lvm

Note to self: Missing lvm2 and cryptsetup packages lead to non-working initrd very, very soon

I recently almost died from a heart attack because after a really horrible crash (don't ask), Debian unstable on my laptop wouldn't boot anymore. The system hung at "Waiting for root filesystem...", and I was in panic mode as I feared I lost all my data (and as usual my backups were waaay too old).

At first I was suspecting that something actually got erased or mangled due to the crash, either at the dm-crypt layer, or the LVM layer, or the ext3 filesystem on top of those. After various hours of messing with live CDs, cryptsetup, lvm commands (such as pvscan, pvs, vgchange, vgs, vgck) and finally fsck I still had not managed to successfully boot my laptop.

I finally was able to boot by changing the initrd from initrd.img-2.6.30-2-686 to initrd.img-2.6.30-2-686.bak in the GRUB2 menu (at boot-time), at which point it was clear that something was wrong with my current initrd. A bit of debugging and some initrd comparisons revealed the cause:

Both, the cryptsetup and lvm2 packages were no longer installed on my laptop, which made all update-initramfs invokations (e.g. upon kernel package updates) create initrds which did not contain the proper dm-crypt and lvm functionality support. Hence, no booting for me. I only noticed because of the crash, as I usually do not reboot the laptop very often (two or three times per year maybe).

Now, as to why those packages were removed I have absolutely no idea. I did not remove them knowingly, so I suspect some dist-upgrade did it and I didn't notice (but I do carefully check which packages dist-upgrade tries to remove, usually)...

Resizing ext3-on-LVM-on-dmcrypt file systems, moving disk space from one LV to another

Back in 2008 I wrote a small article about resizing LVM physical volumes. I had to do something similar, but slighly more complicated, recently. My /usr logical volume (LV) was getting full on my laptop disk, thus I wanted to shrink another LV and move some of that space to /usr. Here's one way you can do that.

Requirements: a Live CD containing all required utilities (cryptsetup, LVM tools, resize2fs), I used grml.

Important: If you plan to perform any of these steps, make sure you have recent backups! I take no responsibility for any data loss you might experience. You have been warned!

First, shutdown the laptop and boot using the Live CD. Then, open the dm-crypt device (/dev/hda3 in my case) by entering your passphrase:

  $ cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/hda3 foo

Activate all (newly available) LVM volume groups in that encrypted device:

  $ vgchange -a y

(maybe you also need a vgscan and/or lvscan, not sure)

Check how much free space we have for putting into our /usr LV:

  $ vgdisplay | grep Free
  Free  PE / Size       0 / 0   

OK, so we have none. Thus, we need to shrink another LV (/home, in my case) and put that newly freed space into the /usr LV. In order to do that, we have to check the current size of the /home LV:

  $ mount -t ext3 /dev/vg-whole/lv-home /mnt
  $ df --block-size=1M | grep -C 1 /mnt
  $ umount /mnt

(if you know how to find out the size of an ext3 file system without mounting it, please let me know) Update: See comments for suggestions.

Write down the total amount of 1M chunks of space on the file system (116857 in my case), we'll need that later. Now run 'fsck' on the /home LVM logical volume, which is needed for the 'resize2fs' step afterwards. This will take quite a while.

  $ fsck -f /dev/vg-whole/lv-home

Next step is resizing the ext3 file system in the /home LVM logical volume, making it 1GB smaller than before (of course you must have >= 1 GB of free space on /home for that to work). We use fancy bash calculations to do the math.

Note: I'm not so sure about the sizes here, in my first attempt something went wrong and resize2fs said "filesystem too small" or the like. Maybe I'm confusing the size units from 'df' and 'resize2fs', or the bash calculation goes wrong? Please leave a comment if you know more!

  $ resize2fs /dev/vg-whole/lv-home $((116857-1024))M

Then, we can safely reduce the LV itself. Note: order is very important here, you must shrink the ext3 filesystem first, and then shrink the LV! Doing it the other way around will destroy your filesystem!

  $ lvreduce -L -1G /dev/vg-whole/lv-home

Now that we have 1 GB of free space to spend on LVs, we assign that space to the /usr LVM logical volume like this:

  $ lvextend -L +1G /dev/vg-whole/lv-usr

As usual, we then run 'fsck' on the filesystem in order to be able to use 'resize2fs' to resize it to the biggest possible size (that's the default if resize2fs gets no parameters):

  $ fsck -f /dev/vg-whole/lv-usr
  $ resize2fs /dev/vg-whole/lv-usr

That's it. You can now shutdown the Live CD system and boot into the normal OS with the new space allocations:

  $ vgchange -a n
  $ cryptsetup luksClose foo
  $ halt

Recovering from a dead disk in a Linux software-RAID5 system using mdadm

RAID5 failure

As I wrote quite a while ago, I set up a RAID5 with three
IDE disks at home, which I'm using as backup (yes, I know that
RAID != backup) and storage space.

A few days ago, the RAID was put to a real-life test for the first time, as one of the disks died. Here's what that looks like in dmesg:

raid5: raid level 5 set md1 active with 3 out of 3 devices, algorithm 2
RAID5 conf printout:
 --- rd:3 wd:3
 disk 0, o:1, dev:hda2
 disk 1, o:1, dev:hdg2
 disk 2, o:1, dev:hde2
[...]
hdg: dma_timer_expiry: dma status == 0x21
hdg: DMA timeout error
hdg: 4 bytes in FIFO
hdg: dma timeout error: status=0x50 { DriveReady SeekComplete }
ide: failed opcode was: unknown
hdg: dma_timer_expiry: dma status == 0x21
hdg: DMA timeout error
hdg: 252 bytes in FIFO
hdg: dma timeout error: status=0x50 { DriveReady SeekComplete }
ide: failed opcode was: unknown
hdg: dma_timer_expiry: dma status == 0x21
hdg: DMA timeout error
hdg: 252 bytes in FIFO
hdg: dma timeout error: status=0x58 { DriveReady SeekComplete DataRequest }
ide: failed opcode was: unknown
hdg: DMA disabled
ide3: reset: success
hdg: dma_timer_expiry: dma status == 0x21
hdg: DMA timeout error
hdg: 252 bytes in FIFO
hdg: dma timeout error: status=0x58 { DriveReady SeekComplete DataRequest }
ide: failed opcode was: unknown
hdg: DMA disabled
ide3: reset: success
hdg: status timeout: status=0x80 { Busy }
ide: failed opcode was: 0xea
hdg: drive not ready for command
hdg: lost interrupt
hdg: task_out_intr: status=0x50 { DriveReady SeekComplete }
ide: failed opcode was: unknown
hdg: lost interrupt
hdg: task_out_intr: status=0x50 { DriveReady SeekComplete }
ide: failed opcode was: unknown

That's when I realized that something was horribly wrong.

Not long after that, these messages appeared in dmesg. As you can see the software-RAID automatically realized that a drive died and removed the faulty disk from the array. I did not lose any data, and the system did not freeze up; I could continue working as if nothing happened (as it should be).

 md: super_written gets error=-5, uptodate=0
 raid5: Disk failure on hdg2, disabling device.
 raid5: Operation continuing on 2 devices.
 RAID5 conf printout:
  --- rd:3 wd:2
  disk 0, o:1, dev:hda2
  disk 1, o:0, dev:hdg2
  disk 2, o:1, dev:hde2
 RAID5 conf printout:
  --- rd:3 wd:2
  disk 0, o:1, dev:hda2
  disk 2, o:1, dev:hde2

This is how you can check the current RAID status:

 $ cat /proc/mdstat
 Personalities : [raid6] [raid5] [raid4] 
 md1 : active raid5 hda2[0] hde2[2] hdg2[3](F)
       584107136 blocks level 5, 64k chunk, algorithm 2 [3/2] [U_U]

The "U_U" means two of the disks are OK, and one is faulty/removed. The desired state is "UUU", which means all three disks are OK.

The next steps are to replace the dead drive with a new one, but first you should know exactly which disk you need to remove (in my case: hda, hde, or hdg). If you remove the wrong one, you're screwed. The RAID will be dead and all your data will be lost (RAID5 can survive only one dead disk at a time).

The safest way (IMHO) to know which disk to remove is to write down the serial number of the disk, e.g. using smartctl, and then check the back side of each disk for the matching serial number.

 $ smartctl -i /dev/hda | grep Serial
 $ smartctl -i /dev/hde | grep Serial
 $ smartctl -i /dev/hdg | grep Serial

(ideally you should get the serial numbers before one of the disks dies)

Now power down the PC and remove the correct drive. Get a new drive which is at least as big as the one you removed. As this is software-RAID you have quite a lot of flexibility; the new drive doesn't have to be from the same vendor / series, it doesn't even have to be of the same type (e.g. I got a SATA disk instead of another IDE one).

Insert the drive into some other PC in order to partition it correctly (e.g. using fdisk or cfdisk). In my case I needed a 1 GB /boot partition for GRUB, and the rest of the drive is another partition of the type "Linux RAID auto", which the software-RAID will then recognize.

Then, put the drive into the RAID PC and power it up. After a successful boot (remember, 2 out of 3 disks in RAID5 are sufficient for a working system) you'll have to hook-up the new drive into the RAID:

 $ mdadm --manage /dev/md1 --add /dev/sda2
 mdadm: added /dev/sda2

My new SATA drive ended up being /dev/sda2, which I added using mdadm. The RAID immediately starts restoring/resyncing all data on that drive, which may take a while (2-3 hours, depends on the RAID size and some other factors). You can check the current progress with:

 $ cat /proc/mdstat 
 Personalities : [raid6] [raid5] [raid4] 
 md1 : active raid5 sda2[3] hda2[0] hde2[2]
       584107136 blocks level 5, 64k chunk, algorithm 2 [3/2] [U_U]
       [>....................]  recovery =  0.1% (473692/292053568) finish=92.3min speed=52632K/sec

As soon as this process is finished you'll see this in dmesg:

 md: md1: recovery done.
 RAID5 conf printout:
  --- rd:3 wd:3
  disk 0, o:1, dev:hda2
  disk 1, o:1, dev:sda2
  disk 2, o:1, dev:hde2

In /proc/mdstat you'll see "UUU" again, which means your RAID is fully functional and redundant (with three disks) again. Yay.

 $ cat /proc/mdstat
 Personalities : [raid6] [raid5] [raid4] 
 md1 : active raid5 sda2[1] hda2[0] hde2[2]
       584107136 blocks level 5, 64k chunk, algorithm 2 [3/3] [UUU]

Btw, another nice utility you might find useful is hddtemp, which can check the temperature of the drives. You should take care that they don't get too hot, especially so if the RAID runs 24/7.

 $ hddtemp /dev/hda
 dev/hda: SAMSUNG HD300LD: 38 °C
 $ hddtemp /dev/hde
 dev/hde: SAMSUNG HD300LD: 44 °C
 $ hddtemp /dev/sda
 dev/sda: SAMSUNG HD322HJ: 32 °C

Resizing a dm-crypt / LVM / ext3 partition

I've bought a new hard drive for my laptop recently, because I finally got fed up with my constantly-full disk. Having to browse around in $HOME looking for stuff which can be safely deleted just because I want to run fetchmail (and that would fill up my disk) just sucks. So, after getting a cheapo 160 GB 2.5" disk (the old one was 80 GB), I had to move all my data to the new disk.

As I didn't want to re-install from scratch I started with dd'ing the whole disk over to the new one (using a live CD and an external USB hard-drive enclosure). This took pretty long, but went fine otherwise.

The new disk then contained all my partitions (hda1-hda3) and also GRUB in the MBR etc., as expected, but was still only 80 GB in size, of course. So the first step is to enlarge the hda3 partition, which is a dm-crypt volume that contains various LVM logical volumes (for /home, /usr, /var, swap, etc.), each of them using the ext3 filesystem (except for the swap volume, of course).

0. Perform backups, boot from a live CD

Important: If you plan to perform any of these steps, make sure you have recent backups! I take no responsibility for any data loss you might experience. You have been warned!

First off, you should boot from a live CD which has all the tools you'll need, including cryptsetup, LVM tools, resize2fs, etc. You can use the nice grml live CD for instance.

1. Resize partition

This sounds scary (and it is!), but the way I enlarged the encrypted hda3 partition was by first deleting it via fdisk. First, issue the "p" command in fdisk, write down the exact start cylinder of hda3. Then delete hda3. Now create a new hda3 partition which starts at exactly the same cylinder as the old hda3 but is larger, i.e. in my case it has ca. 80 GB additional space.

Your data will still be there if you don't screw up, and the partition is bigger now. Using something like gparted will likely not work as expected, as the partition is encrypted!

2. Resize dm-crypt volume

Nothing to be done, it seems dm-crypt automatically adapts and notices that the partition is bigger. Just "open" the encrypted volume using cryptsetup now:

  $ cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/hda3 foo

3. Resize LVM physical volume

Next step is to tell LVM about the new space. We first resize the LVM physical volume on the foo "partition" to use up all newly-available space.

  $ pvresize /dev/mapper/foo

4. Resize LVM logical volume

Now we can pump the new space into any of the logical volumes (or into multiple ones). I only increased one logical volume, my /home:

  $ lvresize -L +74 GB /dev/vg-whole/lv-home

5. Resize ext3 filesystem

The final step is to resize the ext3 filesystem on the lv-home logical volume (after running the obligatory fsck -n). I first used ext2resize, but that failed horribly:

  $ fsck -n /dev/vg-whole/lv-home
  $ ext2resize /dev/vg-whole/lv-home
  error: Invalid argument: seeking to 3258921205760

This seems to be a known bug, ext2resize apparently cannot handle large disks or something, and as I found out a few minutes later it's pretty much deprecated anyway. The better solution is to use resize2fs:

  $ fsck -n /dev/vg-whole/lv-home
  $ resize2fs /dev/vg-whole/lv-home

That's it. We can now reboot the system from disk and enjoy ca. 80 GB of additional hard drive space. Yay!

RAID5 + dm-crypt + LVM + ext3 Debian install and benchmarks

OK, so I've setup a RAID5 at home because I'm getting tired of failed disk drives and data losses.

Some notes:

  • The system consists of 3 x 300 GB IDE drives in software RAID5 (standard Linux kernel and mdadm), thus ca. 600 GB usable storage space.
  • I've used the stock Debian installer to set up all of this, no custom hacks or anything needed.
  • Each drive is on an extra IDE bus/controller (1x onboard/internal, 2x on an PCI IDE controller card), as broken IDE disks (lacking hot-swap capabilities) often take down the whole IDE bus with them; it's not a good idea to put two disks on one IDE bus.
  • The software stack is: RAID5 at the botton, dm-crypt on top of that to encrypt the whole RAID, LVM on top of that to partition the system into /, /usr, /var, /tmp, /home, and swap.
  • /boot is on an extra 1 GB partition (replicated on each drive) as GRUB doesn't work on RAIDed disks and I want to use GRUB, not LILO. GRUB is also installed on the MBR of each drive, so if one of them fails, the other two can still come up.
  • I installed and configured smartmontools to check the status of the drives, and hddtemp to check their temperature.
  • Stability tests so far: While the system is running, pull out one of the IDE drives (yes, they're not hot-swappable and that may not be such a good idea, usually). The system survived without data loss. Time for rebuilding the array: ca. 1 hour. Second test: while the system is running, pull the plug. The system survived that, too.

Some stats from bonnie++ if anybody cares:

Version  1.03       ------Sequential Output------ --Sequential Input- --Random-
                    -Per Chr- --Block-- -Rewrite- -Per Chr- --Block-- --Seeks--
Machine        Size K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP  /sec %CP
bonsai           2G 26727  72 39426  19 16690   7 28725  65 34164   7 215.3   0
                    ------Sequential Create------ --------Random Create--------
                    -Create-- --Read--- -Delete-- -Create-- --Read--- -Delete--
              files  /sec %CP  /sec %CP  /sec %CP  /sec %CP  /sec %CP  /sec %CP
                 16 +++++ +++ +++++ +++ +++++ +++ +++++ +++ +++++ +++ +++++ +++
bonsai,2G,26727,72,39426,19,16690,7,28725,65,34164,7,215.3,0,16,+++++,+++,+++++,+++,+++++,+++,+++++,+++,+++++,+++,+++++,+++

(Now, if I only knew what all those figures mean ;-)

No, neither the software RAID5, nor the dm-crypt layer nor LVM cause any measurable performance degradation whatsoever (from my subjective feeling). I don't care enough to measure anything. The CPU is idling all the time.

Power consumption is rather high (partly due to the mainboard and CPU, but also because of the disks + fans) and the system is pretty loud, which both sucks on the long run. I plan an ultra-silent, ultra-low-power RAID5 with 2.5" disks attached via USB to a (silent, low-power) NSLU2 for later.

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