Log-Structured File Systems




Log-Structured File Systems

Computer scientists often find that algorithms and technologies originally used in one area are equally useful in other areas. Such is the case with the database log-based recovery algorithms described in Section 6.9.2. These logging algorithms have been applied successfully to the problem of consistency checking. The resulting implementations are known as log-based transaction-oriented (or journaling) file systems.

Log-Structured File Systems

Recall that a system crash can cause inconsistencies among on-disk filesystem data structures, such as directory structures, free-block pointers, and free FCB pointers. Before the use of log-based techniques in operating systems, changes were usually applied to these structures in place. A typical operation, such as file create, can involve many structural changes within the file system on the disk. Directory structures are modified, FCBs are allocated, data blocks are allocated, and the free counts for all of these blocks are decreased. These changes can be interrupted by a crash, and inconsistencies among the structures can result.

For example, the free FCB count might indicate that an FCB had been allocated, but the directory structure might not point to the FCB. The FCB would be lost were it not for the consistency-check phase. Although we can allow the structures to break and repair them on recovery, there are several problems with this approach. One is that the inconsistency may be irreparable. The consistency check may not be able to recover the structures, resulting in loss of files and even entire directories. Consistency checking can require human intervention to resolve conflicts, and that is inconvenient if no human is available. The system can remain unavailable until the human tells it how to proceed. Consistency checking also takes system and clock time.

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 Terabytes of data can take hours of clock time to check. The solution to this problem is to apply log-based recovery techniques to file-system, metadata updates. Both NTFS and the Veritas file system use this method, and it is an optional addition to LFS on Solaris 7 and beyond. In fact, it is becoming common on many operating systems. Fundamentally, all metadata changes are written sequentially to a log. Each set of operations for performing a specific task is a transaction. Once the changes are written to this log, they are considered to be committed, and the system call can return to the user process, allowing it to continue execution.

Meanwhile, these log entries are replayed across the actual filesystem structures. As the changes are made, a pointer is updated to indicate which actions have completed and which are still incomplete. When an entire committed transaction is completed, it is removed from the log file, which is actually a circular buffer. A circular buffer writes to the end of its space and then continues at the beginning, overwriting older values as it goes. We would not want the buffer to write over data that has not yet been saved, so that scenario is avoided.

The log may be in a separate section of the file system or even on a separate disk spindle. It is more efficient, but more complex, to have it under separate read and write heads, thereby decreasing head contention and seek times. If the system crashes, the log file will contain zero or more transactions. Any transactions it contains were not completed to the file system, even though they were committed by the operating system, so they must now be completed.

 The transactions can be executed from the pointer until the work is complete so that the file-system structures remain consistent. The only problem occurs when a transaction was aborted—that is, was not committed before the system crashed. Any changes from such a transaction that were applied to the file system must be undone, again preserving the consistency of the file system. This recovery is all that is needed after a crash, eliminating any problems with consistency checking.

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 A side benefit of using logging on disk metadata updates is that those updates proceed much faster than when they are applied directly to the on-disk data structures. The reason for this improvement is found in the performance advantage of sequential I/O over random I/O. The costly synchronous random metadata writes are turned into much less costly synchronous sequential writes to the log-structured file system's logging area. Those changes in turn are replayed asynchronously via random writes to the appropriate structures. The overall result is a significant gain in performance of metadata-oriented operations, such as file creation and deletion.



Frequently Asked Questions

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Ans: Recovery Files and directories are kept both in main memory and on disk, and care must taken to ensure that system failure does not result in loss of data or in data inconsistency. view more..
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Ans: Efficiency and Performance Now that we have discussed various block-allocation and directorymanagement options, we can further consider their effect on performance and efficient disk use. Disks tend to represent a major bottleneck in system performance, since they are the slowest main computer component. In this section, we discuss a variety of techniques used to improve the efficiency and performance of secondary storage. view more..
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Ans: Memory-Mapped Files Consider a sequential read of a file on disk using the standard system calls openQ, readO, and writeQ. Each file access requires a system call and disk access. Alternatively, we can use the virtual memory techniques discussed so far to treat file I/O as routine memory accesses. This approach, known as memory mapping a file, allows a part of the virtual address space to be logically associated with the file. view more..
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Ans: Log-Structured File Systems Computer scientists often find that algorithms and technologies originally used in one area are equally useful in other areas. Such is the case with the database log-based recovery algorithms described in Section 6.9.2. These logging algorithms have been applied successfully to the problem of consistency checking. The resulting implementations are known as log-based transaction-oriented (or journaling) file systems. view more..
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Ans: Example: The WAFL File System Disk I/O has a huge impact on system performance. As a result, file-system design and implementation command quite a lot of attention from system designers. Some file systems are general purpose, in that they can provide reasonable performance and functionality for a wide variety of file sizes, file types, and I/O loads. Others are optimized for specific tasks in an attempt to provide better performance in those areas than general-purpose file systems. view more..
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Ans: Network Structure There are basically two types of networks: local-area networks (LAN) and wide-area networks (WAN). The main difference between the two is the way in which they are geographically distributed. Local-area networks are composed of processors distributed over small areas (such as a single building? or a number of adjacent buildings), whereas wide-area networks are composed of a number of autonomous processors distributed over a large area (such as the United States). These differences imply major variations in the speed and reliability of the communications network, and they are reflected in the distributed operating-system design. view more..
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Ans: Network Topology The sites in a distributed system can be connected physically in a variety of ways. Each configuration has advantages and disadvantages. We can compare the configurations by using the following criteria: • Installation cost. The cost of physically linking the sites in the system • Communication cost. The cost in time and money to send a message from site A to site B 16.4 Network Topology 621 • Availability. The extent to which data can be accessed despite the failure of some links or sites view more..
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Ans: Revocation of Access Rights In a dynamic protection system, we may sometimes need to revoke access rights to objects shared by different users view more..
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Ans: We survey two capability-based protection systems. These systems vary in their complexity and in the types of policies that can be implemented on them. Neither system is widely used, but they are interesting proving grounds for protection theories view more..
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Ans: Robustness A distributed system may suffer from various types of hardware failure. The failure of a link, the failure of a site, and the loss of a message are the most common types. To ensure that the system is robust, we must detect any of these failures, reconfigure the system so that computation can continue, and recover when a site or a link is repaired. view more..
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Ans: Design Issues Making the multiplicity of processors and storage devices transparent to the users has been a key challenge to many designers. Ideally, a distributed system should look to its users like a conventional, centralized system. The1 user interface of a transparent distributed system should not distinguish between local and remote resources. That is, users should be able to access remote resources as though these resources were local, and the distributed system should be responsible for locating the resources and for arranging for the appropriate interaction. view more..
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Ans: Design Principles Microsoft's design goals for Windows XP include security, reliability, Windows and POSIX application compatibility, high performance, extensibility, portability, and international support. view more..
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Ans: Input and Output To the user, the I/O system in Linux looks much like that in any UNIX system. That is, to the extent possible, all device drivers appear as normal files. A user can open an access channel to a device in the same way she opens any other file—devices can appear as objects within the file system. The system administrator can create special files within a file system that contain references to a specific device driver, and a user opening such a file will be able to read from and write to the device referenced. By using the normal file-protection system, which determines who can access which file, the administrator can set access permissions for each device. Linux splits all devices into three classes: block devices, character devices, and network devices. view more..
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Ans: Communication Protocols When we are designing a communication network, we must deal with the inherent complexity of coordinating asynchronous operations communicating in a potentially slow and error-prone environment. In addition, the systems on the network must agree on a protocol or a set of protocols for determining host names, locating hosts on the network, establishing connections, and so on. view more..
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Ans: Naming and Transparency Naming is a mapping between logical and physical objects. For instance, users deal with logical data objects represented by file names, whereas the system manipulates physical blocks of data stored on disk tracks. Usually, a user refers to a file by a textual name. view more..
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Ans: Stateful Versus Stateless Service There are two approaches for storing server-side information when a client accesses remote files: Either the server tracks each file being accessed byeach client, or it simply provides blocks as they are requested by the client without knowledge of how those blocks are used. In the former case, the service provided is stateful; in the latter case, it is stateless. view more..
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Ans: Computer-Security Classifications The U.S. Department of Defense Trusted Computer System Evaluation Criteria specify four security classifications in systems: A, B, C, and D. This specification is widely used to determine the security of a facility and to model security solutions, so we explore it here. The lowest-level classification is division D, or minimal protection. Division D includes only one class and is used for systems that have failed to meet the requirements of any of the other security classes. For instance, MS-DOS and Windows 3.1 are in division D. Division C, the next level of security, provides discretionary protection and accountability of users and their actions through the use of audit capabilities. view more..
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Ans: An Example: Windows XP Microsoft Windows XP is a general-purpose operating system designed to support a variety of security features and methods. In this section, we examine features that Windows XP uses to perform security functions. For more information and background on Windows XP, see Chapter 22. The Windows XP security model is based on the notion of user accounts. Windows XP allows the creation of any number of user accounts, which can be grouped in any manner. Access to system objects can then be permitted or denied as desired. Users are identified to the system by a unique security ID. When a user logs on, Windows XP creates a security access token that includes the security ID for the user, security IDs for any groups of which the user is a member, and a list of any special privileges that the user has. view more..




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