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Date:	Wed, 27 Mar 2013 11:10:11 -0400
From:	Theodore Ts'o <>
Subject: Re: Eric Whitney's ext4 scaling data

On Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 03:21:02PM +0800, Zheng Liu wrote:
> The key issue that we add test case into xfstests is that we need to
> handle some filesystem-specific feature.  Just like we had discussed
> with Dave, what is an extent?  IMHO now xfstests gets more compliated
> because it needs to handle this problem. e.g. punch hole for
> indirect-based file in ext4.

Yes, that means among other things the test framework needs to keep
track of which file system features was being used when we run a
particular test, as well as the hardware configuration.

I suspect that what this means is that we're better off trying to
create a new test framework that does what we want, and automates as
much of this as possible.

It would probably be a good idea to bring in Eric Whitney into this
discussion, since he has a huge amount of expertise about what sort of
things need to be done in order to get good results.  He was doing a
number of things by hand, including re-running the tests multiple
times to make sure the results were stable.  I could imagine that if
the framework could keep track of what the standard deviation was for
a particular test, it could try to do this automatically, and then we
could also throw up a flag if the average result hadn't changed, but
the standard deviation had increased, since that might be an
indication that some change had caused a lot more variability.

(Note by the way that one of the things that is going to be critically
important for companies using ext4 for web backends is not just the
average throughput, which is what FFSB mostly tests, but also 99.99%
percentile latency.  And sometimes the best workloads which show this
will only be mixed workloads, when under memory pressure.  For
example, consider the recent "page eviction from the buddy cache"
e-mail.  That's something which might result in only a slight increase
for average throughput numbers, but could have a much more profound
impact on 99.9% latency numbers, especially if while we are reading in
a bitmap block, we are holding some lock or preventing a journal
commit from closing.)


						- Ted
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