CASSANDRA-13304 made an important improvement to our native protocol: it introduced checksumming/CRC32 to request and response bodies. It’s an important step forward, but it doesn’t cover the entire stream. In particular, the message header is not covered by a checksum or a crc, which poses a correctness issue if, for example, streamId gets corrupted.
Additionally, we aren’t quite using CRC32 correctly, in two ways:
1. We are calculating the CRC32 of the decompressed value instead of computing the CRC32 on the bytes written on the wire - losing the properties of the CRC32. In some cases, due to this sequencing, attempting to decompress a corrupt stream can cause a segfault by LZ4.
2. When using CRC32, the CRC32 value is written in the incorrect byte order, also losing some of the protections.
See https://users.ece.cmu.edu/~koopman/pubs/KoopmanCRCWebinar9May2012.pdf for explanation for the two points above.
Separately, there are some long-standing issues with the protocol - since way before
CASSANDRA-13304. Importantly, both checksumming and compression operate on individual message bodies rather than frames of multiple complete messages. In reality, this has several important additional downsides. To name a couple:
- For compression, we are getting poor compression ratios for smaller messages - when operating on tiny sequences of bytes. In reality, for most small requests and responses we are discarding the compressed value as it’d be smaller than the uncompressed one - incurring both redundant allocations and compressions.
- For checksumming and CRC32 we pay a high overhead price for small messages. 4 bytes extra is a lot for an empty write response, for example.
To address the correctness issue of streamId not being covered by the checksum/CRC32 and the inefficiency in compression and checksumming/CRC32, we should switch to a framing protocol with multiple messages in a single frame.
I suggest we reuse the framing protocol recently implemented for internode messaging in
CASSANDRA-15066 to the extent that its logic can be borrowed, and that we do it before native protocol v5 graduates from beta. See https://github.com/apache/cassandra/blob/trunk/src/java/org/apache/cassandra/net/FrameDecoderCrc.java and https://github.com/apache/cassandra/blob/trunk/src/java/org/apache/cassandra/net/FrameDecoderLZ4.java.