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Subject[RFC PATCH 0/2] daxfile: enable byte-addressable updates to pmem
Quoting PATCH 2/2:

To date, the full promise of byte-addressable access to persistent
memory has only been half realized via the filesystem-dax interface. The
current filesystem-dax mechanism allows an application to consume (read)
data from persistent storage at byte-size granularity, bypassing the
full page reads required by traditional storage devices.

Now, for writes, applications still need to contend with
page-granularity dirtying and flushing semantics as well as filesystem
coordination for metadata updates after any mmap write. The current
situation precludes use cases that leverage byte-granularity / in-place
updates to persistent media.

To get around this limitation there are some specialized applications
that are using the device-dax interface to bypass the overhead and
data-safety problems of the current filesystem-dax mmap-write path.
QEMU-KVM is forced to use device-dax to safely pass through persistent
memory to a guest [1]. Some specialized databases are using device-dax
for byte-granularity writes. Outside of those cases, device-dax is
difficult for general purpose persistent memory applications to consume.
There is demand for access to pmem without needing to contend with
special device configuration and other device-dax limitations.

The 'daxfile' interface satisfies this demand and realizes one of Dave
Chinner's ideas for allowing pmem applications to safely bypass
fsync/msync requirements. The idea is to make the file immutable with
respect to the offset-to-block mappings for every extent in the file
[2]. It turns out that filesystems already need to make this guarantee
today. This property is needed for files marked as swap files.

The new daxctl() syscall manages setting a file into 'static-dax' mode
whereby it arranges for the file to be treated as a swapfile as far as
the filesystem is concerned, but not registered with the core-mm as
swapfile space. A file in this mode is then safe to be mapped and
written without the requirement to fsync/msync the writes. The cpu
cache management for flushing data to persistence can be handled
completely in userspace.

As can be seen in the patches there are still some TODOs to resolve in
the code, but this otherwise appears to solve the problem of persistent
memory applications needing to coordinate any and all writes to a file
mapping with fsync/msync.



Dan Williams (2):
mm: introduce bmap_walk()
mm, fs: daxfile, an interface for byte-addressable updates to pmem

arch/x86/entry/syscalls/syscall_64.tbl | 1
include/linux/dax.h | 9 ++
include/linux/fs.h | 3 +
include/linux/syscalls.h | 1
include/uapi/linux/dax.h | 8 +
mm/Kconfig | 5 +
mm/Makefile | 1
mm/daxfile.c | 186 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
mm/page_io.c | 117 +++++++++++++++++---
9 files changed, 312 insertions(+), 19 deletions(-)
create mode 100644 include/uapi/linux/dax.h
create mode 100644 mm/daxfile.c

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