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Based on kernel version 3.15.4. Page generated on 2014-07-07 09:00 EST.

1	Introduction
2	============
3	
4	dm-cache is a device mapper target written by Joe Thornber, Heinz
5	Mauelshagen, and Mike Snitzer.
6	
7	It aims to improve performance of a block device (eg, a spindle) by
8	dynamically migrating some of its data to a faster, smaller device
9	(eg, an SSD).
10	
11	This device-mapper solution allows us to insert this caching at
12	different levels of the dm stack, for instance above the data device for
13	a thin-provisioning pool.  Caching solutions that are integrated more
14	closely with the virtual memory system should give better performance.
15	
16	The target reuses the metadata library used in the thin-provisioning
17	library.
18	
19	The decision as to what data to migrate and when is left to a plug-in
20	policy module.  Several of these have been written as we experiment,
21	and we hope other people will contribute others for specific io
22	scenarios (eg. a vm image server).
23	
24	Glossary
25	========
26	
27	  Migration -  Movement of the primary copy of a logical block from one
28		       device to the other.
29	  Promotion -  Migration from slow device to fast device.
30	  Demotion  -  Migration from fast device to slow device.
31	
32	The origin device always contains a copy of the logical block, which
33	may be out of date or kept in sync with the copy on the cache device
34	(depending on policy).
35	
36	Design
37	======
38	
39	Sub-devices
40	-----------
41	
42	The target is constructed by passing three devices to it (along with
43	other parameters detailed later):
44	
45	1. An origin device - the big, slow one.
46	
47	2. A cache device - the small, fast one.
48	
49	3. A small metadata device - records which blocks are in the cache,
50	   which are dirty, and extra hints for use by the policy object.
51	   This information could be put on the cache device, but having it
52	   separate allows the volume manager to configure it differently,
53	   e.g. as a mirror for extra robustness.  This metadata device may only
54	   be used by a single cache device.
55	
56	Fixed block size
57	----------------
58	
59	The origin is divided up into blocks of a fixed size.  This block size
60	is configurable when you first create the cache.  Typically we've been
61	using block sizes of 256KB - 1024KB.  The block size must be between 64
62	(32KB) and 2097152 (1GB) and a multiple of 64 (32KB).
63	
64	Having a fixed block size simplifies the target a lot.  But it is
65	something of a compromise.  For instance, a small part of a block may be
66	getting hit a lot, yet the whole block will be promoted to the cache.
67	So large block sizes are bad because they waste cache space.  And small
68	block sizes are bad because they increase the amount of metadata (both
69	in core and on disk).
70	
71	Cache operating modes
72	---------------------
73	
74	The cache has three operating modes: writeback, writethrough and
75	passthrough.
76	
77	If writeback, the default, is selected then a write to a block that is
78	cached will go only to the cache and the block will be marked dirty in
79	the metadata.
80	
81	If writethrough is selected then a write to a cached block will not
82	complete until it has hit both the origin and cache devices.  Clean
83	blocks should remain clean.
84	
85	If passthrough is selected, useful when the cache contents are not known
86	to be coherent with the origin device, then all reads are served from
87	the origin device (all reads miss the cache) and all writes are
88	forwarded to the origin device; additionally, write hits cause cache
89	block invalidates.  To enable passthrough mode the cache must be clean.
90	Passthrough mode allows a cache device to be activated without having to
91	worry about coherency.  Coherency that exists is maintained, although
92	the cache will gradually cool as writes take place.  If the coherency of
93	the cache can later be verified, or established through use of the
94	"invalidate_cblocks" message, the cache device can be transitioned to
95	writethrough or writeback mode while still warm.  Otherwise, the cache
96	contents can be discarded prior to transitioning to the desired
97	operating mode.
98	
99	A simple cleaner policy is provided, which will clean (write back) all
100	dirty blocks in a cache.  Useful for decommissioning a cache or when
101	shrinking a cache.  Shrinking the cache's fast device requires all cache
102	blocks, in the area of the cache being removed, to be clean.  If the
103	area being removed from the cache still contains dirty blocks the resize
104	will fail.  Care must be taken to never reduce the volume used for the
105	cache's fast device until the cache is clean.  This is of particular
106	importance if writeback mode is used.  Writethrough and passthrough
107	modes already maintain a clean cache.  Future support to partially clean
108	the cache, above a specified threshold, will allow for keeping the cache
109	warm and in writeback mode during resize.
110	
111	Migration throttling
112	--------------------
113	
114	Migrating data between the origin and cache device uses bandwidth.
115	The user can set a throttle to prevent more than a certain amount of
116	migration occurring at any one time.  Currently we're not taking any
117	account of normal io traffic going to the devices.  More work needs
118	doing here to avoid migrating during those peak io moments.
119	
120	For the time being, a message "migration_threshold <#sectors>"
121	can be used to set the maximum number of sectors being migrated,
122	the default being 204800 sectors (or 100MB).
123	
124	Updating on-disk metadata
125	-------------------------
126	
127	On-disk metadata is committed every time a FLUSH or FUA bio is written.
128	If no such requests are made then commits will occur every second.  This
129	means the cache behaves like a physical disk that has a volatile write
130	cache.  If power is lost you may lose some recent writes.  The metadata
131	should always be consistent in spite of any crash.
132	
133	The 'dirty' state for a cache block changes far too frequently for us
134	to keep updating it on the fly.  So we treat it as a hint.  In normal
135	operation it will be written when the dm device is suspended.  If the
136	system crashes all cache blocks will be assumed dirty when restarted.
137	
138	Per-block policy hints
139	----------------------
140	
141	Policy plug-ins can store a chunk of data per cache block.  It's up to
142	the policy how big this chunk is, but it should be kept small.  Like the
143	dirty flags this data is lost if there's a crash so a safe fallback
144	value should always be possible.
145	
146	For instance, the 'mq' policy, which is currently the default policy,
147	uses this facility to store the hit count of the cache blocks.  If
148	there's a crash this information will be lost, which means the cache
149	may be less efficient until those hit counts are regenerated.
150	
151	Policy hints affect performance, not correctness.
152	
153	Policy messaging
154	----------------
155	
156	Policies will have different tunables, specific to each one, so we
157	need a generic way of getting and setting these.  Device-mapper
158	messages are used.  Refer to cache-policies.txt.
159	
160	Discard bitset resolution
161	-------------------------
162	
163	We can avoid copying data during migration if we know the block has
164	been discarded.  A prime example of this is when mkfs discards the
165	whole block device.  We store a bitset tracking the discard state of
166	blocks.  However, we allow this bitset to have a different block size
167	from the cache blocks.  This is because we need to track the discard
168	state for all of the origin device (compare with the dirty bitset
169	which is just for the smaller cache device).
170	
171	Target interface
172	================
173	
174	Constructor
175	-----------
176	
177	 cache <metadata dev> <cache dev> <origin dev> <block size>
178	       <#feature args> [<feature arg>]*
179	       <policy> <#policy args> [policy args]*
180	
181	 metadata dev    : fast device holding the persistent metadata
182	 cache dev	 : fast device holding cached data blocks
183	 origin dev	 : slow device holding original data blocks
184	 block size      : cache unit size in sectors
185	
186	 #feature args   : number of feature arguments passed
187	 feature args    : writethrough or passthrough (The default is writeback.)
188	
189	 policy          : the replacement policy to use
190	 #policy args    : an even number of arguments corresponding to
191	                   key/value pairs passed to the policy
192	 policy args     : key/value pairs passed to the policy
193			   E.g. 'sequential_threshold 1024'
194			   See cache-policies.txt for details.
195	
196	Optional feature arguments are:
197	   writethrough  : write through caching that prohibits cache block
198			   content from being different from origin block content.
199			   Without this argument, the default behaviour is to write
200			   back cache block contents later for performance reasons,
201			   so they may differ from the corresponding origin blocks.
202	
203	   passthrough	 : a degraded mode useful for various cache coherency
204			   situations (e.g., rolling back snapshots of
205			   underlying storage).	 Reads and writes always go to
206			   the origin.	If a write goes to a cached origin
207			   block, then the cache block is invalidated.
208			   To enable passthrough mode the cache must be clean.
209	
210	A policy called 'default' is always registered.  This is an alias for
211	the policy we currently think is giving best all round performance.
212	
213	As the default policy could vary between kernels, if you are relying on
214	the characteristics of a specific policy, always request it by name.
215	
216	Status
217	------
218	
219	<metadata block size> <#used metadata blocks>/<#total metadata blocks>
220	<cache block size> <#used cache blocks>/<#total cache blocks>
221	<#read hits> <#read misses> <#write hits> <#write misses>
222	<#demotions> <#promotions> <#dirty> <#features> <features>*
223	<#core args> <core args>* <policy name> <#policy args> <policy args>*
224	
225	metadata block size	 : Fixed block size for each metadata block in
226				     sectors
227	#used metadata blocks	 : Number of metadata blocks used
228	#total metadata blocks	 : Total number of metadata blocks
229	cache block size	 : Configurable block size for the cache device
230				     in sectors
231	#used cache blocks	 : Number of blocks resident in the cache
232	#total cache blocks	 : Total number of cache blocks
233	#read hits		 : Number of times a READ bio has been mapped
234				     to the cache
235	#read misses		 : Number of times a READ bio has been mapped
236				     to the origin
237	#write hits		 : Number of times a WRITE bio has been mapped
238				     to the cache
239	#write misses		 : Number of times a WRITE bio has been
240				     mapped to the origin
241	#demotions		 : Number of times a block has been removed
242				     from the cache
243	#promotions		 : Number of times a block has been moved to
244				     the cache
245	#dirty			 : Number of blocks in the cache that differ
246				     from the origin
247	#feature args		 : Number of feature args to follow
248	feature args		 : 'writethrough' (optional)
249	#core args		 : Number of core arguments (must be even)
250	core args		 : Key/value pairs for tuning the core
251				     e.g. migration_threshold
252	policy name		 : Name of the policy
253	#policy args		 : Number of policy arguments to follow (must be even)
254	policy args		 : Key/value pairs
255				     e.g. sequential_threshold
256	
257	Messages
258	--------
259	
260	Policies will have different tunables, specific to each one, so we
261	need a generic way of getting and setting these.  Device-mapper
262	messages are used.  (A sysfs interface would also be possible.)
263	
264	The message format is:
265	
266	   <key> <value>
267	
268	E.g.
269	   dmsetup message my_cache 0 sequential_threshold 1024
270	
271	
272	Invalidation is removing an entry from the cache without writing it
273	back.  Cache blocks can be invalidated via the invalidate_cblocks
274	message, which takes an arbitrary number of cblock ranges.  Each cblock
275	range's end value is "one past the end", meaning 5-10 expresses a range
276	of values from 5 to 9.  Each cblock must be expressed as a decimal
277	value, in the future a variant message that takes cblock ranges
278	expressed in hexidecimal may be needed to better support efficient
279	invalidation of larger caches.  The cache must be in passthrough mode
280	when invalidate_cblocks is used.
281	
282	   invalidate_cblocks [<cblock>|<cblock begin>-<cblock end>]*
283	
284	E.g.
285	   dmsetup message my_cache 0 invalidate_cblocks 2345 3456-4567 5678-6789
286	
287	Examples
288	========
289	
290	The test suite can be found here:
291	
292	https://github.com/jthornber/device-mapper-test-suite
293	
294	dmsetup create my_cache --table '0 41943040 cache /dev/mapper/metadata \
295		/dev/mapper/ssd /dev/mapper/origin 512 1 writeback default 0'
296	dmsetup create my_cache --table '0 41943040 cache /dev/mapper/metadata \
297		/dev/mapper/ssd /dev/mapper/origin 1024 1 writeback \
298		mq 4 sequential_threshold 1024 random_threshold 8'
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