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Re: [dm-devel] Re: trimmable dm-snapshot?

Douglas McClendon wrote:
Douglas McClendon wrote:
Mike Snitzer wrote:
On Wed, Oct 21 2009 at 11:05pm -0400,
Douglas McClendon <dmc fedora filteredperception org> wrote:

Has anyone looked into the idea of dm-snapshots responding
appropriately to trims from filesystems?

I.e. the efficiency problem of a dm-snapshotted ext filesystem
having files created and then deleted?  I.e. in such a scenario,
resources in the cow device end up taken that could be freed if the
dm layer could efficiently respond to trim notifications by
discarding any useless exceptions?

I've been poking around pondering whether an offline quick hack
might be possible with libext2fs and enough knowledge of the on-disk
persistent snapshot format.  I.e. just walk the exception chunks in
the cow device, use libext2fs (sufficient? easiest way?) to
determine whether all the fsblocks/sectors the chunk contains are
all currently unneeded, and if so reclaiming that space (possibly by
relocating the last exception. I'm still a distance from truly
grokking the on-disk format along with the rest of the dm-snapshot
and exception-store code).

Does any of this make sense?  Been looked at?  Seem like a
reasonable avenue to pursue?

The snapshot must faithfully maintain a copy of the origin's data
relative to a particular point in time.  You can't use changes to the
origin (trim or any other change) to delete the exceptions that a
snapshot is already maintaining.  That would invalidate the whole intent
of the snapshot.

I wasn't asking about trimmable dm-snapshot-origin devices, only trimmable[1] dm-snapshot devices.

Thinking about snapshot-origin devices, what you say is a valid reason why such optimization is not remotely easy (or feasible at all).

Actually, a way you might accomplish a corresponding optimization with dm-snapshot-origin would be this-

- At filesystem mount time, a sequence of initial discard requests for all unused portions of the filesystem is passed down to the block/dm layer. Then, the dm-snapshot-origin code would know to never create an exception for a chunk that is a subset of those regions.

Or rather, since dm-snapshot-origins are presumably often created against already mounted filesystems, this would have to happen either at filesystem mount time, or snapshot-origin creation time. The latter detecting that the origin device is mounted, and then somehow triggering the fs layer to send the information which is basically equivalent to the sequence of initial discard requests described. And then of course upon unmount, the dm layer would discard it's mask of chunks that it doesn't care about.

But again, I'm personally only interested in the dm-snapshot case which is much simpler. A subset of the target audience for such a feature also happens to be well defined and quite large. I.e. people using devicemapper snapshot based persistent liveUSBs (such as fedora-12 and soon with my help centos-5.4). I know there is some probability that fedora 13 or 14 may move to unionfs based persistence ala Valerie Aurora's work. However were the aforemention optimization to be implemented, the benefits of unionfs for LiveOS cow storage drop dramatically (to nothing afaics).

More generally this just seems like an extremely natural interaction of the recently developed discard request mechanism and dm-snapshot. The former may have been primarily implemented for SSD performance benefits, but it seems that dm-snaphot can benefit greatly as well from the general infrastructure of the fs layer exposing this information to the lower block layer.

I'd be more than happy to do the legwork and put together the patch, but I wouldn't want to do so unless I can get buy in from established developers that this is worth doing.


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