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From: Jan Kara <>
To: Amir Goldstein <>
Cc: Jan Kara <>, linux-fsdevel <>
Subject: Re: [RFC][PATCH] fanotify: introduce filesystem view mark
Date: Wed, 25 Nov 2020 12:01:56 +0100
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

On Tue 24-11-20 16:47:41, Amir Goldstein wrote:
> On Tue, Nov 24, 2020 at 3:49 PM Jan Kara <> wrote:
> > On Mon 09-11-20 20:00:16, Amir Goldstein wrote:
> > > A filesystem view is a subtree of a filesystem accessible from a specific
> > > mount point.  When marking an FS view, user expects to get events on all
> > > inodes that are accessible from the marked mount, even if the events
> > > were generated from another mount.
> > >
> > > In particular, the events such as FAN_CREATE, FAN_MOVE, FAN_DELETE that
> > > are not delivered to a mount mark can be delivered to an FS view mark.
> > >
> > > One example of a filesystem view is btrfs subvolume, which cannot be
> > > marked with a regular filesystem mark.
> > >
> > > Another example of a filesystem view is a bind mount, not on the root of
> > > the filesystem, such as the bind mounts used for containers.
> > >
> > > A filesystem view mark is composed of a heads sb mark and an sb_view mark.
> > > The filesystem view mark is connected to the head sb mark and the head
> > > sb mark is connected to the sb object. The mask of the head sb mask is
> > > a cumulative mask of all the associated sb_view mark masks.
> > >
> > > Filesystem view marks cannot co-exist with a regular filesystem mark on
> > > the same filesystem.
> > >
> > > When an event is generated on the head sb mark, fsnotify iterates the
> > > list of associated sb_view marks and filter events that happen outside
> > > of the sb_view mount's root.
> > >
> > > Signed-off-by: Amir Goldstein <>
> >
> > I gave this just a high-level look (no detailed review) and here are my
> > thoughts:
> >
> > 1) I like the functionality. IMO this is what a lot of people really want
> > when looking for "filesystem wide fs monitoring".
> >
> > 2) I don't quite like the API you propose though. IMO it exposes details of
> > implementation in the API. I'd rather like to have API the same as for
> > mount marks but with a dedicated mark type flag in the API - like
> > FAN_MARK_FILESYSTEM_SUBTREE (or we can keep VIEW if you like it but I think
> > the less terms the better ;).
> Sure, FAN_MARK_FS_VIEW is a dedicated mark type.
> The fact that is it a bitwise OR of MOUNT and FILESYSTEM is just a fun fact.
> Sorry if that wasn't clear.
> FAN_MARK_FILESYSTEM_SUBTREE sounds better for uapi.
> But I suppose you also meant that we should not limit the subtree root
> to bind mount points?
> The reason I used a reference to mnt for a sb_view and not dentry
> is because we have fsnotify_clear_marks_by_mount() callback to
> handle cleanup of the sb_view marks (which I left as TODO).
> Alternatively, we can play cache pinning games with the subtree root dentry
> like the case with inode mark, but I didn't want to get into that nor did I know
> if we should - if subtree mark requires CAP_SYS_ADMIN anyway, why not
> require a bind mount as its target, which is something much more visible to
> admins.

Yeah, I don't have problems with bind mounts in particular. Just I was
thinking that concievably we could make these marks less priviledged (just
with CAP_DAC_SEARCH or so) and then mountpoints may be unnecessarily
restricting. I don't think pinning of subtree root dentry would be
problematic as such - inode marks pin the inode anyway, this is not
substantially different - if we can make it work reliably...

In fact I was considering for a while that we could even make subtree
watches completely unpriviledged - when we walk the dir tree anyway, we
could also check permissions along the way. Due to locking this would be
difficult to do when generating the event but it might be actually doable
if we perform the permission check when reporting the event to userspace.
Just a food for thought...

> > Also I think this is going to get expensive
> > (e.g. imagine each write to page cache having to traverse potentially deep
> > tree hierarchy potentially multiple times - once for each subtree). My
> > suspicion should be verified with actual performance measurement but if I'm
> > right and the overhead is indeed noticeable, I think we'll need to employ
> > some caching or so to avoid repeated lookups...
> It's true, but here is a different angle to analyse the overhead - claim:
> "If users don't have kernel subtree mark, they will use filesystem mark
>  and filter is userspace". If that claim is true, than one can argue that
> this is fair - let the listener process pay the CPU overhead which can be
> contained inside a cgroup and not everyone else. But what is the cost that
> everyone else will be paying in that case?
> Everyone will still pay the cost of the fanotify backend callback including
> allocate, pack and queue the event.
> The question then becomes, what is cheaper? The d_ancestor() traversal
> or all the fanotify backend handler code?
> Note that the former can be lockless and the latter does take locks.

I understand and it's a fair point that queueing of the event is not cheap
either so I'd be interested in the numbers. Something like how deep subtree
walk is similar to a cost of queueing event. Or similarly checking of how many
subtree watches is similarly costly as queueing of one event?

> I have a pretty good bet on the answer, but as you say only actual performance
> benchmarks can tell.
> From my experience, real life fsevent listeners do not listen on FAN_MODIFY
> but they listen on FAN_CLOSE_WRITE, because the the former is too noisy.


> The best case scenario is that users step forward to say that they want to
> use fanotify but need the subtree filterting and can provide us with real life
> performance measurement of the userspace vs. kernel alternatives (in terms
> of penalty on the rest of the system).

With the cost of having to go to userspace and there do essentially the same
subtree walk as you do in the kernel, I have no doubt what's going to be
faster (by orders of magnitude). What I'm somewhat uncertain is whether the
subtree check is OK at the time of event generation or whether it should
better be moved to the moment when we are about to report the event to
userspace (when the cost of the subtree check goes to the process
interested in the event which is fine - but as you properly note we already
had to pay the cost of queueing the event so it isn't clear this is a win
even for the processes generating events). 

Jan Kara <>

  reply index

Thread overview: 38+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2020-11-09 18:00 Amir Goldstein
2020-11-10  5:07 ` Amir Goldstein
2020-11-17  7:09 ` [fanotify] a23a7dc576: unixbench.score -3.7% regression kernel test robot
2020-11-24 13:49 ` [RFC][PATCH] fanotify: introduce filesystem view mark Jan Kara
2020-11-24 14:47   ` Amir Goldstein
2020-11-25 11:01     ` Jan Kara [this message]
2020-11-25 12:34       ` Amir Goldstein
2020-11-26 11:10         ` Jan Kara
2020-11-26 11:50           ` Amir Goldstein
2020-11-26  3:42       ` Amir Goldstein
2020-11-26 11:17         ` Jan Kara
2021-04-28 18:28           ` Amir Goldstein
2021-05-03 16:53             ` Jan Kara
2021-05-03 18:44               ` Amir Goldstein
2021-05-05 12:28                 ` Jan Kara
2021-05-05 14:24                   ` Christian Brauner
2021-05-05 14:42                     ` Amir Goldstein
2021-05-05 14:56                       ` Christian Brauner
2021-05-10 10:13                     ` Jan Kara
2021-05-10 11:37                       ` Amir Goldstein
2021-05-10 14:21                         ` Jan Kara
2021-05-10 15:08                           ` Amir Goldstein
2021-05-10 15:27                             ` Jan Kara
2021-05-12 13:07                             ` Christian Brauner
2021-05-12 13:34                               ` Jan Kara
2021-05-12 16:15                                 ` Christian Brauner
2021-05-12 15:26                         ` Christian Brauner
2021-05-13 10:55                           ` Jan Kara
2021-05-14 13:56                             ` Christian Brauner
2021-05-15 14:28                               ` Amir Goldstein
2021-05-17  9:09                                 ` Jan Kara
2021-05-17 12:45                                   ` Amir Goldstein
2021-05-17 13:07                                     ` Jan Kara
2021-05-18 10:11                                 ` Christian Brauner
2021-05-18 16:02                                   ` Amir Goldstein
2021-05-19  9:31                                     ` Christian Brauner
2021-05-12 16:11                         ` Christian Brauner
2021-05-05 13:25               ` Christian Brauner

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