Re: reiser4 status (correction)

From: David Masover
Date: Tue Jul 25 2006 - 15:36:46 EST

Hans Reiser wrote:

I am not sure that putting the repacker after fsync is the right choice....

Does the repacker use fsync? I wouldn't expect it to.

Does fsync benefit from a properly packed FS? Probably.

Also, while I don't expect anyone else to be so bold, there is a way around fsync performance: Disable it. Patch the kernel so that any fsync call from userspace gets ignored, but lie and tell them it worked. Basically:

asmlinkage long sys_fsync(unsigned int fd)
- return do_fsync(fd, 0);
+ return 0; // do_fsync(fd, 0);

In order to make this sane, you should have backups and an Uninterrupted Power Supply. In the case of a loss of power, the box should notice and immediately sync, then either shut down or software suspend. Any UPS battery should be able to handle the amount of time it takes to shut the system off.

Since anything mission critical should have backups and a UPS anyway, the only problem left is what happens if the system crashes. But system crashes are something you have to plan for anyway. Disks fail -- stuff happens. RAID won't save you -- the RAID controller itself will eventually fail.

So suppose you're running some very critical server -- for now, chances are it's running some sort of database. In this case, what you really want is database replication. Have at least two servers up and running, and consider the transaction complete not when it hits the disk, but when all running servers acknowledge the transaction. The RAM of two boxes should be safer than the disk of one.

What about a repacker? The best I can do to hack around that is to restore the whole box from backup every now and then, but this requires the box to be down for awhile -- it's a repacker, but not an online one. In this case, the solution would be to have the same two servers (replicating databases), and bring first one down, and then the other.

That would make me much more nervous than disabling fsync, though, because now you only have the one server running, and if it goes down... And depending on the size of the data in question, this may not be feasable. It seems entirely possible that in some setups like this, the only backup you'd be able to afford would be in the form of replication.

In my own personal case, I'd prefer the repacker to tuning fsync. But arguments could be made for both.
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