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resolved – differences between zfs ARC L2ARC ZIL

January 31st, 2013
  • ARC

zfs ARC(adaptive replacement cache) is a very fast cache located in the server’s memory.

For example, our ZFS server with 12GB of RAM has 11GB dedicated to ARC, which means our ZFS server will be able to cache 11GB of the most accessed data. Any read requests for data in the cache can be served directly from the ARC memory cache instead of hitting the much slower hard drives. This creates a noticeable performance boost for data that is accessed frequently.

  • L2ARC

As a general rule, you want to install as much RAM into the server as you can to make the ARC as big as possible. At some point, adding more memory is just cost prohibitive. That is where the L2ARC becomes important. The L2ARC is the second level adaptive replacement cache. The L2ARC is often called “cache drives” in the ZFS systems.

L2ARC is a new layer between Disk and the cache (ARC) in main memory for ZFS. It uses dedicated storage devices to hold cached data. The main role of this cache is to boost the performance of random read workloads. The intended L2ARC devices include 10K/15K RPM disks like short-stroked disks, solid state disks (SSD), and other media with substantially faster read latency than disk.

  • ZIL

ZIL(ZFS Intent Log) exists for performance improvement on synchronous writes. Synchronous write is very slow than asynchronous write, but it's more stable. Essentially, the intent log of a file system is nothing more than an insurance against power failures, a to-do list if you will, that keeps track of the stuff that needs to be updated on disk, even if the power fails (or something else happens that prevents the system from updating its disks).

To get better performance, use separated disks(SSD) for ZIL, such as zpool add pool log c2d0.

Now I'm giving you an true example about zfs ZIL/L2ARC/ARC on SUN ZFS 7320 head:

test-zfs# zpool iostat -v exalogic
capacity operations bandwidth
pool alloc free read write read write
------------------------- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
exalogic 6.78T 17.7T 53 1.56K 991K 25.1M
mirror 772G 1.96T 6 133 111K 2.07M
c0t5000CCA01A5FDCACd0 - - 3 36 57.6K 2.07M #these are the physical disks
c0t5000CCA01A6F5CF4d0 - - 2 35 57.7K 2.07M
mirror 772G 1.96T 5 133 110K 2.07M
c0t5000CCA01A6F5D00d0 - - 2 36 56.2K 2.07M
c0t5000CCA01A6F64F4d0 - - 2 35 57.3K 2.07M
mirror 772G 1.96T 5 133 110K 2.07M
c0t5000CCA01A76A7B8d0 - - 2 36 56.3K 2.07M
c0t5000CCA01A746CCCd0 - - 2 36 56.8K 2.07M
mirror 772G 1.96T 5 133 110K 2.07M
c0t5000CCA01A749A88d0 - - 2 35 56.7K 2.07M
c0t5000CCA01A759E90d0 - - 2 35 56.1K 2.07M
mirror 772G 1.96T 5 133 110K 2.07M
c0t5000CCA01A767FDCd0 - - 2 35 56.1K 2.07M
c0t5000CCA01A782A40d0 - - 2 35 57.1K 2.07M
mirror 772G 1.96T 5 133 110K 2.07M
c0t5000CCA01A782D10d0 - - 2 35 57.2K 2.07M
c0t5000CCA01A7465F8d0 - - 2 35 56.3K 2.07M
mirror 772G 1.96T 5 133 110K 2.07M
c0t5000CCA01A7597FCd0 - - 2 35 57.6K 2.07M
c0t5000CCA01A7828F4d0 - - 2 35 56.2K 2.07M
mirror 772G 1.96T 5 133 110K 2.07M
c0t5000CCA01A7829ACd0 - - 2 35 57.1K 2.07M
c0t5000CCA01A78278Cd0 - - 2 35 57.4K 2.07M
mirror 772G 1.96T 6 133 111K 2.07M
c0t5000CCA01A736000d0 - - 3 35 57.3K 2.07M
c0t5000CCA01A738000d0 - - 2 35 57.3K 2.07M
c0t5000A72030061B82d0 224M 67.8G 0 98 1 1.62M #ZIL(SSD write cache, ZFS Intent Log)
c0t5000A72030061C70d0 224M 67.8G 0 98 1 1.62M
c0t5000A72030062135d0 223M 67.8G 0 98 1 1.62M
c0t5000A72030062146d0 224M 67.8G 0 98 1 1.62M
cache - - - - - -
c2t2d0 334G 143G 15 6 217K 652K #L2ARC(SSD cache drives)
c2t3d0 332G 145G 15 6 215K 649K
c2t4d0 333G 144G 11 6 169K 651K
c2t5d0 333G 144G 13 6 192K 650K
c2t2d0 - - 0 0 0 0
c2t3d0 - - 0 0 0 0
c2t4d0 - - 0 0 0 0
c2t5d0 - - 0 0 0 0

And as for ARC:

test-zfs:> status memory show
Memory:
Cache 63.4G bytes #ARC
Unused 17.3G bytes
Mgmt 561M bytes
Other 491M bytes
Kernel 14.3G bytes

Good Luck!


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