Re: iSCSI disconnects dilema

Wilko Bulte wrote:
On Fri, Jan 12, 2007 at 09:31:04PM +0200, Danny Braniss wrote..
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On Tue, Jan 09, 2007 at 09:06:46AM +0200, Danny Braniss wrote:
While I think I have almost solved the problem of network disconnects,
It downed on me a major problem:
When a 'local' disk crashes, the kernel will probably hang/panic/crash.
if i don't try to recover, then there is no change in the above scenario.
if i try to recover, then the client does not know that it should
While all this seems familiar, removing a floppy/disk-on-key while it's
mounted, we could always say "you shouldn't have done that!", with
a network connection, it can happen very often - rebooting the target, a
network hickup, etc.
So, any ideas?
In my opinion it should be done this way:

You have a queue of I/O requests. You send the to the other end and wait
for confirmation. Until confirmation is received, you keep the requests
queued. If the other end dies, you try to reconnect (until some timeout
expires, the processes which send those requests will just wait), if you
reconnect successfully, you resend not-confirmed requests, if you won't
be able to reconnect, you just pass the errors up.

This is what I did in ggate and it seems to work.
That is basically what i'm doing - unacked request get requed.
the problem I fear (and maybe I'm paranoid :-):

Paranoia is a Good Thing(TM) in data storage land :-)

assume the following scenario, the client(initiator) sends a write command,
the target acks it, then it crashes, if the write was never completed,
the initiator goes on as nothing ever happened.

Yes, but what can the initiator do about that? I mean, it does not have any
visibility of what the target has (or has not) done with the data. '

This is roughly the same as a RAID box accepting a write into a writeback cache
and ACK-ing to the host. You can only assume that the RAID box' cache
will get flushed to the spindles properly. All the usual horror scenarios
with a broken battery backup of the cache and a powerfailure etc apply here.


I forget, does iSCSI have a concept of a flush_cache command, or the
equivalent of what parallel SCSI does with ordered tags?

not realy - or I can't find it. iSCSI is mainly and envelope for
scsi commands, so whatever the CAM does, it will pass it on.
There are some managemenet commands, so the target can tell the initiator
that it's going down for example (and what should the driver
do in such a case in freebsd?)

If so, then
that's how your app or OS knows that the transaction got committed to
stable storage. It's been long assumed in the external storage world
that you are at the mercy of the external storage cache, so the problem
that Danny is referring to is nothing new. The real question is how
to implement the equivalent mechanism that iSCSI provides in a way that
the OS/app can make use of it. For example, CAM issues an ordered tag
periodically to flush the disk cache to stable storage.
nice, (or wishful thinking :-), the scsi part of iSCSI is/can be

Most storage
drivers, including CAM, will issue some sort of a flush_cache command to
the controller and media during system shutdown.

this took me a long time to fix! the userland program got killed at shutdown,
the link was lost, and so there was no way to flush buffers, fixed by calling
fget(...) too.

I guess I can summarize: (and use the 3 monkey law :-)
1- assume the target is 'well behaved' and will flush cache.
2- there is - currently - no way to tell the OS that not all
seems to be as expected.
3- keep quiet and hope for the best.

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