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SubjectRe: [patch] ext2/3: document conditions when reliable operation is possible
Pavel Machek wrote:
> Hi!
>
>
>>> I can reproduce data loss with ext3 on flashcard in about 40
>>> seconds. I'd not call that "odd event". It would be nice to handle
>>> that, but that is hard. So ... can we at least get that documented
>>> please?
>>>
>>>
>> Part of documenting best practices is to put down very specific things
>> that do/don't work. What I worry about is producing too much detail to
>> be of use for real end users.
>>
>
> Well, I was trying to write for kernel audience. Someone can turn that
> into nice end-user manual.
>

Kernel people who don't do storage or file systems will still need a
summary - making very specific proposals based on real data and analysis
is useful.
>
>> I have to admit that I have not paid enough attention to this specifics
>> of your ext3 + flash card issue - is it the ftl stuff doing out of order
>> IO's?
>>
>
> The problem is that flash cards destroy whole erase block on unplug,
> and ext3 can't cope with that.
>
>

Even if you unmount the file system? Why isn't this an issue with ext2?

Sounds like you want to suggest very specifically that journalled file
systems are not appropriate for low end flash cards (which seems quite
reasonable).
>>> _All_ flash cards (MMC, USB, SD) had the problems. You don't need to
>>> get clear grasp on trends. Those cards just don't meet ext3
>>> expectations, and if you pull them, you get data loss.
>>>
>>>
>> Pull them even after an unmount, or pull them hot?
>>
>
> Pull them hot.
>
> [Some people try -osync to avoid data loss on flash cards... that will
> not do the trick. Flashcard will still kill the eraseblock.]
>

Pulling hot any device will cause data loss for recent data loss, even
with ext2 you will have data in the page cache, right?
>
>>>> Nothing is perfect. It is still a trade off between storage
>>>> utilization (how much storage we give users for say 5 2TB drives),
>>>> performance and costs (throw away any disks over 2 years old?).
>>>>
>>>>
>>> "Nothing is perfect"?! That's design decision/problem in raid5/ext3. I
>>> believe that should be at least documented. (And understand why ZFS is
>>> interesting thing).
>>>
>>>
>> Your statement is overly broad - ext3 on a commercial RAID array that
>> does RAID5 or RAID6, etc has no issues that I know of.
>>
>
> If your commercial RAID array is battery backed, maybe. But I was
> talking Linux MD here.
>

Many people in the real world who use RAID5 (for better or worse) use
external raid cards or raid arrays, so you need to be very specific.
>
>>> And I still use my zaurus with crappy DRAM.
>>>
>>> I would not trust raid5 array with my data, for multiple
>>> reasons. The fact that degraded raid5 breaks ext3 assumptions should
>>> really be documented.
>>>
>> Again, you say RAID5 without enough specifics. Are you pointing just at
>> MD RAID5 on S-ATA? Hardware RAID cards? A specific commercial RAID5
>> vendor?
>>
>
> Degraded MD RAID5 on anything, including SATA, and including
> hypothetical "perfect disk".
>

Degraded is one faulted drive while MD is doing a rebuild? And then you
hot unplug it or power cycle? I think that would certainly cause failure
for ext2 as well (again, you would lose any data in the page cache).
>
>>> The papers show failures in "once a year" range. I have "twice a
>>> minute" failure scenario with flashdisks.
>>>
>>> Not sure how often "degraded raid5 breaks ext3 atomicity" would bite,
>>> but I bet it would be on "once a day" scale.
>>>
>>> We should document those.
>>>
>> Documentation is fine with sufficient, hard data....
>>
>
> Degraded MD RAID5 does not work by design; whole stripe will be
> damaged on powerfail or reset or kernel bug, and ext3 can not cope
> with that kind of damage. [I don't see why statistics should be
> neccessary for that; the same way we don't need statistics to see that
> ext2 needs fsck after powerfail.]
> Pavel
>
What you are describing is a double failure and RAID5 is not double
failure tolerant regardless of the file system type....
I don't want to be overly negative since getting good documentation is
certainly very useful. We just need to be document things correctly
based on real data.

Ric




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