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dm-era is a target that behaves similar to the linear target. In
addition it keeps track of which blocks were written within a user
defined period of time called an 'era'. Each era target instance
maintains the current era as a monotonically increasing 32-bit
Use cases include tracking changed blocks for backup software, and
partially invalidating the contents of a cache to restore cache
coherency after rolling back a vendor snapshot.
era <metadata dev> <origin dev> <block size>
metadata dev : fast device holding the persistent metadata
origin dev : device holding data blocks that may change
block size : block size of origin data device, granularity that is
tracked by the target
None of the dm messages take any arguments.
Possibly move to a new era. You shouldn't assume the era has
incremented. After sending this message, you should check the
current era via the status line.
Create a clone of the metadata, to allow a userland process to read it.
Drop the metadata snapshot.
<metadata block size> <#used metadata blocks>/<#total metadata blocks>
<current era> <held metadata root | '-'>
metadata block size : Fixed block size for each metadata block in
#used metadata blocks : Number of metadata blocks used
#total metadata blocks : Total number of metadata blocks
current era : The current era
held metadata root : The location, in blocks, of the metadata root
that has been 'held' for userspace read
access. '-' indicates there is no held root
Detailed use case
The scenario of invalidating a cache when rolling back a vendor
snapshot was the primary use case when developing this target:
Taking a vendor snapshot
- Send a checkpoint message to the era target
- Make a note of the current era in its status line
- Take vendor snapshot (the era and snapshot should be forever
associated now).
Rolling back to an vendor snapshot
- Cache enters passthrough mode (see: dm-cache's docs in cache.txt)
- Rollback vendor storage
- Take metadata snapshot
- Ascertain which blocks have been written since the snapshot was taken
by checking each block's era
- Invalidate those blocks in the caching software
- Cache returns to writeback/writethrough mode
Memory usage
The target uses a bitset to record writes in the current era. It also
has a spare bitset ready for switching over to a new era. Other than
that it uses a few 4k blocks for updating metadata.
(4 * nr_blocks) bytes + buffers
Metadata is updated on disk before a write to a previously unwritten
block is performed. As such dm-era should not be effected by a hard
crash such as power failure.
Userland tools
Userland tools are found in the increasingly poorly named
thin-provisioning-tools project: