Slice Plugin

This plugin takes client requests and breaks them up into successive aligned block requests. This supports both whole asset and single range requests.

Purpose

This slice plugin, along with the cache_range_requests plugin allows the following:

  • Fulfill arbitrary range requests by fetching a minimum number of cacheable aligned blocks to fulfill the request.

  • Breaks up very large assets into much smaller cache blocks that can be spread across multiple storage devices and within cache groups.

Configuration

This plugin is intended for use as a remap plugin and is configured in remap.config.

Or preferably per remap rule in remap.config:

map http://ats/ http://parent/ @plugin=slice.so \
    @plugin=cache_range_requests.so

In this case, the plugin will use the default behaviour:

  • Fulfill whole file or range requests by requesting cacheable block aligned ranges from the parent and assemble them into client responses, either 200 or 206 depending on the client request.

  • Default block size is 1mb (1048576 bytes).

  • This plugin depends on the cache_range_requests plugin to perform actual parent fetching and block caching and If-* conditional header evaluations.

Plugin Options

The slice plugin supports the following options:

--blockbytes=<bytes> (optional)
    Default is 1m or 1048576 bytes
    -b <bytes> for short.
    Suffix k,m,g supported
    Limited to 32k and 128m inclusive.

--blockbytes-test=<bytes> (optional)
    Suffix k,m,g supported
    -t <bytes> for short.
    Limited to any positive number.
    Ignored if --blockbytes provided.

--disable-errorlog (optional)
    Disable writing block stitch errors to the error log.
    -d for short

--exclude-regex=<regex> (optional)
    If provided, only slice what matches.
    If not provided will always slice
    Cannot be used with --include-regex
    -e for short

--include-regex=<regex> (optional)
    If provided, only slice what matches.
    If not provided will always slice
    Cannot be used with --exclude-regex
    -i for short

--pace-errorlog=<seconds> (optional)
    Limit stitching error logs to every 'n' second(s)
    -p for short

--ref-relative (optional)
    Self healing mode typically uses slice 0 as the reference slice
    for every request.  This is very safe but also increases plugin
    time and latency as the first slice is always fully processed
    whether or not the original requests needs any data from slice 0.
    This option uses the first slice in the request as reference
    which has better performance.  A downside of this mode is that
    self healing won't happen if blocks in a request agree.
    Normally leave this off.
    -l for short

--remap-host=<loopback hostname> (optional)
    Uses effective url with given hostname for remapping.
    Requires setting up an intermediate loopback remap rule.
    -r for short

--skip-header=<header name> (default: X-Slicer-Info)
    Header name used by the slice plugin after the loopback
    to indicate that the slice plugin should be skipped.
    -s for short

--crr-ims-header=<header name> (default: X-Crr-Ims)
    Header name used by the slice plugin to tell the
    `cache_range_requests` plugin that a request should
    be marked as STALE.  Used for self healing.
    This must match the `--ims-header` option used by the
    `cache_range_requests` plugin.
    -i for short

--prefetch-count=<int> (optional)
    Default is 0
    Prefetches successive 'n' slice block requests in the background
    and caches (with `cache_range_requests` plugin). Prefetching is only
    enabled when first block (of the client request) is a cacheable object
    with miss or hit-stale status. Especially for large objects, prefetching
    can improve cache miss latency.
    -f for short

--strip-range-for-head (optional)
    Enable slice plugin to strip Range header for HEAD requests.
    -h for short

Examples:

@plugin=slice.so @pparam=--blockbytes=1000000 @plugin=cache_range_requests.so

Or alternatively:

@plugin=slice.so @pparam=-b @pparam=1000000 @plugin=cache_range_requests.so

Byte suffix examples:

slice.so --blockbytes=5m
slice.so -b 512k
slice.so --blockbytes=32m

For testing and extreme purposes the parameter blockbytes-test may be used instead which is unchecked:

slice.so --blockbytes-test=1G
slice.so -t 13

Because the slice plugin is susceptible to errors during block stitching extra logs related to stitching are written to diags.log. Worst case an error log entry could be generated for every transaction. The following options are provided to help with log overrun:

slice.so --pace-errorlog=5
slice.so -p 1
slice.so --disable-errorlog

After modifying remap.config, restart or reload Traffic Server (sudo traffic_ctl config reload) or (sudo traffic_ctl server restart) to activate the new configuration values.

Don’t slice txt files:

slice.so --exclude-regex=\\.txt
slice.so -e \\.txt

Slice only mp4 files:

slice.so --include-regex=\\.mp4
slice.so -i \\.mp4

Debug Options

While the current slice plugin is able to detect block consistency errors during the block stitching process, it can only abort the client connection. A CDN can only “fix” these by issuing an appropriate content revalidation.

Under normal logging these slice block errors tend to show up as:

pscl value 0
crc value ERR_READ_ERROR

By default more detailed stitching errors are written to diags.log.

Whether or how often these detailed log entries are written are configurable plugin options.

Implementation Notes

This slice plugin is a stop gap plugin for handling special cases involving very large assets that may be range requested. Hopefully the slice plugin is deprecated in the future when partial object caching is finally implemented.

Slice ONLY handles slicing up requests into blocks, it delegates actual caching and fetching to the cache_range_requests.so plugin.

Plugin Function

Below is a quick functional outline of how a request is served by a remap rule containing the Slice plugin with cache_range_requests:

For each client request that comes in all remap plugins are run up until the slice plugin is hit. If the slice plugin can be run (ie: GET request) it will handle the request and STOP any further plugins from executing.

At this point the request is sliced into 1 or more blocks by adding in range request headers (“Range: bytes=”). A special header X-Slicer-Info header is added and the pristine URL is restored.

For each of these blocks separate sequential TSHttpConnect(s) are made back into the front end of ATS. By default of the remap plugins are rerun. Slice skips the remap due to presence of the X-Slicer-Info header and allows cache_range_requests.so to serve the slice block back to Slice either via cache OR parent request.

Slice assembles a header based on the very first slice block response and sends it to the client. If necessary it then skips over bytes in the first block and starts sending byte content, examining each block header and sends its bytes to the client until the client request is satisfied.

Any extra bytes at the end of the last block are consumed by the Slice plugin to allow cache_range_requests to finish the block fetch to ensure the block is cached.

Self Healing

The slice plugin uses the very first slice as a reference slice which uses content-length and last-modified and/or etags to ensure assembled blocks come from the same asset. In the case where a slice from a parent is fetched which indicates that the asset has changed, the slice plugin will attempt to self heal the asset. The cache_range_requests plugin must be configured with the –consider-ims parameter in order for this to work.

Example remap.config configuration:

map http://slice/ http://parent/ @plugin=slice.so @pparam=--remap-host=cache_range_requests
map http://cache_range_requests/ http://parent/ @plugin=cache_range_requests.so @pparam=--consider-ims

When a request is served, the slice plugin uses reference slice 0 to build a response to the client. When subsequent slices are fetched they are checked against this reference slice. If a mismatch occurs an IMS request for the offending slice is made through the cache_range_requests plugin using an X-Crr-Ims header. If the refetched slice still mismatches then the client connection is aborted a crr IMS request is made for the reference slice in an attempt to refetch it.

Optionally (but not recommended) the plugin may be configured to use the first slice in the request as the reference slice. This option is faster since it does not visit any slices outside those needed to fulfill a request. However this may still cause problems if the requested range was calculated from a newer version of the asset.

Important Notes

This plugin assumes that the content requested is cacheable.

Any first block server response that is not a 206 is passed directly down to the client. Any 200 responses are passed back through to the client.

Only the first server response block is used to evaluate any “If-” conditional headers. Subsequent server slice block requests remove these headers.

The only 416 response that this plugin handles itself is if the requested range is inside the last slice block but past the end of the asset contents. Other 416 responses are handled by the parent.

If a client aborts mid transaction the current slice block continues to be read from the server until it is complete to ensure that the block is cached.

Slice always makes blockbytes sized requests which are handled by cache_range_requests. The parent will trim those requests to account for the asset Content-Length so only the appropriate number of bytes are actually transferred and cached.

Effective URL remap

By default the plugin restores the Pristine Url which reuses the same remap rule for each slice block. This is wasteful in that it reruns the previous remap rules, and those remap rules must be smart enough to check for the existence of any headers they may have created the first time they have were visited.

To get around this the ‘–remap-host=<host>’ or ‘-r <host>’ option may be used. This requires an intermediate loopback remap to be defined which handles each slice block request.

This works well with any remap rules that use the url_sig or uri_signing plugins. As the client remap rule is not caching any plugins that manipulate the cache key would need to go into the loopback to parent remap rule.

NOTE: Requests NOT handled by the slice plugin (ie: HEAD requests) are handled as with a typical remap rule. GET requests intercepted by the slice plugin are virtually reissued into ATS and are proxied through another remap rule which must contain the cache_range_requests plugin

Examples:

map http://ats/ http://parent/ @plugin=slice.so @pparam=--remap-host=loopback
map http://loopback/ http://parent/ @plugin=cache_range_requests.so

Alternatively:

map http://ats/ http://parent/ @plugin=slice.so @pparam=-r @pparam=loopback
map http://loopback/ http://parent/ @plugin=cache_range_requests.so

Current Limitations

Since the Slice plugin is written as an intercept handler it loses the ability to use normal state machine hooks and transaction states. This functionality is handled by using the cache_range_requests plugin to interact with ATS.