CEPH CRUSH algorithm source code analysis

Before all

Before reading this article, you need to be familiar with CEPH’s basic operations on Pools and CRUSH maps, and have a preliminary reading about the source code. (PS呀。欢迎光临我的github pages ~~~)

Analysis method

Firstly, we write an example c code invoking librados to write an object to a pool. Then we use GDB(CGDB is recommended) to trace the program running meanwhile we’ll focus on some variables related to CRUSH. So we’ll know how CRUSH exactly runs in the source code.


  • How to trace
    • Compile CEPH
    • Get function stack
  • Tracing process
    • input —> PGID
    • PGID —> OSD set

1. How to trace

1.1 Compile CEPH

First of all, we should install CEPH using source code, and when doing ./configure, we’ll add compile flags like this ./configure CFLAGS='-g3 –O0' CXXFLAGS='-g3 –O0'. -g3 means MACRO infos is generated. -O0 is important, it means shutdown the compiler optimization, if not, when using GDB following the program, most variables are optimized out. After configure, make and sudo make install.
P.S. -O0 only suits for experimental occasion, in production environment compiler optimization surely should be on.

1.2 Get function stack

As we know, CRUSH core function is crush_do_rule(mapper.c line 785). By this function, we can divide the whole CRUSH calculation process into 2 periods: input -> PGID and PGID -> OSD set. For the first period, we use GDB to get the function stack:

  1. compile the example code with -g flag
  2. gdb rados_write
  3. then we enter the GDB interface. Before run we add a breakpoint:b crush_do_rule
  4. r and then we stop at the crush_do_rule function.
  5. bt full we’ll get the function stack and we can print the debug info out to a file using GDB log. Then let’s look deep into this process.

The function stack is like this:

#12 main
#11 rados_write
#10 librados::IoCtxImpl::write
#9 librados::IoCtxImpl::operate
#8 Objecter::op_submit
#7 Objecter::_op_submit_with_budget
#6 Objecter::_op_submit
#5 Objecter::_calc_target
#4 OSDMap::pg_to_up_acting_osds
#3 OSDMap::_pg_to_up_acting_osds
#2 OSDMap::_pg_to_osds
#1 CrushWrapper::do_rule
#0 crush_do_rule

2. Tracing process

The CRUSH calculation can be summarized like this:
INPUT(object name & pool name) —> PGID —> OSD set. In this article, we only focus on the calculation.

2.1 input —> PGID

All the funtions in the stack above do this work. You can read the source code following the orders. As a result, I’ll list all the crucial transformations from input to pgid.

First in rados_ioctx_create, lookup_pool get poolid by pool name and encapsulate poolid into a librados::IoCtxImpl type variable ctx;

Then in rados_write object name is encapsulated into oid;
And then in librados::IoCtxImpl::operate, oid and oloc(comprising poolid) are packed into a Objecter::Op * type variable objecter_op;

Through all kinds of encapsulations, we arrive at this level: _calc_target. We get still unchanged oid and poolid. And we read out the informations of the target pool.


(in my cluster, pool “neo” id is 29, name of object to write is “neo-obj”)

In object_locator_to_pg, the first calculation begins: ceph_str_hash hashes object name into a uint32_t type value as so-called ps(placement seed)


Then we get PGID. Not long ago, I think pgid is a single value while it’s not. PGID is a struct type variable comprising poolid and ps.


But what is the input x of crush_do_rule? Let’s move on. Then in _pg_to_osds there is a line ps_t pps = pool.raw_pg_to_pps(pg); //placement ps. the pps is x. How is pps calculated? In this function: crush_hash32_2(CRUSH_HASH_RJENKINS1,ceph_stable_mod(pg.ps(), pgp_num, pgp_num_mask),pg.pool());


ps mod pgp_num_mask and the result(i.e. a) hashes with poolid(b). That is what we call pps, i.e., x.


so we get the input x of the second period.
I draw a flow chart to show the first period.

first period

P.S. you can find something in PG’s name and object name.

2.2 PGID —> OSD set

Before we get started in this part, we must make clear several concepts.

weight VS reweight


ref here.
ceph osd crush reweight” sets the CRUSH weight of the OSD. This weight is an arbitrary value (generally the size of the disk in TB or something) and controls how much data the system tries to allocate to the OSD.
ceph osd reweight” sets an override weight on the OSD. This value is in the range 0 to 1, and forces CRUSH to re-place (1-weight) of the data that would otherwise live on this drive. It does not change the weights assigned to the buckets above the OSD, and is a corrective measure in case the normal CRUSH distribution isn’t working out quite right. (For instance, if one of your OSDs is at 90% and the others are at 50%, you could reduce this weight to try and compensate for it.)


Primary affinity is 1 by default (i.e., an OSD may act as a primary). You may set the OSD primary range from 0-1, where 0 means that the OSD may NOT be used as a primary and 1 means that an OSD may be used as a primary. When the weight is < 1, it is less likely that CRUSH will select the Ceph OSD Daemon to act as a primary.


pg-num is the number of PGs, pgp-num is the number of PGs that will be considered for placement, i.e. it’s the pgp-num value that is used by CRUSH, not pg-num. For example, consider pg-num = 1024 and pgp-num = 1. In that case you will see 1024 PGs but all of those PGs will map to the same set of OSDs. When you increase pg-num you are splitting PGs, when you increase pgp-num you are moving them, i.e. changing sets of OSDs they map to.
PG and PGP are important concepts. More discuss can be seen here

After knowing these concepts, let’s begin the second part: PGID -> OSD set. Now we are at do_rule:

void do_rule(int rule, int x, vector<int>& out, int maxout, const vector<__u32>& weight)

Let’s see some parameters in runtime. x is the pps we’ve got, rule is the crushrule’s number in memory(not ruleid, in my crushrule set, this rule’s id is 3), weight is reweight we’ve mentioned and it’s scaled up from 1 to 65536. Then we define rawout[maxout] to store OSD set, scratch[maxout * 3] for calculation use. Then we go into crush_do_rule.



Next, we’ll look into 3 functions below. BTW, firstn means replica storage, CRUSH need to select n osds to store these n replicas. indep means erasure code storage. We only focus on replica method.

  • crush_do_rule: do crushrules iteratively
  • crush_choose_firstn: choose buckets or devices of specified type recursively
  • crush_bucket_choose: directly choose a son of the input bucket

First here is my crushrule of the target pool and my cluster hierarchy:


what is worth mentioning, step emit is typically used at the end of a rule, but may also be used to pick from different trees in the same rule. More detailed can be seen at offical site.
In this function there are several important variables: scratch[3 * result_max] and a, b, c points to 0, 1/3, 2/3 locations of scratch array. And make w = a, o = b. w is used as a FIFO queue for taking a BFS traversal in CRUSH map. o stores the results of crush_choose_firstn. c stores the final OSD set result. After each crush_choose_firstn, if the results are not OSD, o exchanges with w. So w would be the input of the next call of crush_choose_firstn.
As mentioned, crush_do_rule does crushrules iteratively. You can see the rules in memory:


step 1 put root rgw1 in w(enqueue);

step 2 would run crush_choose_firstn to choose 1 rack-type bucket from root rgw1.

Let’s step into crush_choose_firstn.


This function chooses buckets or devices of specified type recursively and would deal with collision, failure occasion.
if the step is a choose step, the function would call crush_bucket_choose to do the direct choose; if the step is a chooseleaf step, the function would run recursively until it gets leaf nodes.


This is the most important function in CRUSH. Because default bucket type is straw and in most occasions we would use straw bucket, we’ll look into bucket_straw_choose:

    return bucket_straw_choose((struct crush_bucket_straw *)in, x, r);


static int bucket_straw_choose(struct crush_bucket_straw *bucket,
                   int x, int r)
    __u32 i;
    int high = 0;
    __u64 high_draw = 0;
    __u64 draw;

    for (i = 0; i < bucket->h.size; i++) {
        draw = crush_hash32_3(bucket->h.hash, x, bucket->h.items[i], r);
        draw &= 0xffff;
        draw *= bucket->straws[i];
        if (i == 0 || draw > high_draw) {
            high = i;
            high_draw = draw;
    return bucket->h.items[high];

Let’s see the variables in runtime:


We can see, the bucket root rgw1’s id is -1, type = 10 means root, alg = 4 means straw type. Here the weight is the OSD weight we set scales up by 65536(i.e. 37 * 65536 = 2424832).
Then let’s look into the loop:
For each son bucket of the input bucket, for instance in the picture above, rack1, crush_hash32_3 hashes x, bucket id(rack1’s id), r(current selection’s order number), these 3 variables into a uint32_t type value, then the result & 0xffff, and then multiplies by straw(rack1’s straw value, straw calculation seen below), finally we get this value, in one loop, for one son bucket(rack1 here). We calculate every son bucket all over the loop and pick the biggest. So a son bucket has been selected. Nice job! Here is the instance calculation process:


So bucket -16 is selected, even its straw value is a little smaller.


We’ve looked into every important part of CRUSH calculation process. The rest is iteration and iteration, recursion and recursion, until we’ve selected all the OSDs. See, it’s simple.

About the straw value

Detailed code can be seen in src/crush/builder.c crush_calc_straw. Anyhow, straw value is positive relation to the OSD weight. And straw2 is being developped.

Share your ideas with me ustcxjy@gmail.com~

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