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Development Environment

This section covers specific instructions to create a developer-friendly environment to contribute to the DAOS development. This includes how to regenerate the protobuf files or add new Go package dependencies, which is only required for development purposes.

Building DAOS for Development

The DAOS repository is hosted on GitHub. To checkout the current development version, simply run:

$ git clone --recurse-submodules

For a specific branch or tag (e.g. v1.2), add -b v1.2 to the command line above.

Prerequisite when built using --build-deps are installed in component specific directories under PREFIX/prereq/$TARGET_TYPE.

Run the following scons command:

$ scons PREFIX=${daos_prefix_path}

Installing the components into separate directories allow upgrading the components individually by replacing --build-deps=yes with --update-prereq={component\_name}. This requires a change to the environment configuration from before. For automated environment setup, source utils/sl/

The install path should be relocatable with the exception that daos_admin will not be able to find the new location of daos and dependencies. All other libraries and binaries should work without any change due to relative paths. Editing the file to replace the old with the new can restore the capability of to automate path setup.

To run daos_server, either the rpath in daos_admin needs to be patched to the new installation location of spdk and isal or LD_LIBRARY_PATH needs to be set. This can be done using SL_SPDK_PREFIX and SL_ISAL_PREFIX set when sourcing This can also be done with the following commands:

source utils/sl/
sudo -E utils/ [path to new location of daos]

This script is intended only for developer setup of daos_admin.

With this approach, DAOS gets built using the prebuilt dependencies in ${daos_prefix_path}/prereq, and required options are saved for future compilations. So, after the first time, during development, only "scons --config=force" and "scons --config=force install" would suffice for compiling changes to DAOS source code.

If you wish to compile DAOS with clang rather than gcc, set COMPILER=clang on the scons command line. This option is also saved for future compilations.

Additionally, users can specify BUILD_TYPE=[dev|release|debug] and scons will save the intermediate build for the various BUILD_TYPE, COMPILER, and TARGET_TYPE options so a user can switch between options without a full rebuild and thus with minimal cost. By default, TARGET_TYPE is set to 'default' which means it uses the BUILD_TYPE setting. To avoid rebuilding prerequisites for every BUILD_TYPE setting, TARGET_TYPE can be explicitly set to a BUILD_TYPE setting to always use that set of prerequisites. These settings are stored in daos.conf so setting the values on subsequent builds is not necessary.

If needed, ALT_PREFIX can be set to a colon separated prefix path where to look for already built components. If set, the build will check these paths for components before proceeding to build.

Custom build targets

The DAOS build also supports build targets to customize what parts of DAOS are built. At present, just three such targets are defined, client, server, and test.

To build only client libraries and tools, use the following command:

$ scons [args] client install

To build the server instead, substitute server for client in the above command.

Note that such targets need to be specified each time you build as the default is equivalent to specifying client server test on the command line. The test target is, at present, dependent on client and server as well.

Stack analyzer

When using gcc compiler, the DAOS build contains a tool to generate a stack usage report for each function. It reports the size, in bytes, of the stack frame added by each function in DAOS.

The report is enabled using the --analyze-stack="[arg] ..." option.

To get usage information for this option, run

$ scons COMPILER=gcc --analyze-stack="-h"

The tool normally runs post build but the -e option can be added to run it immediately and exit as in the following example:

$ scons COMPILER=gcc --analyze-stack="-e -c 1024 -x tests" -Q

One should only use this option if a prior build with gcc has been executed. The -Q option to scons reduces the clutter from compiler setup.

Additionally, the tool supports options to filter by directory and file names and specify a lower bound value to report.

Building Optional Components

There are a few optional components that can be included into the DAOS build. For instance, to include the psm2 provider. Run the following scons command:

$ scons PREFIX=${daos_prefix_path}

Refer to the built-in scons help command to get a full list of all the optional components under the INCLUDE optional parameter.

$ scons -h
scons: Reading SConscript files ...

INCLUDE: Optional components to build
    (all|none|comma-separated list of names)
    allowed names: psm2 psm3
    default: none

The version of the components can be changed by editing the utils/build.config file.


The support of the optional components is not guarantee and can be removed without further notification.

Go dependencies

Developers contributing Go code may need to change the external dependencies located in the src/control/vendor directory. The DAOS codebase uses Go Modules to manage these dependencies. As this feature is built in to Go distributions starting with version 1.11, no additional tools are needed to manage dependencies.

Among other benefits, one of the major advantages of using Go Modules is that it removes the requirement for builds to be done within the $GOPATH, which simplifies our build system and other internal tooling.

While it is possible to use Go Modules without checking a vendor directory into SCM, the DAOS project continues to use vendored dependencies in order to insulate our build system from transient network issues and other problems associated with nonvendored builds.

The following is a short list of example workflows. For more details, please refer to one of the many resources available online.

# add a new dependency
$ cd ~/daos/src/control # or wherever your daos clone lives
$ go get
# make sure that is imported somewhere in the codebase
$ ./
# note that go.mod and go.sum have been updated automatically
# when ready to commit and push for review:
$ go mod vendor
$ git commit -a # should pick up go.mod, go.sum, vendor/*, etc.
# update an existing dependency
$ cd ~/daos/src/control # or wherever your daos clone lives
$ go get -u
# make sure that is imported somewhere in the codebase
$ ./
# note that go.mod and go.sum have been updated automatically
# when ready to commit and push for review:
$ go mod vendor
$ git commit -a # should pick up go.mod, go.sum, vendor/*, etc.
# replace/remove an existing dependency
$ cd ~/daos/src/control # or wherever your daos clone lives
$ go get
# make sure that is imported somewhere in the codebase,
# and that is no longer imported
$ ./
# note that go.mod and go.sum have been updated automatically
# when ready to commit and push for review:
$ go mod tidy
$ go mod vendor
$ git commit -a # should pick up go.mod, go.sum, vendor/*, etc.

In all cases, after updating the vendor directory, it is a good idea to verify that your changes were applied as expected. In order to do this, a simple workflow is to clear the caches to force a clean build and then run the test script, which is vendor-aware and will not try to download missing modules:

$ cd ~/daos/src/control # or wherever your daos clone lives
$ go clean -modcache -cache
$ ./
$ ls ~/go/pkg/mod # ~/go/pkg/mod should either not exist or be empty

Protobuf Compiler

The DAOS control plane infrastructure uses Protocol Buffers as the data serialization format for its RPC requests. Not all developers will need to compile the \*.proto files, but if Protobuf changes are needed, the developer must regenerate the corresponding C and Go source files using a Protobuf compiler compatible with proto3 syntax.

The recommended installation method is to clone the git repositories, check out the tagged releases noted below, and install from source. Later versions may work, but are not guaranteed. You may encounter installation errors when building from source relating to insufficient permissions. If that occurs, you may try relocating the repo to /var/tmp/ in order to build and install from there.

Compiling Protobuf Files

The source (.proto) files live under $DAOSREPO/src/proto. The preferred mechanism for generating compiled C/Go protobuf definitions is to use the Makefile in this directory. Care should be taken to keep the Makefile updated when source files are added or removed, or generated file destinations are updated.

Note that the generated files are checked into SCM and are not generated as part of the normal DAOS build process. This allows developers to ensure that the generated files are correct after any changes to the source files are made.

$ cd ~/daos/src/proto # or wherever your daos clone lives
$ make
protoc -I /home/foo/daos/src/proto/mgmt/ --go_out=plugins=grpc:/home/foo/daos/src/control/common/proto/mgmt/ acl.proto
protoc -I /home/foo/daos/src/proto/mgmt/ --go_out=plugins=grpc:/home/foo/daos/src/control/common/proto/mgmt/ mgmt.proto
$ git status
#       modified:   ../control/common/proto/mgmt/acl.pb.go
#       modified:   ../control/common/proto/mgmt/mgmt.pb.go

After verifying that the generated C/Go files are correct, add and commit them as you would any other file.

DAOS Development in Docker

This section describes how to build and run the DAOS service in a Docker container. A minimum of 5GB of DRAM and 16GB of disk space will be required. On Mac, please make sure that the Docker settings under "Preferences/{Disk, Memory}" are configured accordingly.

Building a Docker Image

To build the Docker image directly from GitHub, run the following command:

$ docker build \
        -f utils/docker/Dockerfile.centos.7 -t daos

or from a local tree:

$ docker build  . -f utils/docker/Dockerfile.centos.7 -t daos

This creates a CentOS 7 image, fetches the latest DAOS version from GitHub, builds it, and installs it in the image. For Ubuntu and other Linux distributions, replace Dockerfile.centos.7 with Dockerfile.ubuntu.20.04 and the appropriate version of interest.

Simple Docker Setup

Once the image created, one can start a container that will eventually run the DAOS service:

$ docker run -it -d --privileged --cap-add=ALL --name server -v /dev:/dev daos


If you want to be more selective with the devices that are exported to the container, individual devices should be listed and exported as volume via the -v option. In this case, the hugepages devices should also be added to the command line via -v /dev/hugepages:/dev/hugepages and -v /dev/hugepages-1G:/dev/hugepages-1G


If Docker is being run on a non-Linux system (e.g., OSX), -v /dev:/dev should be removed from the command line.

The daos_server_local.yml configuration file sets up a simple local DAOS system with a single server instance running in the container. By default, it uses 4GB of DRAM to emulate persistent memory and 16GB of bulk storage under /tmp. The storage size can be changed in the yaml file if necessary.

The DAOS service can be started in the docker container as follows:

$ docker exec server daos_server start \
        -o /home/daos/daos/utils/config/examples/daos_server_local.yml


Please make sure that the uio_pci_generic module is loaded on the host.

Once started, the DAOS server waits for the administrator to format the system. This can be triggered in a different shell, using the following command:

$ docker exec server dmg -i storage format

Upon successful completion of the format, the storage engine is started, and pools can be created using the daos admin tool (see next section).

For more advanced configurations involving SCM, SSD or a real fabric, please refer to the next section.

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