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[dm-devel] safety of retrying SYNCHRONIZE CACHE [was: Re: [PATCHSET block#for-2.6.36-post] block: replace barrier with sequenced flush]

Hi Kiyoshi,

On Mon, Aug 30 2010 at  2:13am -0400,
Kiyoshi Ueda <k-ueda ct jp nec com> wrote:

> > That does seem like a valid concern.  But I'm not seeing why its unique
> > to SYNCHRONIZE CACHE.  Any IO that fails on the target side should be
> > passed up once the error gets to DM.
> See the Tejun's explanation again:
>     http://marc.info/?l=linux-kernel&m=128267361813859&w=2
> What I'm concerning is whether the same thing as Tejun explained
> for ATA can happen on other types of devices.
> Normal write command has data and no data loss happens on error.
> So it can be retried cleanly, and if the result of the retry is
> success, it's really success, no implicit data loss.
> Normal read command has a sector to read.  If the sector is broken,
> all retries will fail and the error will be reported upwards.
> So it can be retried cleanly as well.

I reached out to Fred Knight on this, to get a more insight from a pure
SCSI SBC perspective, and he shared the following:

----- Forwarded message from "Knight, Frederick" <Frederick Knight netapp com> -----

> Date: Tue, 31 Aug 2010 13:24:15 -0400
> From: "Knight, Frederick" <Frederick Knight netapp com>
> To: Mike Snitzer <snitzer redhat com>
> Subject: RE: safety of retrying SYNCHRONIZE CACHE?
> There are requirements in SBC to maintain data integrity.  If you WRITE
> a block and READ that block, you must get the data you sent in the
> WRITE.  This will be synchronized around the completion of the WRITE.
> Before the WRITE completes, who knows what a READ will return.  Maybe
> all the old data, maybe all the new data, maybe some mix of old and new
> data.  Once the WRITE ends successful, all READs of those LBAs (from any
> port) will always get the same data.
> As for errors, SBC describes how the deferred errors are reported (like
> when a CACHE tries to flush but fails).  So if a write from cache to
> media does have problems, the device would tell you via a CHECK
> CONDITION (with the first byte of the sense data set to 71h or 73h.  SBC
> clause 4.12 and 4.13 cover a lot of this information.  It is these error
> codes that prevent silent loss of data.  And, in this case, when the
> CHECK CONDITION is delivered, it will have nothing to do with the
> command that was issued (the victim command).  If you look into the
> sense data, you will see the deferred error flag, and all the additional
> information fields will relate to the original I/O
> SYNCHRONIZE CACHE is not substantially different than a WRITE (it puts
> data on the media).  So issuing it multiple times wouldn't be any
> different than issuing multiple WRITES (it might put a temporary dent in
> performance as everything flushes out to media).  If it or any other
> commands fail with 71h/73h, then you have to dig down into the sense
> data buffer to find out what happened.  For example, if you issue a
> WRITE command, and it completes into write back cache but later (before
> being written to the media), some of the cache breaks and looses data,
> then the device must signal a deferred error to tell the host, and cause
> a forced error on the LBA in question.
> Does that help?
>       Fred
----- End forwarded message -----

Seems like verifying/improving the handling of CHECK CONDITION is a more
pressing concern than silent data loss purely due to SYNCHRONIZE CACHE
retries.  Without proper handling we could completely miss these
deferred errors.

But how to effectively report such errors to upper layers is unclear to
me given that a particular SCSI command can carry error information for
IO that was already acknowledged successful (e.g. to the FS).

drivers/scsi/scsi_error.c's various calls to scsi_check_sense()
illustrate Linux's current CHECK CONDITION handling.  I need to look
closer at how deferred errors propagate to upper layers.  After an
initial look it seems scsi_error.c does handle retrying commands where

I believe Hannes has concerns/insight here.


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