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+Introduction
+============
+
+This document describes a collection of device-mapper targets that
+between them implement thin-provisioning and snapshots.
+
+The main highlight of this implementation, compared to the previous
+implementation of snapshots, is that it allows many virtual devices to
+be stored on the same data volume. This simplifies administration and
+allows the sharing of data between volumes, thus reducing disk usage.
+
+Another significant feature is support for an arbitrary depth of
+recursive snapshots (snapshots of snapshots of snapshots ...). The
+previous implementation of snapshots did this by chaining together
+lookup tables, and so performance was O(depth). This new
+implementation uses a single data structure to avoid this degradation
+with depth. Fragmentation may still be an issue, however, in some
+scenarios.
+
+Metadata is stored on a separate device from data, giving the
+administrator some freedom, for example to:
+
+- Improve metadata resilience by storing metadata on a mirrored volume
+ but data on a non-mirrored one.
+
+- Improve performance by storing the metadata on SSD.
+
+Status
+======
+
+These targets are very much still in the EXPERIMENTAL state. Please
+do not yet rely on them in production. But do experiment and offer us
+feedback. Different use cases will have different performance
+characteristics, for example due to fragmentation of the data volume.
+
+If you find this software is not performing as expected please mail
+dm-devel@redhat.com with details and we'll try our best to improve
+things for you.
+
+Userspace tools for checking and repairing the metadata are under
+development.
+
+Cookbook
+========
+
+This section describes some quick recipes for using thin provisioning.
+They use the dmsetup program to control the device-mapper driver
+directly. End users will be advised to use a higher-level volume
+manager such as LVM2 once support has been added.
+
+Pool device
+-----------
+
+The pool device ties together the metadata volume and the data volume.
+It maps I/O linearly to the data volume and updates the metadata via
+two mechanisms:
+
+- Function calls from the thin targets
+
+- Device-mapper 'messages' from userspace which control the creation of new
+ virtual devices amongst other things.
+
+Setting up a fresh pool device
+------------------------------
+
+Setting up a pool device requires a valid metadata device, and a
+data device. If you do not have an existing metadata device you can
+make one by zeroing the first 4k to indicate empty metadata.
+
+ dd if=/dev/zero of=$metadata_dev bs=4096 count=1
+
+The amount of metadata you need will vary according to how many blocks
+are shared between thin devices (i.e. through snapshots). If you have
+less sharing than average you'll need a larger-than-average metadata device.
+
+As a guide, we suggest you calculate the number of bytes to use in the
+metadata device as 48 * $data_dev_size / $data_block_size but round it up
+to 2MB if the answer is smaller. If you're creating large numbers of
+snapshots which are recording large amounts of change, you may find you
+need to increase this.
+
+The largest size supported is 16GB: If the device is larger,
+a warning will be issued and the excess space will not be used.
+
+Reloading a pool table
+----------------------
+
+You may reload a pool's table, indeed this is how the pool is resized
+if it runs out of space. (N.B. While specifying a different metadata
+device when reloading is not forbidden at the moment, things will go
+wrong if it does not route I/O to exactly the same on-disk location as
+previously.)
+
+Using an existing pool device
+-----------------------------
+
+ dmsetup create pool \
+ --table "0 20971520 thin-pool $metadata_dev $data_dev \
+ $data_block_size $low_water_mark"
+
+$data_block_size gives the smallest unit of disk space that can be
+allocated at a time expressed in units of 512-byte sectors. People
+primarily interested in thin provisioning may want to use a value such
+as 1024 (512KB). People doing lots of snapshotting may want a smaller value
+such as 128 (64KB). If you are not zeroing newly-allocated data,
+a larger $data_block_size in the region of 256000 (128MB) is suggested.
+$data_block_size must be the same for the lifetime of the
+metadata device.
+
+$low_water_mark is expressed in blocks of size $data_block_size. If
+free space on the data device drops below this level then a dm event
+will be triggered which a userspace daemon should catch allowing it to
+extend the pool device. Only one such event will be sent.
+Resuming a device with a new table itself triggers an event so the
+userspace daemon can use this to detect a situation where a new table
+already exceeds the threshold.
+
+Thin provisioning
+-----------------
+
+i) Creating a new thinly-provisioned volume.
+
+ To create a new thinly- provisioned volume you must send a message to an
+ active pool device, /dev/mapper/pool in this example.
+
+ dmsetup message /dev/mapper/pool 0 "create_thin 0"
+
+ Here '0' is an identifier for the volume, a 24-bit number. It's up
+ to the caller to allocate and manage these identifiers. If the
+ identifier is already in use, the message will fail with -EEXIST.
+
+ii) Using a thinly-provisioned volume.
+
+ Thinly-provisioned volumes are activated using the 'thin' target:
+
+ dmsetup create thin --table "0 2097152 thin /dev/mapper/pool 0"
+
+ The last parameter is the identifier for the thinp device.
+
+Internal snapshots
+------------------
+
+i) Creating an internal snapshot.
+
+ Snapshots are created with another message to the pool.
+
+ N.B. If the origin device that you wish to snapshot is active, you
+ must suspend it before creating the snapshot to avoid corruption.
+ This is NOT enforced at the moment, so please be careful!
+
+ dmsetup suspend /dev/mapper/thin
+ dmsetup message /dev/mapper/pool 0 "create_snap 1 0"
+ dmsetup resume /dev/mapper/thin
+
+ Here '1' is the identifier for the volume, a 24-bit number. '0' is the
+ identifier for the origin device.
+
+ii) Using an internal snapshot.
+
+ Once created, the user doesn't have to worry about any connection
+ between the origin and the snapshot. Indeed the snapshot is no
+ different from any other thinly-provisioned device and can be
+ snapshotted itself via the same method. It's perfectly legal to
+ have only one of them active, and there's no ordering requirement on
+ activating or removing them both. (This differs from conventional
+ device-mapper snapshots.)
+
+ Activate it exactly the same way as any other thinly-provisioned volume:
+
+ dmsetup create snap --table "0 2097152 thin /dev/mapper/pool 1"
+
+External snapshots
+------------------
+
+You can use an external _read only_ device as an origin for a
+thinly-provisioned volume. Any read to an unprovisioned area of the
+thin device will be passed through to the origin. Writes trigger
+the allocation of new blocks as usual.
+
+One use case for this is VM hosts that want to run guests on
+thinly-provisioned volumes but have the base image on another device
+(possibly shared between many VMs).
+
+You must not write to the origin device if you use this technique!
+Of course, you may write to the thin device and take internal snapshots
+of the thin volume.
+
+i) Creating a snapshot of an external device
+
+ This is the same as creating a thin device.
+ You don't mention the origin at this stage.
+
+ dmsetup message /dev/mapper/pool 0 "create_thin 0"
+
+ii) Using a snapshot of an external device.
+
+ Append an extra parameter to the thin target specifying the origin:
+
+ dmsetup create snap --table "0 2097152 thin /dev/mapper/pool 0 /dev/image"
+
+ N.B. All descendants (internal snapshots) of this snapshot require the
+ same extra origin parameter.
+
+Deactivation
+------------
+
+All devices using a pool must be deactivated before the pool itself
+can be.
+
+ dmsetup remove thin
+ dmsetup remove snap
+ dmsetup remove pool
+
+Reference
+=========
+
+'thin-pool' target
+------------------
+
+i) Constructor
+
+ thin-pool <metadata dev> <data dev> <data block size (sectors)> \
+ <low water mark (blocks)> [<number of feature args> [<arg>]*]
+
+ Optional feature arguments:
+
+ skip_block_zeroing: Skip the zeroing of newly-provisioned blocks.
+
+ ignore_discard: Disable discard support.
+
+ no_discard_passdown: Don't pass discards down to the underlying
+ data device, but just remove the mapping.
+
+ read_only: Don't allow any changes to be made to the pool
+ metadata.
+
+ Data block size must be between 64KB (128 sectors) and 1GB
+ (2097152 sectors) inclusive.
+
+
+ii) Status
+
+ <transaction id> <used metadata blocks>/<total metadata blocks>
+ <used data blocks>/<total data blocks> <held metadata root>
+ [no_]discard_passdown ro|rw
+
+ transaction id:
+ A 64-bit number used by userspace to help synchronise with metadata
+ from volume managers.
+
+ used data blocks / total data blocks
+ If the number of free blocks drops below the pool's low water mark a
+ dm event will be sent to userspace. This event is edge-triggered and
+ it will occur only once after each resume so volume manager writers
+ should register for the event and then check the target's status.
+
+ held metadata root:
+ The location, in sectors, of the metadata root that has been
+ 'held' for userspace read access. '-' indicates there is no
+ held root. This feature is not yet implemented so '-' is
+ always returned.
+
+ discard_passdown|no_discard_passdown
+ Whether or not discards are actually being passed down to the
+ underlying device. When this is enabled when loading the table,
+ it can get disabled if the underlying device doesn't support it.
+
+ ro|rw
+ If the pool encounters certain types of device failures it will
+ drop into a read-only metadata mode in which no changes to
+ the pool metadata (like allocating new blocks) are permitted.
+
+ In serious cases where even a read-only mode is deemed unsafe
+ no further I/O will be permitted and the status will just
+ contain the string 'Fail'. The userspace recovery tools
+ should then be used.
+
+iii) Messages
+
+ create_thin <dev id>
+
+ Create a new thinly-provisioned device.
+ <dev id> is an arbitrary unique 24-bit identifier chosen by
+ the caller.
+
+ create_snap <dev id> <origin id>
+
+ Create a new snapshot of another thinly-provisioned device.
+ <dev id> is an arbitrary unique 24-bit identifier chosen by
+ the caller.
+ <origin id> is the identifier of the thinly-provisioned device
+ of which the new device will be a snapshot.
+
+ delete <dev id>
+
+ Deletes a thin device. Irreversible.
+
+ set_transaction_id <current id> <new id>
+
+ Userland volume managers, such as LVM, need a way to
+ synchronise their external metadata with the internal metadata of the
+ pool target. The thin-pool target offers to store an
+ arbitrary 64-bit transaction id and return it on the target's
+ status line. To avoid races you must provide what you think
+ the current transaction id is when you change it with this
+ compare-and-swap message.
+
+ reserve_metadata_snap
+
+ Reserve a copy of the data mapping btree for use by userland.
+ This allows userland to inspect the mappings as they were when
+ this message was executed. Use the pool's status command to
+ get the root block associated with the metadata snapshot.
+
+ release_metadata_snap
+
+ Release a previously reserved copy of the data mapping btree.
+
+'thin' target
+-------------
+
+i) Constructor
+
+ thin <pool dev> <dev id> [<external origin dev>]
+
+ pool dev:
+ the thin-pool device, e.g. /dev/mapper/my_pool or 253:0
+
+ dev id:
+ the internal device identifier of the device to be
+ activated.
+
+ external origin dev:
+ an optional block device outside the pool to be treated as a
+ read-only snapshot origin: reads to unprovisioned areas of the
+ thin target will be mapped to this device.
+
+The pool doesn't store any size against the thin devices. If you
+load a thin target that is smaller than you've been using previously,
+then you'll have no access to blocks mapped beyond the end. If you
+load a target that is bigger than before, then extra blocks will be
+provisioned as and when needed.
+
+If you wish to reduce the size of your thin device and potentially
+regain some space then send the 'trim' message to the pool.
+
+ii) Status
+
+ <nr mapped sectors> <highest mapped sector>
+
+ If the pool has encountered device errors and failed, the status
+ will just contain the string 'Fail'. The userspace recovery
+ tools should then be used.