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SubjectRe: Journaling pointless with today's hard disks?
On Mon, 26 Nov 2001, Rob Landley wrote:

> On Sunday 25 November 2001 04:14, Chris Wedgwood wrote:
> >
> > P.S. Write-caching in hard-drives is insanely dangerous for
> > journalling filesystems and can result in all sorts of nasties.
> > I recommend people turn this off in their init scripts (perhaps I
> > will send a patch for the kernel to do this on boot, I just
> > wonder if it will eat some drives).
> Anybody remember back when hard drives didn't reliably park themselves when
> they cut power? This isn't something drive makers seem to pay much attention
> to until customers scream at them for a while...
> Having no write caching on the IDE side isn't a solution either. The problem
> is the largest block of data you can send to an ATA drive in a single command
> is smaller than modern track sizes (let alone all the tracks under the heads
> on a multi-head drive), so without any sort of cacheing in the drive at all
> you add rotational latency between each write request for the point you left
> off writing to come back under the head again. This will positively KILL
> write performance. (I suspect the situation's more or less the same for read
> too, but nobody's objecting to read cacheing.)
> The solution isn't to avoid write cacheing altogether (performance is 100%
> guaranteed to suck otherwise, for reasons unrelated to how well your hardware
> works but to legacy request size limits in the ATA specification), but to
> have a SMALL write buffer, the size of one or two tracks to allow linear ATA
> write requests to be assembled into single whole-track writes, and to make
> sure the disks' electronics has enough capacitance in it to flush this buffer
> to disk. (How much do capacitors cost? We're talking what, an extra 20
> miliseconds? The buffer should be small enough you don't have to do that
> much seeking.)
> Just add an off-the-shelf capacitor to your circuit. The firmware already
> has to detect power failure in order to park the head sanely, so make it
> flush the buffers along the way. This isn't brain surgery, it just wasn't a
> design criteria on IBM's checklist of features approved in the meeting.
> (Maybe they ran out of donuts and adjourned the meeting early?)


Send me an outline/discription and I will present it during the Dec T13
meeting for a proposal number for inclusion into ATA-7.


Andre Hedrick
CEO/President, LAD Storage Consulting Group
Linux ATA Development
Linux Disk Certification Project

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