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SubjectRe: [PATCH v6 0/4] ext4: Coordinate data-only flush requests sent by fsync
On 11/29/2010 07:39 PM, Neil Brown wrote:
> On Mon, 29 Nov 2010 14:05:36 -0800 "Darrick J. Wong"<djwong@us.ibm.com>
> wrote:
>
>> On certain types of hardware, issuing a write cache flush takes a considerable
>> amount of time. Typically, these are simple storage systems with write cache
>> enabled and no battery to save that cache after a power failure. When we
>> encounter a system with many I/O threads that write data and then call fsync
>> after more transactions accumulate, ext4_sync_file performs a data-only flush,
>> the performance of which is suboptimal because each of those threads issues its
>> own flush command to the drive instead of trying to coordinate the flush,
>> thereby wasting execution time.
>>
>> Instead of each fsync call initiating its own flush, there's now a flag to
>> indicate if (0) no flushes are ongoing, (1) we're delaying a short time to
>> collect other fsync threads, or (2) we're actually in-progress on a flush.
>>
>> So, if someone calls ext4_sync_file and no flushes are in progress, the flag
>> shifts from 0->1 and the thread delays for a short time to see if there are any
>> other threads that are close behind in ext4_sync_file. After that wait, the
>> state transitions to 2 and the flush is issued. Once that's done, the state
>> goes back to 0 and a completion is signalled.
> I haven't seen any of the preceding discussion do I might be missing
> something important, but this seems needlessly complex and intrusive.
> In particular, I don't like adding code to md to propagate these timings up
> to the fs, and I don't the arbitrary '2ms' number.
>
> Would it not be sufficient to simply gather flushes while a flush is pending.
> i.e
> - if no flush is pending, set the 'flush pending' flag, submit a flush,
> then clear the flag.
> - if a flush is pending, then wait for it to complete, and then submit a
> single flush on behalf of all pending flushes.
>
> That way when flush is fast, you do a flush every time, and when it is slow
> you gather multiple flushes together.
> I think it would issues a few more flushes than your scheme, but it would be
> a much neater solution. Have you tried that and found it to be insufficient?
>
> Thanks,
> NeilBrown
>

The problem with that is that you can introduce a wait for the next flush longer
than it would take to complete the flush. Having the wait adjust itself
according to the speed of the device is much better I think....

Ric



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