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SubjectRe: DAX mapping detection (was: Re: [PATCH] Fix region lost in /proc/self/smaps)
On Thu, Sep 08, 2016 at 04:56:36PM -0600, Ross Zwisler wrote:
> On Wed, Sep 07, 2016 at 09:32:36PM -0700, Dan Williams wrote:
> > My understanding is that it is looking for the VM_MIXEDMAP flag which
> > is already ambiguous for determining if DAX is enabled even if this
> > dynamic listing issue is fixed. XFS has arranged for DAX to be a
> > per-inode capability and has an XFS-specific inode flag. We can make
> > that a common inode flag, but it seems we should have a way to
> > interrogate the mapping itself in the case where the inode is unknown
> > or unavailable. I'm thinking extensions to mincore to have flags for
> > DAX and possibly whether the page is part of a pte, pmd, or pud
> > mapping. Just floating that idea before starting to look into the
> > implementation, comments or other ideas welcome...
> I think this goes back to our previous discussion about support for the PMEM
> programming model. Really I think what NVML needs isn't a way to tell if it
> is getting a DAX mapping, but whether it is getting a DAX mapping on a
> filesystem that fully supports the PMEM programming model. This of course is
> defined to be a filesystem where it can do all of its flushes from userspace
> safely and never call fsync/msync, and that allocations that happen in page
> faults will be synchronized to media before the page fault completes.
> IIUC this is what NVML needs - a way to decide "do I use fsync/msync for
> everything or can I rely fully on flushes from userspace?"

"need fsync/msync" is a dynamic state of an inode, not a static
property. i.e. users can do things that change an inode behind the
back of a mapping, even if they are not aware that this might
happen. As such, a filesystem can invalidate an existing mapping
at any time and userspace won't notice because it will simply fault
in a new mapping on the next access...

> For all existing implementations, I think the answer is "you need to use
> fsync/msync" because we don't yet have proper support for the PMEM programming
> model.

Yes, that is correct.

FWIW, I don't think it will ever be possible to support this ....
wonderful "PMEM programming model" from any current or future kernel
filesystem without a very specific set of restrictions on what can
be done to a file. e.g.

1. the file has to be fully allocated and zeroed before
use. Preallocation/zeroing via unwritten extents is not
allowed. Sparse files are not allowed. Shared extents are
not allowed.
2. set the "PMEM_IMMUTABLE" inode flag - filesystem must
check the file is fully allocated before allowing it to
be set, and caller must have CAP_LINUX_IMMUTABLE.
3. Inode metadata is now immutable, and file data can only
be accessed and/or modified via mmap().
4. All non-mmap methods of inode data modification
will now fail with EPERM.
5. all methods of inode metadata modification will now fail
with EPERM, timestamp udpdates will be ignored.
6. PMEM_IMMUTABLE flag can only be removed if the file is
not currently mapped and caller has CAP_LINUX_IMMUTABLE.

A flag like this /should/ make it possible to avoid fsync/msync() on
a file for existing filesystems, but it also means that such files
have significant management issues (hence the need for
CAP_LINUX_IMMUTABLE to cover it's use).


Dave Chinner

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