[Gluster-devel] regarding flush taking full inode locks

Anand Avati avati at redhat.com
Fri Nov 2 23:59:04 UTC 2012

On 11/02/2012 06:44 AM, Pranith Kumar Karampuri wrote:
> hi Avati,
>      There was some reason Flush is made into a transaction with full file inode-locks for some optimization. I remember you saying that the optimization is not valid anymore. Could you please let us know the history of this. Basically VMs are hanging in some cases because of the flush fop while self-heal in progress. We need to evaluate if this full inode-lock can be removed or not.
> Pranith.

The reason flush() was made a transaction was twofold:

1. before piggyback-changelog optimization was introduced, there existed 
another similar optimization in a much cruder form where changelog would 
be written on first write, and cleared on close() [i.e, flush()].

2. write-behind (back then) was not intelligent enough to hold off 
issuing a flush downwards till previous writes were fulfilled.

So flush was doing a full file inodelk in order to confirm that all 
previous writes were complete, and that unsetting the changelog would be 
safe. It also helped the other side of the problem, that the next 
arriving write would wait till flush unlocked, and was guaranteed to see 
itself as the first write (and would set the changelog again) - (yes, we 
were really using inodelk() to synchronize on inode_ctx flag instead of 
a mutex)

That had a bunch of issues -

1. flush() is not reliable. Sometimes you don't get flushes. Sometimes 
you get them twice, or more. They loosely correlate with close(), not 
strict enough to base changelog clearing behavior on.

2. It was too simplistic and the code was such that if any write failure 
happened, handling it was very messy and almost always the only 
changelog we would be left with was a FOOL-FOOL state (unless there were 
no failure at all).

The current piggyback-changelog fixes all those issues. We don't need 
flush to be a transaction anymore.

We still need to synchronize flush() against lk() for keeping up POSIX 
conformance, but I feel that is a separate (open) problem.


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