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SubjectRe: Upcoming: fscache rewrite
On Thu, 2020-07-30 at 12:51 +0100, David Howells wrote:
> Hi Linus, Trond/Anna, Steve, Eric,
> I have an fscache rewrite that I'm tempted to put in for the next merge
> window:
> It improves the code by:
> (*) Ripping out the stuff that uses page cache snooping and kernel_write()
> and using kiocb instead. This gives multiple wins: uses async DIO rather
> than snooping for updated pages and then copying them, less VM overhead.
> (*) Object management is also simplified, getting rid of the state machine
> that was managing things and using a much simplified thread pool instead.
> (*) Object invalidation creates a tmpfile and diverts new activity to that so
> that it doesn't have to synchronise in-flight ADIO.
> (*) Using a bitmap stored in an xattr rather than using bmap to find out if
> a block is present in the cache. Probing the backing filesystem's
> metadata to find out is not reliable in modern extent-based filesystems
> as them may insert or remove blocks of zeros. Even SEEK_HOLE/SEEK_DATA
> are problematic since they don't distinguish transparently inserted
> bridging.
> I've provided a read helper that handles ->readpage, ->readpages, and
> preparatory writes in ->write_begin. Willy is looking at using this as a way
> to roll his new ->readahead op out into filesystems. A good chunk of this
> will move into MM code.
> The code is simpler, and this is nice too:
> 67 files changed, 5947 insertions(+), 8294 deletions(-)
> not including documentation changes, which I need to convert to rst format
> yet. That removes a whole bunch more lines.
> But there are reasons you might not want to take it yet:
> (1) It starts off by disabling fscache support in all the filesystems that
> use it: afs, nfs, cifs, ceph and 9p. I've taken care of afs, Dave
> Wysochanski has patches for nfs:
> but they haven't been reviewed by Trond or Anna yet, and Jeff Layton has
> patches for ceph:
> and I've briefly discussed cifs with Steve, but nothing has started there
> yet. 9p I've not looked at yet.
> Now, if we're okay for going a kernel release with 4/5 filesystems with
> caching disabled and then pushing the changes for individual filesystems
> through their respective trees, it might be easier.
> Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get together with Trond and Anna at LSF
> to discuss this.
> (2) The patched afs fs passed xfstests -g quick (unlike the upstream code
> that oopses pretty quickly with caching enabled). Dave and Jeff's nfs
> and ceph code is getting close, but not quite there yet.

That was my experience on cephfs+fscache too -- it often crashed down in
the fscache code. I'd support the approach in (1) above -- put this in
soon and disable the caches in the filesystems. Then push the changes to
reenable it via fs-specific trees.

The ceph patch series is more or less ready. It passes all of the
xfstest "quick" group run (aside from a few expected failures on

The only real exception is generic/531, which seems to trigger OOM kills
in my testing. The test tries to create a ton of files and leak the file
descriptors. I tend to think that workload is pretty unusual, and given
that fscache was terribly unstable and crashed before, this is still a
marked improvement.

> (3) Al has objections to the ITER_MAPPING iov_iter type that I added
> but note that iov_iter_for_each_range() is not actually used by anything.
> However, Willy likes it and would prefer to make it ITER_XARRAY instead
> as he might be able to use it in other places, though there's an issue
> where I'm calling find_get_pages_contig() which takes a mapping (though
> all it does is then get the xarray out of it).
> Instead I would have to use ITER_BVEC, which has quite a high overhead,
> though it would mean that the RCU read lock wouldn't be necessary. This
> would require 1K of memory for every 256K block the cache wants to read;
> for any read >1M, I'd have to use vmalloc() instead.
> I'd also prefer not to use ITER_BVEC because the offset and length are
> superfluous here. If ITER_MAPPING is not good, would it be possible to
> have an ITER_PAGEARRAY that just takes a page array instead? Or, even,
> create a transient xarray?
> (4) The way object culling is managed needs overhauling too, but that's a
> whole 'nother patchset. We could wait till that's done too, but its lack
> doesn't prevent what we have now being used.
> Thoughts?
> David

Jeff Layton <>

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