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SubjectRe: Writeback bug causing writeback stalls
Jaegeuk wondered whether callers of write_inode_now() should hold
i_rwsem, and whether that would also prevent this problem. Some
existing callers of write_inode_now() do, eg ntfs and hfs:

hfs_file_fsync()
inode_lock(inode);

/* sync the inode to buffers */
ret = write_inode_now(inode, 0);

but there are also some that don't (eg fat, fuse, orangefs).

Thanks,
Martijn


On Fri, May 22, 2020 at 5:36 PM Jan Kara <jack@suse.cz> wrote:
>
> On Fri 22-05-20 17:23:30, Martijn Coenen wrote:
> > [ dropped android-storage-core@google.com from CC: since that list
> > can't receive emails from outside google.com - sorry about that ]
> >
> > Hi Jan,
> >
> > On Fri, May 22, 2020 at 4:41 PM Jan Kara <jack@suse.cz> wrote:
> > > > The easiest way to fix this, I think, is to call requeue_inode() at the end of
> > > > writeback_single_inode(), much like it is called from writeback_sb_inodes().
> > > > However, requeue_inode() has the following ominous warning:
> > > >
> > > > /*
> > > > * Find proper writeback list for the inode depending on its current state and
> > > > * possibly also change of its state while we were doing writeback. Here we
> > > > * handle things such as livelock prevention or fairness of writeback among
> > > > * inodes. This function can be called only by flusher thread - noone else
> > > > * processes all inodes in writeback lists and requeueing inodes behind flusher
> > > > * thread's back can have unexpected consequences.
> > > > */
> > > >
> > > > Obviously this is very critical code both from a correctness and a performance
> > > > point of view, so I wanted to run this by the maintainers and folks who have
> > > > contributed to this code first.
> > >
> > > Sadly, the fix won't be so easy. The main problem with calling
> > > requeue_inode() from writeback_single_inode() is that if there's parallel
> > > sync(2) call, inode->i_io_list is used to track all inodes that need writing
> > > before sync(2) can complete. So requeueing inodes in parallel while sync(2)
> > > runs can result in breaking data integrity guarantees of it.
> >
> > Ah, makes sense.
> >
> > > But I agree
> > > we need to find some mechanism to safely move inode to appropriate dirty
> > > list reasonably quickly.
> > >
> > > Probably I'd add an inode state flag telling that inode is queued for
> > > writeback by flush worker and we won't touch dirty lists in that case,
> > > otherwise we are safe to update current writeback list as needed. I'll work
> > > on fixing this as when I was reading the code I've noticed there are other
> > > quirks in the code as well. Thanks for the report!
> >
> > Thanks! While looking at the code I also saw some other paths that
> > appeared to be racy, though I haven't worked them out in detail to
> > confirm that - the locking around the inode and writeback lists is
> > tricky. What's the best way to follow up on those? Happy to post them
> > to this same thread after I spend a bit more time looking at the code.
>
> Sure, if you are aware some some other problems, just write them to this
> thread. FWIW stuff that I've found so far:
>
> 1) __I_DIRTY_TIME_EXPIRED setting in move_expired_inodes() can get lost as
> there are other places doing RMW modifications of inode->i_state.
>
> 2) sync(2) is prone to livelocks as when we queue inodes from b_dirty_time
> list, we don't take dirtied_when into account (and that's the only thing
> that makes sure aggressive dirtier cannot livelock sync).
>
> Honza
> --
> Jan Kara <jack@suse.com>
> SUSE Labs, CR

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