Bill Davidsen wrote:
> Peter Grandi wrote:
>> Unfortunately that seems the case.
>> The purpose of barriers is to guarantee that relevant data is
>> known to be on persistent storage (kind of hardware 'fsync').
>> In effect write barrier means "tell me when relevant data is on
>> persistent storage", or less precisely "flush/sync writes now
>> and tell me when it is done". Properties as to ordering are just
>> a side effect.
> I don't get that sense from the barriers stuff in Documentation, in fact
> I think it's essentially a pure ordering thing, I don't even see that it
> has an effect of forcing the data to be written to the device, other
> than by preventing other writes until the drive writes everything. So we
> read the intended use differently.
> What really bothers me is that there's no obvious need for barriers at
> the device level if the file system is just a bit smarter and does it's
> own async io (like aio_*), because you can track writes outstanding on a
> per-fd basis, so instead of stopping the flow of data to the drive, you
> can just block a file descriptor and wait for the count of outstanding
> i/o to drop to zero. That provides the order semantics of barriers as
> far as I can see, having tirelessly thought about it for ten minutes or
> so. Oh, and did something very similar decades ago in a long-gone
> mainframe OS.
Did that mainframe OS have re-ordering devices? If it did, you'ld still
need barriers all the way down:
The drive itself may still re-order writes, thus can cause corruption if
halfway the power goes down.
From my understanding, disabling write-caches simply forces the drive
to operate in-order.
Barriers need to travel all the way down to the point where-after
everything remains in-order.
Devices with write-cache enabled will still re-order, but not across
barriers (which are implemented as
either a single cache flush with forced unit access, or a double cache
flush around the barrier write).
Whether the data has made it to the drive platters is not really
important from a barrier point of view, however,
iff part of the data made it to the platters, then we want to be sure it
Because only in this way can we ensure that the data that is on the
platters is consistent.
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