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4k drive update – May Contain Traces of Bolts

4k drive update

Just to let you know what the current status is wrt. 4k drives:

It looks like the consensus in the industry (meaning everyone except Western Digital) is to announce dual sector sizes, i.e. 512-byte logical sectors on top of 4096-byte physical sectors.

Ivan Voras has taken the initiative to organize a 4k BoF at BSDCan, although judging from the (private) email exchange on the subject, it’s quite possible that a decision will be made before then. Currently, it looks like we’re moving towards having the low-level driver report a 512-byte sector size and 4096-byte stripe width (and, if necessary, an appropriate offset) to GEOM. This preserves backward compatibility, but announces to GEOM consumers that it is a good idea to do I/O in 4096-byte blocks and align data structures on 4096-byte boundaries. All that remains is then to make sure that those GEOM consumers we care about (particularly ZFS) take advantage of this information.

The situation for WD “Advanced Format” drives is a bit more complex, because they announce 512-byte logical sectors. The only solution I can see is to add a quirk system to the ada driver (and possibly to ata as well, if we still care about it) similar to the ones we have for SCSI and USB devices, and match the model number. I believe /WD\d+[A-Z]+RS/ should match all existing Advanced Format drives with no false positives.

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