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Taikun OCP Guide

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Like many other OpenStack services, nova emits notifications to the
message bus with the Notifier class provided by oslo.messaging
. From the notification consumer
point of view, a notification consists of two parts: an envelope with a
fixed structure defined by oslo.messaging and a payload defined by the
service emitting the notification. The envelope format is the

    "priority": <string, selected from a predefined list by the sender>,
    "event_type": <string, defined by the sender>,
    "timestamp": <string, the isotime of when the notification emitted>,
    "publisher_id": <string, defined by the sender>,
    "message_id": <uuid, generated by oslo>,
    "payload": <json serialized dict, defined by the sender>

There are two types of notifications in nova: legacy notifications
which have an unversioned payload and newer notifications which have a
versioned payload.

Legacy (unversioned)

The unversioned notifications exist from the early days of nova and
have mostly grown organically. The structure of the payload of the
unversioned notifications is defined in the code that emits the
notification and no documentation or enforced backward compatibility
contract exists for that format.

Nova code uses the nova.rpc.get_notifier call to get a
configured oslo.messaging Notifier object and it uses the
oslo-provided functions on the Notifier object to emit
notifications. The configuration of the returned Notifier
object depends on the parameters of the get_notifier call
and the value of the oslo.messaging configuration options oslo_messaging_notifications.driver and

Versioned notifications

The versioned notification concept was created to fix the
shortcomings of the unversioned notifications. The envelope structure of
the emitted notification is the same as in the unversioned notification
case as it is provided by oslo.messaging. However, the payload is not a
free-form dictionary but a serialized oslo versionedobjects object <>.

For example the wire format of the service.update
notification looks like the following:

    "priority": "INFO",
    "payload": {
        "nova_object.namespace": "nova",
        "nova_object.name": "ServiceStatusPayload",
        "nova_object.version": "1.0",
        "nova_object.data": {
            "host": "host1",
            "disabled": false,
            "last_seen_up": null,
            "binary": "nova-compute",
            "topic": "compute",
            "disabled_reason": null,
            "report_count": 1,
            "forced_down": false,
            "version": 2
    "event_type": "service.update",
    "publisher_id": "nova-compute:host1"

The serialized oslo.versionedobject as a payload provides a version
number to the consumer so the consumer can detect if the structure of
the payload has changed. Nova provides the following contract regarding
the versioned notification payload:

  • The payload version defined by the nova_object.version
    field of the payload will be increased if and only if the syntax or the
    semantics of the nova_object.data field of the payload is
  • A minor version bump indicates a backward compatible change which
    means that only new fields are added to the payload so a well written
    consumer can still consume the new payload without any change.
  • A major version bump indicates a backward incompatible change of the
    payload which can mean removed fields, type change, etc in the
  • There is an additional field, nova_object.name, for
    every payload alongside the nova_object.data and
    nova_object.version fields. This field contains the name of
    the nova internal representation of the payload type. Client code should
    not depend on this name.

A presentation
from the Train summit
goes over the background and usage of
versioned notifications, and provides a demo.


The notifications.notification_format
config option can be used to specify which notifications are emitted by

The versioned notifications are emitted to a different topic than the
legacy notifications. By default they are emitted to
versioned_notifications but this can be configured using
the notifications.versioned_notifications_topics
config option.

There are notification configuration options in nova which are
specific for certain notification types like notifications.notify_on_state_change,
notifications.default_level, etc.

Notifications can be disabled entirely by setting the oslo_messaging_notifications.driver
config option to noop.


A list of all currently supported versioned notifications can be
found in /reference/notifications.