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SubjectRe: [ANNOUNCE] DualFS: File System with Meta-data and Data Separation
Hi Jörn,

On Fri, 23 Feb 2007, [utf-8] Jörn Engel wrote:

> On Thu, 22 February 2007 20:57:12 +0100, Juan Piernas Canovas wrote:
>> I do not agree with this picture, because it does not show that all the
>> indirect blocks which point to a direct block are along with it in the
>> same segment. That figure should look like:
>> Segment 1: [some data] [ DA D1' D2' ] [more data]
>> Segment 2: [some data] [ D0 D1' D2' ] [more data]
>> Segment 3: [some data] [ DB D1 D2 ] [more data]
>> where D0, DA, and DB are datablocks, D1 and D2 indirect blocks which
>> point to the datablocks, and D1' and D2' obsolete copies of those
>> indirect blocks. By using this figure, is is clear that if you need to
>> move D0 to clean the segment 2, you will need only one free segment at
>> most, and not more. You will get:
>> Segment 1: [some data] [ DA D1' D2' ] [more data]
>> Segment 2: [ free ]
>> Segment 3: [some data] [ DB D1' D2' ] [more data]
>> ......
>> Segment n: [ D0 D1 D2 ] [ empty ]
>> That is, D0 needs in the new segment the same space that it needs in the
>> previous one.
>> The differences are subtle but important.
> Ah, now I see. Yes, that is deadlock-free. If you are not accounting
> the bytes of used space but the number of used segments, and you count
> each partially used segment the same as a 100% used segment, there is no
> deadlock.
> Some people may consider this to be cheating, however. It will cause
> more than 50% wasted space. All obsolete copies are garbage, after all.
> With a maximum tree height of N, you can have up to (N-1) / N of your
> filesystem occupied by garbage.

I do not agree. Fortunately, the greatest part of the files are written at
once, so what you usually have is:

Segment 1: [ data ]
Segment 2: [some data] [ D0 DA DB D1 D2 ] [more data]
Segment 3: [ data ]

On the other hand, the DualFS cleaner tries to clean several segments
everytime it runs. Therefore, if you have the following case:

Segment 1: [some data] [ DA D1' D2' ] [more data]
Segment 2: [some data] [ D0 D1' D2' ] [more data]
Segment 3: [some data] [ DB D1' D2' ] [more data]

after cleaning, you can have this one:

Segment 3: [ free ]
Segment 3: [ free ]
Segment 3: [ free ]
Segment i: [D0 DA DB D1 D2 ] [ more data ]

Moreover, if the cleaner starts running when the free space drops below a
specific threshold, it is very difficult to waste more than 50% of disk
space, specially with meta-data (actually, I am unable to imagine that
situation :).

> Another downside is that with large amounts of garbage between otherwise
> useful data, your disk cache hit rate goes down. Read performance is
> suffering. But that may be a fair tradeoff and will only show up in
> large metadata reads in the uncached (per Linux) case. Seems fair.

Well, our experimental results say another thing. As I have said, the
greatest part of the files are written at once, so their meta-data blocks
are together on disk. This allows DualFS to implement an explicit
prefetching of meta-data blocks which is quite effective, specially when
there are several processes reading from disk at the same time.

On the other hand, DualFS also implements an on-line meta-data relocation
mechanism which can help to improve meta-data prefetching, and garbage

Obviously, there can be some slow-growing files that can produce some
garbage, but they do not hurt the overall performance of the file system.

> Quite interesting, actually. The costs of your design are disk space,
> depending on the amount and depth of your metadata, and metadata read
> performance. Disk space is cheap and metadata reads tend to be slow for
> most filesystems, in comparison to data reads. You gain faster metadata
> writes and loss of journal overhead. I like the idea.

Yeah :) If you have taken a look to my presentation at LFS07, the disk
traffic of meta-data blocks is dominated by writes.

> Jörn

D. Juan Piernas Cánovas
Departamento de Ingeniería y Tecnología de Computadores
Facultad de Informática. Universidad de Murcia
Campus de Espinardo - 30080 Murcia (SPAIN)
Tel.: +34968367657 Fax: +34968364151
PGP public key:

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