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Date:   Mon, 8 Apr 2019 05:15:10 -0600
From:   Andreas Dilger <>
To:     Theodore Ts'o <>
Cc:     linux-ext4 <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH] mke2fs: allow 64bit feature without extents

On Apr 6, 2019, at 3:52 PM, Theodore Ts'o <> wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 22, 2019 at 03:24:27AM -0600, Andreas Dilger wrote:
>> From: Andreas Dilger <>
>> The 64bit feature should be allowed without extents to for 32-bit
>> metadata_csum checksums to be stored in the group descriptor.
>> Change the extents check to check for more than 2^32 blocks instead
>> of the 64bit feature flag.  This also avoids warnings later if the
>> metadata_csum feature is enabled on a filesystem without 64bit.
> So what worries me about this change is if extents aren't enabled, and
> we do an online (or off-line) resize such that we now have > 2^32
> blocks, things are going to get problematic.  Even if the resize
> operation sets the extent feature (which I don't think it will), the
> problem is if you have an existing file which is using indirect
> blocks, and you try to extend the file and there is simply no blocks
> under the 2^32 cutoff, what then?  Some files might get ENOSPC errors
> while others will work just fine.
> With current versions of e2fsprogs we enable the 64-bit (and
> metadata_csum) feature by default, which should avoid all of these
> problems.  Sure, that's not going to help older file systems --- but
> this patch to mke2fs isn't going to help them, either.
> It simplifies our test matrix to simply require the extents feature if
> the 64-bit feature is desired.  I'm not sure I see the value in
> relaxing this requirement.  Is there a reason why you specifically
> want 64bit && !extents && metadata_csum?

Mostly we want to enable metadata_csum on Lustre metadata targets, which
are typically always under 16TB in size, and since the MDT doesn't store
much file data, it is more efficient to use block-mapped directories
rather than extent-mapped, since directory blocks are typically allocated
randomly, so extents are not really useful or needed.

Currently the "64bit" feature is needed to get large group_descriptor
entries to store the 32-bit metadata_csum fields to enable metadata_csum,
which is the reason for this patch.  If it were possible to enable 64-byte
struct ext4_group_desc without the 64bit feature so that metadata_csum
could store 32-bit checksums, that would be another solution instead of
requiring 64bit to be enabled without extents.

Cheers, Andreas

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