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SubjectRe: [00/17] Large Blocksize Support V3
On Wednesday 25 April 2007 01:21, wrote:
> V2->V3
> - More restructuring
> - It actually works!
> - Add XFS support
> - Fix up UP support
> - Work out the direct I/O issues
> - Add CONFIG_LARGE_BLOCKSIZE. Off by default which makes the inlines revert
> back to constants. Disabled for 32bit and HIGHMEM configurations.
> This also allows a gradual migration to the new page cache
> inline functions. LARGE_BLOCKSIZE capabilities can be
> added gradually and if there is a problem then we can disable
> a subsystem.
> V1->V2
> - Some ext2 support
> - Some block layer, fs layer support etc.
> - Better page cache macros
> - Use macros to clean up code.
> This patchset modifies the Linux kernel so that larger block sizes than
> page size can be supported. Larger block sizes are handled by using
> compound pages of an arbitrary order for the page cache instead of
> single pages with order 0.
> Rationales:
> 1. We have problems supporting devices with a higher blocksize than
> page size. This is for example important to support CD and DVDs that
> can only read and write 32k or 64k blocks. We currently have a shim
> layer in there to deal with this situation which limits the speed
> of I/O. The developers are currently looking for ways to completely
> bypass the page cache because of this deficiency.
> 2. 32/64k blocksize is also used in flash devices. Same issues.
> 3. Future harddisks will support bigger block sizes that Linux cannot
> support since we are limited to PAGE_SIZE. Ok the on board cache
> may buffer this for us but what is the point of handling smaller
> page sizes than what the drive supports?
> 4. Reduce fsck times. Larger block sizes mean faster file system checking.
> 5. Performance. If we look at IA64 vs. x86_64 then it seems that the
> faster interrupt handling on x86_64 compensate for the speed loss due to
> a smaller page size (4k vs 16k on IA64). Supporting larger block sizes
> sizes on all allows a significant reduction in I/O overhead and
> increases the size of I/O that can be performed by hardware in a single
> request since the number of scatter gather entries are typically limited
> for one request. This is going to become increasingly important to support
> the ever growing memory sizes since we may have to handle excessively large
> amounts of 4k requests for data sizes that may become common soon. For
> example to write a 1 terabyte file the kernel would have to handle 256
> million 4k chunks.
> 6. Cross arch compatibility: It is currently not possible to mount
> an 16k blocksize ext2 filesystem created on IA64 on an x86_64 system.
> With this patch this becoems possible.
> The support here is currently only for buffered I/O. Modifications for
> three filesystems are included:
> A. XFS
> B. Ext2
> C. ramfs
> Unsupported
> - Mmapping blocks larger than page size
> Issues:
> - There are numerous places where the kernel can no longer assume that the
> page cache consists of PAGE_SIZE pages that have not been fixed yet.
> - Defrag warning: The patch set can fragment memory very fast.
> It is likely that Mel Gorman's anti-frag patches and some more
> work by him on defragmentation may be needed if one wants to use
> super sized pages.
> If you run a 2.6.21 kernel with this patch and start a kernel compile
> on a 4k volume with a concurrent copy operation to a 64k volume on
> a system with only 1 Gig then you will go boom (ummm no ... OOM) fast.
> How well Mel's antifrag/defrag methods address this issue still has to
> be seen.
> Future:
> - Mmap support could be done in a way that makes the mmap page size
> independent from the page cache order. It is okay to map a 4k section
> of a larger page cache page via a pte. 4k mmap semantics can be
> completely preserved even for larger page sizes.
> - Maybe people could perform benchmarks to see how much of a difference
> there is between 4k size I/O and 64k? Andrew surely would like to know.
> - If there is a chance for inclusion then I will diff this against mm,
> do a complete scan over the kernel to find all page cache == PAGE_SIZE
> assumptions and then try to get it upstream for 2.6.23.
> How to make this work:
> 1. Apply this patchset to 2.6.21-rc7
> 2. Configure LARGE_BLOCKSIZE Support
> 3. compile kernel
> --

I really like the idea of block size > page size

I just want to suggest mine ideas about how to implement it (I can't do that
since it is too compicated for me and I don't have time now)

I visualized this like that:

For size <= 4K , page still holds a 1 or more blocks.

For size > 4K:

A page holds a fraction of block, and its ->buffer_head also holds info about
that fraction.

But that ->bh contains a ->next pointer (or a list_head) that combines
all fractions of block in single one.

This will minimize changes in fs code.

Today fs blindly uses bh retured by block code.
A modifed filesystem will also read from linked ->next bhs to get all parts of

For blocksizes <= 4k that ->next will be null indicating that that bh
contatins whole block.

Then inplementation of block address_space opertions should not change a lot

They will be just aware that that page can be linked with other pages of same
block and do that right thing.

For example:

->readpage will not only read _that_ page but also will read all sibling pages
->writepage will magicly write not only that page but siblings too.

buffer_head alredy has pointer to page so it is easy to get page from buffer

page -> private -> next -> page -> private ...

andf so on (sorry, but I did a study (for myself, trying to improve
packet-writing) on that a half year ago, so I don't remember now much about

What about that ?

Best regards,
Maxim Levitsky
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