Checking disk data flushing capabilities

It is highly recommended to ensure that all storage devices you plan to include in your cluster can flush data from cache to disk if the power goes out unexpectedly. Thus you will find devices that may lose data in a power failure.

Virtuozzo Hybrid Infrastructure ships with the vstorage-hwflush-check tool that checks how a storage device flushes data to disk in emergencies. The tool is implemented as a client/server utility:

  • The client continuously writes blocks of data to the storage device. When a data block is written, the client increases a special counter and sends it to the server that keeps it.
  • The server keeps track of counters incoming from the client and always knows the next counter number. If the server receives a counter smaller than the one it has (for example, because the power has failed and the storage device has not flushed the cached data to disk), the server reports an error.

To check that a storage device can successfully flush data to disk when power fails, follow the procedure below:

  1. On one node, run the server:
  2. # vstorage-hwflush-check -l
  3. On a different node that hosts the storage device you want to test, run the client. For example:

    # vstorage-hwflush-check -s -d /vstorage/stor1-ssd/test -t 50


    • is the host name of the server.
    • /vstorage/stor1-ssd/test is the directory to use for data flushing tests. During execution, the client creates a file in this directory and writes data blocks to it.
    • 50 is the number of threads for the client to write data to disk. Each thread has its own file and counter. You can increase the number of threads (max. 200) to test your system in more stressful conditions. You can also specify other options when running the client. For more information on available options, refer to the vstorage-hwflush-check manual page.
  4. Wait for at least 10-15 seconds, cut power from the client node (either press the Power button or pull the power cord out), and then power it on again.

  5. Restart the client:
# vstorage-hwflush-check -s -d /vstorlage/stor1-ssd/test -t 50

Once launched, the client will read all previously written data, determine the version of data on the disk, and restart the test from the last valid counter. It then will send this valid counter to the server and the server will compare it to the latest counter it has. You may see output like:

id<N>:<counter_on_disk> -> <counter_on_server>

which means one of the following:

  • If the counter on the disk is lower than the counter on the server, the storage device has failed to flush the data to the disk. Avoid using this storage device in production, especially for CS or journals, as you risk losing data.
  • If the counter on the disk is higher than the counter on the server, the storage device has flushed the data to the disk but the client has failed to report it to the server. The network may be too slow or the storage device may be too fast for the set number of load threads, so consider increasing it. This storage device can be used in production.
  • If both counters are equal, the storage device has flushed the data to the disk and the client has reported it to the server. This storage device can be used in production.

To be on the safe side, repeat the procedure several times. Once you have checked your first storage device, continue with all of the remaining devices you plan to use in the cluster. You need to test all devices you plan to use in the cluster: SSD disks used for CS journaling, disks used for MDS journals and chunk servers.