blob: 31047e0fe14bceb82ddda2c3692e38c846d20e40 [file] [log] [blame]
Making Filesystems Exportable
Most filesystem operations require a dentry (or two) as a starting
point. Local applications have a reference-counted hold on suitable
dentrys via open file descriptors or cwd/root. However remote
applications that access a filesystem via a remote filesystem protocol
such as NFS may not be able to hold such a reference, and so need a
different way to refer to a particular dentry. As the alternative
form of reference needs to be stable across renames, truncates, and
server-reboot (among other things, though these tend to be the most
problematic), there is no simple answer like 'filename'.
The mechanism discussed here allows each filesystem implementation to
specify how to generate an opaque (out side of the filesystem) byte
string for any dentry, and how to find an appropriate dentry for any
given opaque byte string.
This byte string will be called a "filehandle fragment" as it
corresponds to part of an NFS filehandle.
A filesystem which supports the mapping between filehandle fragments
and dentrys will be termed "exportable".
Dcache Issues
The dcache normally contains a proper prefix of any given filesystem
tree. This means that if any filesystem object is in the dcache, then
all of the ancestors of that filesystem object are also in the dcache.
As normal access is by filename this prefix is created naturally and
maintained easily (by each object maintaining a reference count on
its parent).
However when objects are included into the dcache by interpreting a
filehandle fragment, there is no automatic creation of a path prefix
for the object. This leads to two related but distinct features of
the dcache that are not needed for normal filesystem access.
1/ The dcache must sometimes contain objects that are not part of the
proper prefix. i.e that are not connected to the root.
2/ The dcache must be prepared for a newly found (via ->lookup) directory
to already have a (non-connected) dentry, and must be able to move
that dentry into place (based on the parent and name in the
->lookup). This is particularly needed for directories as
it is a dcache invariant that directories only have one dentry.
To implement these features, the dcache has:
a/ A dentry flag DCACHE_DISCONNECTED which is set on
any dentry that might not be part of the proper prefix.
This is set when anonymous dentries are created, and cleared when a
dentry is noticed to be a child of a dentry which is in the proper
b/ A per-superblock list "s_anon" of dentries which are the roots of
subtrees that are not in the proper prefix. These dentries, as
well as the proper prefix, need to be released at unmount time. As
these dentries will not be hashed, they are linked together on the
d_hash list_head.
c/ Helper routines to allocate anonymous dentries, and to help attach
loose directory dentries at lookup time. They are:
d_alloc_anon(inode) will return a dentry for the given inode.
If the inode already has a dentry, one of those is returned.
If it doesn't, a new anonymous (IS_ROOT and
DCACHE_DISCONNECTED) dentry is allocated and attached.
In the case of a directory, care is taken that only one dentry
can ever be attached.
d_splice_alias(inode, dentry) will make sure that there is a
dentry with the same name and parent as the given dentry, and
which refers to the given inode.
If the inode is a directory and already has a dentry, then that
dentry is d_moved over the given dentry.
If the passed dentry gets attached, care is taken that this is
mutually exclusive to a d_alloc_anon operation.
If the passed dentry is used, NULL is returned, else the used
dentry is returned. This corresponds to the calling pattern of
Filesystem Issues
For a filesystem to be exportable it must:
1/ provide the filehandle fragment routines described below.
2/ make sure that d_splice_alias is used rather than d_add
when ->lookup finds an inode for a given parent and name.
Typically the ->lookup routine will end:
if (inode)
return d_splice(inode, dentry);
d_add(dentry, inode);
return NULL;
A file system implementation declares that instances of the filesystem
are exportable by setting the s_export_op field in the struct
super_block. This field must point to a "struct export_operations"
struct which could potentially be full of NULLs, though normally at
least get_parent will be set.
The primary operations are decode_fh and encode_fh.
decode_fh takes a filehandle fragment and tries to find or create a
dentry for the object referred to by the filehandle.
encode_fh takes a dentry and creates a filehandle fragment which can
later be used to find/create a dentry for the same object.
decode_fh will probably make use of "find_exported_dentry".
This function lives in the "exportfs" module which a filesystem does
not need unless it is being exported. So rather that calling
find_exported_dentry directly, each filesystem should call it through
the find_exported_dentry pointer in it's export_operations table.
This field is set correctly by the exporting agent (e.g. nfsd) when a
filesystem is exported, and before any export operations are called.
find_exported_dentry needs three support functions from the
get_name. When given a parent dentry and a child dentry, this
should find a name in the directory identified by the parent
dentry, which leads to the object identified by the child dentry.
If no get_name function is supplied, a default implementation is
provided which uses vfs_readdir to find potential names, and
matches inode numbers to find the correct match.
get_parent. When given a dentry for a directory, this should return
a dentry for the parent. Quite possibly the parent dentry will
have been allocated by d_alloc_anon.
The default get_parent function just returns an error so any
filehandle lookup that requires finding a parent will fail.
->lookup("..") is *not* used as a default as it can leave ".."
entries in the dcache which are too messy to work with.
get_dentry. When given an opaque datum, this should find the
implied object and create a dentry for it (possibly with
The opaque datum is whatever is passed down by the decode_fh
function, and is often simply a fragment of the filehandle
decode_fh passes two datums through find_exported_dentry. One that
should be used to identify the target object, and one that can be
used to identify the object's parent, should that be necessary.
The default get_dentry function assumes that the datum contains an
inode number and a generation number, and it attempts to get the
inode using "iget" and check it's validity by matching the
generation number. A filesystem should only depend on the default
if iget can safely be used this way.
If decode_fh and/or encode_fh are left as NULL, then default
implementations are used. These defaults are suitable for ext2 and
extremely similar filesystems (like ext3).
The default encode_fh creates a filehandle fragment from the inode
number and generation number of the target together with the inode
number and generation number of the parent (if the parent is
The default decode_fh extract the target and parent datums from the
filehandle assuming the format used by the default encode_fh and
passed them to find_exported_dentry.
A filehandle fragment consists of an array of 1 or more 4byte words,
together with a one byte "type".
The decode_fh routine should not depend on the stated size that is
passed to it. This size may be larger than the original filehandle
generated by encode_fh, in which case it will have been padded with
nuls. Rather, the encode_fh routine should choose a "type" which
indicates the decode_fh how much of the filehandle is valid, and how
it should be interpreted.