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Date:	Tue, 25 Aug 2009 16:46:15 -0700 (PDT)
To:	Pavel Machek <>
cc:	Ric Wheeler <>, Theodore Tso <>,
	Florian Weimer <>,
	Goswin von Brederlow <>,
	Rob Landley <>,
	kernel list <>,
	Andrew Morton <>,,,,,
Subject: Re: [patch] ext2/3: document conditions when reliable operation is

On Wed, 26 Aug 2009, Pavel Machek wrote:

>>>> Basically, any file system (Linux, windows, OSX, etc) that writes into
>>>> the page cache will lose data when you hot unplug its storage. End of
>>>> story, don't do it!
>>> No, not ext3 on SATA disk with barriers on and proper use of
>>> fsync(). I actually tested that.
>>> Yes, I should be able to hotunplug SATA drives and expect the data
>>> that was fsync-ed to be there.
>> You can and will lose data (even after fsync) with any type of storage at
>> some rate. What you are missing here is that data loss needs to be
>> measured in hard numbers - say percentage of installed boxes that have
>> config X that lose data.
> I'm talking "by design" here.
> I will lose data even on SATA drive that is properly powered on if I
> wait 5 years.
>> I can promise you that hot unplugging and replugging a S-ATA drive will
>> also lose you data if you are actively writing to it (ext2, 3, whatever).
> I can promise you that running S-ATA drive will also lose you data,
> even if you are not actively writing to it. Just wait 10 years; so
> what is your point?
> But ext3 is _designed_ to preserve fsynced data on SATA drive, while
> it is _not_ designed to preserve fsynced data on MD RAID5.

substatute 'degraded MD RAID 5' for 'MD RAID 5' and you have a point here. 
although the language you are using is pretty harsh. you make it sound 
like this is a problem with ext3 when the filesystem has nothing to do 
with it. the problem is that a degraded raid 5 array can be corrupted by 
an additional failure.

> Do you really think that's not a difference?
>>>>>> I don't object to making that general statement - "Don't hot unplug a
>>>>>> device with an active file system or actively used raw device" - but
>>>>>> would object to the overly general statement about ext3 not working on
>>>>>> flash, RAID5 not working, etc...
>>>>> You can object any way you want, but running ext3 on flash or MD RAID5
>>>>> is stupid:
>>>>> * ext2 would be faster
>>>>> * ext2 would provide better protection against powerfail.
>>>> Not true in the slightest, you continue to ignore the ext2/3/4 developers
>>>> telling you that it will lose data.
>>> I know I will lose data. Both ext2 and ext3 will lose data on
>>> flashdisk. (That's what I'm trying to document). But... what is the
>>> benefit of ext3 journaling on MD RAID5? (On flash, ext3 at least
>>> protects you against kernel panic. MD RAID5 is in software, so... that
>>> additional protection is just not there).
>> Faster recovery time on any normal kernel crash or power outage.  Data
>> loss would be equivalent with or without the journal.
> No, because you'll actually repair the ext2 with fsck after the kernel
> crash or power outage. Data loss will not be equivalent; in particular
> you'll not lose data writen _after_ power outage to ext2.

by the way, while you are thinking about failures that can happen from a 
failed write corrupting additional blocks, think about the nightmare that 
can happen if those blocks are in the journal.

the 'repair' of ext2 by a fsck is actually much less than you are thinking 
that it is.

David Lang
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