[libvirt] PATCH: Disable QEMU drive caching

Steve Ofsthun sofsthun at virtualiron.com
Thu Oct 9 13:29:45 UTC 2008

Daniel Veillard wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 08, 2008 at 10:51:16AM -0500, Anthony Liguori wrote:
>> Daniel P. Berrange wrote:
>>>  - It is unsafe on host OS crash - all unflushed guest I/O will be
>>>    lost, and there's no ordering guarentees, so metadata updates could
>>>    be flushe to disk, while the journal updates were not. Say goodbye
>>>    to your filesystem.
>> This has nothing to do with cache=off.  The IDE device defaults to  
>> write-back caching.  As such, IDE makes no guarantee that when a data  
>> write completes, it's actually completed on disk.  This only comes into  
>> play when write-back is disabled.  I'm perfectly happy to accept a patch  
>> that adds explicit sync's when write-back is disabled.
>> For SCSI, an unordered queue is advertised.  Again, everything depends  
>> on whether or not write-back caching is enabled or not.  Again,  
>> perfectly happy to take patches here.
>> More importantly, the most common journaled filesystem, ext3, does not  
>> enable write barriers by default (even for journal updates).  This is  
>> how it ship in Red Hat distros.  So there is no greater risk of  
>> corrupting a journal in QEMU than there is on bare metal.
>   Interesting discussion, I'm wondering about the non-local storage
> effect though, if the Node is caching writes, how can we ensure a
> coherent view on remote storage for example when migrating a domain ?
> Maybe migration is easy to fix because qemu is aware and can issue a
> sync, but as we start adding cloning APIs to libvirt, we could face the
> issue if issuing an LVM snapshot operation on the guest storage while
> the Node still cache some of the data. The more layers of caching the
> harder it is to have a predictable behaviour, no ?

Any live migration infrastructure must guarantee the write ordering between guest writes generated on the "old" node and guest writes generated on the "new" node.  This usually happens as the live migration crosses the point of no return where the guest is allow to execute code on the "new" node.  The "old" node must flush it's writes and/or the "new" node must delay any new writes until it is safe to do so.  In the case of LVM snapshots, only one node is able to safely access the snapshot at a time, so an organized transfer of the active snapshot is necessary during the live migration.  For the case of CLVM, I would think the "cluster-aware" bits would coordinate the transfer.  Even in this case though, the data must be flushed out of the page cache on the "old" node and onto the storage itself.


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