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Date:   Wed, 27 Feb 2019 06:40:08 -0500
From:   Ric Wheeler <>
To:     Keith Busch <>,
        "Martin K. Petersen" <>
Cc:     Dave Chinner <>,,
        linux-xfs <>,
        linux-fsdevel <>,
        linux-ext4 <>,
        linux-btrfs <>,
Subject: Re: [LSF/MM TOPIC] More async operations for file systems - async

On 2/22/19 11:45 AM, Keith Busch wrote:
> On Thu, Feb 21, 2019 at 09:51:12PM -0500, Martin K. Petersen wrote:
>> Keith,
>>> With respect to fs block sizes, one thing making discards suck is that
>>> many high capacity SSDs' physical page sizes are larger than the fs
>>> block size, and a sub-page discard is worse than doing nothing.
>> That ties into the whole zeroing as a side-effect thing.
>> The devices really need to distinguish between discard-as-a-hint where
>> it is free to ignore anything that's not a whole multiple of whatever
>> the internal granularity is, and the WRITE ZEROES use case where the end
>> result needs to be deterministic.
> Exactly, yes, considering the deterministic zeroing behavior. For devices
> supporting that, sub-page discards turn into a read-modify-write instead
> of invalidating the page.  That increases WAF instead of improving it
> as intended, and large page SSDs are most likely to have relatively poor
> write endurance in the first place.
> We have NVMe spec changes in the pipeline so devices can report this
> granularity. But my real concern isn't with discard per se, but more
> with the writes since we don't support "sector" sizes greater than the
> system's page size. This is a bit of a different topic from where this
> thread started, though.

All of this behavior I think could be helped if we can get some discard testing 
tooling that large customers could use to validate/quantify performance issues. 
Most vendors are moderately good at jumping through hoops held up by large deals 
when the path through that hoop leads to a big deal :)


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