immense delayed write to file system (ZFS and UFS2), performance issues

O. Hartmann ohartman at
Wed Jan 20 00:03:43 UTC 2010

On 01/18/10 21:34, � wrote:
> O. Hartmann wrote:
>> I realise a strange behaviour of several FreeBSD 8.0-STABLE/amd64 boxes.
>> All boxes have the most recent STABLE. One box is a UP system, two
>> others SMP boxes, one with a Q6600 4-core, another XEON with 2x 4-cores
>> (Dell Poweredge III).
>> Symptome: All boxes have ZFS and UFS2 filesystems. Since two weeks or
>> so, sometimes the I/O performance drops massively when doing 'svn
>> update', 'make world' or even 'make kernel'. It doesn't matter what
>> memory and how many cpu the box has, it get stuck for several seconds
>> and freezing. On the UP box, this is sometimes for 10 - 20 seconds.
>> A very interesting phenomenon is the massively delayed file writing on
>> ZFS filesystems I realise. Editing a file in 'vi' running on one XTerm
>> and having in another Xterminal my shell for compiling this file, it
>> takes sometimes up to 20 seconds to get the file updated after it has
>> been written. It's like having an old, slow NFS connection with long
>> cache delays.
>> These massively delayed file transactions are not necessarely under
>> heavy load, sometimes they occur in a relaxed situation. They seem to
>> occur much more often on the UP box than on the SMP boxes, but this
>> strange phenomenon also occur on the Dell Poweredge II, which has 16GB
>> RAM and summa summarum 16 cores. This phenomenon does occur on ZFS- and
>> UFS2 filesystems as well. It is hardly reproducable.
>> Is there any known issue?
>> Ragrds,
>> Oliver
> The disks involved don't happen to be Western Digital Green Power disks,
> do they? The Intelli-Park function in these disks are wrecking havoc
> with I/O in Linux-land at least, causing massive stalls and iowait
> through the roof during the 25-30 seconds it takes for the heads to
> unload after parking. I have two of these disks sitting on my desk now
> collecting dust...
> /Morgan
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The disks in question are indeed WD on one box, but they are all Caviar 
Black and they performed well months ago with the very same hardware and 
an earlier FreeBSD 8 version.
The other boxes in questions do have a set of mixed type, Seagate, WD, 
Samsung (mostly Samsung F1 types). We do not use 'Green' drives, due to 
every box acts as a server and we found green-disks, even from WD, too slow.


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