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SubjectRe: Disk write cache
Kenichi Okuyama wrote:
>>>>>>"Jeff" == Jeff Garzik <> writes:
> Jeff> On Sun, May 15, 2005 at 11:21:36AM -0400, Gene Heskett wrote:
>>>On Sunday 15 May 2005 11:00, Mikulas Patocka wrote:
>>>>On Sun, 15 May 2005, Tomasz Torcz wrote:
>>>>>On Sun, May 15, 2005 at 04:12:07PM +0200, Andi Kleen wrote:
>>>>>>>>>However they've patched the FreeBSD kernel to
>>>>>>>>>"workaround?" it:
>>>>>>>>That's a similar stupid idea as they did with the disk write
>>>>>>>>cache (lowering the MTBFs of their disks by considerable
>>>>>>>>factors, which is much worse than the power off data loss
>>>>>>>>problem) Let's not go down this path please.
>>>>>>>What wrong did they do with disk write cache?
>>>>>>They turned it off by default, which according to disk vendors
>>>>>>lowers the MTBF of your disk to a fraction of the original
>>>>>>I bet the total amount of valuable data lost for FreeBSD users
>>>>>>because of broken disks is much much bigger than what they
>>>>>>gained from not losing in the rather hard to hit power off
>>>>> Aren't I/O barriers a way to safely use write cache?
>>>>FreeBSD used these barriers (FLUSH CACHE command) long time ago.
>>>>There are rumors that some disks ignore FLUSH CACHE command just to
>>>>get higher benchmarks in Windows. But I haven't heart of any proof.
>>>>Does anybody know, what companies fake this command?
>>>>From a story I read elsewhere just a few days ago, this problem is
>>>virtually universal even in the umpty-bucks 15,000 rpm scsi server
>>>drives. It appears that this is just another way to crank up the
>>>numbers and make each drive seem faster than its competition.
>>>My gut feeling is that if this gets enough ink to get under the drive
>>>makers skins, we will see the issuance of a utility from the makers
>>>that will re-program the drives therefore enabling the proper
>>>handling of the FLUSH CACHE command. This would be an excellent
>>>chance IMO, to make a bit of noise if the utility comes out, but only
>>>runs on windows. In that event, we hold their feet to the fire (the
>>>prefereable method), or a wrapper is written that allows it to run on
>>>any os with a bash-like shell manager.
> Jeff> There is a large amount of yammering and speculation in this thread.
> Jeff> Most disks do seem to obey SYNC CACHE / FLUSH CACHE.
> Then it must be file system who's not controlling properly. And
> because this is so widely spread among Linux, there must be at least
> one bug existing in VFS ( or there was, and everyone copied it ).
> At least, from:
> there is project name "diskio" which does black box test about this:
> And if we assume for Read after Write access semantics of HDD for
> "SURELY" checking the data image on disk surface ( by HDD, I mean ),
> on both SCSI and ATA, ALL the file system does not pass the test.
> And I was wondering who's bad. File system? Device driver of both
> SCSI and ATA? or criterion? From Jeff's point, it seems like file
> system or criterion...

The ability of a filesystem or fsync(2) to cause a [FLUSH|SYNC] CACHE
command to be generated has only been present in the most recent 2.6.x
kernels. See the "write barrier" stuff that people have been discussing.

Furthermore, read-after-write implies nothing at all. The only way to
you can be assured that your data has "hit the platter" is
(1) issuing [FLUSH|SYNC] CACHE, or
(2) using FUA-style disk commands

It sounds like your test (or reasoning) is invalid.


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