Patchwork bcache gets stuck flushing writeback cache when used in combination with LUKS/dm-crypt and non-default bucket size

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Submitter James Johnston
Date May 22, 2016, 4:26 a.m.
Message ID <034e01d1b3e2$1de2f910$59a8eb30$>
Download mbox | patch
Permalink /patch/9130707/
State Under Review
Delegated to: Mike Snitzer
Headers show


James Johnston - May 22, 2016, 4:26 a.m.
> On Fri, 20 May 2016, James Johnston wrote:
> > > On Mon, 16 May 2016, Tim Small wrote:
> > >
> > > > On 08/05/16 19:39, James Johnston wrote:
> > > > > I've run into a problem where the bcache writeback cache can't be flushed to
> > > > > disk when the backing device is a LUKS / dm-crypt device and the cache set has
> > > > > a non-default bucket size.  Basically, only a few megabytes will be flushed to
> > > > > disk, and then it gets stuck.  Stuck means that the bcache writeback task
> > > > > thrashes the disk by constantly reading hundreds of MB/second from the cache set
> > > > > in an infinite loop, while not actually progressing (dirty_data never decreases
> > > > > beyond a certain point).
> > > >
> > > > > [...]
> > > >
> > > > > The situation is basically unrecoverable as far as I can tell: if you attempt
> > > > > to detach the cache set then the cache set disk gets thrashed extra-hard
> > > > > forever, and it's impossible to actually get the cache set detached.  The only
> > > > > solution seems to be to back up the data and destroy the volume...
> > > >
> > > > You can boot an older kernel to flush the device without destroying it
> > > > (I'm guessing that's because older kernels split down the big requests
> > > > which are failing on the 4.4 kernel).  Once flushed you could put the
> > > > cache into writethrough mode, or use a smaller bucket size.
> > >
> > > Indeed, can someone test 4.1.y and see if the problem persists with a 2M
> > > bucket size?  (If someone has already tested 4.1, then appologies as I've
> > > not yet seen that report.)
> > >
> > > If 4.1 works, then I think a bisect is in order.  Such a bisect would at
> > > least highlight the problem and might indicate a (hopefully trivial) fix.
> >
> > To help narrow this down, I tested the following generic pre-compiled mainline kernels
> > on Ubuntu 15.10:
> >
> >  * WORKS:
> >
> > I also tried the default & latest distribution-provided 4.2 kernel.  It worked.
> > This one also worked:
> >
> >  * WORKS:
> >
> > So it seems to me that it is a regression from 4.3.6 kernel to any 4.4 kernel.  That
> > should help save time with bisection...
> Below is the patchlist for md and block that might help with a place to
> start.  Are there any other places in the Linux tree where we should watch
> for changes?
> I'm wondering if it might be in dm-4.4-changes since this is dm-crypt
> related, but it could be ac322de which was quite large.
> James or Tim,
> Can you try building ac322de?  If that produces the problem, then there
> are only 3 more to try (unless this was actually a problem in 4.3 which
> was fixed in 4.3.y, but hopefully that isn't so).
> ccf21b6 is probably the next to test to rule out neil's big md patch,
> which Linus abreviated in the commit log so it must be quite long.  OTOH,
> if dm-4.4-changes works, then I'm not sure what commit might produce the
> problem because the rest are not obviously relevant to the issue that are
> more recent. 

So I decided to go ahead and bisect it today.  Looks like the bad commit is
this one.  The commit prior flushed the bcache writeback cache without
incident; this one does not and I guess caused this bcache regression.
(FWIW ac322de came up during bisection, and tested good.)

johnstonj@kernel-build:~/linux$ git bisect bad
dbba42d8a9ebddcc1c1412e8457f79f3cb6ef6e7 is the first bad commit
commit dbba42d8a9ebddcc1c1412e8457f79f3cb6ef6e7
Author: Mikulas Patocka <>
Date:   Wed Oct 21 16:34:20 2015 -0400

    dm: eliminate unused "bioset" process for each bio-based DM device

    Commit 54efd50bfd873e2dbf784e0b21a8027ba4299a3e ("block: make
    generic_make_request handle arbitrarily sized bios") makes it possible
    for block devices to process large bios.  In doing so that commit
    allocates a new queue->bio_split bioset for each block device, this
    bioset is used for allocating bios when the driver needs to split large

    Each bioset allocates a workqueue process, thus the above commit
    increases the number of processes allocated per block device.

    DM doesn't need the queue->bio_split bioset, thus we can deallocate it.
    This reduces the number of allocated processes per bio-based DM device
    from 3 to 2.  Also remove the call to blk_queue_split(), it is not
    needed because DM does its own splitting.

    Signed-off-by: Mikulas Patocka <>
    Signed-off-by: Mike Snitzer <>

The patch for this commit is very brief; reproduced here:

Here is the bisect log:

johnstonj@kernel-build:~/linux$ git bisect log
git bisect start
# good: [6a13feb9c82803e2b815eca72fa7a9f5561d7861] Linux 4.3
git bisect good 6a13feb9c82803e2b815eca72fa7a9f5561d7861
# bad: [8005c49d9aea74d382f474ce11afbbc7d7130bec] Linux 4.4-rc1
git bisect bad 8005c49d9aea74d382f474ce11afbbc7d7130bec
# bad: [118c216e16c5ccb028cd03a0dcd56d17a07ff8d7] Merge tag 'staging-4.4-rc1' of git://
git bisect bad 118c216e16c5ccb028cd03a0dcd56d17a07ff8d7
# good: [e627078a0cbdc0c391efeb5a2c4eb287328fd633] Merge branch 'for-linus' of git://
git bisect good e627078a0cbdc0c391efeb5a2c4eb287328fd633
# good: [c17c6da659571a115c7b4983da6c6ac464317c34] staging: wilc1000: rename pfScanResult of struct scan_attr
git bisect good c17c6da659571a115c7b4983da6c6ac464317c34
# good: [7bdb7d554e0e433b92b63f3472523cc3067f8ab4] Staging: rtl8192u: ieee80211: corrected indent
git bisect good 7bdb7d554e0e433b92b63f3472523cc3067f8ab4
# good: [ac322de6bf5416cb145b58599297b8be73cd86ac] Merge tag 'md/4.4' of git://
git bisect good ac322de6bf5416cb145b58599297b8be73cd86ac
# good: [a4d8e93c3182a54d8d21a4d1cec6538ae1be9e16] Merge tag 'usb-for-v4.4' of git:// into usb-next
git bisect good a4d8e93c3182a54d8d21a4d1cec6538ae1be9e16
# good: [4f56f3fdca43c9a18339b6e0c3b1aa2f57f6d0b0] serial: 8250: Tolerate clock variance for max baud rate
git bisect good 4f56f3fdca43c9a18339b6e0c3b1aa2f57f6d0b0
# good: [e052c6d15c61cc4caff2f06cbca72b183da9f15e] tty: Use unbound workqueue for all input workers
git bisect good e052c6d15c61cc4caff2f06cbca72b183da9f15e
# good: [b9ca0c948c921e960006aaf319a29c004917cdf6] uwb: neh: Use setup_timer
git bisect good b9ca0c948c921e960006aaf319a29c004917cdf6
# bad: [aad9ae4550755edc020b5c511a8b54f0104b2f47] dm switch: simplify conditional in alloc_region_table()
git bisect bad aad9ae4550755edc020b5c511a8b54f0104b2f47
# good: [a3d939ae7b5f82688a6d3450f95286eaea338328] dm: convert ffs to __ffs
git bisect good a3d939ae7b5f82688a6d3450f95286eaea338328
# bad: [00272c854ee17b804ce81ef706f611dac17f4f89] dm linear: remove redundant target name from error messages
git bisect bad 00272c854ee17b804ce81ef706f611dac17f4f89
# bad: [4c7da06f5a780bbf44ebd7547789e48536d0a823] dm persistent data: eliminate unnecessary return values
git bisect bad 4c7da06f5a780bbf44ebd7547789e48536d0a823
# bad: [dbba42d8a9ebddcc1c1412e8457f79f3cb6ef6e7] dm: eliminate unused "bioset" process for each bio-based DM device
git bisect bad dbba42d8a9ebddcc1c1412e8457f79f3cb6ef6e7
# first bad commit: [dbba42d8a9ebddcc1c1412e8457f79f3cb6ef6e7] dm: eliminate unused "bioset" process for each bio-based DM device

Commands used for testing:

# Make cache set
make-bcache --bucket 2M -C /dev/sdb
# Set up backing device crypto
cryptsetup luksFormat /dev/sdc
cryptsetup open --type luks /dev/sdc backCrypt
# Make backing device & enable writeback
make-bcache -B /dev/mapper/backCrypt
bcache-super-show /dev/sdb | grep cset.uuid | cut -f 3 > /sys/block/bcache0/bcache/attach
echo writeback > /sys/block/bcache0/bcache/cache_mode


cd /sys/block/bcache0/bcache
echo 0 > sequential_cutoff
# Verify that the cache is attached (i.e. does not say "no cache")
cat state
dd if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/bcache0 bs=1M count=250
cat dirty_data
cat state
# Next line causes severe disk thrashing and failure to flush writeback cache
# on bad commits.
echo 1 > detach
cat dirty_data
cat state

Hope this provides some insight into the problem...


dm-devel mailing list


diff --git a/drivers/md/dm.c b/drivers/md/dm.c
index 9555843..64b50b7 100644
--- a/drivers/md/dm.c
+++ b/drivers/md/dm.c
@@ -1763,8 +1763,6 @@  static void dm_make_request(struct request_queue *q, struct bio *bio)

        map = dm_get_live_table(md, &srcu_idx);

-       blk_queue_split(q, &bio, q->bio_split);
        generic_start_io_acct(rw, bio_sectors(bio), &dm_disk(md)->part0);

        /* if we're suspended, we have to queue this io for later */
@@ -2792,6 +2790,12 @@  int dm_setup_md_queue(struct mapped_device *md)
        case DM_TYPE_BIO_BASED:
                blk_queue_make_request(md->queue, dm_make_request);
+               /*
+                * DM handles splitting bios as needed.  Free the bio_split bioset
+                * since it won't be used (saves 1 process per bio-based DM device).
+                */
+               bioset_free(md->queue->bio_split);
+               md->queue->bio_split = NULL;