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SubjectRe: [RFC] Multi-path IO in 2.5/2.6 ?
On 2002-09-09T17:08:47,
Patrick Mansfield <> said:

Patrick, I am only replying to what I understand. Some of your comments on the
internals of the SCSI layer are beyond me ;-)

> Yes negotiation is at the adapter level, but that does not have to be tied
> to a Scsi_Device. I need to search for Scsi_Device::hostdata usage to
> figure out details, and to figure out if anything is broken in the current
> scsi multi-path code - right now it requires the same adapter drivers be
> used and that certain Scsi_Host parameters are equal if multiple paths
> to a Scsi_Device are found.

This seems to be a serious limitation. There are good reasons for wanting to
use different HBAs for the different paths.

And the Scsi_Device might be quite different. Imagine something like two
storage boxes which do internal replication among them; yes, you'd only want
to use one of them normal (because the Cache-coherency traffic is going to
kill performance otherwise), but you can failover from one to the other even
if they have different SCSI serials etc.

> of memory that we can waste. And, other devices besides disks can be
> multi-pathed.

That is a good point.

But it would also be true for a generic block device implementation.

> Yes, there could be future multi-path users, or maybe with DASD. If we take
> SCSI and DASD as existing usage, they could be a basis for a block layer
> (or generic) set of multi-path interfaces.

SATA will also support multipathing if the birds were right, so it might make
sense to keep this in mind, at least for 2.7.

> There is code available for scsi multi-path, this is not a design in theory.

Well, there is code available for all the others too ;-)

> IMO, there is demand for scsi multi-path support now, as users move to
> large databases requiring higher availabitity. md or volume manager
> for failover is adequate in some of these cases.

The volume manager multi-pathing, at least as done via the LVM1 patch, has a
major drawback. It can't easily be stacked with software RAID. It is very
awkward to do that right now.

And software RAID on top of multi-pathing is a typical example for a truely
fault tolerant configuration.

Thats obviously easier with md, and I assume your SCSI code can also do that

> Even with generic block layer multi-path support, we still need block
> driver (scsi, ide, etc.) code for multi-path.

Yes. Error handling in particular ;-)

The topology information you mention is also a good candidate for exposure.

> Agreed, but having the block layer be everything is also wrong.

Having the block device handling all block devices seems fairly reasonable to

> My view is that md/volume manager multi-pathing is useful with 2.4.x, scsi
> layer multi-path for 2.5.x, and this (perhaps with DASD) could then evolve
> into generic block level (or perhaps integrated with the device model)
> multi-pathing support for use in 2.7.x. Do you agree or disagree with this
> approach?

Well, I guess 2.5/2.6 will have all the different multi-path implementations
mentioned so far (EVMS, LVM2, md, scsi, proprietary) - they all have code and
a userbase... All of them and future implementations can benefit from better
error handling and general cleanup, so that might be the best to do for now.

I think it is too soon to clean that up and consolidate the m-p approaches,
but I think it really ought to be consolidated in 2.7, and this seems like a
good time to start planning for that one.

Lars Marowsky-Brée <>

Immortality is an adequate definition of high availability for me.
--- Gregory F. Pfister

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