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Re: Large Frame Proposal

From: Mike Belshe <mike@belshe.com>
Date: Mon, 7 Jul 2014 17:07:55 -0700
Message-ID: <CABaLYCu5AsOJUoktFFWcSSEEfeU+BnxtASnT_k045WckKMYbhA@mail.gmail.com>
To: Greg Wilkins <gregw@intalio.com>
Cc: HTTP Working Group <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>
On Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 12:50 AM, Greg Wilkins <gregw@intalio.com> wrote:

> https://github.com/http2/http2-spec/pull/548
>  Background
> The HTTP2 protocol has a requirement to be able to transport large
> headers, that exceed the payload size of a single frame at the current 16KB
> maximum size.
> To address this requirement, the current draft (13) includes the
> CONTINUATION frames, 0 or more of which may be sent after a HEADERS or
> PUSH_PROMISE frame to contain the large headers. There has been significant
> criticism of the CONTINUATION design, including:
>    -
>    The total length of a HEADERS+CONTINUATION* sequence is not known
>    until the last frame in the sequence is processed. A receiver that wishes
>    to reject streams headers larger than a specific limit may have to process
>    many frames and hold the results in memory before it discovers the header
>    is too large.
>    -
>    The size of header that an endpoint is prepared to receive is not
>    known in advance. The only way a sender can know if a header too large is
>    by attempting to send it and receiving an error in response. Error handling
>    of headers may be difficult for an endpoint to handle efficiently and can
>    result in the closure of the entire connection.
>    -
>    The END_STREAM flag is not present on the CONTINUATION frame, thus it
>    is possible for a stream to send CONTINUATION frames after a HEADERS frame
>    that has the END_STREAM flag set. This is confusing and increases the
>    complexity of the state machine required to process streams. It is highly
>    desirable that a set END_STREAM flag truly indicates the last non control
>    frame of a stream.
>    -
>    There is a significant discontinuity in the code path required to
>    process headers. Headers up to an indeterminate size (roughly 20-something
>    KB) can be handled in a single frame. Headers that exceed this size must be
>    handled in multiple frames of different types with different frame flags
>    and stream control logic. Because the vast majority of headers sent
>    (>99.99%) are below this indeterminate size, implementations will have a
>    code path that is seldom executed and probably insufficiently tested. This
>    invites poor and/or partial and/or incorrect implementation.
>    -
>    Because of the HPACK compression algorithm, a sequence of
>    HEADERS+CONTINUATIONS frames may not be interleaved with any other frame.
>    This effectively makes the sequence a single large frame. Because of the
>    simplicity of description and implementation it is proposed that it would
>    be far simpler to meet the requirement of large headers by supporting large
>    frames.
> This proposal has been prepared as it is possible to meet the requirements
> of CONTINUATIONS without the complications and criticisms above.
> This proposal addresses the issue of sending/receiving large HTTP headers
> without giving endpoints and intermediaries unlimited resource commitments
> nor unknown limits
> Additional Frame Size Issues Addressed
> The current draft (13) has maximum frame size of 16KB, which is an
> arbitrary value that has been selected on the basis of experience to
> provide a reasonable compromise between the efficiency of transmitting data
> vs the quality of service for multiplexed channels.
> Whilst this educated guess may be near optimal for today's networks and
> traffic, it is entirely possible that some current and/or future networks
> may require a different value to achieve an optimal balance. There have
> already been proposals [1] put to the WG to reduce the frame size to
> optimise multiplexing , as well as discussion that high capacity, low
> latency networks can achieve satisfactory multiplexing quality of service
> with large frame sizes.
> This proposal addresses the issue that a fixed frame size does not allow
> tuning multiplexing performance based on current/future experience.
> It has also been noted that 16KB is near the middle of the peak of the
> current HTTP Object size histogram [2], so that a small change in the frame
> size may have a significant impact on the number of HTTP messages that can
> be sent in a single frame, without significant impacts on QoS. The HTTP
> Object size histogram has changed significantly over time and is expected
> to continue to do so.
> This proposal addresses the issue of tuning the frame size based on
> experience of actual payload sizes.
> There have also been issues raised that a 16KB frame size does not allow
> efficient data transfer [3] even when the end points are aware that only a
> single stream is likely to be required for the imminent future, or
> that a particular stream is of high priority.
> This proposal addresses the issue of tuning the frame size for transport
> efficiency for specific streams in specific situations.
> Large Frame Header Proposal
> This proposal is to alter the core http2 protocol to address the issues
> identified above by supporting a variable length maximum frame size
> controlled by peer limits.
> This proposal increases the length field in the frame header to 31 bits,
> to match the maximum flow control window size. However, implementations
> will not be able to use the full frame size without explicit consent from
> peers using newly defined SETTINGS or an optional WINDOW_UPDATE field.
> Frame Size Settings
> Two settings parameters are proposed: SETTINGS_HEADER_FRAME_SIZE for the
> maximum header size and SETTINGS_FRAME_SIZE for all other frames.
> The SETTINGS_HEADER_FRAME_SIZE parameter supports the current behaviour
> where large headers can be sent without changing the frame size allowed for
> other frame types. ie A large header size limit can be set without
> affecting the multiplexing efficiency of DATA frames.
> The SETTINGS_FRAME_SIZE applies to all other frames including DATA frames
> and any other frame that may be defined by an extension. The use of this
> parameter is intended to tune/optimise the connection for the general case
> of multiple streams over the specific connection.

Greg -

Overall, great writeup.  Thank you.

Clarifying question:  are you bundling these settings parameters because
you think we need them?  Or simply as a compromise?  If you had to choose
between a larger frame size and no settings change vs the current frame
size, which would you find simpler?


> Frame Size Updates
> To handle the issue of efficiently sending large data when an end point is
> prepared to risk multiplexing efficiency, this proposal allows a Max Frame
> Size to be applied to a specific stream as an optional field in a
> By including a variable frame size in the flow control mechanism this
> proposal allows the decision to increase the frame size to be deferred
> until more knowledge about the specific situation are known and limited to
> the stream that will benefit from the increased size.
> Consider the example of a server that has commenced sending a large
> content to a client. The server may initially send 4 x 16KB frames to
> consume the default stream flow control window, at which time it must wait
> for the client to send a WINDOW_UPDATE frame before continuing. When
> generating the WINDOW_UPDATE frame, the client may have knowledge of:
>    - The content-length header - so it knows that the amount of data
>    expected is large or is perhaps just slightly larger than a single frame.
>    - The content-type header - so it knows if the content has high
>    priority in rendering the current page, or if the content is likely to
>    include references to other resources which may need to be multiplexed.
>    - How many other streams are currently open and/or reserved - so it
>    knows if multiplexing is actually required.
>    - How many other requests are pending - so it knows if new multiplexed
>    stream could soon be opened.
>    - An approximate rough measure of the network latency and throughput -
>    This can be derived from the timing of the receipt of the first few data
>    frames and used to estimate the impact on QoS of any change to the maximum
>    frame size.
> The client can use this knowledge to make an informed decision as to the
> benefit of changing the allowed max frame size against any risk to
> multiplexing QoS. It can make several choices:
>    -
>    No change. It can just not adjust the frame size, either because it is
>    too hard to consider or that there are too many other streams, or that the
>    content is video that needs to be received slowly. In any of these cases
>    the max frame size can be left unchanged and the protocol continues as it
>    currently does.
>    -
>    Large frame. If the stream is the only expected stream or of
>    sufficiently high priortiy, then the window and frame size can be set to
>    allow as much of the remaining data as possible to be sent in a single
>    frame.
>    -
>    Medium frame. The client can momentarily trade some QoS (for an
>    estimated duration) by increasing the frame size to something >16KB and <
>    content-length
>    -
>    Sufficient frame. If the remaining content is only a small increment
>    over the current SETTING_FRAME_SIZE, the Max Frame Size can be increased to
>    receive the remaining content in a single frame without any significant QoS
>    impact.
> Minimal Compliance
> A minimally compliant implementation MUST handle the SETTING_FRAME_SIZE
> and SETTINGS_HEADER_SIZE and ensure that no frame sent exceeds the
> applicable limit. However no implementation is required to send frames at
> or near these limits when set above the default 16KB.
> There is no requirement for an implementation to send or to handle the Max
> Frame Size in a WINDOW_UPDATE and it is allowable for it to be ignored if
> received.
> Anticipated Feedback
> *It is too late in the process to change the framing layer and to do so
> after so much discussion is an implicit fail of the WG*
> To not consider issues and proposal brought to the WG would be a fail of
> the process. This proposal is based on all the hard work to date done by
> the WG and contributors to identify issues and test solutions.
> *These issues can be handled in extensions.*
> Optimising data transfers for large content could possibly be done in an
> extension, however:
>    - It is not yet clear if extensions will be a viable way to enhance
>    the http2 protocol. There are significant hurdle to overcome to deploy
>    extensions.
>    - Many of the issues are aimed at complexity and tuning of the core
>    protocol, and these cannot be addressed in an extension.
>    - It is asymmetric to support large headers with one mechanism and
>    large data with another.
> *The proposed header costs 2 extra bytes per frame*
> There is a small data cost to adopt this proposal, however this is
> mitigated as:
>    - The proposal may be able to reduce the number of frames needed for
>    some content, thus saving 8 bytes. Whilst not likely to be a 25% frame
>    saving required to break even, it will still reduce cost to below 2 bytes.
>    - There are options to have variable length headers or optional
>    extended headers that will preserve the semantics of this proposal and keep
>    an 8 byte header for small frames. If the 2 byte cost is considered
>    prohibitive, then these alterations can be considered.
> *The header is 10 bytes long and not 32bit word aligned.*
> Frames sent after arbitrary data will not be word aligned anyway. If
> alignment is important, then padding could changed to be part of the base
> frame format, 2 header bytes used for a padding length (giving an aligned
> 12 byte header) and all frames padded to a word boundary.
>  *31 bits is also an arbitrary length*
> It is true that a 31 bit large frame length is also an arbitrary limit to
> the size of a frame. However, it is believed that 31 bits is sufficiently
> large to efficiently handle almost all conceivable present and future use
> cases. It would be possible to implement an unlimited size length field,
> but this would also need changes to the flow control mechanism, which
> currently also has a 31 bit maximum size.
>  *It does not support unlimited response headers*
> A SETTINGS_HEADER_FRAME_SIZE of 2^31-1 is effectively unlimited for all
> foreseeable response headers.
>  *This was tried with SPDY and rejected*
> SPDY did not have the settings to allow peers to set limits on the max
> frame size. This proposal will not change to default behaviour of http2
> with regards to frame size.
>  *Intermediaries will destroy multiplexing by setting frame size to
> 2^31-1*
> Large frames require the participation of both sender and receiver. A
> receiver may advise that it is willing to accept large frames, but a sender
> is under no obligation to send them. Thus intermediaries nor any end point
> can unilaterally change multiplexing QoS.
>  *Cannot be hardware accelerated.*
> Hardware acceleration is not part of the WG brief to support, nor is it
> clear that this proposal is any less suitable than others for hardware
> acceleration.
> Contributors
> This proposal was prepare by:
>    - Amos Jeffries squid3@treenet.co.nz
>    - Greg Wilkins gregw@intalio.com
>    - Jason Greene jgreene@redhat.com
>    - Keith Morgan K.Morgan@iaea.org
>    - Poul-Henning Kamp phk@phk.freebsd.dk
> [1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/ietf-http-wg/2013AprJun/0926.html
> [2] http://httparchive.org/interesting.php
> [3] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/ietf-http-wg/2014AprJun/1664.html
> --
> Greg Wilkins <gregw@intalio.com>
> http://eclipse.org/jetty HTTP, SPDY, Websocket server and client that
> scales
> http://www.webtide.com  advice and support for jetty and cometd.
Received on Tuesday, 8 July 2014 00:08:25 UTC

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