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Re: [lvm-devel] LVM vs. Ext4 snapshots (was: [PATCH v1 00/30] Ext4 snapshots)



On Fri, 10 Jun 2011, Amir G. wrote:

> CC'ing lvm-devel and fsdevel
> 
> 
> On Wed, Jun 8, 2011 at 9:26 PM, Amir G. <amir73il users sourceforge net> wrote:
> > On Wed, Jun 8, 2011 at 7:19 PM, Mike Snitzer <snitzer redhat com> wrote:
> >> On Wed, Jun 8, 2011 at 11:59 AM, Amir G. <amir73il users sourceforge net> wrote:
> >>> On Wed, Jun 8, 2011 at 6:38 PM, Lukas Czerner <lczerner redhat com> wrote:
> >>>> Amir said:
> >>
> >>>>> The question of whether the world needs ext4 snapshots is
> >>>>> perfectly valid, but going back to the food analogy, I think it's
> >>>>> a case of "the proof of the pudding is in the eating".
> >>>>> I have no doubt that if ext4 snapshots are merged, many people will use it.
> >>>>
> >>>> Well, I would like to have your confidence. Why do you think so ? They
> >>>> will use it for what ? Doing backups ? We can do this easily with LVM
> >>>> without any risk of compromising existing filesystem at all. On desktop
> >>>
> >>> LVM snapshots are not meant to be long lived snapshots.
> >>> As temporary snapshots they are fine, but with ext4 snapshots
> >>> you can easily retain monthly/weekly snapshots without the
> >>> need to allocate the space for it in advance and without the
> >>> 'vanish' quality of LVM snapshots.
> >>
> >> In that old sf.net wiki you say:
> >> Why use Next3 snapshots and not LVM snapshots?
> >> * Performance: only small overhead to write performance with snapshots
> >>
> >> Fair claim against current LVM snapshot (but not multisnap).
> >>
> >> In this thread you're being very terse on the performance hit you
> >> assert multisnap has that ext4 snapshots does not.  Can you please be
> >> more specific?
> >>
> >> In your most recent post it seems you're focusing on "LVM snapshots"
> >> and attributing the deficiencies of old-style LVM snapshots
> >> (non-shared exception store causing N-way copy-out) to dm-multisnap?
> >>
> >> Again, nobody will dispute that the existing dm-snapshot target has
> >> poor performance that requires snapshots be short-lived.  But
> >> multisnap does _not_ suffer from those performance problems.
> >>
> >> Mike
> >>
> >
> > Hi Mike,
> >
> > I am glad that you joined the debate and I am going to start a fresh
> > thread for that occasion, to give your question the proper attention.
> >
> > In my old next3.sf.net wiki, which I do update from time to time,
> > I listed 4 advantages of Ext4 (then next3) snapshots over LVM:
> > * Performance: only small overhead to write performance with snapshots
> > * Scalability: no extra overhead per snapshot
> > * Maintenance: no need to pre-allocate disk space for snapshots
> > * Persistence: snapshots don't vanish when disk is full
> >
> > As far as I know, the only thing that has changed from dm-snap
> > to dm-multisnap is the Scalability.
> >
> > Did you resolve the Maintenance and Persistence issues?
> >
> > With Regards to Performance, Ext4 snapshots are inherently different
> > then LVM snapshots and have near zero overhead to write performance
> > as the following benchmark, which I presented on LSF, demonstrates:
> > http://global.phoronix-test-suite.com/index.php?k=profile&u=amir73il-4632-11284-26560
> >
> > There are several reasons for the near zero overhead:
> >
> > 1. Metadata buffers are always in cache when performing COW,
> > so there is no extra read I/O and write I/O of the copied pages is handled
> > by the journal (when flushing the snapshot file dirty pages).
> >
> > 2. Data blocks are never copied
> > The move-on-write technique is used to re-allocate data blocks on rewrite
> > instead of copying them.
> > This is not something that can be done when the snapshot is stored on
> > external storage, but it can done when the snapshot file lives in the fs.
> >
> > 3. New (= after last snapshot take) allocated blocks are never copied
> > nor reallocated on rewrite.
> > Ext4 snapshots uses the fs block bitmap, to know which blocks were allocated
> > at the time the last snapshot was taken, so new blocks are just out of the game.
> > For example, in the workload of a fresh kernel build and daily snapshots,
> > the creation and deletion of temp files causes no extra I/O overhead whatsoever.
> >
> > So, yes, I know. I need to run a benchmark of Ext4 snapshots vs. LVM multisnap
> > and post the results. When I'll get around to it I'll do it.
> > But I really don't think that performance is how the 2 solutions
> > should be compared.
> >
> > The way I see it, LVM snapshots are a complementary solution and they
> > have several advantages over Ext4 snapshots, like:
> > * Work with any FS
> > * Writable snapshots and snapshots of snapshots
> > * Merge a snapshot back to the main vol
> >
> > We actually have one Google summer of code project that is going to export
> > an Ext4 snapshot to an LVM snapshot, in order to implement the "revert
> > to snapshot"
> > functionality, which Ext4 snapshots is lacking.
> >
> > I'll be happy to answer more question regarding Ext4 snapshots.
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Amir.
> >
> 

Adding ejt into discussion.

> 
> Hi Mike,
> 
> In the beginning of this thread I wrote that "competition is good
> because it makes us modest",
> so now I have to live up to this standard and apologize for not
> learning the new LVM
> implementation properly before passing judgment.
> 
> To my defense, I could not find any design papers and benchmarks on multisnap
> until Christoph had pointed me to some (and was too lazy to read the code...)
> 
> Anyway, it was never my intention to bad mouth LVM. I think LVM is a very useful
> tool and the new multisnap and thinp targets look very promising.
> 
> For the sake of letting everyone understand the differences and trade
> offs between
> LVM and ext4 snapshots, so ext4 snapshots can get a fair trial, I need
> to ask you
> some questions about the implementation, which I could not figure out by myself
> from reading the documents.
> 
> 1. Crash resistance
> How is multisnap handling system crashes?
> Ext4 snapshots are journaled along with data, so they are fully
> resistant to crashes.
> Do you need to keep origin target writes pending in batches and issue FUA/flush
> request for the metadata and data store devices?
> 
> 2. Performance
> In the presentation from LinuxTag, there are 2 "meaningless benchmarks".
> I suppose they are meaningless because the metadata is linear mapping
> and therefor all disk writes and read are sequential.
> Do you have any "real world" benchmarks?
> I am guessing that without the filesystem level knowledge in the thin
> provisioned target,
> files and filesystem metadata are not really laid out on the hard
> drive as the filesystem
> designer intended.
> Wouldn't that be causing a large seek overhead on spinning media?
> 
> 3. ENOSPC
> Ext4 snapshots will get into readonly mode on unexpected ENOSPC situation.
> That is not perfect and the best practice is to avoid getting to
> ENOSPC situation.
> But most application do know how to deal with ENOSPC and EROFS gracefully.
> Do you have any "real life" experience of how applications deal with
> blocking the
> write request in ENOSPC situation?
> Or what is the outcome if someone presses the reset button because of an
> unexplained (to him) system halt?
> 
> 4. Cache size
> At the time, I examined using ZFS on an embedded system with 512MB RAM.
> I wasn't able to find any official requirements, but there were
> several reports around
> the net saying that running ZFS with less that 1GB RAM is a performance killer.
> Do you have any information about recommended cache sizes to prevent
> the metadata store from being a performance bottleneck?
> 
> Thank you!
> Amir.
> 

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