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SubjectRe: [PATCH] 2.4.x write barriers (updated for ext3)
On February 28, 2002 04:36 pm, James Bottomley wrote:
> Doug Gilbert prompted me to re-examine my notions about SCSI drive caching,
> and sure enough the standard says (and all the drives I've looked at so far
> come with) write back caching enabled by default.
> Since this is a threat to the integrity of Journalling FS in power failure
> situations now, I think it needs to be addressed with some urgency.
> The "quick fix" would obviously be to get the sd driver to do a mode select at
> probe time to turn off the WCE and RCD bits (this will place the cache into
> write through mode), which would match the assumptions all the JFSs currently
> make. I'll see if I can code up a quick patch to do this.
> A longer term solution might be to keep the writeback cache but send down a
> SYNCHRONIZE CACHE command as part of the back end completion of a barrier
> write, so the fs wouldn't get a completion until the write was done and all
> the dirty cache blocks flushed to the medium.

I've been following the thread, I hope I haven't missed anything fundamental.
A better long term solution is to have ordered tags work as designed. It's
not broken by design is it, just implementation?

I have a standing offer from at least one engineer to make firmware changes
to the drives if it makes Linux work better. So a reasonable plan is: first
know what's ideal, second ask for it. Coupled with that, we'd need a way of
identifying drives that don't work in the ideal way, and require a fallback.

In my opinion, the only correct behavior is a write barrier that completes
when data is on the platter, and that does this even when write-back is
enabled. Surely this is not rocket science at the disk firmware level. Is
this or is this not the way ordered tags were supposed to work?

> Clearly, there would also have to be a mechanism to flush the cache on
> unmount, so if this were done by ioctl, would you prefer that the filesystem
> be in charge of flushing the cache on barrier writes, or would you like the sd
> device to do it transparently?

The filesystem should just say 'this request is a write barrier' and the
lower layers, whether that's scsi or bio, should do what's necessary to make
it come true.

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