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[dm-devel] Re: Data corruption on software RAID

Mikulas Patocka wrote:
Possibilities how to fix it:

1. lock the buffers and pages while they are being written --- this would
cause performance degradation (the most severe degradation would be in case
when one process does repeatedly sync() and other unrelated process
repeatedly writes to some file).

Lock the buffers and pages only for RAID --- would create many special cases
and possible bugs.

2. never turn the region dirty bit off until the filesystem is unmounted.
--- this is the simplest fix. If the computer crashes after a long time, it
resynchronizes the whole device. But there won't cause application-visible
or filesystem-visible data corruption.

3. turn off the region bit if the region wasn't written in one pdflush
period --- requires an interaction with pdflush, rather complex. The problem
here is that pdflush makes its best effort to write data in
dirty_writeback_centisecs interval, but it is not guaranteed to do it.

4. make more region states: Region has in-memory states CLEAN, DIRTY,

When you start writing to the region, it is always moved to DIRTY state (and
on-disk bit is turned on).

When you finish all writes to the region, move it to MAYBE_DIRTY state, but
leave bit on disk on. We now don't know if the region is dirty or no.

Run a helper thread that does periodically:
Issue sync()
Change CLEAN_CANDIDATE regions to CLEAN state and clear their on-disk bit.

The rationale is that if the above write-while-modify scenario happens, the
page is always dirty. Thus, sync() will write the page, kick the region back
from CLEAN_CANDIDATE to MAYBE_DIRTY state and we won't mark the region as
clean on disk.

I'd like to know you ideas on this, before we start coding a solution.
I looked at just this problem a while ago, and came to the conclusion that
what was needed was a COW bit, to show that there was i/o in flight, and that
before modification it needed to be copied. Since you don't want to let that
recurse, you don't start writing the copy until the original is written and
freed. Ideally you wouldn't bother to finish writing the original, but that
doesn't seem possible. That allows at most two copies of a chunk to take up
memory space at once, although it's still ugly and can be a bottleneck.

Copying the data would be performance overkill. You can really write 
different data to different disks, you just must not forget to resync them 
after a crash. The filesystem/application will recover with either old or 
new data --- it just won't recover when it's reading old and new data from 
the same location.

Currently you can go for hours without ever reaching a clean state on active files. By not deliberately allowing the buffer to change during a write the chances for getting consistent data on the disk should be significantly improved.
>From my point of view that trick with thread doing sync() and turning off 
region bits looks best. I'd like to know if that solution doesn't have any 
other flaw.

For reliable operation I would want all copies (and/or CRCs) to be written on
an fsync, by the time I bother to fsync I really, really, want the data on the

fsync already works this way.

The point I was making is that after you change the code I would still want that to happen. And your comment above seems to indicate a goal of getting consistent data after a crash, with less concern that it be the most recent data written. Sorry in advance if that's a misreading of "you just must not forget to resync them after a crash."
Bill Davidsen <davidsen tmr com>
  "Woe unto the statesman who makes war without a reason that will still
  be valid when the war is over..." Otto von Bismark 

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