Log records

A log record is essentially the description of a low-level operation that is going to be issued by the filesystem. In some journaling filesystems, the log record consists of exactly the span of bytes modified by the operation, together with the starting position of the bytes inside the filesystem. The JBD layer, however, uses log records consisting of the whole buffer modified by the low-level operation. This approach may waste a lot of journal space (for instance, when the low-level operation just changes the value of a bit in a bitmap), but it is also much faster because the JBD layer can work directly with buffers and their buffer heads.

Log records are thus represented inside the journal as normal blocks of data (or metadata). Each such block, however, is associated with a small tag of type journal_block_tag_t, which stores the logical block number of the block inside the filesystem and a few status flags.

Later, whenever a buffer is being considered by the JBD, either because it belongs to a log record or because it is a data block that should be flushed to disk before the corresponding metadata block (in the "ordered" journaling mode), the kernel attaches a journal_head data structure to the buffer head. In this case, the b_private field of the buffer head stores the address of the journal_head data structure and the bh_jbd flag is set (see Section 13.4.4).

Continue reading here: Atomic operation handles

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