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SubjectRe: [RFC v2] ext4: Don't send extra barrier during fsync if there are no dirty pages.
On Fri, Aug 06, 2010 at 02:04:54PM -0400, Ted Ts'o wrote:
> On Fri, Aug 06, 2010 at 12:13:56AM -0700, Darrick J. Wong wrote:
> > Yes, it's a proxy for something else. One of our larger products would like to
> > use fsync() to flush dirty data out to disk (right now it looks like they use
> > O_SYNC), but they're concerned that the many threads they use can create an
> > fsync() storm. So, they wanted to know how to mitigate the effects of those
> > storms. Not calling fsync() except when they really need to guarantee a disk
> > write is a good start, but I'd like to get ahead of them to pick off more low
> > hanging fruit like the barrier coordination and not sending barriers when
> > there's no dirty data ... before they run into it. :)
>
> Do they need a barrier operation, or do they just want to initiate the
> I/O? One of the reasons I found it hard to believe you would have
> multiple threads all fsync()'ing the same file is that keeping the the
> file consistent is very hard to do in such a scenario. Maintaining
> ACID-level consistency without a single thread which coordinates when
> commit records gets written is I'm sure theoretically possible, but in
> practice, I wasn't sure any applications would actually be _written_
> that way.

> If the goal is just to make sure I/O is getting initiated, without
> necessarily waiting for assurance that a specific file write has hit
> the disk platters, it may be that the Linux-specific
> sync_file_range(2) system call might be a far more efficient way of
> achieving those ends. Without more details about what this product is
> doing, it's hard to say, of course.

I don't know for sure, though given what I've seen of the app behavior I
suspect they simply want the disk cache flushed, and don't need the full
ordering semantics. That said, I do think they want to make sure that data
actually hits the disk platters.

--D


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