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Date:   Sat, 25 Jul 2020 19:42:11 -0700
From:   Eric Biggers <>
To:     Dave Chinner <>
Cc:     Satya Tangirala <>,,,,,
Subject: Re: [PATCH v4 3/7] iomap: support direct I/O with fscrypt using

On Sun, Jul 26, 2020 at 09:47:51AM +1000, Dave Chinner wrote:
> > > > I think you're missing the point here.  Currently, the granularity of encryption
> > > > (a.k.a. "data unit size") is always filesystem blocks, so that's the minimum we
> > > > can directly read or write to an encrypted file.  This has nothing to do with
> > > > the IV wraparound case also being discussed.
> > > 
> > > So when you change the subject, please make it *really obvious* so
> > > that people don't think you are still talking about the same issue.
> > > 
> > > > For example, changing a single bit in the plaintext of a filesystem block may
> > > > result in the entire block's ciphertext changing.  (The exact behavior depends
> > > > on the cryptographic algorithm that is used.)
> > > > 
> > > > That's why this patchset makes ext4 only allow direct I/O on encrypted files if
> > > > the I/O is fully filesystem-block-aligned.  Note that this might be a more
> > > > strict alignment requirement than the bdev_logical_block_size().
> > > > 
> > > > As long as the iomap code only issues filesystem-block-aligned bios, *given
> > > > fully filesystem-block-aligned inputs*, we're fine.  That appears to be the case
> > > > currently.
> > > 
> > > The actual size and shape of the bios issued by direct IO (both old
> > > code and newer iomap code) is determined by the user supplied iov,
> > > the size of the biovec array allocated in the bio, and the IO
> > > constraints of the underlying hardware.  Hence direct IO does not
> > > guarantee alignment to anything larger than the underlying block
> > > device logical sector size because there's no guarantee when or
> > > where a bio will fill up.
> > > 
> > > To guarantee alignment of what ends up at the hardware, you have to
> > > set the block device parameters (e.g. logical sector size)
> > > appropriately all the way down the stack. You also need to ensure
> > > that the filesystem is correctly aligned on the block device so that
> > > filesystem blocks don't overlap things like RAID stripe boundaires,
> > > linear concat boundaries, etc.
> > > 
> > > IOWs, to constrain alignment in the IO path, you need to configure
> > > you system correct so that the information provided to iomap for IO
> > > alignment matches your requirements. This is not somethign iomap can
> > > do itself; everything from above needs to be constrained by the
> > > filesystem using iomap, everything sent below by iomap is
> > > constrained by the block device config.
> > 
> > That way of thinking about things doesn't entirely work for inline encryption.
> Then the inline encryption design is flawed. Block devices tell the
> layers above what the minimum unit of atomic IO is via the logical
> block size of the device is. Everything above the block device
> assumes that it can align and size IO to this size, and the IO will
> succeed.
> > Hardware can support multiple encryption "data unit sizes", some of which may be
> > larger than the logical block size.  (The data unit size is the granularity of
> > encryption.  E.g. if software selects data_unit_size=4096, then each invocation
> > of the encryption/decryption algorithm is passed 4096 bytes.  You can't then
> > later encrypt/decrypt just part of that; that's not how the algorithms work.)
> I know what a DUN is. The problem here is that it's the unit of
> atomic IO the hardware supports when encryption is enabled....
> > For example hardware might *in general* support addressing 512-byte sectors and
> > thus have logical_block_size=512.  But it could also support encryption data
> > unit sizes [512, 1024, 2048, 4096].  Encrypted I/O has to be aligned to the data
> > unit size, not just to the logical block size.  The data unit size to use, and
> > whether to use encryption or not, is decided on a per-I/O basis.
> And that is the fundamental problem here: DUN > logical block size
> of the underlying device. i.e. The storage stack does not guarantee
> atomicity of such IOs.
> If inline encryption increases the size of the atomic unit of IO,
> then the logical block size of the device must increase to match it.
> If you do that, then the iomap and storage layers will guarantee
> that IOs are *always* aligned to DUN boundaries.
> > So in this case technically it's the filesystem (and later the
> > bio::bi_crypt_context which the filesystem sets) that knows about the alignment
> > needed -- *not* the request_queue.
> Exactly my point. Requiring infrastructure and storage layers to
> obey completely new, undefined, undiscoverable, opaque and variable
> definition of the block devices' "atomic unit of IO", then that's
> simply a non-starter. That requires a complete re-architecture of
> the block layers and how things interface and transmit information
> through them. At minimum, high level IO alignment constraints must
> be generic and not be hidden in context specific crypto structures.

Do you have any specific examples in mind of where *encrypted* I/O may broken at
only a logical_block_size boundary?  Remember that encrypted I/O with a
particular data_unit_size is only issued if the request_queue has declared that
it supports encryption with that data_unit_size.  In the case of a layered
device, that means that every layer would have to opt-into supporting encryption
as well as the specific data_unit_size.

Also, the alignment requirement is already passed down the stack as part of the
bio_crypt_ctx.  If there do turn out to be places that need to use it, we could
easily define generic helper functions:

unsigned int bio_required_alignment(struct bio *bio)
        unsigned int alignmask = queue_logical_block_size(bio->bi_disk->queue) - 1;

        if (bio->bi_crypt_context)
                alignmask |= bio->bi_crypt_context->bc_key->crypto_cfg.data_unit_size - 1;

        return alignmask + 1;

unsigned int rq_required_alignment(struct request *rq)
        unsigned int alignmask = queue_logical_block_size(rq->q) - 1;

        if (rq->crypt_ctx)
                alignmask |= rq->crypt_ctx->bc_key->crypto_cfg.data_unit_size - 1;

        return alignmask + 1;

Sure, we could also add a new alignment_required field to struct bio and struct
request, but it would be unnecessary since all the information is already there.

> > Is it your opinion that inline encryption should only be supported when
> > data_unit_size <= logical_block_size?  The problems with that are
> Pretty much.
> >     (a) Using an unnecessarily small data_unit_size degrades performance a
> > 	lot -- for *all* I/O, not just direct I/O.  This is because there are a
> > 	lot more separate encryptions/decryptions to do, and there's a fixed
> > 	overhead to each one (much of which is intrinsic in the crypto
> > 	algorithms themselves, i.e. this isn't simply an implementation quirk).
> Performance is irrelevant if correctness is not possible.

As far as I know, data_unit_size > logical_block_size is working for everyone
who has used it so far.

So again, I'm curious if you have any specific examples in mind.  Is this a
real-world problem, or just a theoretical case where (in the future) someone
could declare support for some data_unit_size in their 'struct request_queue'
(possibly for a layered device) without correctly handling alignment in all

I do see that logical_block_size is used for discard, write_same, and zeroout.
But that isn't encrypted I/O.

BTW, there might very well be hardware that *only* supports
data_unit_size > logical_block_size.

- Eric

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