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Re: [coreutils] [PATCH] doc: show how to shred using a single zero-writi


From: Jim Meyering
Subject: Re: [coreutils] [PATCH] doc: show how to shred using a single zero-writing pass
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2011 18:08:18 +0100

Pádraig Brady wrote:
> On 17/01/11 10:36, Jim Meyering wrote:
>>>From 7dc6335653afcdad9a3ffa327877571734644285 Mon Sep 17 00:00:00 2001
>> From: Jim Meyering <address@hidden>
>> Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2011 11:32:35 +0100
>> Subject: [PATCH] doc: show how to shred using a single zero-writing pass
>>
>> * doc/coreutils.texi (shred invocation): Give an example showing how
>> to invoke shred in its most basic (fastest) write-only-zeros mode.
>> ---
>>  doc/coreutils.texi |    9 +++++++++
>>  1 files changed, 9 insertions(+), 0 deletions(-)
>>
>> diff --git a/doc/coreutils.texi b/doc/coreutils.texi
>> index 9c3e2ed..8fb9f0c 100644
>> --- a/doc/coreutils.texi
>> +++ b/doc/coreutils.texi
>> @@ -8892,6 +8892,15 @@ shred invocation
>>  shred --verbose /dev/sda5
>>  @end example
>>
>> +On modern disks, a single pass that writes only zeros may be enough,
>> +and it will be much faster than the default.
>
> Well only 3 times, due to the disk being the bottleneck
> (since we changed to the fast internal PRNG by default).
> Also for security, writing random data would probably be more effective.
> So I'd reword the above sentence to:
>
> "To simply clear a disk"

Regarding "only 3x" I agree that 3x is better than the 25x difference
when comparing with the default from coreutils-7.0 and earlier.
However, when it takes two hours with "-n0 --zero", using
the default would add 4 hours.

Interestingly, the difference is sometimes far greater than the expected 3x:
(this is with F14/ext4 on an i7-960 and an 60GB OCZ vertex-2 SSD)

    $ seq 10000000 > k
    $ env time --f=%e shred -n0 --zero k
    0.36
    $ env time --f=%e shred k
    3.75

Surprisingly, even with just -n1, it's still nearly 3x:
(I expected this to have minimal performance difference with
the -n0 --zero run):

    $ env time --f=%e shred -n1 k
    0.95

Let's compare syscalls (the only difference should be PRNG-related)

$ strace -c shred -n1 k
% time     seconds  usecs/call     calls    errors syscall
------ ----------- ----------- --------- --------- ----------------
 96.34    0.052992       52992         1           fdatasync
  2.72    0.001496           0      6421         1 write
  0.94    0.000518         259         2           read
  0.00    0.000000           0         4           open
  0.00    0.000000           0         6           close
  0.00    0.000000           0         3           fstat
  0.00    0.000000           0         1           lseek
  0.00    0.000000           0         7           mmap
  0.00    0.000000           0         3           mprotect
  0.00    0.000000           0         1           munmap
  0.00    0.000000           0         4           brk
  0.00    0.000000           0         1         1 access
  0.00    0.000000           0         1           execve
  0.00    0.000000           0         4           fcntl
  0.00    0.000000           0         1           arch_prctl
------ ----------- ----------- --------- --------- ----------------
100.00    0.055006                  6460         2 total

$ strace -c shred -n0 --zero k
% time     seconds  usecs/call     calls    errors syscall
------ ----------- ----------- --------- --------- ----------------
 96.57    0.053991       53991         1           fdatasync
  3.43    0.001916           0      6421         1 write
  0.00    0.000000           0         2           read
  0.00    0.000000           0         4           open
  0.00    0.000000           0         6           close
  0.00    0.000000           0         3           fstat
  0.00    0.000000           0         1           lseek
  0.00    0.000000           0         7           mmap
  0.00    0.000000           0         3           mprotect
  0.00    0.000000           0         1           munmap
  0.00    0.000000           0         4           brk
  0.00    0.000000           0         1         1 access
  0.00    0.000000           0         1           execve
  0.00    0.000000           0         4           fcntl
  0.00    0.000000           0         1           arch_prctl
------ ----------- ----------- --------- --------- ----------------
100.00    0.055907                  6460         2 total

Odd... no difference in CPU time or syscall counts.

I wonder if the SSD is doing something special with blocks of all zeros,
which is reminiscent of The Reg's article:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/01/14/ocz_and_ddrdrive_performance_row/

>> +Use a command like this to tell @command{shred} to skip all random
>> +passes and to perform only a final zero-writing pass:
>> +
>> address@hidden
>> +shred --verbose -n0 --zero /dev/sda5
>> address@hidden example
>
> It's probably not worth noting the equivalent:
> dd conv=fdatasync bs=2M < /dev/zero > /dev/sda5

I like shred's --verbose %-completion indicator, though even with dd,
you might be able to get a similar progress indicator using
the phantom-progress.bash script here:

  http://blog.ksplice.com/2011/01/solving-problems-with-proc/



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