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Subject: Re: [virtio-dev] Re: [virtio-comment] Problems with VIRTIO-4 and writeback only disks

Stefan Hajnoczi <stefanha@redhat.com> writes:
> On Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 03:03:47PM +0930, Rusty Russell wrote:
>> 3) If device does not offer VIRTIO_BLK_F_WCE, or driver doesn't
>>    negotiate it:
>>    - Completed writes should be persistent if guest crashes.
>>    - No flush commands are supported.
>>    - No guarantee about writes hitting permanent storage.
>> This pretty neatly divides it into complex and simple cases.  If you
>> want more fine-grained, you know where to find virtio-scsi...
> #3 is worse than what we had with VIRTIO_BLK_F_WCE semantics.  In order
> to keep things simple you weakened the guarantees to the point where you
> have to look at your hypervisor implementation instead of the virtio
> standard.

Let's be absolutely clear here, the spec can *never* say:

        Writes MUST be committed to persistent storage.

Because there are real use cases which violate that: consider qemu
-snapshot.  So you will *always* have to consider the hypervisor.

> We're trying to define standard so guests and hypervisors can
> work together - undefined behavior doesn't further that goal, it
> actually prevents virtio implementations from working universally.

It's a quality of implementation issue, not a core compatibility issue.
And I think it's perfectly reasonable not to flush to permanent storage.
Bryan, have there been any complaints about bhyve not doing it?

> When VIRTIO_BLK_F_WCE is not offered by the device or negotiated by the
> guest it makes sense to guarantee that every write hits permanent
> storage.

Perhaps conflating the two (WCE <=> permanence) is a mistake.  But I
think we need a way for fast, simple implementations to exist: so far,
that's the norm.  And I'm reluctant to weaken SHOULD to MAY.


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