[CentOS] Shrinking a volume group

Aleksandar Milivojevic alex at milivojevic.org
Wed Sep 13 19:41:18 UTC 2006

Quoting Steve Bergman <steve at rueb.com>:

> OK.  Now I'm a bit confused.  Raid 1 read performance is not what I
> expected.

Note that hdparm reports the raw speed of the drive.  In real world,  
you will at least have overhead of the file system.  Possibly also  
overhead of LVM and md device drivers (if you use them).

libata in current stable kernels doesn't support NCQ.  The support for  
NCQ will be added in 2.6.18 (currently at rc7 level).  Unless Red Hat  
bumps the kernel version in final release of RHEL5 or backports NCQ to  
2.6.17 (I wouldn't bet on backporting, there were some major changes  
in libata), you are not going to see it in forthcomming RHEL5 either  
(beta 1 uses 2.6.17 kernel).

If you run only a single process, md device driver will read from  
disks in round robin fashion.  You can even observe this visually if  
your hard drives have separate LEDs.  Only one of them will be active  
at any point in time during sequential read test.  It's not smart  
enough to stripe reads on RAID1.  I'm not sure if this is due to lack  
of NCQ support and how much (if) it will help once NCQ support is  
added to the linux kernel.  I didn't have any spare SCSI system to  
test how things work there.

However, if you run two processes, md driver will do reads from  
different drives in parallel.  Again, you can observe this visually if  
your drives have individual LEDs (both will be lit).

I've run couple of benchmarks (using bonnie++), that also show this  
numerically.  For "one drive test" I simply detached second disk from  
the mirror, so the overhead of drivers (md+lvm+ext3) is about the  
same.  The numbers for "two processes" tests are for single process  
(multiply by two to get total throughput).

Test                                seq write (kB/s)    seq read (kB/s)
raid1, single process                   37716              47330
raid1, two processes (each)             16570              31572
degraded raid1, single process          39076              47627
degraded raid1, two processes (each)    16368               6759

Writing to single drive (degraded RAID1 in this case) is a bit faster  
than writing to RAID1, since there's no need to wait for data to be  
written to both drives.

If two processes are writing to the same disk, it's about the same.   
Note that 16.5MB/s is per process (total for disk is 33MB/s).  So we  
have 33MB/s vs. 37MB/s).  I'd expect bigger difference due to all the  
extra disk seeks.  So this result is actually very good.

You can see effect of md driver not striping reads on RAID1.  Almost  
the same speed (47MB/s) for RAID1 and degraded-RAID1 (single drive)  

On the other hand, if there are two processes reading in parallel,  
each is able to read 31.5 MB/s, which totals to 63MB/s.  Much better.   
It's still not double the speed (those two processes are fighting for  
system resources after all, not only disks but also CPU time).

Two processes reading from degraded RAID-1 clearly sucks.  Total  
throughput drops to aruond 13-ish MB/s.  I've no good explanation for  
such a low number (it is less than a half of the write throughput).

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