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Software Upgrade

This document describes the in-band software upgrade procedure for Terragraph nodes.

Upgrade Stages

The controller's UpgradeApp manages in-band software upgrades. An upgrade is divided into two stages:

  1. Prepare: A new software image is distributed to nodes in the network. Each minion downloads the image, verifies its integrity, and flashes it to its secondary disk partition.
  2. Commit: Nodes are instructed to switch to the new software image. Each minion swaps its primary and secondary disk partitions and performs a full reboot. This stage is disruptive, and may affect other elements in the network.


Within each upgrade stage, commands are executed across multiple nodes in parallel. The specifics are given in the sections below.

"Prepare" Stage

Software images are distributed over BitTorrent by default. The controller seeds each image through its own BitTorrent tracker, and sends the magnet URIs to each minion to download. Alternatively, images can be distributed over HTTP or HTTPS by sending the web URL instead; the images must be hosted via an external HTTP server (ex. nginx in the default Docker Swarm deployment).

The distribution of software images is fully parallelizable, with the only concern being high bandwidth utilization. This can be limited by setting speed limits in each BitTorrent client, or by limiting the number of nodes downloading the image at any point in time ("batching").

When using BitTorrent, both the controller and minion will publish the following stats during the "prepare" stage:

KeyDescription torrent download progress in parts per million, i.e. [0,1000000] number of connected peers that are seeding the torrent number of connected peers number of peer connections, including half-open connections total download rate for all peers (in bps) total upload rate for all peers (in bps) numer of payload bytes received during this session (ignoring protocol overhead) numer of payload bytes sent during this session (ignoring protocol overhead)

"Commit" Stage

The commit of new images is more difficult to parallelize, as nodes must reboot to apply the new image. A reboot brings down all of a node's wireless and Ethernet links, potentially disconnecting parts of the network ("network isolation"). A bad sequence of reboots could repeatedly isolate the same portions of the network.

The commit parallelization algorithm is designed as follows:

  1. Avoid network isolation. If upgrading a node must cause network isolation (due to poor network design), then upgrade the isolated portion of the network at the same time.
  2. Upgrade entire sites at once. This simplifies the graph logic, and aligns with future DN hardware (i.e. single nodes with multiple radios).
  3. Commit sites that are one hop away from another reachable site (when possible). This reduces the amount of time required to re-ignite sites.

The parallelization algorithm is a two-step procedure, and contained within GraphHelper. The steps are described below.

Step 1: Identify Articulation Points

In a connected graph, a vertex is called an articulation point (AP) if removing it would result in a disconnected graph. In the commit algorithm, APs are the sites that will isolate portions of the network if taken down or removed from the topology.

In the example below, site F is identified as an AP because taking it down would isolate sites H and G.

After identifying all APs, the list is filtered further to remove any "sub-APs" (i.e. APs isolated by other APs). Each AP forms an "AP group", consisting of itself and all sites it isolates. All sites in an AP group will be updated simultaneously in the same batch.

In the previous example, sites F, H, and G form an AP group and are treated as a single virtual site.

Step 2: Select Leaf Sites

Once all AP groups are identified, each site or AP group is now accessible via multiple paths. The graph is then converted into a spanning tree using a custom spanning tree decomposition algorithm, which is a modified DFS with a bias toward previously-upgraded sites. This will influence previously-upgraded sites to form the core of the tree, rather than the edge.

Leaf sites in the resulting spanning tree can be upgraded simultaneously (in a "batch") without causing any disruption to other sites in the spanning tree. The spanning tree algorithm is repeated until each site is picked once, resulting in several "batches".

Using the same example from above, the following illustration shows this step of the algorithm, which requires three iterations to perform a full network upgrade.

The controller sends commit requests to all nodes in an upgrade batch. Once the operation is complete, the two-step algorithm is run again to identify the next batch. The algorithm always uses the current network state when computing the next batch, accounting for any topology changes that might have occurred between steps.

Mixed Hardware Upgrades

Different node hardware may require different software images; the list of supported hardware board IDs is written in each image's metadata section (thrift::ImageMeta::hardwareBoardIds). The following procedure is used to upgrade a network with mixed node hardware:

  1. Issue a "prepare" request for each software image.
  2. Issue a single "commit" request for all nodes.

Golden Images

The controller can be configured to automatically upgrade nodes to a "golden image" through the controller configuration field upgradeParams.goldenImage. When enabled, the controller periodically looks for nodes running software versions older than the golden image (by comparing major/minor numbers only) and schedules "prepare" and "commit" procedures back-to-back for these nodes.

Message Interface

All controller messages related to upgrades are described below.

Upgrade Procedure

The following commands address the upgrade procedure itself:

User OperationCommand
Send Upgrade RequestUPGRADE_GROUP_REQ

All types of upgrades are initiated via the UpgradeGroupReq structure, which contains the nodes to upgrade and a nested UpgradeReq structure that defines the actual upgrade procedure. The type of upgrade is determined by the thrift::UpgradeReqType enum:

  • PREPARE_UPGRADE - The "prepare" stage (described above).
  • COMMIT_UPGRADE - The "commit" stage (described above).
  • FULL_UPGRADE - Execute the "prepare" and "commit" stages back-to-back.
  • RESET_STATUS - Reset each node's local upgrade state, and cancel any ongoing image downloads or scheduled commits.

All upgrade requests are forwarded from the controller to minions via the UPGRADE_REQ message.

Software Image Management

The following commands manage the software images hosted and seeded by the controller:

User OperationCommand

The thrift::UpgradeImage structure contains the URIs for downloading the software images:

  • magnetUri - The magnet URI (i.e. for BitTorrent)
  • httpUri - The HTTP URI (only set if HTTP serving is enabled)