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Date:	Fri, 27 Jan 2012 22:27:02 +0800
From:	Tao Ma <tm@....ma>
To:	Dave Chinner <david@...morbit.com>
CC:	Andreas Dilger <adilger@...ger.ca>,
	Robin Dong <hao.bigrat@...il.com>, Ted Ts'o <tytso@....edu>,
	Ext4 Developers List <linux-ext4@...r.kernel.org>
Subject: Re: [RFC] Add new extent structure in ext4

Hi Dave,
On 01/27/2012 08:19 AM, Dave Chinner wrote:
> On Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 04:03:09PM -0700, Andreas Dilger wrote:
>> On 2012-01-25, at 3:48 PM, Dave Chinner wrote:
>>> On Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 08:51:53PM +0800, Robin Dong wrote:
>>>> Hi Ted, Andreas and the list,
>>>>
>>>> After the bigalloc-feature is completed in ext4, we could have much more
>>>> big size of block-group (also bigger continuous space), but the extent
>>>> structure of files now limit the extent size below 128MB, which is not
>>>> optimal.
>>>>
>>>> We could solve the problem by creating a new extent format to support
>>>> larger extent size, which looks like this:
>>>>
>>>> struct ext4_extent2 {
>>>> 	__le64	ee_block;	/* first logical block extent covers */
>>>> 	__le64	ee_start;	        /* starting physical block */
>>>> 	__le32	ee_len;		/* number of blocks covered by extent */
>>>> 	__le32	ee_flags;	/* flags and future extension */
>>>> };
>>>>
>>>> struct ext4_extent2_idx {
>>>> 	__le64	ei_block;	        /* index covers logical blocks from 'block' */
>>>> 	__le64	ei_leaf;	        /* pointer to the physical block of the next level */
>>>> 	__le32	ei_flags;	        /* flags and future extension */
>>>> 	__le32	ei_unused;	/* padding */
>>>> };
>>>>
>>>> I think we could keep the structure of ext4_extent_header and add new
>>>> imcompat flag EXT4_FEATURE_INCOMPAT_EXTENTS2.
>>>>
>>>> The new extent format could support 16TB continuous space and larger volumes.
>>>>
>>>> What's your opinion?
>>>
>>> Just use XFS.
>>
>> Thanks for your troll.
>>
>> If you have something actually useful to contribute, please feel free to post.
>> Otherwise, this is a list for ext4 development.
> 
> You can chose to see my comment as a troll, but it has a serious
> message. If that is your use case is for large multi-TB files, then
> why wouldn't you just use a filesystem that was designed for files
> that large from the ground up rather than try to extend a filesystem
> that is already struggling with file sizes that it already supports?
> Not to mention that very few people even need this functionality,
> and those that do right now are using XFS.
Robin is one of my colleague. And to be frank, ext4 works well currently
in our product system. And we'd like to see it grows to fit our future
need also. I think it helps both the community and our employer. Having
said that, another reason why we don't consider of XFS as our choice is
that we don't think we have the ability to maintain 2 file systems in
our product system.
> 
> Indeed, on current measures, a 15.95TB file on ext4 takes 330s to
> allocate on my test rig, while XFS will do it under *35
> milliseconds*. What's the point of increasing the maximum file size
> when it when it takes so long to allocate or free the space? If you
> can't make the allocation and freeing scale first to the existing
> file size limits, there's little point in introducing support for
> larger files.
I think your test case here is biased since you used the most successful
story from XFS. Yes, bitmap-based file system is a little bit hard to
allocate a very large file if the bitmap is scattered all over the disk,
but I don't think ext4 can't fill the gap of this test case in the
future. Let us wait and see. :)
> 
> And as an ext4 user, all I want is from ext4 to be stable like ext3
> is stable, not have it continually destabilised by the addition of
> incompatible feature after incompatible feature.  Indeed, I can't
> use ext4 in the places I'm using ext3 right now because ext4 is not
> very resilient in the face of 20 system crashes a day. I generally
> find that ext4 filesystems are irretrievable corrupted within a
> week.  In comparison, I have ext3 filesystems have lasted more than
> 3 years under such workloads without any corruptions occurring.
OK, so next time when you see the corruption, please at least send it to
the mail list so that ext4 developers can have the chance of seeing it.
Complaint doesn't improve it.

I have read your original letter about the review process in xfs
development, it is good and I guess ext4 should take it as a standard
process.
> 
> So the long form of my 3-word comment is effectively: "If you need
> multi-TB files, then use the filesystem most appropriate for that
> workload instead of trying to make ext4 more complex and unstable
> than it already is".
I have read and watched the talk you gave in this year's LCA, your
assumption about ext4 may be a little frightening, but it is good for
the ext4 community. In your talk "xfs is much slower than ext4 in
2009-2010 for meta-intensive workload", and now it works much faster. So
why do you think ext4 can't be improved also like xfs?

Thanks
Tao
> 
>> I don't encourage XFS users to switch to ext4 (or ZFS, for that matter, since
>> ZFS can do a lot of things that just aren't possible for XFS, and is now
>> available for Linux) on your mailing lists, and I'd appreciate the same
>> courtesy here...
> 
> Sorry, I didn't realise that I'm not aren't allowed to tell ext4
> people to use the filesystem most appropriate to their requirements.
> Extending ext4 is not the right solution to every problem.
> 
> I say stuff like this w.r.t. "don't use XFS for that" or "XFS will
> never support that" all the time on the XFS lists and IRC channels,
> and nobody thinks that it is out of place. If you want to pop up and
> say that "you should use ext4 for that" on the XFS lists then you
> are welcome to do so. Such comments generally results in an
> informative technical discussion of the pros and cons of why
> something is or is not suited to the given requirement without
> anyone being called a troll.

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