HP-UX VxFS tuning and performance Technical white paper Table of contents Executive summary ___ 2
Introduction ___ 2
Understanding VxFS ___ 3
Software versions vs. disk layout versions ___ 3
Variable sized extent based file system ___ 3
Extent allocation ___ 4
Fragmentation ___ 4
Transaction journaling ___ 5
Understanding your application ___ 5
Data access methods ___ 6
Buffered/cached I/O ___ 6
Direct I/O ___ 12
Concurrent I/O ___ 15
Oracle Disk Manager ___ 17
Creating your file system ___ 18
Block size ___ 18
Intent log size ___ 18
Disk layout version ___ 19
Mount options ___ 20
Dynamic file system tunables ___ 24
System wide tunables ___ 25
Buffer cache on HP-UX 11i v2 and earlier ___ 25
Unified File Cache on HP-UX 11i v3 ___ 27
VxFS metadata buffer cache ___ 27
VxFS inode cache ___ 28
Directory Name Lookup Cache ___ 29
VxFS ioctl() options ___ 30
Cache advisories ___ 30
Allocation policies ___ 30
Patches ___ 31
Summary ___ 31
For additional information .


2 Executive summary File system performance is critical to overall system performance. While memory latencies are measured in nanoseconds, I/O latencies are measured in milliseconds. In order to maximize the performance of your systems, the file system must be as fast as possible by performing efficient I/O, eliminating unnecessary I/O, and reducing file system overhead. In the past several years many changes have been made to the Veritas File System (VxFS) as well as HP-UX. This paper is based on VxFS 3.5 and includes information on VxFS through version 5.0.1, currently available on HP-UX 11i v3 (11.31).

Recent key changes mentioned in this paper include:  page-based Unified File Cache introduced in HP-UX 11i v3  improved performance for large directories in VxFS 5.0  patches needed for read ahead in HP-UX 11i v3  changes to the write flush behind policies in HP-UX 11i v3  new read flush behind feature in HP-UX 11i v3  changes in direct I/O alignment in VxFS 5.0 on HP-UX 11i v3  concurrent I/O included with OnlineJFS license with VxFS 5.0.1  Oracle Disk Manager (ODM) feature Target audience: This white paper is intended for HP-UX administrators that are familiar with configuring file systems on HP-UX.

Introduction Beginning with HP-UX 10.0, Hewlett-Packard began providing a Journaled File System (JFS) from Veritas Software Corporation (now part of Symantec) known as the Veritas File System (VxFS). You no longer need to be concerned with performance attributes such as cylinders, tracks, and rotational delays. The speed of storage devices have increased dramatically and computer systems continue to have more memory available to them. Applications are becoming more complex, accessing large amounts of data in many different ways.

In order to maximize performance with VxFS file systems, you need to understand the various attributes of the file system, and which attributes can be changed to best suit how the application accesses the data.

Many factors need to be considered when tuning your VxFS file systems for optimal performance. The answer to the question “How should I tune my file system for maximum performance?” is “It depends”. Understanding some of the key features of VxFS and knowing how the applications access data are keys to deciding how to best tune the file systems.

The following topics are covered in this paper:  Understanding VxFS  Understanding your application  Data access methods  Creating your file system  Mount options  Dynamic File system tunables  System wide tunables  VxFS ioctl() options


3 Understanding VxFS In order to fully understand some of the various file system creation options, mount options, and tunables, a brief overview of VxFS is provided. Software versions vs. disk layout versions VxFS supports several different disk layout versions (DLV). The default disk layout version can be overridden when the file system is created using mkfs(1M).

Also, the disk layout can be upgraded online using the vxupgrade(1M) command. Table 1. VxFS software versions and disk layout versions (* denotes default disk layout) OS Version SW Version Disk layout version 11.23 VxFS 3.5 VxFS 4.1 VxFS 5.0 3,4,5* 4,5,6* 4,5,6,7* 11.31 VxFS 4.1 VxFS 5.0 VxFS 5.0.1 4,5,6* 4,5,6,7* 4,5,6,7* Several improvements have been made in the disk layouts which can help increase performance. For example, the version 5 disk layout is needed to create file system larger than 2 TB. The version 7 disk layout available on VxFS 5.0 and above improves the performance of large directories.

Please note that you cannot port a file system to a previous release unless the previous release supports the same disk layout version for the file system being ported. Before porting a file system from one operating system to another, be sure the file system is properly unmounted. Differences in the Intent Log will likely cause a replay of the log to fail and a full fsck will be required before mounting the file system.

Variable sized extent based file system VxFS is a variable sized extent based file system. Each file is made up of one or more extents that vary in size. Each extent is made up of one or more file system blocks. A file system block is the smallest allocation unit of a file. The block size of the file system is determined when the file system is created and cannot be changed without rebuilding the file system. The default block size varies depending on the size of the file system. The advantages of variable sized extents include:  Faster allocation of extents  Larger and fewer extents to manage  Ability to issue large physical I/O for an extent However, variable sized extents also have disadvantages:  Free space fragmentation  Files with many small extents

4 Extent allocation When a file is initially opened for writing, VxFS is unaware of how much data the application will write before the file is closed. The application may write 1 KB of data or 500 MB of data. The size of the initial extent is the largest power of 2 greater than the size of the write, with a minimum extent size of 8k. Fragmentation will limit the extent size as well. If the current extent fills up, the extent will be extended if neighboring free space is available. Otherwise, a new extent will be allocated that is progressively larger as long as there is available contiguous free space.

When the file is closed by the last process that had the file opened, the last extent is trimmed to the minimum amount needed. Fragmentation Two types of fragmentation can occur with VxFS. The available free space can be fragmented and individual files may be fragmented. As files are created and removed, free space can become fragmented due to the variable sized extent nature of the file system. For volatile file systems with a small block size, the file system performance can degrade significantly if the fragmentation is severe. Examples of applications that use many small files include mail servers.

As free space becomes fragmented, file allocation takes longer as smaller extents are allocated. Then, more and smaller I/Os are necessary when the file is read or updated.

However, files can be fragmented even when there are large extents available in the free space map. This fragmentation occurs when a file is repeatedly opened, extended, and closed. When the file is closed, the last extent is trimmed to the minimum size needed. Later, when the file grows but there is no contiguous free space to increase the size of the last extent, a new extent will be allocated and the file could be closed again. This process of opening, extending, and closing a file can repeat resulting in a large file with many small extents. When a file is fragmented, a sequential read through the file will be seen as small random I/O to the disk drive or disk array, since the fragmented extents may be small and reside anywhere on disk.

Static file systems that use large files built shortly after the file system is created are less prone to fragmentation, especially if the file system block size is 8 KB. Examples are file systems that have large database files. The large database files are often updated but rarely change in size. File system fragmentation can be reported using the “-E” option of the fsadm(1M) utility. File systems can be defragmented or reorganized with the HP OnLineJFS product using the “-e” option of the fsadm utility. Remember, performing one 8 KB I/O will be faster than performing eight 1 KB I/Os. File systems with small block sizes are more susceptible to performance degradation due to fragmentation than file systems with large block sizes.

File system reorganization should be done on a regular and periodic basis, where the interval between reorganizations depends on the volatility, size and number of the files. Large file systems with a large number of files and significant fragmentation can take an extended amount of time to defragment. The extent reorganization is run online; however, increased disk I/O will occur when fsadm copies data from smaller extents to larger ones.

5 File system reorganization attempts to collect large areas of free space by moving various file extents and attempts to defragment individual files by copying the data in the small extents to larger extents.

The reorganization is not a compaction utility and does not try to move all the data to the front on the file system. Note Fsadm extent reorganization may fail if there are not sufficient large free areas to perform the reorganization. Fsadm -e should be used to defragment file systems on a regular basis.

Transaction journaling By definition, a journal file system logs file system changes to a “journal” in order to provide file system integrity in the event of a system crash. VxFS logs structural changes to the file system in a circular transaction log called the Intent Log. A transaction is a group of related changes that represent a single operation. For example, adding a new file in a directory would require multiple changes to the file system structures such as adding the directory entry, writing the inode information, updating the inode bitmap, etc. Once the Intent Log has been updated with the pending transaction, VxFS can begin committing the changes to disk.

When all the disk changes have been made on disk, a completion record is written to indicate that transaction is complete. With the datainlog mount option, small synchronous writes are also logged in the Intent Log. The datainlog mount option will be discussed in more detail later in this paper. Since the Intent Log is a circular log, it is possible for it to “fill” up. This occurs when the oldest transaction in the log has not been completed, and the space is needed for a new transaction. When the Intent Log is full, the threads must wait for the oldest transaction to be flushed and the space returned to the Intent Log.

A full Intent Log occurs very infrequently, but may occur more often if many threads are making structural changes or small synchronous writes (datainlog) to the file system simultaneously.

Understanding your application As you plan the various attributes of your file system, you must also know your application and how your application will be accessing the data. Ask yourself the following questions:  Will the application be doing mostly file reads, file writes, or both?  Will files be accessed sequentially or randomly?  What are the sizes of the file reads and writes?  Does the application use many small files, or a few large files?  How is the data organized on the volume or disk? Is the file system fragmented? Is the volume striped?

Are the files written or read by multiple processes or threads simultaneously?  Which is more important, data integrity or performance? How you tune your system and file systems depend on how you answer the above questions.

No single set of tunables exist that can be universally applied such that all workloads run at peak performance.

6 Data access methods Buffered/cached I/O By default, most access to files in a VxFS file system is through the cache. In HP-UX 11i v2 and earlier, the HP-UX Buffer Cache provided the cache resources for file access. In HP-UX 11i v3 and later, the Unified File Cache is used. Cached I/O allows for many features, including asynchronous prefetching known as read ahead, and asynchronous or delayed writes known as flush behind. Read ahead When reads are performed sequentially, VxFS detects the pattern and reads ahead or prefetches data into the buffer/file cache. VxFS attempts to maintain 4 read ahead “segments” of data in the buffer/file cache, using the read ahead size as the size of each segment.

Figure 1. VxFS read ahead The segments act as a “pipeline”. When the data in the first of the 4 segments is read, asynchronous I/O for a new segment is initiated, so that 4 segments are maintained in the read ahead pipeline. The initial size of a read ahead segment is specified by VxFS tunable read_pref_io. As the process continues to read a file sequentially, the read ahead size of the segment approximately doubles, to a maximum of read_pref_io * read_nstream.

For example, consider a file system with read_pref_io set to 64 KB and read_nstream set to 4. When sequential reads are detected, VxFS will initially read ahead 256 KB (4 * read_pref_io). As the process continues to read ahead, the read ahead amount will grow to 1 MB (4 segments * read_pref_io * read_nstream). As the process consumes a 256 KB read ahead segment from the front of the pipeline, asynchronous I/O is started for the 256 KB read ahead segment at the end of the pipeline. By reading the data ahead, the disk latency can be reduced. The ideal configuration is the minimum amount of read ahead that will reduce the disk latency.

If the read ahead size is configured too large, the disk I/O queue may spike when the reads are initiated, causing delays for other potentially more critical I/Os. Also, the data read into the cache may no longer be in the cache when the data is needed, causing the data to be re-read into the cache. These cache misses will cause the read ahead size to be reduced automatically.

Note that if another thread is reading the file randomly or sequentially, VxFS has trouble with the sequential pattern detection. The sequential reads may be treated as random reads and no read ahead is performed. This problem can be resolved with enhanced read ahead discussed later. The read ahead policy can be set on a per file system basis by setting the read_ahead tunable using vxtunefs(1M). The default read_ahead value is 1 (normal read ahead). 256K 256K 256K 256K 256K Sequential read

7 Read ahead with VxVM stripes The default value for read_pref_io is 64 KB, and the default value for read_nstream is 1, except when the file system is mounted on a VxVM striped volume where the tunables are defaulted to match the striping attributes.

For most applications, the 64 KB read ahead size is good (remember, VxFS attempts to maintain 4 segments of read ahead size). Depending on the stripe size (column width) and number of stripes (columns), the default tunables on a VxVM volume may result in excessive read ahead and lead to performance problems.

Consider a VxVM volume with a stripe size of 1 MB and 20 stripes. By default, read_pref_io is set to 1 MB and read_nstream is set to 20. When VxFS initiates the read ahead, it tries to prefetch 4 segments of the initial read ahead size (4 segments * read_pref_io). But as the sequential reads continue, the read ahead size can grow to 20 MB (read_pref_io * read_nstream), and VxFS attempts to maintain 4 segments of read ahead data, or 80 MB. This large amount of read ahead can flood the SCSI I/O queues or internal disk array queues, causing severe performance degradation. Note If you are using VxVM striped volumes, be sure to review the read_pref_io and read_nstream values to be sure excessive read ahead is not being done.

False sequential I/O patterns and read ahead Some applications trigger read ahead when it is not needed. This behavior occurs when the application is doing random I/O by positioning the file pointer using the lseek() system call, then performing the read() system call, or by simply using the pread() system call. Figure 2. False sequential I/O patterns and read ahead If the application reads two adjacent blocks of data, the read ahead algorithm is triggered. Although only 2 reads are needed, VxFS begins prefetching data from the file, up to 4 segments of the read ahead size. The larger the read ahead size, the more data read into the buffer/file cache.

Not only is excessive I/O performed, but useful data that may have been in the buffer/file cache is invalidated so the new unwanted data can be stored.

Note If the false sequential I/O patterns cause performance problems, read ahead can be disabled by setting read_ahead to 0 using vxtunefs(1M), or direct I/O could be used. Enhanced read ahead Enhanced read ahead can detect non-sequential patterns, such as reading every third record or reading a file backwards. Enhanced read ahead can also handle patterns from multiple threads. For 8K 8K 8K lseek()/read()/read() lseek()/read()

8 example, two threads can be reading from the same file sequentially and both threads can benefit from the configured read ahead size.

Figure 3. Enhanced read ahead Enhanced read ahead can be set on a per file system basis by setting the read_ahead tunable to 2 with vxtunefs(1M). Read ahead on 11i v3 With the introduction of the Unified File Cache (UFC) on HP-UX 11i v3, significant changes were needed for VxFS. As a result, a defect was introduced which caused poor VxFS read ahead performance. The problems are fixed in the following patches according to the VxFS version:  PHKL_40018 - 11.31 vxfs4.1 cumulative patch  PHKL_41071 - 11.31 VRTS 5.0 MP1 VRTSvxfs Kernel Patch  PHKL_41074 - 11.31 VRTS 5.0.1 GARP1 VRTSvxfs Kernel Patch These patches are critical to VxFS read ahead performance on 11i v3.

Another caveat with VxFS 4.1 and later occurs when the size of the read() is larger than the read_pref_io value. A large cached read can result in a read ahead size that is insufficient for the read. To avoid this situation, the read_pref_io value should be configured to be greater than or equal to the application read size.

For example, if the application is doing 128 KB read() system calls, then the application can experience performance issues with the default read_pref_io value of 64 KB, as the VxFS would only read ahead 64 KB, leaving the remaining 64 KB that would have to be read in synchronously. Note On HP-UX 11i v3, the read_pref_io value should be set to the size of the largest logical read size for a process doing sequential I/O through cache. The write_pref_io value should be configured to be greater than or equal to the read_pref_io value due to a new feature on 11i v3 called read flush behind, which will be discussed later.

Flush behind During normal asynchronous write operations, the data is written to buffers in the buffer cache, or memory pages in the file cache. The buffers/pages are marked “dirty” and control returns to the application. Later, the dirty buffers/pages must be flushed from the cache to disk. There are 2 ways for dirty buffers/pages to be flushed to disk. One way is through a “sync”, either by a sync() or fsync() system call, or by the syncer daemon, or by one of the vxfsd daemon threads. The second method is known as “flush behind” and is initiated by the application performing the writes.

64K 64K 64K 128K 128K Patterned Read

9 Figure 4. Flush behind As data is written to a VxFS file, VxFS will perform “flush behind” on the file. In other words, it will issue asynchronous I/O to flush the buffer from the buffer cache to disk. The flush behind amount is calculated by multiplying the write_pref_io by the write_nstream file system tunables. The default flush behind amount is 64 KB. Flush behind on HP-UX 11i v3 By default, flush behind is disabled on HP-UX 11i v3. The advantage of disabling flush behind is improved performance for applications that perform rewrites to the same data blocks.

If flush behind is enabled, the initial write may be in progress, causing the 2nd write to stall as the page being modified has an I/O already in progress. However, the disadvantage of disabling flush behind is that more dirty pages in the Unified File Cache accumulate before getting flushed by vhand, ksyncher, or vxfsd. Flush behind can be enabled on HP-UX 11i v3 by changing the fcache_fb_policy(5) value using kctune(1M). The default value of fcache_fb_policy is 0, which disables flush behind. If fcache_fb_policy is set to 1, a special kernel daemon, fb_daemon, is responsible for flushing the dirty pages from the file cache.

If fcache_fb_policy is set to 2, then the process that is writing the data will initiate the flush behind. Setting fcache_fb_policy to 2 is similar to the 11i v2 behavior. Note that write_pref_io and write_nstream tunable have no effect on flush behind if fcache_fb_policy is set to 0. However, these tunables may still impact read flush behind discussed later in this paper. Note Flush behind is disabled by default on HP-UX 11i v3. To enable flush behind, use kctune(1M) to set the fcache_fb_policy tunable to 1 or 2. I/O throttling Often, applications may write to the buffer/file cache faster than VxFS and the I/O subsystem can flush the buffers.

Flushing too many buffers/pages can cause huge disk I/O queues, which could impact other critical I/O to the devices. To prevent too many buffers/pages from being flushed simultaneously for a single file, 2 types of I/O throttling are provided - flush throttling and write throttling.

64K 64K 64K 64K 64K Sequential write flush behind

10 Figure 5. I/O throttling Flush throttling (max_diskq) The amount of dirty data being flushed per file cannot exceed the max_diskq tunable. The process performing a write() system call will skip the “flush behind” if the amount of outstanding I/O exceeds the max_diskq. However, when many buffers/pages of a file need to be flushed to disk, if the amount of outstanding I/O exceeds the max_diskq value, the process flushing the data will wait 20 milliseconds before checking to see if the amount of outstanding I/O drops below the max_diskq value.

Flush throttling can severely degrade asynchronous write performance. For example, when using the default max_diskq value of 1 MB, the 1 MB of I/O may complete in 5 milliseconds, leaving the device idle for 15 milliseconds before checking to see if the outstanding I/O drops below max_diskq. For most file systems, max_diskq should be increased to a large value (such as 1 GB) especially for file systems mounted on cached disk arrays.

While the default max_diskq value is 1 MB, it cannot be set lower than write_pref_io * 4. Note For best asynchronous write performance, tune max_diskq to a large value such as 1 GB. Write throttling (write_throttle) The amount of dirty data (unflushed) per file cannot exceed write_throttle. If a process tries to perform a write() operation and the amount of dirty data exceeds the write throttle amount, then the process will wait until some of the dirty data has been flushed. The default value for write_throttle is 0 (no throttling).

Read flush behind VxFS introduced a new feature on 11i v3 called read flush behind.

When the number of free pages in the file cache is low (which is a common occurrence) and a process is reading a file sequentially, pages which have been previously read are freed from the file cache and reused. Figure 6. Read flush behind 64K 64K Sequential read Read flush behind 64K read ahead 64K 64K 64K 64K 64K 64K 64K 64K Sequential write flush behind 64K

11 The read flush behind feature has the advantage of preventing a read of a large file (such as a backup, file copy, gzip, etc) from consuming large amounts of file cache. However, the disadvantage of read flush behind is that a file may not be able to reside entirely in cache. For example, if the file cache is 6 GB in size and a 100 MB file is read sequentially, the file will likely not reside entirely in cache. If the file is re-read multiple times, the data would need to be read from disk instead of the reads being satisfied from the file cache.

The read flush behind feature cannot be disabled directly.

However, it can be tuned indirectly by setting the VxFS flush behind size using write_pref_io and write_nstream. For example, increasing write_pref_io to 200 MB would allow the 100 MB file to be read into cache in its entirety. Flush behind would not be impacted if fcache_fb_policy is set to 0 (default), however, flush behind can be impacted if fcache_fb_policy is set to 1 or 2. The read flush behind can also impact VxFS read ahead if the VxFS read ahead size is greater than the write flush behind size. For best read ahead performance, the write_pref_io and write_nstream values should be greater than or equal to read_pref_io and read_nstream values.

Note For best read ahead performance, the write_pref_io and write_nstream values should be greater than or equal to read_pref_io and read_nstream values.

Buffer sizes on HP-UX 11i v2 and earlier On HP-UX 11i v2 and earlier, cached I/O is performed through the HP-UX buffer cache. The maximum size of each buffer in the cache is determined by the file system tunable max_buf_data_size (default 8k). The only other value possible is 64k. For reads and writes larger than max_buf_data_size and when performing read ahead, VxFS will chain the buffers together when sending them to the Volume Management subsystem. The Volume Management subsystem holds the buffers until VxFS sends the last buffer in the chain, then it attempts to merge the buffers together in order to perform larger and fewer physical I/Os.

Figure 7. Buffer merging The maximum chain size that the operating system can use is 64 KB. Merged buffers cannot cross a “chain boundary”, which is 64 KB. This means that if the series of buffers to be merged crosses a 64 KB boundary, then the merging will be split into a maximum of 2 buffers, each less than 64 KB in size. If your application performs writes to a file or performs random reads, do not increase max_buf_data_size to 64k unless the size of the read or write is 64k or greater. Smaller writes cause the data to be read into the buffer synchronously first, then the modified portion of the data will be updated in the buffer cache, then the buffer will be flushed asynchronously.

The synchronous read of the data will drastically reduce performance if the buffer is not already in the cache. For random reads, VxFS will attempt to read an entire buffer, causing more data to be read than necessary. 64K 8K more 8K more 8K more 8K more 8K 8K more 8K more 8K more

12 Note that buffer merging was not implemented initially on IA-64 systems with VxFS 3.5 on 11i v2. So using the default max_buf_data_size of 8 KB would result in a maximum physical I/O size of 8 KB. Buffer merging is implemented in 11i v2 0409 released in the fall of 2004. Page sizes on HP-UX 11i v3 and later On HP-UX 11i v3 and later, VxFS performs cached I/O through the Unified File Cache. The UFC is paged based, and the max_buf_data_size tunable on 11i v3 has no effect. The default page size is 4 KB. However, when larger reads or read ahead is performed, the UFC will attempt to use contiguous 4 KB pages.

For example, when performing sequential reads, the read_pref_io value will be used to allocate the consecutive 4K pages. Note that the “buffer” size is no longer limited to 8 KB or 64 KB with the UFC, eliminating the buffer merging overhead caused by chaining a number of 8 KB buffers. Also, when doing small random I/O, VxFS can perform 4 KB page requests instead of 8 KB buffer requests. The page request has the advantage of returning less data, thus reducing the transfer size. However, if the application still needs to read the other 4 KB, then a second I/O request would be needed which would decrease performance.

So small random I/O performance may be worse on 11i v3 if cache hits would have occurred had 8 KB of data been read instead of 4 KB. The only solution is to increase the base_pagesize(5) from the default value of 4 to 8 or 16. Careful testing should be taken when changing the base_pagesize from the default value as some applications assume the page size will be the default 4 KB.

Direct I/O If OnlineJFS in installed and licensed, direct I/O can be enabled in several ways:  Mount option “-o mincache=direct”  Mount option “-o convosync=direct”  Use VX_DIRECT cache advisory of the VX_SETCACHE ioctl() system call  Discovered Direct I/O Direct I/O has several advantages:  Data accessed only once does not benefit from being cached  Direct I/O data does not disturb other data in the cache  Data integrity is enhanced since disk I/O must complete before the read or write system call completes (I/O is synchronous)  Direct I/O can perform larger physical I/O than buffered or cached I/O, which reduces the total number of I/Os for large read or write operations However, direct I/O also has its disadvantages:  Direct I/O reads cannot benefit from VxFS read ahead algorithms  All physical I/O is synchronous, thus each write must complete the physical I/O before the system call returns  Direct I/O performance degrades when the I/O request is not properly aligned  Mixing buffered/cached I/O and direct I/O can degrade performance Direct I/O works best for large I/Os that are accessed once and when data integrity for writes is more important than performance.

13 Note The OnlineJFS license is required to perform direct I/O when using VxFS 5.0 or earlier. Beginning with VxFS 5.0.1, direct I/O is available with the Base JFS product. Discovered direct I/O With HP OnLineJFS, direct I/O will be enabled if the read or write size is greater than or equal to the file system tunable discovered_direct_iosz. The default discovered_direct_iosz is 256 KB. As with direct I/O, all discovered direct I/O will be synchronous. Read ahead and flush behind will not be performed with discovered direct I/O.

If read ahead and flush behind is desired for large reads and writes or the data needs to be reused from buffer/file cache, then the discovered_direct_iosz can be increased as needed.

Direct I/O and unaligned data When performing Direct I/O, alignment is very important. Direct I/O requests that are not properly aligned have the unaligned portions of the request managed through the buffer or file cache. For writes, the unaligned portions must be read from disk into the cache first, and then the data in the cache is modified and written out to disk. This read-before-write behavior can dramatically increase the times for the write requests.

Note The best direct I/O performance occurs when the logical requests are properly aligned. Prior to VxFS 5.0 on 11i v3, the logical requests need to be aligned on file system block boundaries. Beginning with VxFS 5.0 on 11i v3, logical requests need to be aligned on a device block boundary (1 KB). Direct I/O on HP-UX 11.23 Unaligned data is still buffered using 8 KB buffers (default size), although the I/O is still done synchronously. For all VxFS versions on HP-UX 11i v2 and earlier, direct I/O performs well when the request is aligned on a file system block boundary and the entire request can by-pass the buffer cache.

However, requests smaller than the file system block size or requests that do not align on a file system block boundary will use the buffer cache for the unaligned portions of the request. For large transfers greater than the block size, part of the data can still be transferred using direct I/O. For example, consider a 16 KB write request on a file system using an 8 KB block where the request does not start on a file system block boundary (the data starts on a 4 KB boundary in this case). Since the first 4 KB is unaligned, the data must be buffered. Thus an 8 KB buffer is allocated, and the entire 8 KB of data is read in, thus 4 KB of unnecessary data is read in.

This behavior is repeated for the last 4 KB of data, since it is also not properly aligned. The two 8 KB buffers are modified and written to the disk along with the 8 KB direct I/O for the aligned portion of the request. In all, the operation took 5 synchronous physical I/Os, 2 reads and 3 writes. If the file system is recreated to use a 4 KB block size or smaller, the I/O would be aligned and could be performed in a single 16 KB physical I/O.

14 Figure 8. Example of unaligned direct I/O Using a smaller block size, such as 1 KB, will improve chances of doing more optimal direct I/O. However, even with a 1 KB file system block size, unaligned I/Os can occur. Also, when doing direct I/O writes, a file‟s buffers must be searched to locate any buffers that overlap with the direct I/O request. If any overlapping buffers are found, those buffers are invalidated. Invalidating overlapping buffers is required to maintain consistency of the data in the cache and on disk. A direct I/O write would put newer data on the disk and thus the data in the cache would be stale unless it is invalidated.

If the number of buffers for a file is large, then the process may spend a lot of time searching the file‟s list of buffers before each direct I/O is performed. The invalidating of buffers when doing direct I/O writes can degrade performance so severely, that mixing buffered and direct I/O in the same file is highly discouraged. Mixing buffered I/O and direct I/O can occur due to discovered direct I/O, unaligned direct I/O, or if there is a mix of synchronous and asynchronous operations and the mincache and convosync options are not set to the same value.

Note Mixing buffered and direct I/O on the same file can cause severe performance degradation on HP-UX 11i v2 or earlier systems. Direct I/O on HP-UX 11.31 with VxFS 4.1 HP-UX 11.31 introduced the Unified File Cache (UFC). The UFC is similar to the HP-UX buffer cache in function, but is 4 KB page based as opposed to 8 KB buffer based. The alignment issues are similar with HP-UX 11.23 and earlier, although it may only be necessary to read in a single 4 KB page, as opposed to an 8 KB buffer. Also, the mixing of cached I/O and buffered I/O is no longer a performance issue, as the UFC implements a more efficient algorithm for locating pages in the UFC that overlap with the direct I/O request.

Direct I/O on HP-UX 11.31 with VxFS 5.0 and later VxFS 5.0 on HP-UX 11i v3 introduced an enhancement that no longer requires direct I/O to be aligned on a file system block boundary. Instead, the direct I/O only needs to be aligned on a device block boundary, which is a 1 KB boundary. File systems with a 1 KB file system block size are not impacted, but it is no longer necessary to recreate file systems with a 1 KB file system block size if the application is doing direct I/O requests aligned on a 1 KB boundary.

4K 4K 8K 4K 4K 16k random write using Direct I/O 8K Buffered I/O Buffered I/O Direct I/O 8K 8k 8 KB fs block 8 KB fs block 8 KB fs block

15 Concurrent I/O The main problem addressed by concurrent I/O is VxFS inode lock contention. During a read() system call, VxFS will acquire the inode lock in shared mode, allowing many processes to read a single file concurrently without lock contention. However, when a write() system call is made, VxFS will attempt to acquire the lock in exclusive mode. The exclusive lock allows only one write per file to be in progress at a time, and also blocks other processes reading the file. These locks on the VxFS inode can cause serious performance problems when there are one or more file writers and multiple file readers.

Figure 9. Normal shared read locks and exclusive write locks In the example above, Process A and Process B both have shared locks on the file when Process C requests an exclusive lock. Once the request for an exclusive lock is in place, other shared read lock requests must also block, otherwise the writer may be starved for the lock. With concurrent I/O, both read() and write() system calls will request a shared lock on the inode, allowing all read() and write() system calls to take place concurrently. Therefore, concurrent I/O will eliminate most of the VxFS inode lock contention.

16 Figure 10.

Locking with concurrent I/O (cio) To enable a file system for concurrent I/O, the file system simply needs to be mounted with the cio mount option, for example: # mount -F vxfs -o cio,delaylog /dev/vgora5/lvol1 /oracledb/s05 Concurrent I/O was introduced with VxFS 3.5. However, a separate license was needed to enable concurrent I/O. With the introduction of VxFS 5.0.1 on HP-UX 11i v3, the concurrent I/O feature of VxFS is now available with the OnlineJFS license. While concurrent I/O sounds like a great solution to alleviate VxFS inode lock contention, and it is, some major caveats exist that anyone who plans to use concurrent I/O should be aware of.

Concurrent I/O converts read and write operations to direct I/O Some applications benefit greatly from the use of cached I/O, relying on cache hits to reduce the amount of physical I/O or VxFS read ahead to prefetch data and reduce the read time. Concurrent I/O converts most read and write operations to direct I/O, which bypasses the buffer/file cache. If a file system is mounted with the cio mount option, then mount options mincache=direct and convosync=direct are implied. If the mincache=direct and convosync=direct options are used, they should have no impact if the cio option is used as well.

Since concurrent I/O converts read and write operations to direct I/O, all alignment constraints for direct I/O also apply to concurrent I/O. Certain operations still take exclusive locks Some operations still need to take an exclusive lock when performing I/O and can negate the impact of concurrent I/O. The following is a list of operations that still need to obtain an exclusive lock. 1. fsync() 2. writes that span multiple file extents 3. writes when request is not aligned on a 1 KB boundary 4. extending writes 5. allocating writes to “holes” in a sparse file 6. writes to Zero Filled On Demand (ZFOD) extents

17 Zero Filled On Demand (ZFOD) extents are new with VxFS 5.0 and are created by the VX_SETEXT ioctl() with the VX_GROWFILE allocation flag, or with setext(1M) growfile option. Not all applications support concurrent I/O By using a shared lock for write operations, concurrent I/O breaks some POSIX standards. If two processes are writing to the same block, there is no coordination between the files, and data modified by one process can be lost by data modified by another process. Before implementing concurrent I/O, the application vendors should be consulted to be sure concurrent I/O is supported with the application.

Performance improvements with concurrent I/O vary Concurrent I/O benefits performance the most when there are multiple processes reading a single file and one or more processes writing to the same file. The more writes performed to a file with multiple readers, the greater the VxFS inode lock contention and the more likely that concurrent I/O will benefit. A file system must be un-mounted to remove the cio mount option A file system may be remounted with the cio mount option ("mount -o remount,cio /fs"); however to remove the cio option, the file system must be completely unmounted using umount(1M).

Oracle Disk Manager Oracle Disk Manager (ODM) is an additionally licensed feature specifically for use with Oracle database environments. If the oracle binary is linked with the ODM library, Oracle will make an ioctl() call to the ODM driver to initiate multiple I/O requests. The I/O requests will be issued in parallel and will be asynchronous provided the disk_asynch_io value is set to 1 in the init.ora file. Later, Oracle will make another ioctl() call to process the I/O completions. Figure 11. Locking with concurrent I/O (cio) ODM provides near raw device asynchronous I/O access. It also eliminates the VxFS inode lock contention (similar to concurrent I/O).

18 Creating your file system When you create a file system using newfs(1m) or mkfs(1m), you need to be aware of several options that could affect performance. Block size The block size (bsize) is the smallest amount of space that can be allocated to a file extent. Most applications will perform better with an 8 KB block size. Extent allocations are easier and file systems with an 8 KB block size are less likely to be impacted by fragmentation since each extent would have a minimum size of 8 KB. However, using an 8 KB block size could waste space, as a file with 1 byte of data would take up 8 KB of disk space.

The default block size for a file system scales depending on the size of the file system when the file system is created. The fstyp(1M) command can be used verify the block size of a specific file system using the f_frsize field. The f_bsize can be ignored for VxFS file systems as the value will always be 8192. # fstyp -v /dev/vg00/lvol3 vxfs version: 6 f_bsize: 8192 f_frsize: 8192 The following table documents the default block sizes for the various VxFS versions beginning with VxFS 3.5 on 11.23: Table 2. Default FS block sizes FS Size DLV 4 DLV 5 >= DLV6

19 Table 3.

Default intent log size FS Size VxFS 3.5 or 4.1 or DLV = 6

20 Note To improve your large directory performance, upgrade to VxFS 5.0 or later and run vxupgrade to upgrade the disk layout version to version 7. Mount options blkclear When new extents are allocated to a file, extents will contain whatever was last written on disk until new data overwrites the old uninitialized data. Accessing the uninitialized data could cause a security problem as sensitive data may remain in the extent. The newly allocated extents could be initialized to zeros if the blkclear option is used. In this case, performance is traded for data security. When writing to a “hole” in a sparse file, the newly allocated extent must be cleared first, before writing the data.

The blkclear option does not need to be used to clear the newly allocated extents in a sparse file. This clearing is done automatically to prevent stale data from showing up in a sparse file.

Note For best performance, do not use the blkclear mount option. datainlog, nodatainlog Figure 12. Datainlog mount option When using HP OnLineJFS, small (

21 Using datainlog has no affect on normal asynchronous writes or synchronous writes performed with direct I/O. The option nodatainlog is the default for systems without HP OnlineJFS, while datainlog is the default for systems that do have HP OnlineJFS. mincache By default, I/O operations are cached in memory using the HP-UX buffer cache or Unified File Cache (UFC), which allows for asynchronous operations such as read ahead and flush behind.

The mincache options convert cached asynchronous operations so they behave differently. Normal synchronous operations are not affected.

The mincache option closesync flushes a file‟s dirty buffers/pages when the file is closed. The close() system call may experience some delays while the dirty data is flushed, but the integrity of closed files would not be compromised by a system crash. The mincache option dsync converts asynchronous I/O to synchronous I/O. For best performance the mincache=dsync option should not be used. This option should be used if the data must be on disk when write() system call returns. The mincache options direct and unbuffered are similar to the dsync option, but all I/Os are converted to direct I/O.

For best performance, mincache=direct should not be used unless I/O is large and expected to be accessed only once, or synchronous I/O is desired. All direct I/O is synchronous and read ahead and flush behind are not performed.

The mincache option tmpcache provides the best performance, but less data integrity in the event of a system crash. The tmpcache option does not flush a file‟s buffers when it is closed, so a risk exists of losing data or getting garbage data in a file if the data is not flushed to disk in the event of a system crash. All the mincache options except for closesync require the HP OnlineJFS product when using VxFS 5.0 or earlier. The closesync and direct options are available with the Base JFS product on VxFS 5.0.1 and above.

convosync Applications can implement synchronous I/O by specifying the O_SYNC or O_DSYNC flags during the open() system call.

The convosync options convert synchronous operations so they behave differently. Normal asynchronous operations are not affected when using the convosync mount option. The convosync option closesync converts O_SYNC operations to be asynchronous operations. The file‟s dirty buffers/pages are then flushed when the file is closed. While this option speeds up applications that use O_SYNC, it may be harmful for applications that rely on data to be written to disk before the write() system call completes.

The convosync option delay converts all O_SYNC operations to be asynchronous. This option is similar to convosync=closesync except that the file‟s buffers/pages are not flushed when the file is closed. While this option will improve performance, applications that rely on the O_SYNC behavior may fail after a system crash. The convosync option dsync converts O_SYNC operations to O_DSYNC operations. Data writes will continue to be synchronous, but the associated inode time updates will be performed asynchronously. The convosync options direct and unbuffered cause O_SYNC and O_DSYNC operations to bypass buffer/file cache and perform direct I/O.

These options are similar to the dsync option as the inode time update will be delayed.

All of the convosync options require the HP OnlineJFS product when using VxFS 5.0 or earlier. The direct option is available with the Base JFS product on VxFS 5.0.1.

22 cio The cio option enables the file system for concurrent I/O. Prior to VxFS 5.0.1, a separate license was needed to use the concurrent I/O feature. Beginning with VxFS 5.0.1, concurrent I/O is available with the OnlineJFS license. Concurrent I/O is recommended with applications which support its use. remount The remount option allows for a file system to be remounted online with different mount options.

The mount -o remount can be done online without taking down the application accessing the file system. During the remount, all file I/O is flushed to disk and subsequent I/O operations are frozen until the remount is complete. The remount option can result in a stall for some operations. Applications that are sensitive to timeouts, such as Oracle Clusterware, should avoid having the file systems remounted online.

Intent log options There are 3 levels of transaction logging:  tmplog – Most transaction flushes to the Intent Log are delayed, so some recent changes to the file system will be lost in the event of a system crash.  delaylog – Some transaction flushes are delayed.  log – Most all structural changes are logged before the system call returns to the application. Tmplog, delaylog, log options all guarantee the structural integrity of the file system in the event of a system crash by replaying the Intent Log during fsck. However, depending on the level of logging, some recent file system changes may be lost in the event of a system crash.

There are some common misunderstandings regarding the log levels. For read() and write() system calls, the log levels have no effect. For asynchronous write() system calls, the log flush is always delayed until after the system call is complete. The log flush will be performed when the actual user data is written to disk. For synchronous write() systems calls, the log flush is always performed prior to the completion of the write() system call. Outside of changing the file‟s access timestamp in the inode, a read() system call makes no structural changes, thus does not log any information. The following table identifies which operations cause the Intent Log to be written to disk synchronously (flushed), or if the flushing of the Intent Log is delayed until sometime after the system call is complete (delayed).

23 Table 4. Intent log flush behavior with VxFS 3.5 or above Operation log delaylog tmplog Async Write Delayed Delayed Delayed Sync Write Flushed Flushed Flushed Read n/a n/a n/a Sync (fsync()) Flushed Flushed Flushed File Creation Flushed Delayed Delayed File Removal Flushed Delayed Delayed File Timestamp changes Flushed Delayed Delayed Directory Creation Flushed Delayed Delayed Directory Removal Flushed Delayed Delayed Symbolic/Hard Link Creation Flushed Delayed Delayed File/Directory Renaming Flushed Flushed Delayed Most transactions that are delayed with the delaylog or tmplog options include file and directory creation, creation of hard links or symbolic links, and inode time changes (for example, using touch(1M) or utime() system call).

The major difference between delaylog and tmplog is how file renaming is performed. With the log option, most transactions are flushed to the Intent Log prior to performing the operation.

Note that using the log mount option has little to no impact on file system performance unless there are large amounts of file create/delete/rename operations. For example, if you are removing a directory with thousands of files in it, the removal will likely run faster using the delaylog mount option than the log mount option, since the flushing of the intent log is delayed after each file removal. Also, using the delaylog mount option has little or no impact on data integrity, since the log level does not affect the read() or write() system calls. If data integrity is desired, synchronous writes should be performed as they are guaranteed to survive a system crash regardless of the log level.

The logiosize can be used to increase throughput of the transaction log flush by flushing up to 4 KB at a time.

The tranflush option causes all metadata updates (such as inodes, bitmaps, etc) to be flushed before returning from a system call. Using this option will negatively affect performance as all metadata updates will be done synchronously. noatime Each time a file is accessed, the access time (atime) is updated. This timestamp is only modified in memory, and periodically flushed to disk by vxfsd. Using noatime has virtually no impact on performance. nomtime The nomtime option is only used in cluster file systems to delay updating the Inode modification time. This option should only be used in a cluster environment when the inode modification timestamp does not have to be up-to-date.

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