Previously I had determined that replication protocol C gives the best performance for DRBD, that the batch-time parameters for Ext4 aren’t worth touching for a single IDE disk, that barrier=0 gives a massive performance boost, and that DRBD gives a significant performance hit even when the secondary is not connected. Below are the results of some more tests of delivering mail from my Postal benchmark to my LMTP server which uses the Dovecot delivery agent to write it to disk, the rates are in messages per minute where each message is an average of 70K in size. The ext4 filesystem is used for all tests and the filesystem features list is “has_journal ext_attr resize_inode dir_index filetype extent flex_bg sparse_super large_file huge_file uninit_bg dir_nlink extra_isize“.
|DRBD no secondary al-extents=7||645|
|DRBD no secondary default||2409|
|DRBD no secondary al-extents=1024||2513|
|DRBD no secondary al-extents=3389||2650|
|DRBD connected al-extents=1024||1560|
|DRBD connected al-extents=1024 Gig-E||1544|
The al-extents option determines the size of the dirty areas that need to be resynced when a failed node rejoins the cluster. The default is 127 extents of 4M each for a block size of 508MB to be synchronised. The maximum is 3389 for a synchronisation block size of just over 13G. Even with fast disks and gigabit Ethernet it’s going to take a while to synchronise things if dirty zones are 13GB in size. In my tests using the maximum size of al-extents gives a 10% performance benefit in disconnected mode while a size of 1024 gives a 4% performance boost. Changing the al-extents size seems to make no significant difference for a connected DRBD device.
All the tests on connected DRBD devices were done with 100baseT apart from the last one which was a separate Gigabit Ethernet cable connecting the two systems.
For the level of traffic that I’m using it seems that Gigabit Ethernet provides no performance benefit, the fact that it gave a slightly lower result is not relevant as the difference is within the margin of error.
Increasing the al-extents value helps with disconnected performance, a value of 1024 gives a 4% performance boost. I’m not sure that a value of 3389 is a good idea though.
The ext4 barriers are disabled by DRBD so a disconnected DRBD device gives performance that is closer to a barrier=0 mount than a regular ext4 mount. With the significant performance difference between connected and disconnected modes it seems possible that for some usage scenarios it could be useful to disable the DRBD secondary at times of peak load – it depends on whether DRBD is used as a really current backup or a strict mirror.
I plan to do some tests of DRBD over Linux software RAID-1 and tests to compare RAID-1 with and without bitmap support. I also plan to do some tests with the BTRFS filesystem, I know it’s not ready for production but it would still be nice to know what the performance is like.
But I won’t use the same systems, they don’t have enough CPU power. In my previous tests I established that a 1.5GHz P4 isn’t capable of driving the 20G IDE disk to it’s maximum capacity and I’m not sure that the 2.8GHz P4 is capable of running a RAID to it’s capacity. So I will use a dual-core 64bit system with a pair of SATA disks for future tests. The difference in performance between 20G IDE disks and 160G SATA disks should be a lot less than the performance difference between a 2.8GHz P4 and a dual-core 64bit CPU.