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SubjectRe: [GIT] Bcache version 12
On Saturday 10 September 2011, Kent Overstreet wrote:
> Short overview:
> Bcache does both writethrough and writeback caching. It presents itself
> as a new block device, a bit like say md. You can cache an arbitrary
> number of block devices with a single cache device, and attach and
> detach things at runtime - it's quite flexible.
> It's very fast. It uses a b+ tree for the index, along with a journal to
> coalesce index updates, and a bunch of other cool tricks like auxiliary
> binary search trees with software floating point keys to avoid a bunch
> of random memory accesses when doing binary searches in the btree. It
> does over 50k iops doing 4k random writes without breaking a sweat,
> and would do many times that if I had faster hardware.
> It (configurably) tracks and skips sequential IO, so as to efficiently
> cache random IO. It's got more cool features than I can remember at this
> point. It's resilient, handling IO errors from the SSD when possible up
> to a configurable threshhold, then detaches the cache from the backing
> device even while you're still using it.

Hi Kent,

What kind of SSD hardware do you target here? I roughly categorize them
into two classes, the low-end (USB, SDHC, CF, cheap ATA SSD) and the
high-end (SAS, PCIe, NAS, expensive ATA SSD), which have extremely
different characteristics.

I'm mainly interested in the first category, and a brief look at your
code suggests that this is what you are indeed targetting. If that is
true, can you name the specific hardware characteristics you require
as a minimum? I.e. what erase block (bucket) sizes do you support
(maximum size, non-power-of-two), how many buckets do you have
open at the same time, and do you guarantee that each bucket is written
in consecutive order?

On a different note, we had discussed at the last storage/fs summit about
using an SSD cache either without a backing store or having the backing
store on the same drive as the cache in order to optimize traditional
file system on low-end flash media. Have you considered these scenarios?
How hard would it be to support this in a meaningful way? My hope is that
by sacrificing some 10% of the drive size, you would get significantly
improved performance because you can avoid many internal GC cycles within
the drive.


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