Re: [RFC][PATCH] ext2: Resolve i_nlink race in ext2_rename

From: Josh Hunt
Date: Mon Feb 28 2011 - 15:18:01 EST

On 02/28/2011 09:57 AM, Jan Kara wrote:
> On Thu 24-02-11 12:18:32, Josh Hunt wrote:
>> On 02/24/2011 03:20 AM, Jan Kara wrote:
>>> On Thu 24-02-11 06:37:49, Al Viro wrote:
>>>> On Wed, Feb 23, 2011 at 10:21:41PM -0800, Josh Hunt wrote:
>>>>> [resending: left Jan off the original mail by accident]
>>>>> We have a multi-threaded workload which is currently "losing" files in the form
>>>>> of unattached inodes. The workload is link, rename, unlink intensive. This is
>>>>> happening on an ext2 filesystem and have reproduced the issue in kernel
>>>>> 2.6.37. Here's a sample strace:
>>>>> open("/a/tmp/tmpfile.1296184058", O_WRONLY|O_CREAT|O_TRUNC|O_LARGEFILE, 0666) = 9
>>>>> link("/a/tmp/tmpfile.1296184058", "/a/tmp/tmpfile.28117.1296184059") = 0
>>>>> rename("/a/tmp/tmpfile.28117.1296184059", "/a/tmp/tmpfile") = 0
>>>>> stat64("/a/tmp/tmpfile", {st_mode=S_IFREG|0644, st_size=24248267, ...}) = 0
>>>>> link("/a/tmp/tmpfile", "/a/tmp/submit/tmpfile") = 0
>>>>> open("/a/tmp/tmpfile.1296184058", O_RDONLY) = 13
>>>>> open("/a/tmp/submit/tmpfile.send.q9SNoL", O_RDWR|O_CREAT|O_EXCL, 0600) = 824
>>>>> rename("/a/tmp/submit/tmpfile", "/a/tmp/submit/tmpfile.send.q9SNoL") = 0
>>>>> unlink("/a/tmp/tmpfile.1296184058") = 0
>>>>> open("/a/tmp/submit/tmpfile.send.q9SNoL", O_RDONLY) = 827
>>>>> open("/a/tmp/submit/tmpfile.send.q9SNoL", O_RDONLY) = 828
>>>>> open("/a/tmp/submit/tmpfile.send.q9SNoL", O_RDONLY) = 829
>>>>> unlink("/a/tmp/submit/tmpfile.send.q9SNoL") = 0
>>>>> The application behavior shown above repeats indefinitely with most filenames
>>>>> changing during each iteration except for 'tmpfile'. Looking into this issue I
>>>>> see that vfs_rename_other() only takes i_mutex for the new inode and the new
>>>>> inode's directory as well as the old directory's mutex. This works for
>>>>> modifying the dir entry and appears to be fine for most filesystems, but
>>>>> ext2 and a few others (exofs, minix, nilfs2, omfs, sysv, ufs) modify i_nlink
>>>>> inside of their respective rename functions without grabbing the i_mutex. The
>>>>> modifications are done through calls to inode_inc_link_count(old_inode) and
>>>>> inode_dec_link_count(old_inode), etc.
>>>>> Taking the mutex for the old inode appears to resolve the issue of the
>>>>> lost files/unattached inodes that I am seeing with this workload. I've attached
>>>>> a patch below doing what I've described above. If this is an accepted solution
>>>>> I believe other filesystems may also be affected by this and I could provide
>>>>> a patch for those as well.
>>>> I don't know... The thing is, we mostly do that to make life easier for
>>>> fsck in case of crash. Other than that, there's no reason to play with
>>>> link count of that sucker at all. The question is, do we really want
>>>> such rename() interrupted by dirty shutdown to result in what looks like two
>>>> legitimate links to that inode without any indications of what had happened?
>>>> Note that fsck (at least on ext2) will correct link counts anyway and if
>>>> nothing else, we probably want some noise pointing to the inode in question...
>>> Yeah, I agree that playing with the link count is not worth it. It is
>>> even more disputable because it would have some reasonable effect only if
>>> we happened to write out the moved inode after it is linked to the new
>>> directory and before it is unlinked from the old one. Moreover we'd need
>>> to writeout the new directory and not the old directory before crash
>>> happens. All this is highly unlikely and even if that happens, it is
>>> questionable whether the result is worth it. So I'll just do away with
>>> those games with link count...
>>> The patch is attached. Josh, can you test it as well? Thanks.
>>> Honza
>> Jan
>> I'm not seeing the problem with your patch as was expected since we're
>> not messing with i_nlink anymore. Al suggested marking the inode as
>> dirty where we were previously doing the old_inode dec. I believe this
>> is needed as well since we are updating it's ctime. I've attached a
>> version marking the inode dirty and it also fixes the comment making
>> reference to calling inode_dec_link_count().
> Yeah, good catch. Thanks.
>> I'm not completely clear on the historical reasons for messing with the
>> link count of old_inode in the first place. It was just to simulate the
>> linking and unlinking of the old_inode?
> Yes.
> So I took your patch and used a changelog from mine as I find it more
> descriptive. The resulting patch is in my tree (and attached).
> Honza

Thanks. We should probably send this to the stable guys as well.

I've found the same issue with a few other filesystems. I'll bundle up
those patches and send out a set in the coming days along with an easily
reproducible testcase.

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