in this phase, data is migrated to the new columns or tables.
  3. Contract: in this phase, the “old” tables or columns (and any database triggers used during the migration), which are no longer in use, are removed from the database.

The above phases are abbreviated as an E-M-C database upgrade.

New Database Version Identifiers

In order to perform zero-downtime upgrades, the version identifier of a database becomes more complicated since it must reflect knowledge of what point in the E-M-C cycle the upgrade has reached. To make this evident, the identifier explicitly contains ‘expand’ or ‘contract’ as part of its name.

Thus the ocata01 migration (that is, the migration that’s currently used in the fully supported upgrade path) has two identifiers associated with it for zero-downtime upgrades: ocata_expand01 and ocata_contract01.

During the upgrade process, the database is initially marked with ocata_expand01. Eventually, after completing the full upgrade process, the database will be marked with ocata_contract01. So, instead of one database version, an operator will see a composite database version that will have both expand and contract versions. A database will be considered at Ocata version only when both expand and contract revisions are at the latest revisions. For a successful Ocata zero-downtime upgrade, for example, the database will be marked with both ocata_expand01, ocata_contract01.

In the case in which there are multiple changes in a cycle, the database version record would go through the following progression:

stage database identifier comment
E bexar_expand01 upgrade begins
E bexar_expand02  
E bexar_expand03  
M bexar_expand03 bexar_migrate01 occurs
M bexar_expand03 bexar_migrate02 occurs
M bexar_expand03 bexar_migrate03 occurs
C bexar_expand03, bexar_contract01  
C bexar_expand03, bexar_contract02  
C bexar_expand03, bexar_contract03 upgrade completed

Database Upgrade

In order to enable the E-M-C database upgrade cycle, and to enable Glance rolling upgrades, the glance-manage tool has been augmented to include the following operations.

Expanding the Database

glance-manage db expand

This will run the expansion phase of a rolling upgrade process. Database expansion should be run as the first step in the rolling upgrade process before any new services are started.

Migrating the Data

glance-manage db migrate

This will run the data migrate phase of a rolling upgrade process. Database migration should be run after database expansion but before any new services are started.

Contracting the Database

glance-manage db contract

This will run the contraction phase of a rolling upgrade process. Database contraction should be run as the last step of the rolling upgrade process after all old services are upgraded to new ones.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

Except where otherwise noted, this document is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. See all OpenStack Legal Documents.