[Linux-ha-dev] CTDB and clustered Samba

tridge at samba.org tridge at samba.org
Tue Jun 12 22:02:56 GMT 2007


 > OK. So you're using the CFS as a DLM. Expensive, but possible. ;-)

no, the DLM in CTDB is on our own transport. The single lock is
gained once when a node becomes the recovery master. That means one
lock every few days in a typical setup, which is hardly expensive!

 > (That also means that with OCFS2, you can't do that; it doesn't have
 > cluster-wide flock yet, _but_ it allows you to access it's DLM via
 > dlmfs, so that could be used.)

yes, we could support OCFS2 by having a config option to dispense with
this lock, as its really a paranoia check. CTDB already has its own
election code, so the lock in the filesystem is a double check for
split-brain scenarious and to prevent race conditions at startup when
our transport is still establishing itself.

I'm hoping some OCFS2 developers will get involved a bit with CTDB and
recommend a better approach. In the meantime you would need to use
some other distributed filesystem (even NFS) for this lock, or disable
that lock in the code.

 > No, not at all. DLM usually also cache locks mastered locally.
 > (I know your lock semantics are very complex, but I'm just sayin' ;-)

yes, many of them do, although often quite slowly, and when there is
lock contention the performance drops a lot.

See for example the ping_pong.c test http://junkcode.samba.org/#ping_pong. Run that
on several nodes at once and the performance is awful.

 > After an fsync, or with O_DIRECT etc, sure, but otherwise, no.

you would think so, but testing showed its horribly slow. Run
something like our tdb test tool on a cluster filesystem and its
terrible. Run on more than one node at a time and it gets even worse.

If you look at page 17 of this presentation:


then you can see what sort of results we were getting when we let the
cluster filesystem do all the work, and what we're getting now (the
super-linear speedup is due to cache effects on GPFS). The results
differed between cluster filesystems, but none were good.

The non-CTDB results are a bit misleading because they leave the whole
tdb in one file on the cluster (which is normally how a tdb is
done). Volker experimented with other schemes where he split out each
record into a separate file, and that improved things, but to nothing
like the degree that CTDB does.

 > Well, attaching the page to the DLM reply makes that replication
 > basically free, at least in terms of latency.

Is this really done a page at a time?

 > Sure, that makes sense. Can you elaborate on this a bit more?

ok, we can look at one of the most heavily used databases in Samba,
which is brlock.tdb. That database maps windows byte range locking
semantics onto posix byte range locking semantics. Every time a
windows client does a read or write operation this database needs to
be checked (as windows locks are mandatory, whereas posix are

So, we have a record in that database per open file on the
cluster. The record is keyed by device:inode (or for some cluster
filesystems fsid:inode or fsname:inode). Inside the record is a set of
sub-records which describe the windows byte range locks held by all
clients. The sub-records are tagged with an id saying which instance
of Samba put it there (nodenumber:pid). On each IO operation, Samba
needs to look inside that record and see if the read/write conflicts
with an existing lock.

Now what happens if a node goes down? The open file handles of that
node are lost (they will need to be re-established by clients when
they reconnect to a new node) which means the sub-records associated
with that node are no longer needed. 

We cope with this in a recovery run, where the elected recovery master
scans the whole db and looks for the instance of each record with the
highest 'RSN' (record serial number). That means it gathers the most
recent record it can find. That record is then scrubbed of any
sub-records associated with the dead node.

This way we guarantee to get correct data for all of the sub-records
associated with any of the nodes that are still alive, and remove all
of the sub-records associated with the dead nodes. So we've recovered
all the data we need, but without at any time having to do any sort of
replication, and without having to write any data to shared storage.

 > OK, I'm not questioning your judgement and experience, I'm just trying
 > to understand why, and what we might be able to accomodate (as we're
 > looking at switching commlayers anyway). Or, if you're right, what we
 > could reuse - as the Linux HA v2 code has a "CIB" (cluster information
 > base) which is a replicated/distributed db thingy too, maybe we could
 > reuse parts of the CTDB or something ;-)

possibly, though you would probably want a different data persistence
model to us. We are planning on adding support for persistent data (so
we can't assume the above logic for sub-records) but that isn't done
yet. It's much less important for Samba than our temporary data, as
its the temporary data that is accessed a lot.

 > TCP in a controlled LAN environment likely performs pretty well, yes.
 > But you will open N:N connections in your cluster as well, no? Don't you
 > need some broadcasts?

currently each node has 2*N sockets open, giving a total of 2*N*N
across the whole cluster.

We broadcast by sending to each node separately. Broadcasts aren't a
big problem though, as they are really only used for management tasks
(such as by the recovery master). They aren't used for anything that
is speed sensitive.

Internally, ctdbd is event driven. It never makes any blocking system
calls, so when you broadcast you don't sit waiting for all the sockets
to complete sending their data. 

 > Or easier - is there a document I can read which outlines the CTDB
 > requirements?

There isn't a document on the internals yet apart from the code

Writing a backend is fairly simple though, you fill in a structure
like this:

static const struct ctdb_methods ctdb_tcp_methods = {
	.initialise   = ctdb_tcp_initialise,
	.start        = ctdb_tcp_start,
	.queue_pkt    = ctdb_tcp_queue_pkt,
	.add_node     = ctdb_tcp_add_node,
	.allocate_pkt = ctdb_tcp_allocate_pkt,
	.shutdown     = ctdb_tcp_shutdown,

and each of those functions is fairly simple.

The backend needs to queue packets when the connection to the node is
down, and needs to handle errors pretty carefully, but nothing too
hard. It does need to be careful to never do a blocking operation
though, and never to use a polling loop (the latter can be fatal with
SCHED_FIFO). So for example it must use non-blocking connect()
calls. It also needs to use our event framework, so it can be called
when something happens on one of the sockets. CTDB provides IO library
routines that make this a bit easier.

 > Right, just like TCP on TCP is a bad idea I expect this would be as
 > well. (Just like the misdesigned approach to try running heartbeat's
 > native comm layer on top of openAIS; it's the same stacking issue.)


 > If not, that's a conference paper I'd fly a few miles for to attend the
 > presentation ;-)

I've given some papers (see my home page) but not in the level of
detail you would want. We do plan on writing up the internal design of
CTDB, but for now I'm afraid the code is the only guide to the

There is an old design doc on our wiki
(http://wiki.samba.org/index.php/CTDB_Project) but its pretty dated
now. It might confuse more than it enlightens :)

Cheers, Tridge

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