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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: