4.8 ffs_dirpref problem

Ken Marx kmarx at vicor.com
Tue Oct 21 17:53:42 PDT 2003


We have 560GB raids that were sometimes bogging down heavily
in our production systems. Under 4.8-RELEASE (recently upgrated from 4.4)
we find that when:

	o the raid file system grows to over 85% capacity (with only
	  30% inode usage)
	o we create ~1500 or so 2-6kb files in a given dir
	o (note: soft updates NOT enabled)

We see:

	o 100% cpu utilization, all in system
	o I/O transfer rates of ~200kb/sec, down from normal of 15-30MB/s

We profiled the kernel and found a large number of calls to ffs_alloc().
After many twisty pasages, we finally diff'd 4.4 with 4.8 ffs_alloc.c,
and found a major difference in the ffs_dirpref() call. Hacking the
4.4 logic back in 'fixed' the problem: We can now fill the /raid
entirely with no real noticeable performance degradation.

The nice comments for 4.4/4.8 versions of ffs_dirpref() seem to explain
things fairly clearly:

4.4 -  ffs_alloc.c,v 2000/03/16 08:15:53 ps:
 * The policy implemented by this algorithm is to select from
 * among those cylinder groups with above the average number of
 * free inodes, the one with the smallest number of directories.

4.8 - ffs_alloc.c,v 2001/09/21 19:15:21 dillon:
 * The policy implemented by this algorithm is to allocate a
 * directory inode in the same cylinder group as its parent
 * directory, but also to reserve space for its files inodes
 * and data. Restrict the number of directories which may be
 * allocated one after another in the same cylinder group
 * without intervening allocation of files.
 * If we allocate a first level directory then force allocation
 * in another cylinder group.

For us, the 4.4 policy seems far superior, at least when the file system
approches capacity.

We'd like to avoid local kernel hacks and keep with main line
FreeBSD code. Is there some way that the old policy can be supported,
perhaps via a tunefs or sysctl type option?

Actually, if the new policy can be fixed up to avoid the problem, that
would of course be just as dandy.

Thanks very much,
Ken Marx, kmarx at vicor-nb.com
We need to hit the nail on the head and set the agenda regarding total 
		- http://www.bigshed.com/cgi-bin/speak.cgi

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