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SubjectRe: [PATCH] ext4: Fix deadlock on page reclaim
Date
On 2019/07/27 7:55, Theodore Y. Ts'o wrote:
> On Sat, Jul 27, 2019 at 08:44:23AM +1000, Dave Chinner wrote:
>>>
>>> This looks like something that could hit every file systems, so
>>> shouldn't we fix this in common code? We could also look into
>>> just using memalloc_nofs_save for the page cache allocation path
>>> instead of the per-mapping gfp_mask.
>>
>> I think it has to be the entire IO path - any allocation from the
>> underlying filesystem could recurse into the top level filesystem
>> and then deadlock if the memory reclaim submits IO or blocks on
>> IO completion from the upper filesystem. That's a bloody big hammer
>> for something that is only necessary when there are stacked
>> filesystems like this....
>
> Yeah.... that's why using memalloc_nofs_save() probably makes the most
> sense, and dm_zoned should use that before it calls into ext4.

Unfortunately, with this particular setup, that will not solve the problem.
dm-zoned submit BIOs to its backend drive in response to XFS activity. The
requests for these BIOs are passed along to the kernel tcmu HBA and end up in
that HBA command ring. The commands themselves are read from the ring and
executed by the tcmu-runner user process which executes them doing
pread()/pwrite() to the ext4 file. The tcmu-runner process being a different
context than the dm-zoned worker thread issuing the BIO,
memalloc_nofs_save/restore() calls in dm-zoned will have no effect.

We tried a simpler setup using loopback mount (XFS used directly in an ext4
file) and running the same workload. We failed to recreate a similar deadlock in
this case, but I am strongly suspecting that it can happen too. It is simply
much harder to hit because the IO path from XFS to ext4 is all in-kernel and
asynchronous, whereas tcmu-runner ZBC handler is a synchronous QD=1 path for IOs
which makes it relatively easy to get inter-dependent writes or read+write
queued back-to-back and create the deadlock.

So back to Dave's point, we may be needing the big-hammer solution in the case
of stacked file systems, while a non-stack setups do not necessarily need it
(that is for the FS to decide). But I do not see how to implement this big
hammer conditionally. How can a file system tell if it is at the top of the
stack (big hammer not needed) or lower than the top level (big hammer needed) ?

One simple hack would be an fcntl() or mount option to tell the FS to use
GFP_NOFS unconditionally, but avoiding the bug would mean making sure that the
applications or system setup is correct. So not so safe.

--
Damien Le Moal
Western Digital Research

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