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SubjectRe: [PATCH 4/4] Add documentation for hard disk shock protection interface
Date
Randy Dunlap <randy.dunlap@oracle.com> wrote:
> On Fri, 29 Aug 2008 23:28:41 +0200 Elias Oltmanns wrote:
>
>> Put some information (and pointers to more) into the kernel's doc tree,
>> describing briefly the interface to the kernel's disk head unloading
>> facility. Information about how to set up a complete shock protection
>> system under GNU/Linux can be found on the web and is referenced
>> accordingly.
>>
>> Signed-off-by: Elias Oltmanns <eo@nebensachen.de>
>> ---
>>
>> Documentation/laptops/disk-shock-protection.txt | 131 +++++++++++++++++++++++
>> 1 files changed, 131 insertions(+), 0 deletions(-)
>> create mode 100644 Documentation/laptops/disk-shock-protection.txt
[...]
>
> ---
> ~Randy

Thanks for reviewing, Randy. In addition to your annotations, I've made
various adjustments reflecting changes to the interface as they have
evolved in the discussion over the last two weeks. Please feel free to
point out some more mistakes and shortcomings ;-).

Regards,

Elias


From: Elias Oltmanns <eo@nebensachen.de>
Subject: [PATCH] Add documentation for hard disk shock protection interface

Put some information (and pointers to more) into the kernel's doc tree,
describing briefly the interface to the kernel's disk head unloading
facility. Information about how to set up a complete shock protection
system under GNU/Linux can be found on the web and is referenced
accordingly.

Signed-off-by: Elias Oltmanns <eo@nebensachen.de>
---
Documentation/laptops/disk-shock-protection.txt | 144 +++++++++++++++++++++++
1 files changed, 144 insertions(+), 0 deletions(-)
create mode 100644 Documentation/laptops/disk-shock-protection.txt
diff --git a/Documentation/laptops/disk-shock-protection.txt b/Documentation/laptops/disk-shock-protection.txt
new file mode 100644
index 0000000..1f93462
--- /dev/null
+++ b/Documentation/laptops/disk-shock-protection.txt
@@ -0,0 +1,144 @@
+Hard disk shock protection
+==========================
+
+Author: Elias Oltmanns <eo@nebensachen.de>
+Last modified: 2008-09-16
+
+
+0. Contents
+-----------
+
+1. Intro
+2. The interface
+3. References
+4. CREDITS
+
+
+1. Intro
+--------
+
+ATA/ATAPI-7 specifies the IDLE IMMEDIATE command with unload feature.
+Issuing this command should cause the drive to switch to idle mode and
+unload disk heads. This feature is being used in modern laptops in
+conjunction with accelerometers and appropriate software to implement
+a shock protection facility. The idea is to stop all I/O operations on
+the internal hard drive and park its heads on the ramp when critical
+situations are anticipated. The desire to have such a feature
+available on GNU/Linux systems has been the original motivation to
+implement a generic disk head parking interface in the Linux kernel.
+Please note, however, that other components have to be set up on your
+system in order to get disk shock protection working (see section
+3. References below for pointers to more information about that).
+
+
+2. The interface
+----------------
+
+For each ATA device the kernel exports the file
+block/*/device/unload_heads in sysfs (here assumed to be mounted under
+/sys). Access to /sys/block/*/device/unload_heads is denied with
+-EOPNOTSUPP if the device does not support the unload feature.
+Otherwise, writing an integer value to file will take the heads of the
+respective drive off the platter and block all I/O operations for the
+specified number of milliseconds. When the timeout expires and no
+further disk head park request has been issued in the meantime, normal
+operation will be resumed. The maximal value accepted for a timeout is
+30000 milliseconds. Exceeding this limit will return -EOVERFLOW, but
+heads will be parked anyway and the timeout will be set to 30 seconds.
+However, you can always change a timeout to any value between 0 and
+30000 by issuing a subsequent head park request before the timeout of
+the previous one has expired. In particular, the total timeout can
+exceed 30 seconds and, more importantly, you can cancel a previously
+set timeout and resume normal operation immediately by specifying a
+timeout of 0. Values below -2 are rejected with -EINVAL (see below for
+the special meaning of -1 and -2). If the timeout specified for a
+recent head park request has not yet expired, reading from
+/sys/block/*/device/unload_heads will report the number of
+milliseconds remaining until normal operation will be resumed;
+otherwise, reading the unload_heads attribute will return 0.
+
+For example, do the following in order to park the heads of drive
+/dev/sda and stop all I/O operations for five seconds:
+
+# echo 5000 > /sys/block/sda/device/unload_heads
+
+A simple
+
+# cat /sys/block/sda/device/unload_heads
+
+will show you how many milliseconds are left before normal operation
+will be resumed.
+
+There is a technical detail of this implementation that may cause some
+confusion and should be discussed here. When a head park request has
+been issued to a device successfully, all I/O operations on the
+controller port this device is attached to will be deferred. That is
+to say, any other device that may be connected to the same port will
+be affected too. The only exception is that a subsequent head unload
+request to that other devvice will be executed immediately. Further
+operations on that port will be deferred until the timeout specified
+for either device on the port has expired. As far as PATA (old style
+IDE) configurations are concerned, there can only be two devices
+attached to any single port. In SATA world we have port multipliers
+which means that a user issued head parking request to one device may
+actually result in stopping I/O to a whole bunch of devices. Hwoever,
+since this feature is supposed to be used on laptops and does not seem
+to be very useful in any other environment, there will be mostly one
+device per port. Even if the CD/DVD writer happens to be connected to
+the same port as the hard drive, it generally *should* recover just
+fine from the occasional buffer under-run incurred by a head park
+request to the HD. Actually, when you are using an ide driver rather
+than it's libata counterpart (i.e. your disk is called /dev/hda
+instead of /dev/sda), then parking the heads of drive A will generally
+not affect the mode of operation of drive B on the same port as
+described above. It is only when a port reset is required to recover
+from an exception on drive B that further I/O operations on that drive
+(and the reset itself) will be delayed until drive A is no longer in
+the parked state.
+
+Finally, there are some hard drives that only comply with an earlier
+version of the ATA standard than ATA-7, but do support the unload
+feature nonetheless. Unfortunately, there is no safe way Linux can
+detect these devices, so you won't be able to write to the
+unload_heads attribute. If you know that your device really does
+support the unload feature (for instance, because the vendor of your
+laptop or the hard drive itself told you so), then you can tell the
+kernel to enable the usage of this feature for that drive by writing
+the special value -1 to the unload_heads attribute:
+
+# echo -1 > /sys/block/sda/device/unload_heads
+
+will enable the feature for /dev/sda, and giving -2 instead of -1 will
+disable it again.
+
+
+3. References
+-------------
+
+There are several laptops from different vendors featuring shock
+protection capabilities. As manufacturers have refused to support open
+source development of the required software components so far, Linux
+support for shock protection varies considerably between different
+hardware implementations. Ideally, this section should contain a list
+of pointers at different projects aiming at an implementation of shock
+protection on different systeems. Unfortunately, I only know of a
+single project which, although still considered experimental, is fit
+for use. Please feel free to add projects that have been the victims
+of my ignorance.
+
+- http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/HDAPS
+ See this page for information about Linux support of the hard disk
+ active protection system as implemented in IBM/Lenovo Thinkpads.
+ (FIXME: The information there will have to be updated once this
+ patch has been approved or the user interface has been agreed upon
+ at least.)
+
+
+4. CREDITS
+----------
+
+This implementation of disk head parking has been inspired by a patch
+originally published by Jon Escombe <lists@dresco.co.uk>. My efforts
+to develop an implementation of this feature that is fit to be merged
+into mainline have been aided by various kernel developers, in
+particular by Tejun Heo and Bartlomiej Zolnierkiewicz.

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