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Re: [dm-devel] path priority group and path state

On Sat, 12 Feb 2005 11:23:50 +0100 Christophe Varoqui wrote:
> >The multipath utility is relying on having at least one block
> >read/write I/O be serviced through a multipath mapped
> >device in order to show one of the path priority groups in
> >an active state.  While I can see the semantic correctness
> >in this claim since the priority group is not yet initialized,
> >is this what is intended? 
> >
> In fact, the multipath tool shares the same checker with the daemon.
> It is intended the tool doesn't rely on the path status the 
> daemon could 
> provide, because, the check interval being what it is, we 
> can't assume 
> the daemon path status are an accurate representation of the current 
> reality. The tool being in charge to load new maps, I fear it 
> could load 
> erroneous ones if relying on outdated info.
> Maybe I'm paranoid, but I'm still convinced it's a safe bet to do so.

I see your approach -- wanting to avoid failing paths which previously
failed a path test but are now in an active state.  Would the inaccuracy
be due to delays in the invocation of multipath from multipathd in the
event of a failed path test?  Wouldn't multipath repeat the path test as
part of discovering the SAN?  Wont there always be a non-zero time delay
between detecting a path failure (whether that be from a failed I/O in
the kernel or a failed path test in user space) and actually updating the
multipath kernel state to reflect that failure where sometime during that
time period the path could actually be used again (it was physically
restored) but it wont be after its path status is updated to failed?

I see the real cost of not failing paths from path testing results but
instead waiting for actual failed I/Os as a lack of responsiveness to
path failures.

> > Why show both the single priority
> >group of an active-active storage system using a multibus
> >path grouping policy and the non-active priority group of an
> >active-passive storage system using a priority path grouping
> >policy both as "enabled" when the actual readiness of each
> >differs quite significantly?
> >  
> >
> We don't have so many choices there. The device mapper declares 3 PG 
> states : active, enabled, disabled.
> How would you map these states upon the 2 scenarii you mention ?

As much as is reasonably possible, I would like to always know which
path priority group will be used by the next I/O -- even when none of
the priority groups have been initialized and therefore all of them
have an "enabled" path priority group state.  Looks like "first" will
tell me that, but it is not updated on "multipath -l".

> >Also, multipath will not set a path to a failed state until the
> >first block read/write I/O to that path fails.  This approach
> >can be misleading while monitoring path health via
> >"multipath -l".  Why not have multipath(8) fail paths known to
> >fail path testing?  Waiting instead for block I/O requests to
> >fail lessens the responsiveness of the product to path failures.
> >Also, the failed paths of enabled, but non-active path priority
> >groups will not have their path state updated for possibly a
> >very long time -- and this seems very misleading.
> >
> >  
> >
> Maybe I'm overseeing something, but to my knowledge 
> "multipath -l" gets 
> the paths status from devinfo.c, which in turn switches to 
> pp->checkfn() 
> ... ie the same checker the daemon uses.

I'm just wondering if multipathd could invoke multipath to fail paths
from user space in addition to reinstating them?  Seems like both
multipathd/main.c:checkerloop() and multipath/main.c:/reinstate_paths()
will only initiate a kernel path state transition from PSTATE_FAILED to
PSTATE_ACTIVE but not the other way around.  The state transition from
PSTATE_ACTIVE to PSTATE_FAILED requires a failed I/O since this state
is initiated only from the kernel code itself in the event of an I/O
failure on a multipath target device.

One could expand this approach to proactively fail (and immediately
schedule for testing) all paths associated with common bus components
(for SCSI, initiator and/or target).  The goal being not only to avoid
failing I/O for all but all-paths-down use cases, but to also avoid
long time-out driven delays and high path testing overhead for large
SANs in the process of doing so.

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