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Multiple Storage Backend

There are some use cases that supporting multiple storage backends in Seafile server is needed. Such as:

  1. Store different types of files into different storage backends. For example, normal files can be stored in primary storage (disks, SSD); Archived files can be stored in cold storage (tapes or other backup systems).
  2. Combine multiple storage backends to extend storage scalability. For example, a single NFS volume may be limited by size; a single S3 bucket of Ceph RGW may suffer performance decrease when the number of objects become very large.

The library data in Seafile server are spreaded into multiple storage backends in the unit of libraries. All the data in a library will be located in the same storage backend. The mapping from library to its storage backend is stored in a database table. Different mapping policies can be chosen based on the use case.

To use this feature, you need to:

  1. Define storage classes in seafile.conf.
  2. Enable multiple backend feature in seahub and choose a mapping policy.

Defining Storage Classes

In Seafile server, a storage backend is represented by the concept of "storage class". A storage class is defined by specifying the following information:

  • storage_id: an internal string ID to identify the storage class. It's not visible to users. For example "primary storage".
  • name: A user visible name for the storage class.
  • is_default: whether this storage class is the default. This option are effective in two cases:
  • If the chosen mapping policy allows users to choose storage class for a library, this would be the default if the user doesn't choose one.
  • For other mapping policies, this option only takes effect when you have some existing libraries before enabling multiple storage backend feature. For existing libraries, the system will automatically map them to the default storage backend. So in this case you have to set the existing storage backend as the default one.
  • commits:the storage for storing the commit objects for this class. It can be any storage that Seafile supports, like file system, ceph, s3.
  • fs:the storage for storing the fs objects for this class. It can be any storage that Seafile supports, like file system, ceph, s3.
  • blocks:the storage for storing the block objects for this class. It can be any storage that Seafile supports, like file system, ceph, s3.

commit, fs, and blocks can be stored in different storages. This provides the most flexible way to define storage classes.

As Seafile server before 6.3 version doesn't support multiple storage classes, you have to explicitly enable this new feature and define storage classes with a different syntax than how we define storage backend before.

First, you have to enable this feature in seafile.conf.

enable_storage_classes = true
storage_classes_file = /opt/seafile_storage_classes.json

memcached_options = --SERVER=<the IP of Memcached Server> --POOL-MIN=10 --POOL-MAX=100
  • enable_storage_classes :If this is set to true, the storage class feature is enabled. You must define the storage classes in a JSON file provided in the next configuration option.
  • storage_classes_file:Specifies the path for the JSON file that contains the storage class definition.

The JSON file is an array of objects. Each object defines a storage class. The fields in the definition corresponds to the information we need to specify for a storage class. Below is an example:

"storage_id": "hot_storage",
"name": "Hot Storage",
"is_default": true,
"commits": {"backend": "s3", "bucket": "seafile-commits", "key": "ZjoJ8RPNDqP1vcdD60U4wAHwUQf2oJYqxN27oR09", "key_id": "AKIAIOT3GCU5VGCCL44A"},
"fs": {"backend": "s3", "bucket": "seafile-fs", "key": "ZjoJ8RPNDqP1vcdD60U4wAHwUQf2oJYqxN27oR09", "key_id": "AKIAIOT3GCU5VGCCL44A"},
"blocks": {"backend": "s3", "bucket": "seafile-blocks", "key": "ZjoJ8RPNDqP1vcdD60U4wAHwUQf2oJYqxN27oR09", "key_id": "AKIAIOT3GCU5VGCCL44A"}

"storage_id": "cold_storage",
"name": "Cold Storage",
"is_default": false,
"fs": {"backend": "fs", "dir": "/storage/seafile/seafile-data"},
"commits": {"backend": "fs", "dir": "/storage/seafile/seafile-data"},
"blocks": {"backend": "fs", "dir": "/storage/seafile/seaflle-data"}

"storage_id": "swift_storage",
"name": "Swift Storage",
"fs": {"backend": "swift", "tenant": "adminTenant", "user_name": "admin", "password": "openstack", "container": "seafile-commits", "auth_host": "", "auth_ver": "v2.0"},
"commits": {"backend": "swift", "tenant": "adminTenant", "user_name": "admin", "password": "openstack", "container": "seafile-fs", "auth_host": "", "auth_ver": "v2.0"},
"blocks": {"backend": "swift", "tenant": "adminTenant", "user_name": "admin", "password": "openstack", "container": "seafile-blocks", "auth_host": "", "auth_ver": "v2.0", "region": "RegionTwo"}

"storage_id": "ceph_storage",
"name": "ceph Storage",
"fs": {"backend": "ceph", "ceph_config": "/etc/ceph/ceph.conf", "pool": "seafile-fs"},
"commits": {"backend": "ceph", "ceph_config": "/etc/ceph/ceph.conf", "pool": "seafile-commits"},
"blocks": {"backend": "ceph", "ceph_config": "/etc/ceph/ceph.conf", "pool": "seafile-blocks"}

As you may have seen, the commits, fs and blocks information syntax is similar to what is used in [commit_object_backend], [fs_object_backend] and [block_backend] section of seafile.conf.

If you use file system as storage for fs, commits or blocks, you must explicitly provide the path for the seafile-data directory. The objects will be stored in storage/commits, storage/fs, storage/blocks under this path.

Note: Currently file system, S3 and Swift backends are supported. Ceph/RADOS is also supported since version 7.0.14.

Library Mapping Policies

Library mapping policies decide the storage class a library uses. Currently we provide 3 policies for 3 different use cases. The storage class of a library is decided on creation and stored in a database table. The storage class of a library won't change if the mapping policy is changed later.

Before choosing your mapping policy, you need to enable the storage classes feature in


User Chosen

This policy lets the users choose which storage class to use when creating a new library. The users can select any storage class that's been defined in the JSON file.

To use this policy, add following options in


If you enable storage class support but don't explicitly set STORAGE_CLASS_MAPPING_POLIICY in, this policy is used by default.

Role-based Mapping

Due to storage cost or management considerations, sometimes a system admin wants to make different type of users use different storage backends (or classes). You can configure a user's storage classes based on their roles.

A new option storage_ids is added to the role configuration in to assign storage classes to each role. If only one storage class is assigned to a role, the users with this role cannot choose storage class for libraries; otherwise, the users can choose a storage class if more than one class are assigned. If no storage class is assigned to a role, the default class specified in the JSON file will be used.

Here are the sample options in to use this policy:


    'default': {
        'can_add_repo': True,
        'can_add_group': True,
        'can_view_org': True,
        'can_use_global_address_book': True,
        'can_generate_share_link': True,
        'can_generate_upload_link': True,
        'can_invite_guest': True,
        'can_connect_with_android_clients': True,
        'can_connect_with_ios_clients': True,
        'can_connect_with_desktop_clients': True,
        'storage_ids': ['old_version_id', 'hot_storage', 'cold_storage', 'a_storage'],
    'guest': {
        'can_add_repo': True,
        'can_add_group': False,
        'can_view_org': False,
        'can_use_global_address_book': False,
        'can_generate_share_link': False,
        'can_generate_upload_link': False,
        'can_invite_guest': False,
        'can_connect_with_android_clients': False,
        'can_connect_with_ios_clients': False,
        'can_connect_with_desktop_clients': False,
        'storage_ids': ['hot_storage', 'cold_storage'],

Library ID Based Mapping

This policy maps libraries to storage classes based on its library ID. The ID of a library is an UUID. In this way, the data in the system can be evenly distributed among the storage classes.

Note that this policy is not a designed to be a complete distributed storage solution. It doesn't handle automatic migration of library data between storage classes. If you need to add more storage classes to the configuration, existing libraries will stay in their original storage classes. New libraries can be distributed among the new storage classes (backends). You still have to plan about the total storage capacity of your system at the beginning.

To use this policy, you first add following options in


Then you can add option for_new_library to the backends which are expected to store new libraries in json file:

"storage_id": "new_backend",
"name": "New store",
"for_new_library": true,
"is_default": false,
"fs": {"backend": "fs", "dir": "/storage/seafile/new-data"},
"commits": {"backend": "fs", "dir": "/storage/seafile/new-data"},
"blocks": {"backend": "fs", "dir": "/storage/seafile/new-data"}

Multiple Storage Backend Data Migration

Run the script to migrate library data between different storage backends.

./ [repo_id] origin_storage_id destination_storage_id
  • repo_id: migrated library id
  • origin_storage_id: migrated origin storage id
  • destination_storage_id: migrated destination storage id

repo_id is optional, if not specified, all libraries will be migrated.

Before running the migration script, you can set the OBJECT_LIST_FILE_PATH environment variable to specify a path prefix to store the migrated object list.

For example:

export OBJECT_LIST_FILE_PATH=/opt/test

This will create three files in the specified path (/opt): test_4c731e5c-f589-4eaa-889f-14c00d4893cb.fs test_4c731e5c-f589-4eaa-889f-14c00d4893cb.commits test_4c731e5c-f589-4eaa-889f-14c00d4893cb.blocks Setting the OBJECT_LIST_FILE_PATH environment variable has two purposes:

  1. If the migrated library is very large, you need to run the migration script multiple times. Setting this environment variable can skip the previously migrated objects.
  2. After the migration is complete, if you need to delete the objects in the origin storage, you must set this environment variable.

Delete All Objects In a Library In The Specified Storage Backend

Run the script (before migration, you need to set the OBJECT_LIST_FILE_PATH environment variable) to delete all objects in a library in the specified storage backend.

./ repo_id storage_id