[Bug 193124] New: GELI data integrity verification should consider sparse zero pass-through

bugzilla-noreply at freebsd.org bugzilla-noreply at freebsd.org
Fri Aug 29 17:17:55 UTC 2014


            Bug ID: 193124
           Summary: GELI data integrity verification should consider
                    sparse zero pass-through
           Product: Base System
           Version: 10.0-RELEASE
          Hardware: Any
                OS: Any
            Status: Needs Triage
          Severity: Affects Some People
          Priority: ---
         Component: kern
          Assignee: freebsd-bugs at FreeBSD.org
          Reporter: 5ukk2nmn43 at snkmail.com

GEOM geli data authentication (option -a) verifies data integrity of the blocks
on a device.  The current implementation requires that the entire device be
written before it can be read from.  There's a note on this in the geli(8) man

I'd like to consider the use case where the device is sparse - whether it's a
sparse file backed block device, an SSD with TRIM, or even just a really big
hard drive that hasn't been written to yet.  In this case, writing to the
device in order to compute checksums would take quite a bit of time with a big
device, and also would consume resources to store that data, especially if the
underlying layer that detects a sparse sector doesn't align with the integrity

When the underlying data in a sector is all zeroes (or is presumed to be all
zeroes if it's unwritten or sparse), perhaps the verification layer should let
the checksum be artificially produced as all zeroes too.  In terms of hashing,
there shouldn't be any risk in plucking out one output hash (consisting of all
zeroes) from a pool of 2^256 or more, since it's impractical to find any true
data source that hashes to that.  The GEOM integrity layer most likely is used
only on FreeBSD so there may not be a need to have the checksum algorithm
perfectly match.  Maybe this can be a sysctl parameter or an option to geli. 
I'd propose that any time a particular sector has all zeroes, then the checksum
written to (and verified against) should also be zeroes.  This would
effectively give the intended benefits desired in integrity verification but
would make a difference even in the case of a traditional hard drive.  Instead
of having to take hours or even days to write out the checksums to new drives,
it would be instantly available.  For a drive (or sparse image) that is not all
zeroes, then there's really no way around needing to write those sectors.

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