Coda File System

Re: What is the "normal" speed to copy to /coda Server

From: Jan Harkes <>
Date: Fri, 9 Feb 2007 16:10:36 -0500
On Thu, Feb 08, 2007 at 07:54:10AM +0100, Reiner Dassing wrote:
> thank you very much for your detailed  explanations.
> The mentioned transfer speeds are detected on coda-6.1.2.
> But I had used coda-6.9.0 and there I saw very bad responses.

Interesting, 6.9 probably can use some additional tweaking in the
writeback parameters.

It always logs local changes and writes them back asynchronously. The
settings are tuned to minimize the impact of writeback on user activity.
The current settings are to use up to 20% of the available network
bandwidth (write back occurs in 1 second bursts once every 5 seconds).

So if the amount of dirty data fits in the client cache, this should be
near optimal. We hardly get any write delays, and updates invisibly
trickle back at some point.

However if our working set is (considerably) larger than the client
cache, we end up blocking even on reads because the whole cache is dirty
and we can't discard anything until reintegration has caught up. At this
point the 'codacon' output should be showing things like 'yellow zone,
slowing down writer' or 'red zone, stalling writer'. Readers get a
little more room, but will eventually block as well.

So in a case where we copy a lot of data into the cache, it may be
useful to increase the length of the reintegration bursts. In fact it
may be useful to allow for 30-60 seconds of reintegration to push a
large file back in a single transfer instead of trickling it in small

It isn't hard to tweak the settings they are controlled through the
writedisconnect settings of cfs. The settings are persistent across
reboots, but only affect currently known (or explicitly specified)
volumes. There is an -age parameter which defines how long something
should stay in the CML before it is eligible for writeback, the longer
we keep things around the more chance we have that we can optimize it.
The second setting -hogtime defines how long reintegration is allowed to
take. Once every 5 seconds a reintegration thread kicks in and pushes
all eligible objects back that it can send within the hogtime period,
anything else will have to wait for the next (multiple of) 5 seconds

The default is,
    cfs wd -age 0 -hogtime 1

so modifications can be written back immediately, but we only want
reintegration to use up to 1 second.

A possible option would be,
    cfs wd -age 0 -hogtime 5

This should reintegrate in 5 second bursts, however if we underestimate
the time it takes we might end up reintegrating a bit longer and miss
the next interval so we'd only be reintegrating maybe 50% of the time.

So even better may be,
    cfs wd -age 0 -hogtime 30 (or 60)

This pretty much should try to clear out as much as we can. It does mean
that write operations may be blocked for up to 30 (or 60) seconds while
reintegration is occuring.

Finally there is a magic setting,

    cfs wd -age 0 -hogtime 0  (or as an alias 'cfs strong')

This will force a synchronous reintegration after every operation before
we return control to the application. The resulting behaviour should be
close to connected mode operation in 6.1.2. I have been finding some odd
cases though, under low bandwidth conditions trickle reintegration would
not check for the synchronous reintegration flag and we end up trying to
reintegrate the file in chunks of 0 bytes, resulting in no progress on
each successive reintegration attempt.

> There must be something in coda-6.9.0 which makes it very slow.
> I now use coda-6.1.2 which is as fast as expected.

6.9 is a lot faster for the local application as long as the working set
is smaller than the client cache size. But yes in the long run it does
take longer before updates actually reach the server since we only use
about 20% of the available time/bandwidth for write-back purposes.

The question is how do both clients compare when we scale up to 10s or
100s of clients against a single server. Reintegration is considerably
more efficient as operations are batched and the server can commit the
whole batch in a single transaction. But if the 6.1 clients add too much
load to the server they would fall back on write-disconnection as well,
but by default assume that it is network related and use conservative
writedisconnect settings of -age 30 and -hogtime 60.

My assumption is that overall updates from the 6.9 clients would end up
on the servers faster while keeping the same behaviour and consistency
guarantees as we see with a single client, single server setup. Compared
to this, the 6.1 clients are drastically changing their behaviour and
consistency model as they bounce back and forth between strong and weak
connectivity states depending on activity of other clients and the
resulting server load.

Received on 2007-02-09 16:13:05