[Bug 227204] Combination of gmirror and enabled softupdates journalling cause slow filesystem degradation

bugzilla-noreply at freebsd.org bugzilla-noreply at freebsd.org
Mon Apr 2 22:23:41 UTC 2018


Kirk McKusick <mckusick at FreeBSD.org> changed:

           What    |Removed                     |Added
             Status|New                         |Closed
                 CC|                            |mckusick at FreeBSD.org
         Resolution|---                         |Works As Intended

--- Comment #1 from Kirk McKusick <mckusick at FreeBSD.org> ---
This is a problem that is endemic to all overwriting  filesystems that use
journalling. Specifically, the journal only checks and corrects things that it
knows need to be fixed. Under normal circumstances it knows about everything
that might be wrong. Unfortunately most disks are run with `write cache
enabled' which means that they can lie about completing writes to stable store.
Specifically they report that a write is on the platter (or in the flash) when
in fact it is only in the disk's volatile cache. If there is a power-fail
event, they are usually able to flush their cache, but not always. Since the
journal has been told that the write completed, it does not check for the
missed write and the corresponding corruption of the filesystem remains until a
full fsck is run (which checks all of the metadata integrity). If the missed
write was an update to a cylinder-group map, then you can end up
double-allocating a block (such as you see in your example). When an attempt is
made to free a double-allocated block you will get a system panic with "freeing
free block".

Some systems have tried periodically forcing a full fsck (on the order of every
month or so) to catch these types of errors, but the disruption if the reboot
happened during a busy period led them to drop this practice. Still it is a
good idea to periodically run a full fsck just to ensure that your filesystems
stay healthy. If this is not practical you should consider using ZFS which
provides a great deal more redundancy and integrity though requires
considerably more resources (disk + CPU + memory) for a given storage load than
does UFS.

I am closing this report with "Works as Intended" as that is the closest to
"This is a known shortcoming of journalled overwriting filesystems".

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