RFC Block Layer Extensions to Support NV-DIMMs

Matthew Wilcox willy at linux.intel.com
Thu Sep 5 11:34:47 EDT 2013

On Thu, Sep 05, 2013 at 08:12:05AM -0400, Jeff Moyer wrote:
> If the memory is available to be mapped into the address space of the
> kernel or a user process, then I don't see why we should have a block
> device at all.  I think it would make more sense to have a different
> driver class for these persistent memory devices.

We already have at least two block devices in the tree that provide
this kind of functionality (arch/powerpc/sysdev/axonram.c and
drivers/s390/block/dcssblk.c).  Looking at how they're written, it
seems like implementing either of them as a block device on top of a
character device that extended their functionality in the direction we
want would be a pretty major bloating factor for no real benefit (not
even a particularly cleaner architecture).

> > Different applications, filesystem and drivers may wish to share
> > ranges of PMEM.  This is analogous to partitioning a disk that is
> > using multiple and different filesystems.   Since PMEM is addressed
> > on a byte basis rather than a block basis the existing partitioning
> > model does not fit well.  As a result there needs to be a way to
> > describe PMEM ranges.
> >
> > 	struct pmem_layout *(*getpmem)(struct block_device *bdev);
> If existing partitioning doesn't work well, then it sounds like a block
> device isn't the right fit (again).  Ignoring that detail, what about
> requesting and releasing ranges of persistent memory, as in your
> "partitioning" example?  Would that not also be a function of the
> driver?

"existing partitioning" doesn't even work well for existing drives!
Nobody actually builds a drive with fixed C/H/S any more.

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