[Gluster-devel] [RFC] A new caching/synchronization mechanism to speed up gluster

Jeff Darcy jdarcy at redhat.com
Tue Feb 4 16:18:25 UTC 2014

> The only synchronization point needed is to make sure that all bricks
> agree on the inode state and which client owns it. This can be achieved
> without locking using a method similar to what I implemented in the DFC
> translator.
> Besides the lock-less architecture, the main advantage is that much more
> aggressive caching strategies can be implemented very near to the final
> user, increasing considerably the throughput of the file system. Special
> care has to be taken with things than can fail on background writes
> (basically brick space and user access rights). Those should be handled
> appropiately on the client side to guarantee future success of writes.
> Of course this is only a high level overview. A deeper analysis should
> be done to see what to do on each special case.
> What do you think ?

I think this is a great idea for where we can go - and need to go - in the
long term.  However, it's important to recognize that it *is* the long
term.  We had to solve almost exactly the same problems in MPFS long ago.
Whether the synchronization uses locks or not *locally* is meaningless,
because all of the difficult problems have to do with recovering the
*distributed* state.  What happens when a brick fails while holding an
inode in any state but I?  How do we recognize it, what do we do about it,
how do we handle the case where it comes back and needs to re-acquire its
previous state?  How do we make sure that a brick can successfully flush
everything it needs to before it yields a lock/lease/whatever?  That's
going to require some kind of flow control, which is itself a pretty big
project.  It's not impossible, but it took multiple people some years for
MPFS, and ditto for every other project (e.g. Ceph or XtreemFS) which
adopted similar approaches.  GlusterFS's historical avoidance of this
complexity certainly has some drawbacks, but it has also been key to us
making far more progress in other areas.

To move forward on this, I think we need a *much* more detailed idea of
how we're going to handle the nasty cases.  Would some sort of online
collaboration - e.g. Hangouts - make more sense than continuing via

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