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SubjectRe: Nanosecond fs timestamp support: sad
As an FYI, Lustre uses i_version to store the transaction number in which a file changed. It sets the i_version itself. If NFSv4 were to set i_version when it needs to transition the state of a file then it wouldn't cause overhead on filesystems that are not being used for NFS export.

I don't think timestamps can ever be completely safe for distributed state management, unless the kernel bends the rules on what a timestamp IS, e.g. by never reverting the ctime when the clock moves backward and such.

Cheers, Andreas

On 2011-07-22, at 4:59 PM, NeilBrown <> wrote:

> On Fri, 22 Jul 2011 18:31:58 -0400 "J. Bruce Fields" <>
> wrote:
>> On Fri, Jul 22, 2011 at 06:10:39PM -0400, bfields wrote:
>>> On Fri, Jul 22, 2011 at 11:47:32PM +0200, Andi Kleen wrote:
>>>> On Fri, Jul 22, 2011 at 04:11:42PM -0500, Matt Mackall wrote:
>>>>> On Fri, 2011-07-22 at 22:59 +0200, Andi Kleen wrote:
>>>>>>> Indeed. Only usefully exists on ext4 and requires extra system calls.
>>>>>> Not sure what you mean? It's in stat(2), just like the timestamps.
>>>>> I don't see anything that looks like a version or generation number in
>>>>> either the man pages, the asm-generic/stat.h, or glibc's asm/stat.h.
>>>>> Pointer?
>>>> Hmm you're right. I thought it was in there, but apparently not.
>>>> I think it should be added there though. We still have some unused
>>>> fields.
>>> But last I checked I thought it was only ext4 that actually incremented
>>> the i_version on IO, and even then only when given a (non-default) mount
>>> option.
>>> My notes on what needs to be done there:
>>> - collect data to determine whether turning on i_version causes
>>> any significant performance regressions.
>>> - Last I talked to him, Ted Tso recommended running
>>> Bonnie on a local disk, since it does a lot of little
>>> writes, which is somewhat of a worst case, as it will
>>> generate extra metadata updates for each write.
>>> Compare total wall-clock time, number of iops, and
>>> number of bytes (using some kind of block tracing).
>>> - If there aren't any problems, turn it on by default, and we're
>>> done.
>> (Well,and talk the other filesystem implementors into doing it.)
> But does anyone apart from NFSv4 actually *want* i_version as opposed to the
> more-generally-useful precise timestamps?
> If not, we probably should tell NFSv4 to use timestamps and focus on making
> them work well.
> ??
> The timestamp used doesn't need to update ever nanosecond. I think if it
> were just updated on every userspace->kernel transition (or effective
> equivalents inside kernel threads) that would be enough capture all
> causality. I wonder how that would be achieved.. I wonder if RCU machinery
> could help - doesn't it keep track of when threads schedule ... or something?
> NeilBrown
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