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From: Jan Kara <>
To: Theodore Ts'o <>
Cc: Jan Kara <>, Christoph Hellwig <>,
	Zhang Yi <>,,,,
Subject: Re: [RFC PATCH v2 7/7] ext4: fix race between blkdev_releasepage() and ext4_put_super()
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 2021 11:04:11 +0200
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

On Wed 21-04-21 12:57:39, Theodore Ts'o wrote:
> On Wed, Apr 21, 2021 at 03:46:34PM +0200, Jan Kara wrote:
> > 
> > Indeed, after 12 years in kernel .bdev_try_to_free_page is implemented only
> > by ext4. So maybe it is not that important? I agree with Zhang and
> > Christoph that getting the lifetime rules sorted out will be hairy and it
> > is questionable, whether it is worth the additional pages we can reclaim.
> > Ted, do you remember what was the original motivation for this?
> The comment in fs/ext4/super.c is I thought a pretty good explanation:
> /*
>  * Try to release metadata pages (indirect blocks, directories) which are
>  * mapped via the block device.  Since these pages could have journal heads
>  * which would prevent try_to_free_buffers() from freeing them, we must use
>  * jbd2 layer's try_to_free_buffers() function to release them.
>  */
> When we modify a metadata block, we attach a journal_head (jh)
> structure to the buffer_head, and bump the ref count to prevent the
> buffer from being freed.  Before the transaction is committed, the
> buffer is marked jbddirty, but the dirty bit is not set until the
> transaction commit.
> At that back, writeback happens entirely at the discretion of the
> buffer cache.  The jbd layer doesn't get notification when the I/O is
> completed, nor when there is an I/O error.  (There was an attempt to
> add a callback but that was NACK'ed because of a complaint that it was
> jbd specific.)
> So we don't actually know when it's safe to detach the jh from the
> buffer_head and can drop the refcount so that the buffer_head can be
> freed.  When the space in the journal starts getting low, we'll look
> at at the jh's attached to completed transactions, and see how many of
> them have clean bh's, and at that point, we can release the buffer
> heads.
> The other time when we'll attempt to detach jh's from clean buffers is
> via bdev_try_to_free_buffers().  So if we drop the
> bdev_try_to_free_page hook, then when we are under memory pressure,
> there could be potentially a large percentage of the buffer cache
> which can't be freed, and so the OOM-killer might trigger more often.

Yes, I understand that. What I was more asking about is: Does it really
matter we leave those buffer heads and journal heads unreclaimed. I
understand it could be triggering premature OOM in theory but is it a
problem in practice? Was there some observed practical case for which this
was added or was it just added due to the theoretical concern?

> Now, if we could get a callback on I/O completion on a per-bh basis,
> then we could detach the jh when the buffer is clean --- and as a
> bonus, we'd get a notification when there was an I/O error writing
> back a metadata block, which would be even better.
> So how about an even swap?  If we can get a buffer I/O completion
> callback, we can drop bdev_to_free_swap hook.....

I'm OK with that because mainly for IO error reporting it makes sense to
me. For this memory reclaim problem I think we have also other reasonably
sensible options. E.g. we could have a shrinker that would just walk the
checkpoint list and reclaim journal heads for whatever is already written
out... Or we could just release journal heads already after commit and
during checkpoint we'd fetch the list of blocks that may need to be written
out e.g. from journal descriptor blocks. This would be a larger overhaul
but as a bonus we'd get rid of probably the last place in the kernel which
can write out page contents through buffer heads without updating page
state properly (and thus get rid of some workarounds in mm code as well).

Jan Kara <>

  reply index

Thread overview: 24+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2021-04-14 13:47 [RFC PATCH v2 0/7] ext4, jbd2: fix 3 issues about bdev_try_to_free_page() Zhang Yi
2021-04-14 13:47 ` [RFC PATCH v2 1/7] jbd2: remove the out label in __jbd2_journal_remove_checkpoint() Zhang Yi
2021-04-21 10:01   ` Jan Kara
2021-04-14 13:47 ` [RFC PATCH v2 2/7] jbd2: ensure abort the journal if detect IO error when writing original buffer back Zhang Yi
2021-04-21 13:20   ` Jan Kara
2021-04-14 13:47 ` [RFC PATCH v2 3/7] jbd2: don't abort the journal when freeing buffers Zhang Yi
2021-04-21 13:23   ` Jan Kara
2021-04-14 13:47 ` [RFC PATCH v2 4/7] jbd2: do not free buffers in jbd2_journal_try_to_free_buffers() Zhang Yi
2021-04-15 14:46   ` Christoph Hellwig
2021-04-14 13:47 ` [RFC PATCH v2 5/7] ext4: use RCU to protect accessing superblock in blkdev_releasepage() Zhang Yi
2021-04-15 14:48   ` Christoph Hellwig
2021-04-14 13:47 ` [RFC PATCH v2 6/7] fs: introduce a usage count into the superblock Zhang Yi
2021-04-15 14:40   ` Christoph Hellwig
2021-04-16  8:00     ` Zhang Yi
2021-04-14 13:47 ` [RFC PATCH v2 7/7] ext4: fix race between blkdev_releasepage() and ext4_put_super() Zhang Yi
2021-04-15 14:52   ` Christoph Hellwig
2021-04-16  8:00     ` Zhang Yi
2021-04-20 13:08       ` Christoph Hellwig
2021-04-21 13:46         ` Jan Kara
2021-04-21 16:57           ` Theodore Ts'o
2021-04-22  9:04             ` Jan Kara [this message]
2021-04-23 11:39               ` Zhang Yi
2021-04-23 16:06                 ` Jan Kara
2021-04-23 14:40               ` Theodore Ts'o

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