I'm interested in getting input for implementing an ioctl to efficiently
map file extents & holes (FIEMAP) instead of looping over FIBMAP a billion
times.  We already have customers with single files in the 10TB range and
we additionally need to get the mapping over the network so it needs to
be efficient in terms of how data is passed, and how easily it can be
extracted from the filesystem.

I had come up with a plan independently and was also steered toward
XFS_IOC_GETBMAP* ioctls which are in fact very similar to my original
plan, though I think the XFS structs used there are a bit bloated.

There was also recent discussion about SEEK_HOLE and SEEK_DATA as
implemented by Sun, but even if we could skip the holes we still might
need to do millions of FIBMAPs to see how large files are allocated
on disk.  Conversely, having filesystems implement an efficient FIBMAP
ioctl (or ->fiemap() method) could in turn be leveraged for SEEK_HOLE
and SEEK_DATA instead of doing looping over ->bmap() inside the kernel
as I saw one patch.

struct fibmap_extent {
        __u64 fe_start;                 /* starting offset in bytes */
        __u64 fe_len;                   /* length in bytes */

struct fibmap {
        struct fibmap_extent fm_start;  /* offset, length of desired mapping */
        __u32 fm_extent_count;          /* number of extents in array */
        __u32 fm_flags;                 /* flags (similar to XFS_IOC_GETBMAP) */
        __u64 unused;
        struct fibmap_extent fm_extents[0];

#define FIEMAP_LEN_MASK         0xff000000000000
#define FIEMAP_LEN_HOLE         0x01000000000000
#define FIEMAP_LEN_UNWRITTEN    0x02000000000000

All offsets are in bytes to allow cases where filesystems are not going
block-aligned/sized allocations (e.g. tail packing).  The fm_extents array
returned contains the packed list of allocation extents for the file,
including entries for holes (which have fe_start == 0, and a flag).

The ->fm_extents[] array includes all of the holes in addition to
allocated extents because this avoids the need to return both the logical
and physical address for every extent and does not make processing any

One feature that XFS_IOC_GETBMAPX has that may be desirable is the
ability to return unwritten extent information.  In order to do this XFS
required expanding the per-extent struct from 32 to 48 bytes per extent,
but I'd rather limit a single extent to e.g. 2^56 bytes (oh, what hardship)
and keep 8 bytes or so for input/output flags per extent (would need to
be masked before use).

Caller works something like:

        char buf[4096];
        struct fibmap *fm = (struct fibmap *)buf;
        int count = (sizeof(buf) - sizeof(*fm)) / sizeof(fm_extent);
        fm->fm_extent.fe_start = 0; /* start of file */
        fm->fm_extent.fe_len = -1;      /* end of file */
        fm->fm_extent_count = count; /* max extents in fm_extents[] array */
        fm->fm_flags = 0;               /* maybe "no DMAPI", etc like XFS */

        fd = open(path, O_RDONLY);

        /* The last entry will have less extents than the maximum */
        while (fm->fm_extent_count == count) {
                rc = ioctl(fd, FIEMAP, fm);
                if (rc)

                /* kernel filled in fm_extents[] array, set fm_extent_count
                 * to be actual number of extents returned, leaves fm_start
                 * alone (unlike XFS_IOC_GETBMAP). */

                for (i = 0; i < fm->fm_extent_count; i++) {
                        __u64 len = fm->fm_extents[i].fe_len & FIEMAP_LEN_MASK;
                        __u64 fm_next = fm->fm_start + len;
                        int hole = fm->fm_extents[i].fe_len & FIEMAP_LEN_HOLE;
                        int unwr = fm->fm_extents[i].fe_len & 

                                fm->fm_start, fm_next - 1,
                                hole ? 0 : fm->fm_extents[i].fe_start,
                                hole ? 0 : fm->fm_extents[i].fe_start +
                                           fm->fm_extents[i].fe_len - 1,
                                len, hole ? "(hole) " : "",
                                unwr ? "(unwritten) " : "");

                        /* get ready for printing next extent, or next ioctl */
                        fm->fm_start = fm_next;

I'm not wedded to an ioctl interface, but it seems consistent with FIBMAP.
I'm quite open to suggestions at this point, both in terms of how usable
the fibmap data structures are by the caller, and if we need to add anything
to make them more flexible for the future.

In terms of implementing this in the kernel, there was originally code for
this during the development of the ext3 extent patches and it was done via
a callback in the extent tree iterator so it is very efficient.  I believe
it implements all that is needed to allow this interface to be mapped
onto XFS_IOC_BMAP internally (or vice versa).  Even for block-mapped
filesystems, they can at least improve over the ->bmap() case by skipping
holes in files that cover [dt]indirect blocks (saving thousands of calls).

Cheers, Andreas
Andreas Dilger
Principal Software Engineer
Cluster File Systems, Inc.

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