Re: [PATCH 0/4] (RESEND) ext3[34] barrier changes

From: Andrew Morton
Date: Mon May 19 2008 - 00:12:45 EST

On Sun, 18 May 2008 21:29:30 -0500 Eric Sandeen <sandeen@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Theodore Tso wrote:
> ...
> > Given how rarely people have reported problems, I think it's a really
> > good idea to understand what exactly our exposure is for
> I'll propose that very close to 0% of users will ever report "having
> barriers off seems to have corrupted my disk on power loss!" even if
> that's exactly what happened. And it'd be very tricky to identify in a
> post-mortem. Instead we'd probably see other weird things caught down
> the road during some later fsck or during filesystem use, and then
> suggest that they go check their cables, run memtest86 or something...
> Perhaps it's not the intent of this reply, Ted, but various other bits
> of this thread have struck me as trying to rationalize away the problem.

Not really. It's a matter of understanding how big the problem is. We
know what the cost of the solution is, and it's really large.

It's a tradeoff, and it is unobvious where the ideal answer lies,
especially when not all the information is available.

> If the discussion were about proper locking to avoid corruption, would
> we really be saying well, gosh, it's a *really* small window, and
> *most* people won't hit it very often, and proper locking would slow
> things down....

If it slowed really really important workloads by 30% then we'd be
running around with our hair on fire fixing that up.

But fixing this one is nowhere near as easy as fixing some locking

> So I think that as you suggest, looking for ways to make barriers less
> painful is the far better route, rather than sacrificing correctness for
> speed by turning them off by default when we know there is a chance for
> problems. People running journaling filesystems most likely expect to
> be safe from this sort of thing, not most of the time, but all of the time.

Well. Reducing the cost would of course make the decision easy.
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