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Re: [dm-devel] [PATCHSET block#for-2.6.36-post] block: replace barrier with sequenced flush



Hi Tejun,

On 08/25/2010 01:59 AM +0900, Tejun Heo wrote:
> On 08/24/2010 12:24 PM, Kiyoshi Ueda wrote:
>> Anyway, only reporting errors for REQ_FLUSH to upper layer without
>> such a solution would make dm-multipath almost unusable in real world,
>> although it's better than implicit data loss.
> 
> I see.
> 
>>> Maybe just turn off barrier support in mpath for now?
>> 
>> If it's possible, it could be a workaround for a short term.
>> But how can you do that?
>>
>> I think it's not enough to just drop REQ_FLUSH flag from q->flush_flags.
>> Underlying devices of a mpath device may have write-back cache and
>> it may be enabled.
>> So if a mpath device doesn't set REQ_FLUSH flag in q->flush_flags, it
>> becomes a device which has write-back cache but doesn't support flush.
>> Then, upper layer can do nothing to ensure cache flush?
> 
> Yeah, I was basically suggesting to forget about cache flush w/ mpath
> until it can be fixed.  You're saying that if mpath just passes
> REQ_FLUSH upwards without retrying, it will be almost unuseable,
> right?

Right.
If the error is safe/needed to retry using other paths, mpath should
retry even if REQ_FLUSH.  Otherwise, only one path failure may result
in system down.
Just passing any REQ_FLUSH error upwards regardless the error type
will make such situations, and users will feel the behavior as
unstable/unusable.


> I'm not sure how to proceed here.  How much work would
> discerning between transport and IO errors take?  If it can't be done
> quickly enough the retry logic can be kept around to keep the old
> behavior but that already was a broken behavior, so...  :-(

I'm not sure how long will it take.
Anyway, as you said, the flush error handling of dm-mpath is already
broken if data loss really happens on any storage used by dm-mpath.
Although it's a serious issue and quick fix is required, I think
you may leave the old behavior in your patch-set, since it's
a separate issue.

Thanks,
Kiyoshi Ueda


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