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Currently I'm running Proxmox 5.3-7 on ZFS with few idling debian virtual machines. I'm using two SSDPE2MX450G7 NVME drives in RAID 1. After 245 days of running this setup the S.M.A.R.T values are terrible.

SMART/Health Information (NVMe Log 0x02, NSID 0xffffffff)
Critical Warning:                   0x00
Temperature:                        27 Celsius
Available Spare:                    98%
Available Spare Threshold:          10%
Percentage Used:                    21%
Data Units Read:                    29,834,793 [15.2 TB]
Data Units Written:                 765,829,644 [392 TB]
Host Read Commands:                 341,748,298
Host Write Commands:                8,048,478,631
Controller Busy Time:               1
Power Cycles:                       27
Power On Hours:                     5,890
Unsafe Shutdowns:                   0
Media and Data Integrity Errors:    0
Error Information Log Entries:      0

I was trying to debug what's consuming so much write commands, but I'm failing. iotop shows 400kB/s average writes with 4MB/s spikes.

I've tried to run zpool iostat and it doesn't look bad too.

zpool iostat rpool 60
capacity operations bandwidth
pool alloc free read write read write

rpool 342G 74.3G 0 91 10.0K 1.95M
rpool 342G 74.3G 0 90 7.80K 1.95M
rpool 342G 74.3G 0 107 7.60K 2.91M
rpool 342G 74.3G 0 85 22.1K 2.15M
rpool 342G 74.3G 0 92 8.47K 2.16M
rpool 342G 74.3G 0 90 6.67K 1.71M

I've decided to take a look into writes by echoing 1 into /proc/sys/vm/block_dump and looking into /var/log/syslog. Here's the result:

Jan 25 16:56:19 proxmox kernel: [505463.283056] z_wr_int_2(438): WRITE block 310505368 on nvme0n1p2 (16 sectors)
Jan 25 16:56:19 proxmox kernel: [505463.283058] z_wr_int_0(436): WRITE block 575539312 on nvme1n1p2 (16 sectors)
Jan 25 16:56:19 proxmox kernel: [505463.283075] z_wr_int_1(437): WRITE block 315902632 on nvme0n1p2 (32 sectors)
Jan 25 16:56:19 proxmox kernel: [505463.283096] z_wr_int_4(562): WRITE block 460141312 on nvme0n1p2 (8 sectors)
Jan 25 16:56:19 proxmox kernel: [505463.283108] z_wr_int_4(562): WRITE block 460141328 on nvme0n1p2 (16 sectors)
Jan 25 16:56:19 proxmox kernel: [505463.283271] z_null_iss(418): WRITE block 440 on nvme1n1p2 (8 sectors)
Jan 25 16:56:19 proxmox kernel: [505463.283315] z_null_iss(418): WRITE block 952 on nvme1n1p2 (8 sectors)
Jan 25 16:56:19 proxmox kernel: [505463.283348] z_null_iss(418): WRITE block 878030264 on nvme1n1p2 (8 sectors)
Jan 25 16:56:19 proxmox kernel: [505463.283378] z_null_iss(418): WRITE block 878030776 on nvme1n1p2 (8 sectors)
Jan 25 16:56:19 proxmox kernel: [505463.283409] z_null_iss(418): WRITE block 440 on nvme0n1p2 (8 sectors)
Jan 25 16:56:19 proxmox kernel: [505463.283442] z_null_iss(418): WRITE block 952 on nvme0n1p2 (8 sectors)
Jan 25 16:56:19 proxmox kernel: [505463.283472] z_null_iss(418): WRITE block 878030264 on nvme0n1p2 (8 sectors)
Jan 25 16:56:19 proxmox kernel: [505463.283502] z_null_iss(418): WRITE block 878030776 on nvme0n1p2 (8 sectors)
Jan 25 16:56:19 proxmox kernel: [505463.289562] z_wr_iss(434): WRITE block 460808488 on nvme1n1p2 (24 sectors)
Jan 25 16:56:19 proxmox kernel: [505463.289572] z_wr_iss(434): WRITE block 460808488 on nvme0n1p2 (24 sectors)
Jan 25 16:56:19 proxmox kernel: [505463.457366] z_wr_iss(430): WRITE block 460808744 on nvme1n1p2 (24 sectors)
Jan 25 16:56:19 proxmox kernel: [505463.457382] z_wr_iss(430): WRITE block 460808744 on nvme0n1p2 (24 sectors)
Jan 25 16:56:19 proxmox kernel: [505463.459003] z_wr_iss(431): WRITE block 460809000 on nvme1n1p2 (24 sectors)

and so on. Is there any way to limit number of writes? As you can see the data units written are outrageous and I'm stuck, because I'm out of ideas how to limit it.

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  • Are those your cache disks, or your only disks? Jan 25, 2019 at 17:49
  • It's a cheap dedicated server with 2x NVME SSD 480GB, so it's all I've got.
    – Peter R.
    Jan 25, 2019 at 17:51
  • How do you know you made all those writes, and not the person who previously leased that server? Jan 25, 2019 at 17:51
  • I've checked the SMART after the server was provisioned. It had 2 power-on hours on the clock after initial tests and OS install.
    – Peter R.
    Jan 25, 2019 at 17:53
  • Well, that's you then. Time to take a look at what your virtual machines are doing. Jan 25, 2019 at 17:54

3 Answers 3

6

There are different reasons why your real writes were so much inflated. Lets mark some base point:

  • first, let set a baseline: from your zpool iostat output, we can infer a continuous ~1.5 MB/s write stream to each of the mirror leg. So, in 245 days, it add up to 1.5*86400*245 = 32 TB written;

  • the number above already take into account both ZFS recordsize write amplification and dual data write due to first writing to ZIL, then at txg_commit (for writes smaller than zfs_immediate_write_sz).

Give the above, to reduce ZFS-induced write amplification, you should:

  • set a small recordsize (ie: 16K);

  • set logbias=throughput

  • set compression=lz4 (as suggested by @poige)

EDIT: to more correctly estimate write-amplification, please show the output of nvme intel smart-log-add /dev/nvme0

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  • First of all - thank you for help. I decided to wait a little to make sure your suggestions are working. I've set recordsize to 16K, updated the logbias, reduced the size of qcow2 files to make some room on the disks. And now the SMART still shows 372TB, so it's not growing as fast as it was before. Awesome reply, thank you for your help.
    – Peter R.
    Jan 28, 2019 at 12:18
  • @PeterR. Glad to help. If you have the time to run nvme intel smart-log-add /dev/nvme0, we can check the actual write amplification.
    – shodanshok
    Jan 28, 2019 at 14:19
  • The most important lines of this output: wear_leveling : 79% min: 1051, max: 1095, avg: 1070 timed_workload_media_wear : 100% 63.999% timed_workload_host_reads : 100% 65535% timed_workload_timer : 100% 65535 min nand_bytes_written : 100% sectors: 9692273 host_bytes_written : 100% sectors: 11702215
    – Peter R.
    Jan 28, 2019 at 17:31
  • @PeterR. can you show the full output, updating your initial question (to preserve text format, which is lost on comments)?
    – shodanshok
    Jan 28, 2019 at 18:18
5

In addition to already given advice to reduce recordsize — there's no reason not to use LZ4 compression (zfs set compression=lz4 …) as well by default, thus reducing size even more (and sometimes very significantly).

4
  • It is not 2% wear level, but 2% available spare, which is an entirely different thing. The current SSD wear level is 21% (as show by Percentage Used). Feel free to double check NMVe specifications. That said, it is 2/3 in the warranted write endurance (590 TBW for this model)
    – shodanshok
    Jan 28, 2019 at 15:23
  • Thanks and feel free to provide a link (single is enough) where its "Spare" term is described. ;)
    – poige
    Jan 29, 2019 at 1:33
  • 1
    Sure, you can check here. On page 121, under "Namespace Capacity": Spare LBAs are not reported as part of this field. So spare space is, well, additional space not directly seen by the block layer, used to replace failing NAND cells. To eat 2% into this area does not mean the SSD is 2% worn; rather, a small but significant number of NAND cell already failed and were replaced. An aging SSD can work reporting 0% used spare and then, suddenly, use all spare cells in a matter of weeks.
    – shodanshok
    Jan 29, 2019 at 8:18
  • Yeah, already figured out since your first reply but anyways this explanation can be useful to other readers
    – poige
    Jan 29, 2019 at 15:27
4

A few items...

If this is a leased server, isn't the provider responsible for the health of the equipment?

Your ZFS filesystem ashift values, pool txg_timeout and a few other parameters may make sense to review.

2
  • First of all - you are right, if the drive fails provider will get me a new one. I would like to have it sorted out anyway, because one day I can nuke my own hardware this way. Ashift is set to 12 so I assume its 4k. tgx_timeout is set to 5.
    – Peter R.
    Jan 26, 2019 at 21:16
  • txg_timeout is too low.
    – ewwhite
    Jan 27, 2019 at 1:18

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