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SubjectXFS write speed drop

I have noticed that after an upgrade from 2.6.16-rcX -> 2.6.17-rc4, writes
to one (hdc) xfs filesystem have become significantly slower (factor 6 to
8), like if -o sync (or funky journal options on ext3) was on. Also, reads
would stall until writes have completed. I would only expect such behavior
when /proc/sys/vm/dirty_* are set to high values (like 95%, like I do on a
notebook). hda remained fast.

It eventually turned out that it are the log barriers; hda does not support
barriers and XFS gave a nice kernel message hint that pointed me to try out
a mount flag. -o nobarrier makes it fast again.

Jan Engelhardt
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