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

goggin, edward wrote:

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 The tool being in charge to load new maps, I fear it could load erroneous ones if relying on outdated info.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?

0) multipath can be triggered upon checker events, yes, but also
1) on map events (paths failed by DM upon IO)
2) by hotplug/udev, upon device add/remove
3) by administrator

In any of these scenarii the daemon can have invalid path state info :

0) Say paths A, B, C form the multipath M. The daemon checker loop kicks in, A is checked and shows a transition. multipath is executed for M before B and C are re-checked. If their actual status have changed too, and multipath asks the daemon about paths states, the daemon will answer with the previous/obsolete states so the tool will factor a wrong map.

1) A path failed by the DM will show up as such in the map status string, but it doesn't trigger an immediate checker loop run. So the tool kicks in while the daemon holds obsolete path states : the tools can't resonnably ask the daemon about path states there.

2) a device just added has no checker, no way the tool can ask for its state there. The tool execution finishes by a signal sent to the daemon, which rediscover paths and instantiate a new checker for the new path.

3) last but not least, if the admin take the pain to run the tool himself, he's certainly out of trust for the daemon :)

There can be room for improvement in responsiveness anyway. Caching the uids for example, but there you loose on uid changes detection, lacking an event-driven detection for that.
If you have suggestion, please post them.

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.

We can't fail paths in the secondary path group of an assymetric-controler-driven multipathed LU, because I need those path ready to take IO in case of a PG switch. That is, if you don't want to impose the need of a hardware handler module for every assymetric controlers out there.

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".

Not updated ? Can you elaborate ?
To me, this info is fetched in the map table string upon each exec ...

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.

It is commonly accepted those timouts are set to 0 in multipathed SAN.
Have you experienced real problems here, or is it just a theory ?

I particularly fear the "proactively fail all paths associated to a component", as this may lead to dramatic errors like : "I'm so smart, I failed all paths for this multipath, now the FS is remounted read-only but wait, in fact you can use this path as it is up after all"


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