[LSF/MM/BPF TOPIC] Enhancing Linux Copy Performance and Function and improving backup scenarios

Darrick J. Wong darrick.wong at oracle.com
Thu Jan 30 01:52:10 UTC 2020

On Wed, Jan 22, 2020 at 05:13:53PM -0600, Steve French wrote:
> As discussed last year:
> Current Linux copy tools have various problems compared to other
> platforms - small I/O sizes (and most don't allow it to be
> configured), lack of parallel I/O for multi-file copies, inability to
> reduce metadata updates by setting file size first, lack of cross

...and yet weirdly we tell everyone on xfs not to do that or to use
fallocate, so that delayed speculative allocation can do its thing.
We also tell them not to create deep directory trees because xfs isn't

> mount (to the same file system) copy optimizations, limited ability to
> handle the wide variety of server side copy (and copy offload)
> mechanisms and error handling problems.   And copy tools rely less on
> the kernel file system (vs. code in the user space tool) in Linux than
> would be expected, in order to determine which optimizations to use.

What kernel interfaces would we expect userspace to use to figure out
the confusing mess of optimizations? :)

There's a whole bunch of xfs ioctls like dioinfo and the like that we
ought to push to statx too.  Is that an example of what you mean?

(I wasn't at last year's LSF.)

> But some progress has been made since last year's summit, with new
> copy tools being released and improvements to some of the kernel file
> systems, and also some additional feedback on lwn and on the mailing
> lists.  In addition these discussions have prompted additional
> feedback on how to improve file backup/restore scenarios (e.g. to
> mounts to the cloud from local Linux systems) which require preserving
> more timestamps, ACLs and metadata, and preserving them efficiently.

I suppose it would be useful to think a little more about cross-device
fs copies considering that the "devices" can be VM block devs backed by
files on a filesystem that supports reflink.  I have no idea how you
manage that sanely though.


> Let's continue our discussions from last year, and see how we can move
> forward on improving the performance and function of Linux fs
> (including the VFS and user space tools) for various backup, restore
> and copy scenarios operations.

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