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Re: Device loses barrier support (was: Fixed patch for simple barriers.)

To: Andi Kleen <andi@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: Device loses barrier support (was: Fixed patch for simple barriers.)
From: Mikulas Patocka <mpatocka@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2008 21:21:44 -0500 (EST)
Cc: linux-kernel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, xfs@xxxxxxxxxxx, Alasdair G Kergon <agk@xxxxxxxxxx>, Andi Kleen <andi-suse@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Milan Broz <mbroz@xxxxxxxxxx>
In-reply-to: <20081205013739.GZ6703@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
References: <20081204142015.GQ6703@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> <Pine.LNX.4.64.0812040913510.6118@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> <20081204145810.GR6703@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> <Pine.LNX.4.64.0812041139200.2434@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> <20081204174838.GS6703@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> <Pine.LNX.4.64.0812041401210.23079@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> <20081204221551.GV6703@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> <Pine.LNX.4.64.0812041756550.29638@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> <20081205004849.GX6703@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> <Pine.LNX.4.64.0812041948400.14114@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> <20081205013739.GZ6703@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

On Fri, 5 Dec 2008, Andi Kleen wrote:

> > * barrier support in md-raid1 deviates from the specification at 
> > Documentation/block/barrier.txt. The specification says that requests 
> > submitted after the barrier request hit the media after the barrier 
> > request hits the media. The reality is that the barrier request can be 
> > randomly aborted and the requests submitted after it hit the media before 
> > the barrier request.
> Yes the spec should be probably updated.
> But also see Linus' rant from yesterday about code vs documentation.
> When in doubt the code wins.

The only one offender is "md". It is less overhead to change "md" to play 
nice and be reliable than to double-submit requests in all the places that 
needs write ordering.

> > * the filesystems developed hacks to work around this issue, the hacks 
> > involve not submitting more requests after the barrier request, 
> I suspect the reason the file systems did it this way is that
> it was a much simpler change than to rewrite the transaction
> manager for this.

It could be initial reason. But this unreliability also disallows any 
improvement in filesystems. No one can write asynchronous transaction 
manager because of that evil EOPNOTSUPP.

> > synchronously waiting for the barrier request and eventually retrying it. 
> > These hacks suppress any performance advantage barriers could bring.
> > 
> > * you submit a patch that makes barriers even more often deviate from the 
> > specification and you argue that the patch is correct because filesystems 
> > handle this deviation.
> Sorry what counts is the code behaviour, not the specification.

Better interface is that one that has less maintenance overhead. And I 
don't see requiring the programmers of all IO code to double-submit 
requests as less maintenance overhead.

> -Andi



If you want to make it easier to infer functionality from the code, apply 
this patch :)

 block/blk-core.c |    8 ++++++++
 1 file changed, 8 insertions(+)

Index: linux-2.6.28-rc5-devel/block/blk-core.c
--- linux-2.6.28-rc5-devel.orig/block/blk-core.c        2008-12-05 
02:54:25.000000000 +0100
+++ linux-2.6.28-rc5-devel/block/blk-core.c     2008-12-05 03:14:23.000000000 
@@ -28,6 +28,7 @@
 #include <linux/task_io_accounting_ops.h>
 #include <linux/blktrace_api.h>
 #include <linux/fault-inject.h>
+#include <linux/random.h>
 #include "blk.h"
@@ -1528,6 +1529,13 @@ void submit_bio(int rw, struct bio *bio)
        bio->bi_rw |= rw;
+       /* At least, make the true nature of write barriers obvious. */
+       if (bio_barrier(bio) && !(random32() % 42)) {
+               bio_endio(bio, -EOPNOTSUPP);
+               return;
+       }
         * If it's a regular read/write or a barrier with data attached,
         * go through the normal accounting stuff before submission.

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