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From: Jeff Layton <>
To: Andres Freund <>, Dave Chinner <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH v3 0/3] vfs: have syncfs() return error when there are writeback errors
Date: Fri, 07 Feb 2020 17:05:28 -0500
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

On Fri, 2020-02-07 at 13:20 -0800, Andres Freund wrote:
> Hi,
> On 2020-02-08 07:52:43 +1100, Dave Chinner wrote:
> > On Fri, Feb 07, 2020 at 12:04:20PM -0500, Jeff Layton wrote:
> > > You're probably wondering -- Where are v1 and v2 sets?
> > > The basic idea is to track writeback errors at the superblock level,
> > > so that we can quickly and easily check whether something bad happened
> > > without having to fsync each file individually. syncfs is then changed
> > > to reliably report writeback errors, and a new ioctl is added to allow
> > > userland to get at the current errseq_t value w/o having to sync out
> > > anything.
> > 
> > So what, exactly, can userspace do with this error? It has no idea
> > at all what file the writeback failure occurred on or even
> > what files syncfs() even acted on so there's no obvious error
> > recovery that it could perform on reception of such an error.
> Depends on the application.  For e.g. postgres it'd to be to reset
> in-memory contents and perform WAL replay from the last checkpoint. Due
> to various reasons* it's very hard for us (without major performance
> and/or reliability impact) to fully guarantee that by the time we fsync
> specific files we do so on an old enough fd to guarantee that we'd see
> the an error triggered by background writeback.  But keeping track of
> all potential filesystems data resides on (with one fd open permanently
> for each) and then syncfs()ing them at checkpoint time is quite doable.
> *I can go into details, but it's probably not interesting enough

Do applications (specifically postgresql) need the ability to check
whether there have been writeback errors on a filesystem w/o blocking on
a syncfs() call?  I thought that you had mentioned a specific usecase
for that, but if you're actually ok with syncfs() then we can drop that
part altogether.

> > > - This adds a new generic fs ioctl to allow userland to scrape the
> > >   current superblock's errseq_t value. It may be best to present this
> > >   to userland via fsinfo() instead (once that's merged). I'm fine with
> > >   dropping the last patch for now and reworking it for fsinfo if so.
> > 
> > What, exactly, is this useful for? Why would we consider exposing
> > an internal implementation detail to userspace like this?
> There is, as far as I can tell, so far no way but scraping the kernel
> log to figure out if there have been data loss errors on a
> machine/fs. Even besides app specific reactions like outlined above,
> just generally being able to alert whenever there error count increases
> seems extremely useful.  I'm not sure it makes sense to expose the
> errseq_t bits straight though - seems like it'd enshrine them in
> userspace ABI too much?

Yeah, if we do end up keeping it, I'm leaning toward making this
fetchable via fsinfo() (once that's merged). If we do that, then we'll
split this into a struct with two fields -- the most recent errno and an
opaque token that you can keep to tell whether new errors have been
recorded since.

I think that should be a little cleaner from an API standpoint. Probably
we can just drop the ioctl, under the assumption that fsinfo() will be
available in 5.7.

Jeff Layton <>

  reply index

Thread overview: 15+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2020-02-07 17:04 Jeff Layton
2020-02-07 17:04 ` [PATCH v3 1/3] vfs: track per-sb writeback errors and report them to syncfs Jeff Layton
2020-02-07 17:04 ` [PATCH v3 2/3] buffer: record blockdev write errors in super_block that it backs Jeff Layton
2020-02-07 17:04 ` [PATCH v3 3/3] vfs: add a new ioctl for fetching the superblock's errseq_t Jeff Layton
2020-02-07 20:52 ` [PATCH v3 0/3] vfs: have syncfs() return error when there are writeback errors Dave Chinner
2020-02-07 21:20   ` Andres Freund
2020-02-07 22:05     ` Jeff Layton [this message]
2020-02-07 22:21       ` Andres Freund
2020-02-10 21:46     ` Dave Chinner
2020-02-10 23:59       ` Andres Freund, David Howells
2020-02-11  0:04       ` Andres Freund
2020-02-11  0:48         ` Dave Chinner
2020-02-11  1:31           ` Andres Freund
2020-02-11 12:57       ` Jeff Layton
2020-02-12 12:21 ` Jeff Layton

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