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[Qemu-devel] [PATCH] Strawman proposal for NBD structured replies

From: Alex Bligh
Subject: [Qemu-devel] [PATCH] Strawman proposal for NBD structured replies
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2016 21:39:43 +0100

Here's a strawman for the structured reply section. I haven't
covered negotation.

Signed-off-by: Alex Bligh <address@hidden>
 doc/proto.md | 114 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++--
 1 file changed, 111 insertions(+), 3 deletions(-)

diff --git a/doc/proto.md b/doc/proto.md
index aaae0a2..2ea81b9 100644
--- a/doc/proto.md
+++ b/doc/proto.md
@@ -195,15 +195,123 @@ C: 64 bits, offset (unsigned)
 C: 32 bits, length (unsigned)  
 C: (*length* bytes of data if the request is of type `NBD_CMD_WRITE`)
-The server replies with:
+Replies take one of two forms. They may either be structured replies,
+or unstructured replies. The server MUST NOT send structured replies
+unless it has negotiated structured replies with the client using
+`NBD_OPT_STUCTURED_REPLIES` (??). Subject to that, structured replies
+may be sent in response to any command.
+Unstructured replies are problematic for error handling within
+`NBD_CMD_READ`, therefore servers SHOULD support structured replies.
+#### Unstructured replies
+In an unstructured reply, the server replies with:
 S: 32 bits, 0x67446698, magic (`NBD_REPLY_MAGIC`)  
 S: 32 bits, error  
 S: 64 bits, handle  
 S: (*length* bytes of data if the request is of type `NBD_CMD_READ`)
-Replies need not be sent in the same order as requests (i.e., requests
-may be handled by the server asynchronously).
+#### Structured replies
+A structured reply consists of one or more chunks. The server
+MUST send exactly one end chunk chunk (identified by
+the chunk type `NBD_CHUNKTYPE_END`), and this MUST be the final
+chunk within the reply.
+Each chunk consists of the following:
+S: 32 bits, 0x668e33ef, magic (`NBD_STRUCTURED_REPLY_MAGIC`)
+S: 32 bits, flags (including type)
+S: 64 bits, handle
+S: 32 bits, payload length
+S: (*length* bytes of payload data)
+The flags have the following meanings:
+* bits 0-7: `NBD_CHUNKTYPE`, an 8 bit unsigned integer
+* bits 8-31: reserved (server MUST set these to zero)
+Possible values of `NBD_CHUNKTYPE` are as follows:
+* 0 = `NBD_CHUNKTYPE_END`: the final chunk
+* 1 = `NBD_CHUNKTYPE_DATA`: data that has been read
+* 2 = `NBD_CHUNKTYPE_ZERO`: data that should be considered zero
+The format of the payload data for each chunk type is as follows:
+S: 32 bits, error code or zero for success
+S: 64 bits, offset of error (if any)
+S: 64 bits, offset of data
+S: (*length-8* bytes of data as read)
+S: 64 bits, offset of data
+S: 32 bits, number of zeroes to which this corresponds
+Commands that return data (currently `NBD_CMD_READ`) therefore MUST
+return zero or more chunks each of type `NBD_CHUNKTYPE_DATA` or
+`NBD_CHUNKTYPE_ZERO` (collectively 'data chunks') followed
+The server MAY split the reply into any number of data
+chunks (provided each consists of at least one byte) and
+MAY send the data chunks in any order (though the
+`NBD_CHUNKTYPE_END` must be the final chunk). This means the
+client is responsible for reassembling the chunks in the correct
+The server MUST NOT send chunks that overlap. The server
+MUST NOT send chunks whose data exceeds the length
+of data requested (for this purpose counting the data
+within `NBD_CHUNKTYPE_ZERO` as the number of zero bytes
+specified therein). The server MUST, in the case of a successesful
+read send exactly the number of bytes requested (whether
+The server MUST NOT, in the case of an errored read, send
+more than the number of byte requested.
+In order to avoid the burden of reassembly, the client
+MAY send `NBD_CMD_FLAG_DF` (??), which instructs the server
+not to fragment the reply. If this flag is set, the server
+MUST send either zero or one data chunks and an `NBD_CHUNKTYPE_END`
+only. Under such circumstances the server MAY error the command
+with `ETOOBIG` if the length read exceeds [65,536 bytes | the
+negotiated maximum fragment size].
+If no errors are detected within an operation, the `NBD_CHUNKTYPE_END`
+packet MUST contain an error value of zero and an error offset of
+If the server detects an error during an operation which it
+is serving with a structured reply, it MUST complete
+the transmission of the current data chunk if transmission
+has started (by padding the current chunk with data
+which MUST be zero), after which zero or more other
+data chunks may be sent, followed by an `NBD_CHUNKTYPE_END`
+chunk. The server MAY set the offset within `NBD_CHUNKTYPE_END`
+to the offset of the error; if so, this MUST be within the
+length requested.
+#### Ordering of replies
+The server MAY send replies in any order; the order of replies
+need not correpsond to the order of requests, i.e., requests
+may be handled by the server asynchronously). The server MAY
+interleave the chunks relating to a single structured reply
+with chunks relating to structured replies relating to
+a different handle, or with unstructured replies relating
+to a different handle. Note that there is a constraint on
+the ordering of chunks within structured replies as set out
 ## Values

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