OneFS Caching Architecture

There have been a number of recent enquiries from the field around how caching is performed in OneFS. So it seemed like an ideal time to review this topic over the next couple of articles.

Caching occurs at multiple different levels, and for a variety of types of data. In this article we’ll concentrate on the caching of file system structures in main memory and on SSD.

OneFS’ caching infrastructure design is predicated on aggregating each individual node’s cache into one cluster wide, globally accessible pool of memory. This is achieved by using an efficient messaging system that allows all the nodes’ memory caches to be available to each and every node in the cluster.

For remote memory access, OneFS utilizes the Sockets Direct Protocol (SDP) over an Ethernet or Infiniband backend interconnect on the cluster. SDP provides an efficient, socket-like interface between nodes which, by using a switched star topology, ensures that remote memory addresses are only ever one hop away. While not as fast as local memory, remote memory access is still very fast due to the low latency of the dedicated backend interconnect.

OneFS uses up to three levels of read cache, plus an NVRAM-backed write cache, or write coalescer. The first two types of read cache, level 1 (L1) and level 2 (L2), are memory (RAM) based, and analogous to the cache used in CPUs. A third tier of read cache, called SmartFlash, or Level 3 cache (L3), is also configurable on nodes that contain solid state drives (SSDs). L3 cache is an eviction cache that is populated by L2 cache blocks as they are aged out from memory.

The OneFS caching subsystem is coherent across the cluster. This means that if the same content exists in the private caches of multiple nodes, this cached data is consistent across all instances. For example, consider the following scenario:

  1. Node 2 and Node 4 each have a copy of data located at an address in shared cache.
  2. Node 4, in response to a write request, invalidates node 2’s copy.
  3. Node 4 then updates the value.
  4. Node 2 must re-read the data from shared cache to get the updated value.

OneFS utilizes the MESI Protocol to maintain cache coherency, implementing an “invalidate-on-write” policy to ensure that all data is consistent across the entire shared cache. The various states that in-cache data can take are:

M – Modified: The data exists only in local cache, and has been changed from the value in shared cache. Modified data is referred to as ‘dirty’.

E – Exclusive: The data exists only in local cache, but matches what is in shared cache. This data referred to as ‘clean’.

S – Shared: The data in local cache may also be in other local caches in the cluster.

I – Invalid: A lock (exclusive or shared) has been lost on the data.

L1 cache, or front-end cache, is memory that is nearest to the protocol layers (e.g. NFS, SMB, etc) used by clients, or initiators, connected to that node. The main task of L1 is to prefetch data from remote nodes. Data is pre-fetched per file, and this is optimized in order to reduce the latency associated with the nodes’ IB back-end network. Since the IB interconnect latency is relatively small, the size of L1 cache, and the typical amount of data stored per request, is less than L2 cache.

L1 is also known as remote cache because it contains data retrieved from other nodes in the cluster. It is coherent across the cluster, but is used only by the node on which it resides, and is not accessible by other nodes. Data in L1 cache on storage nodes is aggressively discarded after it is used. L1 cache uses file-based addressing, in which data is accessed via an offset into a file object. The L1 cache refers to memory on the same node as the initiator. It is only accessible to the local node, and typically the cache is not the primary copy of the data. This is analogous to the L1 cache on a CPU core, which may be invalidated as other cores write to main memory. L1 cache coherency is managed via a MESI-like protocol using distributed locks, as described above.

It’s worth noting that L1 cache is utilized differently in accelerator nodes, which don’t contain any disk drives. Instead, the entire read cache is L1 cache, since all the data is fetched from other storage nodes. Also, cache aging is based on a least recently used (LRU) eviction policy, as opposed to the drop-behind algorithm typically used in a storage node’s L1 cache. Because an accelerator’s L1 cache is large, and the data in it is much more likely to be requested again, so data blocks are not immediately removed from cache upon use. However, metadata & update heavy workloads don’t benefit as much, and an accelerator’s cache is only beneficial to clients directly connected to the node.

L2, or back-end cache, refers to local memory on the node on which a particular block of data is stored. L2 reduces the latency of a read operation by not requiring a seek directly from the disk drives. As such, the amount of data prefetched into L2 cache for use by remote nodes is much greater than that in L1 cache.

L2 is also known as local cache because it contains data retrieved from disk drives located on that node and then made available for requests from remote nodes. Data in L2 cache is evicted according to a Least Recently Used (LRU) algorithm. Data in L2 cache is addressed by the local node using an offset into a disk drive which is local to that node. Since the node knows where the data requested by the remote nodes is located on disk, this is a very fast way of retrieving data destined for remote nodes. A remote node accesses L2 cache by doing a lookup of the block address for a particular file object. As described above, there is no MESI invalidation necessary here and the cache is updated automatically during writes and kept coherent by the transaction system and NVRAM.

L3 cache is a subsystem which caches evicted L2 blocks on a node. Unlike L1 and L2, not all nodes or clusters have an L3 cache, since it requires solid state drives (SSDs) to be present and exclusively reserved and configured for caching use. L3 serves as a large, cost-effective way of extending a node’s read cache from gigabytes to terabytes. This allows clients to retain a larger working set of data in cache, before being forced to retrieve data from higher latency spinning disk. The L3 cache is populated with “interesting” L2 blocks dropped from memory by L2’s least recently used cache eviction algorithm.

Unlike RAM based caches, since L3 is based on persistent flash storage, once the cache is populated, or warmed, it’s highly durable and persists across node reboots, etc. L3 uses a custom log-based filesystem with an index of cached blocks. The SSDs provide very good random read access characteristics, such that a hit in L3 cache is not that much slower than a hit in L2.

To utilize multiple SSDs for cache effectively and automatically, L3 uses a consistent hashing approach to associate an L2 block address with one L3 SSD. In the event of an L3 drive failure, a portion of the cache will obviously disappear, but the remaining cache entries on other drives will still be valid. Before a new L3 drive may be added to the hash, some cache entries must be invalidated.

OneFS also uses a dedicated inode cache in which recently requested inodes are kept. The inode cache frequently has a large impact on performance, because clients often cache data, and many network I/O activities are primarily requests for file attributes and metadata, which can be quickly returned from the cached inode.

OneFS provides tools to accurately assess the performance of the various levels of cache at a point in time. These cache statistics can be viewed from the OneFS CLI using the isi_cache_stats command. Statistics for L1, L2 and L3 cache are displayed for both data and metadata.

# isi_cache_stats
Totals l1_data: a 409G 100% r 542G 84% p 134G 89%, l1_encoded: a 0.0B 0% r 0.0B 0% p% p 331G 81%, l2_meta: r 597G 96% p 1.7G 4%, l3_data: r 6G 18% p 0.0B 0%, l3_meta: r 22G 99

For more detailed and formatted output, a verbose option of the command is available using the following syntax:

# isi_cache_stats -v

It’s worth noting that for L3 cache, the prefetch statistics will always read zero, since it’s a pure eviction cache and does not utilize data or metadata prefetch.

Due to balanced data distribution, automatic rebalancing, and distributed processing, OneFS is able to leverage additional CPUs, network ports, and memory as the system grows. This also allows the caching subsystem (and, by virtue, throughput and IOPS) to scale linearly with the cluster size.

OneFS Quota Domains

In the previous article, we looked at the use of protection domains in OneFS, focusing on SyncIQ replication, SmartLock immutable archiving, and Snapshots and SnapRevert.

Under the hood, SmartQuotas is also based on the concept of domains – the linchpins of quota accounting. Since OneFS is a single file system, it relies on accounting domains for defining the scope of a quota in place of the typical volume boundaries found in most storage systems. As such, a domain defines which files belong to a quota, accounts for each resource type in that set and defines the top-level directory configuration point.

For SmartQuotas, the three main resource types are:

Resource Type Description
Directory A specific directory and all its subdirectories
User A specific user
Group All members of a specific group

A domain defined as “name@folder” would be the set of files under “folder”, owned by “name”, which could be either a user or a group. The files accounted include all files reachable from the given path, without traversing any soft links. The owner “name” can be ALL, and “/ifs”, the OneFS root directory is also an effective ALL for “folder”.

With SmartQuotas it’s easy to create traditional domain types quickly by using “ALL”. The following are examples of domain types:

  • All files belonging to user Jane: user:Jane@/ifs
  • All files under /ifs/home, belonging to any user: ALL@/ifs/home.
  • All files under /ifs/home that belong to user Jane: user:Jane@/ifs/home

Domains cannot be created on anything but directories. More specifically, domains are associated with the actual directories themselves, not directory paths. For example, if the domain is ALL@/ifs/home/data, but /ifs/home/data gets renamed to /ifs/home/files, the domain stays with the directory.

Domains can also be nested and may overlap. For example, say a hard quota is set on /ifs/data/marketing for 5TB. 1TB soft quotas are then placed on individual users in the marketing department. This ensures that the marketing directory as a whole never exceeds 5TB, while limiting the users in the marketing department to 1TB each.

A default quota domain is one that does not account for any specific set of files but instead specifies a policy for new domains that match a specific trigger. In other words, default domains are configuration templates for actual domains. SmartQuotas use the identity notation ‘default-user’, ‘default-group’, and ‘default directory’ to describe domains with default policies. For example, the domain default-user@/ifs/home becomes specific-user@/ifs/home for each specific-user that is not otherwise defined. All enforcements on default-user are copied to specific-user when specific-user allocates within the domain and the new inherited domain quota is termed as a Linked Quota. There may be overlapping defaults (i.e. default-user@/ifs and default-user@/ifs/home may both be defined).

Default quota domains help drastically simplify quota management for large environments by providing a mechanism to define top level template configurations from which many actual quotas are cloned, or linked. When a default quota domain is configured on a directory, any subdirectories created directly underneath this will automatically inherit the quota limits specified in the parent domain. This streamlines the provisioning and management quotas for large enterprise environments. Furthermore, default directory quotas can co-exist with user and/or group quotas and legacy default quotas.

Default directory quotas have been available since OneFS 8.2, in addition to the default user and group quotas available in earlier releases. For example:

  • Create default-directory quota
# isi quota create --path=/ifs/parent-dir --type=default-directory --hard-threshold=10M
  • Modify Default directory quota
# isi quota modify --path=/ifs/parent-dir --type=default-directory --advisory-threshold=6M --soft-threshold=7M --soft-grace=1D
  • List default-directory quota
# isi quota list                 

  Type              AppliesTo  Path            Snap  Hard   Soft  Adv  Used


  default-directory DEFAULT    /ifs/parent-dir No    10.00M -    6.00M 0.00


  Total: 1
  • Delete Default directory quota
# isi quota delete --path=/ifs/parent-dir --type=default-directory

If the enforcements on a default domain change, SmartQuotas will automatically propagate the changes to the Linked Quota domains. If a default quota domain is deleted, SmartQuotas will delete all children marked as inherited. An administrator may also choose to delete the default without deleting the children, but this will break inheritance on all inherited children.

For example, the creation & deletion of sub-directory under default directory folder causes inherited directory quota creation and removal:

A domain may be in one of three accounting states, as follows:

Quota Accounting States Description
Ready A domain in the ready state is fully accounted. SmartQuotas displays “ready” domains in all interfaces and all enforcements apply to such domains.
Accounting A domain is placed in the Accounting state when it’s waiting on accounting updates.
Deleting After a request to delete a domain, SmartQuotas will place the domain in the deleting state until tear-down is complete. Domain removal may be a lengthy process.

SmartQuotas displays accounting domains in all interfaces including usage data but indicate they are in the process of being “Accounted”. SmartQuotas applies all enforcements to accounting domains, even when it might reject an allocation that would have proceeded if it had completed the QuotaScan.

Domains in the deleting state are hidden from all interfaces and the top-level directory of a domain may be deleted while the domain is still in the deleting state (assuming there are no domains in “Ready” or “Accounting” state defined on the directory). No enforcements are applied for domains in “Deleting” state.

A quota scan is performed when the domain is in an Accounting State. This can occur during quota creation to account the new domain if a quota has been set for the domain and quota deletion to un-account the domain. A QuotaScan is required when creating a quota on a non-empty directory. If quotas are created up-front on an empty directory, no QuotaScan is necessary.

In addition, a QuotaScan job may be started from the WebUI or command line interface using the “isi job” command. Any path specified on the command line is treated as the root of a tree that should be processed. This is provided primarily as a means to re-scan a directory or maintenance reasons.

There are main three processes or daemons associated with SmartQuotas:

  • isi_quota_notify_d
  • isi_quota_sweeper_d
  • isi_quota_report_d

The job of the notification daemon, isi_quota_notify_d, is to listen for ‘limit exceeded’ and ‘link denied’ events and generate notifications for each. It also responds to configuration change events and instructs the QDB to generate ‘expired’ and ‘violated’ over-threshold notifications.

A quota sweeper daemon, isi_quota_sweeper_d, is responsible for a number of quota housekeeping tasks such as propagating default changes, domain and notification rule garbage collection and kicking off QuotaScan jobs when necessary.

Finally, the reporting daemon, isi_quota_report_d, is responsible for generating quota reports. Since the QDB only produces real-time resource usage, reports are necessary for providing point-in-time vies of a quota domain’s usage. These historical reports are useful for trend analysis of quota resource usage.

OneFS 8.2 and subsequent releases use the rpc.quotad service to facilitate client-side quota reporting on UNIX and Linux clients via native ‘quota’ tools. The service which runs on tcp/udp port 762 is enabled by default, and control is under NFS global settings.

Additionally, in OneFS 8.2 and later, users can now see their available user capacity set by soft and/or hard user and group quotas rather than the entire cluster capacity or parent directory-quotas. This avoids the ‘illusion’ of seeing available space that may not be associated with their quotas.

OneFS Protection Domains

In OneFS, a domain defines a set of behaviors for a collection of files under a specified directory tree. More specifically, a protection domain is a marker which prevents a configured subset of files and directories from being deleted or modified.

If a directory has a protection domain applied to it, that domain will also affect all of the files and subdirectories under that top-level directory. As we’ll see, in some instances, OneFS creates protection domains automatically, but they can also be configured manually.

With the recent introduction of domain-based snapshots, OneFS now supports four types of protection domain:

  • SnapRevert domains
  • SmartLock domains
  • SyncIQ domains
  • Snapshot domains

The process of restoring a snapshot in full to its top level directory can easily be accomplished by the SnapRevert job. This enables cluster administrators to quickly revert to a previous, known-good recovery point – for example in the event of a virus or malware outbreak, The SnapRevert job can be run from the job engine WebUI or CLI, and simply requires adding the desired snapshot ID.

SnapRevert domains are assigned to directories that are contained in snapshots to prevent files and directories from being modified while a snapshot is being reverted. OneFS does not automatically create SnapRevert domains. The SnapRevert domain is described as a ‘restricted writer’ domain, in OneFS jargon. Essentially, this is a piece of extra filesystem metadata and associated locking that prevents a domain’s files being written to while restoring a last known good snapshot.

Because the SnapRevert domain is essentially just a metadata attribute, or marker, placed onto a file or directory, a preferred practice is to create the domain before there is data. This avoids having to wait for DomainMark or DomainTag (the aptly named Job Engine jobs that mark a domain’s files) to walk the entire tree, setting that attribute on every file and directory within it.

There are two main components to SnapRevert:

  • The file system domain that the objects are put into.
  • The job that reverts everything back to what’s in a snapshot.

The SnapRevert job itself actually uses a local SyncIQ policy to copy data out of the snapshot, discarding any changes to the original directory. When the SnapRevert job completes, the original data is left in the directory tree. In other words, after the job completes, the file system (HEAD) is exactly as it was at the point in time that the snapshot was taken. The LINs for the files/directories don’t change, because what’s there is not a copy.

The SnapRevert job can either be scheduled or manually run from the OneFS WebUI by navigating to Cluster Management > Job Operations > Job Types > SnapRevert and clicking the ‘Start Job’ button.

A snapshot can’t be reverted until a SnapRevert domain has been created on its top level directory. If necessary, SnapRevert domains can also be nested. For example, domains could be successfully created on both /ifs/snap1 and /ifs/snap1/snap2. Also. A SnapRevert domain can easily be deleted if you no longer need to restore snapshots of that directory.

It’s worth noting that CloudPools also supports SnapRevert for SmartLink (stub) files. For example, if CloudPools archived “/ifs/cold_data”, the files in this directory would be replaced with stubs and the data moved off to the cloud provider of choice. If you then created a domain for the directory and ran the SnapRevert job, the original files would be restored to the directory, and CloudPools would remove any cloud data that was created as part of the original archive process.

SmartLock domains are assigned to WORM (write once, read many) immutable archive directories to prevent committed files from being modified or deleted. OneFS automatically sets up a SmartLock domain when a SmartLock directory is created. Note that a SmartLock domain cannot be manually deleted. However, if you remove a SmartLock directory, OneFS automatically deletes the associated SmartLock domain.

Once a file is SmartLocked (WORM committed) it cannot ever be modified or moved. It cannot be deleted until its ‘committed until’ or ‘expiry’ date has passed.  Even when the expiry date has passed (ie. the file is in an ‘expired’ state) it cannot be modified or moved.  All you can do with an expired file is either delete it or extend its ‘committed until’ date into the future.

SyncIQ domains can be assigned to both the source and target directories of replication policies. OneFS automatically creates a SyncIQ domain for the target directory of a replication policy the first time that the policy is run. OneFS also automatically creates a SyncIQ domain for the source directory of a replication policy during the failback process.

A SyncIQ domain can be manually created for a source directory before initiating the failback process, by configuring the policy for accelerated failback. However, a SyncIQ domain that marks the target directory of a replication policy cannot be deleted.

SnapshotIQ also uses a domain-based model for governance of scheduled snapshots in OneFS 8.2 and later releases. By utilizing the OneFS IFS domains infrastructure, recurring snapshot efficiency and performance is increased by limiting the scope of governance to a smaller, well defined domain boundary.

IFS Domains provide a Mark Job that proactively marks all the files in the domain. Creating a new snapshot on a fully marked domain will not cause further “painting” operations, thereby avoiding a significant portion of the resource overhead caused by taking a new snapshot.

Once a domain has been fully marked, subsequent snapshot creation operations will not cause any further painting. The new snapshot ID is simply added to the domain data section, so the creation of a new snapshot will not trigger a system-wide painting event anymore. Domains are re-used whenever possible.

Creating two domains of the same type on the same directory will cause the second domain to become an alias of the first domain. Aliases don’t require marking since they share the already existing marks. This benefits both snapshots and snapshot schedules taken on the same directory. For all these reasons, the number of I/O and locking operations needed to resolve snapshot governance is greatly reduced. Because the SnapIDs are stored in a single location (as opposed to being stored on individual inodes), this greatly simplifies Snapshot ID garbage collection whenever a Snapshot is deleted. By leveraging IFS Domains, creating a new snapshot on a domain that is fully marked will not cause further “painting” operations, so a significant portion of the performance impact caused by taking a new snapshot is avoided.

The illustration above shows an example of domain-based snapshots. In this case, a snapshot was taken on the ‘projects’ directory, and the on the directory named ‘video’. File v1.mp4 is tagged with the domain IDs, making it more efficient to determine snapshot governance.

A snapshot of file v1.mp4 creates a snap_ID in the domain’s SBT (system b-tree) providing a single place to store snapshot metadata. In previous OneFS versions, snapIDs were stored in the inode, which resulted in duplication of the snap_IDs and metadata usage.

Note that only snapshots taken after upgrade to OneFS 8.2 will use IFS domains backing. Any snapshots created prior to upgrade will not be converted and will remain in their original form.

Additionally, the new domain-based snapshot functionality in OneFS 8.2 brings other benefits including:

  • Improved management of SnapIDs
  • Reduced number of operations needed to resolve snapshot governance.
  • More efficient use of metadata
  • The automatic exclusion of the cluster’s /ifs/.ifsvar subtree from all root (/ifs) snapshots – although this behavior is configurable.
  • The write cache, or coalescer, is enhanced to better support parallel snapshot creates.
  • The snapshot create path is improved to reduce contention on the STF during copy-on-write.

Sync and snap domains can be easily created to enable snapshot revert and replication failover operations. However, SmartLock domains cannot be manually created, however, since OneFS automatically creates a domain upon creation of a SmartLock directory.

For example, the following CLI syntax will create a SnapRevert domain for /ifs/snap1:

# isi job jobs start domainmark --root /ifs/snap1 --dm-type SnapRevert

And from the WebUI:

You can delete a replication or snapshot revert domain if you want to move directories out of the domain. However, SmartLock domains cannot be manually removed, but will be automatically removed upon deletion of a SmartLock directory.

The following CLI command will delete a SnapRevert domain on /ifs/snap1:

# isi job jobs start domainmark --root /ifs/snap1 --dm-type SnapRevert –delete

Similarly, via the WebUI:

Protection domains can (and usually should) be manually created before they are required by OneFS to perform certain actions. However, manually creating protection domains can limit the ability to interact with the data marked by the domain.

OneFS 8.2 and later releases provide an ‘isi_pdm’ CLI utility for managing protection domains, with the following syntax:

#isi_pdm -h

usage: isi_pdm [-h] [-v]

               {base,domains,exclusions,operations,ifsvar-sysdom} ...

positional arguments:


    base                Read base domains.

    domains             Read or manipulate domain instances.

    exclusions          Add or list domain exclusions.

    operations          Read pending pdm operations.

    ifsvar-sysdom       Manage .ifsvar system domain.

optional arguments:

  -h, --help            show this help message and exit

  -v, --verbose

For example:

# isi_pdm domains list /ifs/data All

[ 2.0100, 315.0100 ]

# isi_pdm exclusions list 2.0100


    DomID = 16.8100

    Owner LIN = 1:0000:0001


Domain membership can also be viewed via the ‘isi get’ command.

Here are some OneFS domain recommendations, constraints, and considerations:

  • Copying a large number of files into a protection domain can be a lengthy process, since each file must be marked individually as belonging to the protection domain.
  • The best practice is to create protection domains for directories while the directories are empty, and then add files to the directory.
  • Theisi sync policies create command contains an ‘—accelerated-failback true’ option, which automatically marks the domain. This can save considerable time during failback.
  • If you use SyncIQ to create a replication policy for a SmartLock compliance directory, the SyncIQ and SmartLock compliance domains must be configured at the same root directory level. A SmartLock compliance domain cannot be nested inside a SyncIQ domain.
  • If a domain is currently preventing the modification or deletion of a file, you cannot create a protection domain for a directory that contains that file. For example, if /ifs/data/smartlock/file.txt is set to a WORM state by a SmartLock domain, you cannot create a SnapRevert domain for /ifs/data/.
  • Directories cannot be moved in or out of protection domains. However, you can move a directory to another location within the same protection domain.

OneFS MultiScan, AutoBalance, & Collect

As we’ve seen throughout the recent file system maintenance job articles, OneFS utilizes file system scans to perform such tasks as detecting and repairing drive errors, reclaiming freed blocks, etc. Since these scans typically involve complex sequences of operations, they are implemented via syscalls and coordinated by the Job Engine. These jobs are generally intended to run as minimally disruptive background tasks in the cluster, using spare or reserved capacity.

FS Maintenance Job Description
AutoBalance Restores node and drive free space balance
Collect Reclaims leaked blocks
FlexProtect Replaces the traditional RAID rebuild process
MediaScan Scrub disks for media-level errors
MultiScan Run AutoBalance and Collect jobs concurrently

In this final article of the series, we’ll turn our attention to MultiScan. This job is a combination of both the of the AutoBalance job, which rebalances data across drives, and the Collect job, which recovers leaked blocks from the filesystem. In addition to reclaiming unused capacity as a result of drive replacements, snapshot and data deletes, etc, MultiScan also helps expose and remediate any filesystem inconsistencies.

The OneFS job engine defines two exclusion sets that govern which jobs can execute concurrently on a cluster. MultiScan straddles both of the job engine’s exclusion sets, with AutoBalance (and AutoBalanceLin) in the restripe set, and Collect in the mark set.

The restriping exclusion set is per-phase instead of per job, which helps to more efficiently parallelize restripe jobs when they don’t need to lock down resources. However, with the marking exclusion set, OneFS can only accommodate a single marking job at any point in time.

MultiScan is an unscheduled job that runs by default at ‘LOW’ impact and executes AutoBalance and Collect simultaneously. It is triggered by cluster group change events, which include node boot, shutdown, reboot, drive replacement, etc. While AutoBalance will execute each time the MultiScan job is triggered, Collect typically won’t be run more often that once every 2 weeks. AutoBalance and/or Collect are typically only run manually if MultiScan has been disabled.

When a new node or drive is added to the cluster, its blocks are almost entirely free, whereas the rest of the cluster is usually considerably more full, capacity-wise. AutoBalance restores the balance of free blocks in the cluster. As such, AutoBalance runs if a cluster’s nodes have a greater than 5% imbalance in capacity utilization. In addition, AutoBalance also fixes recovered writes that occurred due to transient unavailability and also addresses fragmentation.

If the cluster’s nodes contain SSDs, AutoBalanceLin (as opposed to the regular AutoBalance job) runs most efficiently by performing a LIN scan using a flash-backed metadata mirror. When a cluster is unbalanced, there is not an obvious subset of files to filter, since the files to be restriped are the ones which are not using the node or drive with less free space. In the case of an added node or drive, no files will be using it. As a result, almost any file scanned is enumerated for restripe.

As mentioned, the Collect job reclaims leaked blocks using a mark and sweep process. In traditional UNIX systems this function is typically performed by the ‘fsck’ utility. With OneFS, however, the other traditional functions of fsck are not required, since the transaction system keeps the file system consistent. Leaks only affect free space.

Collect’s ‘mark and sweep’ gets its name from the in-memory garbage collection algorithm. First, the in-use blocks and any new allocations are marked with the current generation in the Mark phase. When this is complete, the drives are swept of any blocks which don’t have the current generation in the Sweep phase.

In addition to automatic job execution following a group change event, Multiscan can also be initiated on demand. The following CLI syntax will kick of a manual job run:

# isi job start multiscan

Started job [209]

# isi job list

ID   Type      State   Impact  Pri  Phase  Running Time


209  MultiScan Running Low     4    1/4    1s


Total: 1

The Multiscan job’s progress can be tracked via a CLI command as follows:

# isi job jobs view 209

               ID: 209

             Type: MultiScan

            State: Running

           Impact: Low

           Policy: LOW

              Pri: 4

            Phase: 1/4

       Start Time: 2021-01-03T20:15:16

     Running Time: 34s

     Participants: 1, 2, 3

         Progress: Collect: 225 LINs, 0 errors

                   AutoBalance: 225 LINs, 0 errors

                   LIN Estimate based on LIN count of 2793 done on Jan 04 20:02:57 2021

                   LIN Based Estimate:  3m 2s Remaining (8% Complete)

                   Block Based Estimate: 5m 48s Remaining (4% Complete)

                   0 errors total

Waiting on job ID: -

      Description: Collect, AutoBalance

The LIN (logical inode) statistics above include both files and directories.

Be aware that the estimated LIN percentage can occasionally be misleading/anomalous. If concerned, verify that the stated total LIN count is roughly in line with the file count for the cluster’s dataset. Even if the LIN count is in doubt, the estimated block progress metric should always be accurate and meaningful.

If the job is in its early stages and no estimation can be given (yet), isi job will instead report its progress as “Started”. Note that all progress is reported per phase, with MultiScan phase 1 being the one where the lion’s share of the work is done. By comparison, phases 2-4 of the job are comparatively short.

A job’s resource usage can be traced from the CLI as such:

# isi job statistics view

     Job ID: 209

      Phase: 1

   CPU Avg.: 11.46%

Memory Avg.

        Virtual: 301.06M

       Physical: 28.71M


            Ops: 3513425

          Bytes: 26.760G

Finally, upon completion, the Multiscan job report, detailing all four stages, can be viewed by using the following CLI command with the job ID as the argument:

# isi job reports view 209

MultiScan[209] phase 1 (2021-01-03T20:02:57)


Elapsed time          307 seconds (5m7s)

Working time          307 seconds (5m7s)

Errors                0

Rebalance/LINs        2793

Rebalance/Files       2416

Rebalance/Directories 377

Rebalance/Errors      0

Rebalance/Bytes       372607773184 bytes (347.018G)

Collect/LINs          2788

Collect/Files         2411

Collect/Directories   377

Collect/Errors        0

Collect/Bytes         130187742208 bytes (121.247G)

MultiScan[209] phase 2 (2021-01-03T20:02:57)


Elapsed time     0 seconds

Working time     0 seconds

Errors           0

LINs traversed   0

LINs processed   0

SINs traversed   0

SINs processed   0

Files seen       0

Directories seen 0

Total bytes      0 bytes

MultiScan[209] phase 3 (2021-01-03T20:02:58)


Elapsed time          1 seconds

Working time          1 seconds

Errors                0

Rebalance/SINs        0

Rebalance/Files       0

Rebalance/Directories 0

Rebalance/Errors      0

Rebalance/Bytes       0 bytes

Collect/SINs          0

Collect/Files         0

Collect/Directories   0

Collect/Errors        0

Collect/Bytes         0 bytes

Unbalanced diskpools  Pool_Name = h600_18tb_3.2tb-ssd_256gb:2, free_blocks = 8693136159, total_blocks = 8715355092

Pool_Name = h600_18tb_3.2tb-ssd_256gb:3, free_blocks = 7259260440, total_blocks = 7262795910

MultiScan[209] phase 4 (2021-01-03T20:03:17)


Elapsed time 19 seconds

Working time 19 seconds

Errors       0

Drives swept 33

LINs freed   0

Inodes freed 128359

Bytes freed  80022503424 bytes (74.527G)

Keys freed   0

Inodes lost  0