Where to Start?

The python-swiftclient project comprises a command line tool and two separate APIs for accessing swift programmatically. Choosing the most appropriate method for a given use case is the first problem a user needs to solve.

Use Cases

Alongside the command line tool, the python-swiftclient includes two levels of API:

  • A low level client API that provides simple Python wrappers around the various authentication mechanisms and the individual HTTP requests.

  • A high level service API that provides methods for performing common operations in parallel on a thread pool.

Example use cases:

  • Uploading and retrieving data

    Use the command line tool if you are simply uploading and downloading files and directories to and from your filesystem. The command line tool can be integrated into a shell script to automate tasks.

  • Integrating into an automated Python workflow

    Use the SwiftService API to perform operations offered by the CLI if your use case requires integration with a Python-based workflow. This method offers greater control and flexibility over individual object operations, such as the metadata set on each object. The SwiftService class provides methods to perform multiple sets of operations against a swift object store using a configurable shared thread pool. A single instance of the SwiftService class can be shared between multiple threads in your own code.

  • Developing an application in Python to access a swift object store

    Use the SwiftService API to develop Python applications that use swift to store and retrieve objects. A SwiftService instance provides a configurable thread pool for performing all operations supported by the CLI.

  • Fine-grained control over threading or the requests being performed

    Use the Connection API if your use case requires fine grained control over advanced features or you wish to use your own existing threading model. Examples of advanced features requiring the use of the Connection API include creating an SLO manifest that references already existing objects, or fine grained control over the query strings supplied with each HTTP request.

Important considerations

This section covers some important considerations, helpful hints, and things to avoid when integrating an object store into your workflow.

An object store is not a filesystem

It cannot be stressed enough that your usage of the object store should reflect the proper use case, and not treat the storage like a traditional filesystem. There are two main restrictions to bear in mind when designing an application that uses an object store:

  • You cannot rename objects. Due to fact that the name of an object is one of the factors that determines where the object and its replicas are stored, renaming would require multiple copies of the data to be moved between physical storage devices. If you want to rename an object you must upload to the new location, or make a server side copy request to the new location, and then delete the original.

  • You cannot modify objects. Objects are stored in multiple locations and are checked for integrity based on the MD5 sum calculated during upload. In order to modify the contents of an object, the entire desired contents must be re-uploaded. In certain special cases it is possible to work around this restriction using large objects, but no general file-like access is available to modify a stored object.

Objects cannot be locked

There is no mechanism to perform a combination of reading the data/metadata from an object and writing an update to that data/metadata in an atomic way. Any user with access to a container could update the contents or metadata associated with an object at any time.

Workflows that assume that no updates have been made since the last read of an object should be discouraged. Enabling a workflow of this type requires an external object locking mechanism and/or cooperation between all clients accessing the data.