[Gluster-devel] fallocate behavior in glusterfs

FNU Raghavendra Manjunath rabhat at redhat.com
Tue Jul 2 15:22:25 UTC 2019

Hi All,

In glusterfs, there is an issue regarding the fallocate behavior. In short,
if someone does fallocate from the mount point with some size that is
greater than the available size in the backend filesystem where the file is
present, then fallocate can fail with a subset of the required number of
blocks allocated and then failing in the backend filesystem with ENOSPC

The behavior of fallocate in itself is simlar to how it would have been on
a disk filesystem (atleast xfs where it was checked). i.e. allocates subset
of the required number of blocks and then fail with ENOSPC. And the file in
itself would show the number of blocks in stat to be whatever was allocated
as part of fallocate. Please refer [1] where the issue is explained.

Now, there is one small difference between how the behavior is between
glusterfs and xfs.
In xfs after fallocate fails, doing 'stat' on the file shows the number of
blocks that have been allocated. Whereas in glusterfs, the number of blocks
is shown as zero which makes tools like "du" show zero consumption. This
difference in behavior in glusterfs is because of libglusterfs on how it
handles sparse files etc for calculating number of blocks (mentioned in [1])

At this point I can think of 3 things on how to handle this.

1) Except for how many blocks are shown in the stat output for the file
from the mount point (on which fallocate was done), the remaining behavior
of attempting to allocate the requested size and failing when the
filesystem becomes full is similar to that of XFS.

Hence, what is required is to come up with a solution on how libglusterfs
calculate blocks for sparse files etc (without breaking any of the existing
components and features). This makes the behavior similar to that of
backend filesystem. This might require its own time to fix libglusterfs
logic without impacting anything else.


2) Once the fallocate fails in the backend filesystem, make posix xlator in
the brick truncate the file to the previous size of the file before
attempting fallocate. A patch [2] has been sent for this. But there is an
issue with this when there are parallel writes and fallocate operations
happening on the same file. It can lead to a data loss.

a) statpre is obtained ===> before fallocate is attempted, get the stat
hence the size of the file b) A parrallel Write fop on the same file that
extends the file is successful c) Fallocate fails d) ftruncate truncates it
to size given by statpre (i.e. the previous stat and the size obtained in
step a)


3) Make posix check for available disk size before doing fallocate. i.e. in
fallocate once posix gets the number of bytes to be allocated for the file
from a particular offset, it checks whether so many bytes are available or
not in the disk. If not, fail the fallocate fop with ENOSPC (without
attempting it on the backend filesystem).

There still is a probability of a parallel write happening while this
fallocate is happening and by the time falllocate system call is attempted
on the disk, the available space might have been less than what was
calculated before fallocate.
i.e. following things can happen

 a) statfs ===> get the available space of the backend filesystem
 b) a parallel write succeeds and extends the file
 c) fallocate is attempted assuming there is sufficient space in the backend

While the above situation can arise, I think we are still fine. Because
fallocate is attempted from the offset received in the fop. So,
irrespective of whether write extended the file or not, the fallocate
itself will be attempted for so many bytes from the offset which we found
to be available by getting statfs information.

[1] https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=1724754#c3
[2] https://review.gluster.org/#/c/glusterfs/+/22969/

Please provide feedback.

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