Re: [Lsf-pc] [LSF/MM TOPIC] really large storage sectors - goingbeyond 4096 bytes

From: Dave Chinner
Date: Thu Jan 23 2014 - 03:27:49 EST

On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 10:13:59AM -0800, James Bottomley wrote:
> On Wed, 2014-01-22 at 18:02 +0000, Chris Mason wrote:
> > On Wed, 2014-01-22 at 09:21 -0800, James Bottomley wrote:
> > > On Wed, 2014-01-22 at 17:02 +0000, Chris Mason wrote:
> >
> > [ I like big sectors and I cannot lie ]
> I think I might be sceptical, but I don't think that's showing in my
> concerns ...
> > > > I really think that if we want to make progress on this one, we need
> > > > code and someone that owns it. Nick's work was impressive, but it was
> > > > mostly there for getting rid of buffer heads. If we have a device that
> > > > needs it and someone working to enable that device, we'll go forward
> > > > much faster.
> > >
> > > Do we even need to do that (eliminate buffer heads)? We cope with 4k
> > > sector only devices just fine today because the bh mechanisms now
> > > operate on top of the page cache and can do the RMW necessary to update
> > > a bh in the page cache itself which allows us to do only 4k chunked
> > > writes, so we could keep the bh system and just alter the granularity of
> > > the page cache.
> > >
> >
> > We're likely to have people mixing 4K drives and <fill in some other
> > size here> on the same box. We could just go with the biggest size and
> > use the existing bh code for the sub-pagesized blocks, but I really
> > hesitate to change VM fundamentals for this.
> If the page cache had a variable granularity per device, that would cope
> with this. It's the variable granularity that's the VM problem.
> > From a pure code point of view, it may be less work to change it once in
> > the VM. But from an overall system impact point of view, it's a big
> > change in how the system behaves just for filesystem metadata.
> Agreed, but only if we don't do RMW in the buffer cache ... which may be
> a good reason to keep it.
> > > The other question is if the drive does RMW between 4k and whatever its
> > > physical sector size, do we need to do anything to take advantage of
> > > it ... as in what would altering the granularity of the page cache buy
> > > us?
> >
> > The real benefit is when and how the reads get scheduled. We're able to
> > do a much better job pipelining the reads, controlling our caches and
> > reducing write latency by having the reads done up in the OS instead of
> > the drive.
> I agree with all of that, but my question is still can we do this by
> propagating alignment and chunk size information (i.e. the physical
> sector size) like we do today. If the FS knows the optimal I/O patterns
> and tries to follow them, the odd cockup won't impact performance
> dramatically. The real question is can the FS make use of this layout
> information *without* changing the page cache granularity? Only if you
> answer me "no" to this do I think we need to worry about changing page
> cache granularity.

We already do this today.

The problem is that we are limited by the page cache assumption that
the block device/filesystem never need to manage multiple pages as
an atomic unit of change. Hence we can't use the generic
infrastructure as it stands to handle block/sector sizes larger than
a page size...


Dave Chinner
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