Bug 114675 - LVM snapshots fail on machine with 8GB RAM
Summary: LVM snapshots fail on machine with 8GB RAM
Alias: None
Product: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3
Classification: Red Hat
Component: kernel   
(Show other bugs)
Version: 3.0
Hardware: i686
OS: Linux
Target Milestone: ---
Assignee: Heinz Mauelshagen
QA Contact:
Depends On:
TreeView+ depends on / blocked
Reported: 2004-01-31 00:38 UTC by Andrew Rechenberg
Modified: 2007-11-30 22:07 UTC (History)
12 users (show)

Fixed In Version:
Doc Type: Bug Fix
Doc Text:
Story Points: ---
Clone Of:
Last Closed: 2007-09-12 15:37:12 UTC
Type: ---
Regression: ---
Mount Type: ---
Documentation: ---
Verified Versions:
Category: ---
oVirt Team: ---
RHEL 7.3 requirements from Atomic Host:
Cloudforms Team: ---

Attachments (Terms of Use)
Kernel BUG when creating snapshots with 2.4.18-27 (2.46 KB, text/plain)
2004-01-31 00:39 UTC, Andrew Rechenberg
no flags Details
lsmod and lspci for server in question (1.74 KB, text/plain)
2004-02-10 15:03 UTC, Andrew Rechenberg
no flags Details
fix max sectors argument in lvm_snapshot_alloc() (Heinz Mauelshagen) (590 bytes, patch)
2004-05-04 20:41 UTC, Ernie Petrides
no flags Details | Diff
Information (lspci, lsmod, etc) for PE4600 on which bug occurs (5.89 KB, application/x-gzip)
2005-03-02 22:48 UTC, Andrew Rechenberg
no flags Details
Sun V40z, 4 x AMD opertons , 4G RAM lsmod, lspci output (4.36 KB, text/plain)
2006-03-09 00:53 UTC, Matthew Ball
no flags Details

Description Andrew Rechenberg 2004-01-31 00:38:34 UTC
From Bugzilla Helper:
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.5)
Gecko/20031007 Firebird/0.7

Description of problem:
When trying to create a snapshot of a logical volume lvcreate returns
either ERROR "Cannot allocate memory" creating VGDA for
"/dev/vg00/snap" in kernel, or (on earlier kernels) a kernel BUG() is
raised.  I believe the difference to be that earlier kernels return
BUG() from __vmalloc in mm/vmalloc.c, whereas newer kernels return NULL.

If I artificially limit system memory with mem=8000M on the kernel
command line, snapshots work just fine.

This issue creeps up as well on Red Hat 7.3 running 2.4.18-27 with
stock LVM (1.0.3), 2.4.18-27 patched with LVM 1.0.7, 2.4.20-28 with
stock LVM (1.0.5+), 2.4.20-28 patached with LVM 1.0.7, and 2.4.21-9.EL.

Bug 111735 may be related to this bug

Version-Release number of selected component (if applicable):
kernel-2.4.21-9.EL, kernel-2.4.20-28, kernel-2.4.18-27

How reproducible:

Steps to Reproduce:
1. Make sure that the test machine has 8GB of physical RAM
2. Create a logical volume of any size
3. Try to snapshot said logical volume with any size snapshot
     - lvcreate -s -L1M -n snap /dev/vg00/lv00
4. Watch it not work. :( 

Actual Results:  On kernels 2.4.20-28+ (including 2.4.21-9.EL)
lvcreate returns and ERROR.  On earlier kernels a kernel BUG() is
raised.  I'll attach a sample output from /var/log/messages to this
bug report.

Expected Results:  Snapshots should be created with no errors or
BUG()'s without having to artificially limit RAM to <=8000M

Additional info:

Error message from lvcreate:

lvcreate -- ERROR "Cannot allocate memory" creating VGDA for
"/dev/vg00/snap" in kernel

Hardware configs tried:

Dell PE6600
Quad Xeon 1.4GHz

Dell PE4600
Dual Xeon 2.6GHz

Comment 1 Andrew Rechenberg 2004-01-31 00:39:35 UTC
Created attachment 97381 [details]
Kernel BUG when creating snapshots with 2.4.18-27

Comment 4 Stephen Tweedie 2004-02-09 17:18:46 UTC
Works just fine for me on an 8GB quad-CPU system using 2.4.21-4.EL.

I'm wondering if there are other modules loaded that might be gobbling
up the vmalloc space if we have >8GB memory.  What modules are present
on the systems where you see the problems?

Comment 6 Heinz Mauelshagen 2004-02-10 13:22:59 UTC
Background: it is the allocation of the snapshots exception tbale
which  fails in vmalloc().
We need more iput, because this is not reproducable on Stephen's 8GB box.

Comment 7 Andrew Rechenberg 2004-02-10 15:03:09 UTC
Created attachment 97554 [details]
lsmod and lspci for server in question

Here is lsmod and lspci for the server in question.  I wouldn't be suprised of
the megaraid2 module was the culprit.  We've had fits with the Dell PERC3 cards
and have stopped using them for data arrays in favor of Linux software RAID

Comment 8 Andrew Rechenberg 2004-02-10 15:04:07 UTC
FYI, we still use the Dell PERC cards for the OS drives.  That's why
the megaraid2 module is being loaded.

Comment 9 Jesse Keating 2004-02-10 23:39:52 UTC
This duplicates for me on a 3ware based system with 8 gigs of ram. 
I'm using a test kernel based on 2.4.21-9.EL called
2.4.21-9.EL.noaffine2smp that dledford put together.  It's exactly the
same kernel but w/out the affine patch.

[root@kickstation-120 root]# lvcreate --size 10M --name snapper -s
lvcreate -- rounding size up to physical extent boundary
lvcreate -- WARNING: the snapshot will be automatically disabled once
it gets full
lvcreate -- INFO: using default snapshot chunk size of 64 KB for
lvcreate -- ERROR "Cannot allocate memory" creating VGDA for
"/dev/test/snapper" in kernel

Comment 10 Stephen Tweedie 2004-02-11 10:22:42 UTC
2.4.21-9.EL works perfectly for me, but I've been using the hugemem
kernel.  I'll try again with the smp one.

Andrew, which exact kernel variant were you using?

Comment 11 Stephen Tweedie 2004-02-11 11:20:51 UTC
Nope, 2.4.21-9.EL-smp works just as well as -hugemem.

Jesse, what other modules do you have loaded?

Comment 12 Heinz Mauelshagen 2004-02-11 11:50:40 UTC
FYI, I managed to provoke this one on a 1.5GB RAM dual Athlon system
with QLogic 2200 cards once on mainline 2.4. Not reproducable after a

My guesswork is, that this is a general allocation problem on Intel
and compatible architectures.

Idea: could folks who can provoke that behaviour try loading the dummy
module (code below) directly after the snapshot allocation failure,
which just vmallocs and frees memory and see if that fails (change
size value while testing) ?

 * Copyright (C) 2004  Red Hat, Inc.
 * This file is released under the GPL.

#include <linux/module.h>
#include <linux/vmalloc.h>

/* Change for testing */
size_t size = 1024 * 1024;

int __init dummy_init(void)
        void *p = vmalloc(size);
        if (p)

        return 0;

void __exit dummy_exit(void)


MODULE_DESCRIPTION("Dummy vmalloc() test module");
MODULE_AUTHOR("Heinz Mauelshagen <Mauelshagen@RedHat.com>");

Comment 13 Andrew Rechenberg 2004-02-11 13:24:00 UTC

I'm using the -hugemem kernel

Comment 14 Andrew Rechenberg 2004-02-11 15:26:43 UTC
How large should we change the size variable?  

Comment 15 Heinz Mauelshagen 2004-02-11 16:08:28 UTC
That depends on the size of the snspshot you tried to create.

lvm-snap.c allocates space in lvm_snapshot_alloc() for kiovec etc. and
the vmalloc for the eception table hash which is failing happens as
the last step.

For your 1MB snapshot, 1MB are more than sufficient.

Comment 16 Andrew Rechenberg 2004-02-11 18:26:20 UTC
So if I interpret your comment correctly, then the size = 1024 * 1024
should be fine?

If this is the case, the module code above loads just fine.  I've
tried it up to 1024 * 32768 and it's loaded just fine.

Comment 17 Heinz Mauelshagen 2004-02-12 11:51:16 UTC
Yes, you interpreted correctly.

Wondering, if we've got a bug leading to vmalloc(0).
Can you printk() the vmalloc() size value in lvm-snap.c and try
to provoke the failure again, please ?

If it is 0, we can drill it down from there.

BTW: creating a larger snapshot than 1MB might work.

Comment 18 Andrew Rechenberg 2004-02-12 14:14:53 UTC
I've tried creating a number of snapshot sizes from 1M-5G and they 
all receive the same error.  The only reason I posted the 1M above is 
because since I was receiving a vmalloc error I tried making the 
snapshot size small.

I will modify lvm-snap.c and try the printk() and post the results.

Thanks for your help.

Comment 19 Andrew Rechenberg 2004-02-17 21:43:14 UTC
Someone confiscated my test hardware so it may be about 3-5 days
before I can re-test the modules.  Just wanted to update.  Thanks again.

Comment 20 Andrew Rechenberg 2004-03-06 00:29:56 UTC
I added the following at line 567 in lvm-snap.c (inside

printk("LVM snap size: %d\n", size);

This is what was returned in dmesg:

LVM snap size: 0

So the size value (if I did what you wanted me to do correctly) is 0,
 Let me know what's next.

Comment 21 Heinz Mauelshagen 2004-03-10 11:05:58 UTC
Andrew, can you please try this patch which fixes a wrong sector
calculation in lvm_snapshot_alloc:

--- linux-2.4.21/drivers/md/lvm-snap.c.orig     2004-03-10
11:54:01.000000000 +0100
+++ linux-2.4.21/drivers/md/lvm-snap.c  2004-03-10 11:54:37.000000000
@@ -583,15 +583,14 @@

 int lvm_snapshot_alloc(lv_t * lv_snap)
-       int ret, max_sectors;
+       int ret;

        /* allocate kiovec to do chunk io */
        ret = alloc_kiovec(1, &lv_snap->lv_iobuf);
        if (ret) goto out;

-       max_sectors = KIO_MAX_SECTORS << (PAGE_SHIFT-9);
-       ret = lvm_snapshot_alloc_iobuf_pages(lv_snap->lv_iobuf,
+       ret = lvm_snapshot_alloc_iobuf_pages(lv_snap->lv_iobuf,
+                                            KIO_MAX_SECTORS);
        if (ret) goto out_free_kiovec;

        /* allocate kiovec to do exception table io */

Comment 22 Andrew Rechenberg 2004-03-19 17:41:48 UTC
I tried to patch with patch -p1 < linux-2.4.21-lvm-snap.patch and it
rejected the patch for some reason (this is against the kernel-source

I manually patched lvm-snap.c and I receive the same "Cannot allocate
memory" error.

Comment 23 Andrew Rechenberg 2004-03-19 17:46:42 UTC
BTW, the printk still returns 0.  Here is the exact output from the
lvcreate command:

[root@cinshrinft1 ~]# !lvcreate
lvcreate -s -L1M -n snap /dev/vg00/lv00
lvcreate -- rounding size up to physical extent boundary
lvcreate -- WARNING: the snapshot will be automatically disabled once
it gets full
lvcreate -- INFO: using default snapshot chunk size of 64 KB for
lvcreate -- ERROR "Cannot allocate memory" creating VGDA for
"/dev/vg00/snap" in kernel

Comment 24 Hugh Caley 2004-03-27 02:14:24 UTC
I'm getting the same error on a Dell 6450 with 16 gig of ram.  The
size of the snapshot doesn't seem to matter.

Comment 25 Hugh Caley 2004-03-27 02:15:29 UTC
I'm sorry, typo, it's a 6650.

Comment 26 Hugh Caley 2004-03-31 02:23:21 UTC
I can confirm that adding mem=16000M to my kernel parameters and
rebooting allowed me to take a snapshot.  Dell 6650, Megaraid card.

Comment 27 Ernie Petrides 2004-05-04 04:21:03 UTC
A fix for this problem has just been committed to the RHEL3 U3
patch pool (in kernel version 2.4.21-15.1.EL).

Comment 28 Andrew Rechenberg 2004-05-04 13:56:45 UTC
I know it will be ready "when it's ready," but is there a timeline for
the release of 2.4.21-15.1.EL?   Will it be included possibly in an
errata, or will it just be released in the U3 update?

Can you give me an idea of what was the root cause as well as what
needed to be patched to correct the problem?

Also, will there be a specific patch(es) in the kernel SRPM that
refers to this issue so that it can be backported if necessary?  I
have some boxes not on RHEL3 and I would still like to have this issue
resolved on those boxes as well.

Thanks for your help,

Comment 29 Ernie Petrides 2004-05-04 20:39:09 UTC
Hello, Andrew.  That fix went into the first build of RHEL3 U3,
and thus it will be a few months before U3 is officially released
(since we're just at the beginning of the 3rd Update cycle).  It's
not likely to be released in a security errata.

There won't be a separate patch in the kernel-source* RPM that
solely contains this fix.  (I incorporated the fix into
linux-2.4.20-lvm-updates.patch.)  But if you wish to build your
own (unsupported) kernels from source, I will append the fix to
this bugzilla.  Did I mention that the resultant kernel would
be unsupported in this case?  :)

Cheers.  -ernie

Comment 30 Ernie Petrides 2004-05-04 20:41:14 UTC
Created attachment 99967 [details]
fix max sectors argument in lvm_snapshot_alloc() (Heinz Mauelshagen)

Comment 31 Andrew Rechenberg 2004-05-05 12:23:21 UTC
Thanks for the update Ernie.

The patch that you attached is the same one that Heinz put in this 
bug in Comment #21 and that did not work for me.  Are you saying that 
this patch is the only one that fixes the snapshot issue, because 
that patch didn't work at all for me?


Comment 33 Ernie Petrides 2004-05-05 20:57:45 UTC
Andrew, I apologize for not reading this bugzilla report
thoroughly before changing its state to "modified" on Monday
night.  I have put it back into "assigned" state until the
problem you reported is fully resolved.

Heinz, please follow up on this issue, and when/if you post an
additional patch (internally), please notate that it definitively
resolves this bugzilla id.  (To be fair to Heinz, he only wrote
that the bug fixed by the prior patch was likely to be causing
this problem, and it was my fault for not "closing the loop".)

Cheers.  -ernie

Comment 39 Andrew Rechenberg 2005-01-19 14:22:08 UTC
Any update on this bug?

Comment 40 Heinz Mauelshagen 2005-01-25 18:01:20 UTC
No, we weren't able to reproduce your flaw here at any time.

Comment 41 Andrew Rechenberg 2005-01-27 21:54:05 UTC
You can reproduce the bug by using a hardware RAID card that uses the megaraid2
driver in a Dell PowerEdge server.  There are two other reports of the same
problem in this bug report (see Comment #9 and Comment #24)

Comment 42 Andrew Rechenberg 2005-03-02 22:43:34 UTC
Still having the same problem on RHEL3-U4 with kernel 2.4.21-27.ELsmp.
 I will attach lsmod, lspci, and error.  This error is occurring on
another Dell PowerEdge server model (PE4600).

What needs to be done to have Red Hat get Dell hardware in to
reproduce  this issue?  

Comment 43 Andrew Rechenberg 2005-03-02 22:48:20 UTC
Created attachment 111599 [details]
Information (lspci, lsmod, etc) for PE4600 on which bug occurs

Contains the following:

uname -a
lvcreate showing error

Comment 44 Dustin Tennill 2005-07-18 12:07:07 UTC
We have the same issue, found it this weekend during an upgrade. 

PowerEdge 6600 - 8G ram
PowerEdge 6400 - 8G ram

Both affected with the snapshot creation problem. I added mem=6000M and I can
now create snaphshots. These are the only two I have tested, but we have ten
more servers that could potentially have the same problem. 

Comment 45 Matthew Ball 2006-03-09 00:53:02 UTC
Created attachment 125852 [details]
Sun V40z, 4 x AMD opertons , 4G RAM lsmod, lspci output

Comment 46 Matthew Ball 2006-03-09 00:55:13 UTC
Adding a "me too" here, as it seems important since my hardware is ENTIRELY
different than anything listed so far:

Sun V40z, quad AMD opterons, 4G RAM, RHEL 3, smp kernel,LSI Logic / Symbios
Logic 53c1030 PCI-X Fusion-MPT Dual Ultra320 SCSI (rev 07) card.
3 x 72G Raid 5 configured, one 72G logical volume on the hardware raid. 
Machine was patched an hour before trying this experiment. mem=4000M workaround
worked for me as well. 
uname -a: 
Linux diamondback 2.4.21-37.0.1.ELsmp #1 SMP Wed Jan 11 18:35:45 EST 2006 i686
athlon i386 GNU/Linux

I've attached lsmod and lspci.

Comment 47 Andrew Rechenberg 2006-10-24 21:29:05 UTC
Any progress here? :)

Comment 48 Heinz Mauelshagen 2006-10-25 09:04:25 UTC
Wasn't able to reproduce it here so I'm afraid no.

Comment 49 Andrew Rechenberg 2006-10-25 12:14:53 UTC
Do you have access to Dell 6xxx series hardware with 8GB of RAM and a Dell PERC
RAID card?  That's all you need to reproduce the issue. :)

Comment 50 Heinz Mauelshagen 2007-04-17 16:45:53 UTC
Sorry for the late answer: no, I haven't. I only tried on a different 8GB machine.

Comment 51 Andrew Rechenberg 2007-04-17 19:13:27 UTC
Haha ... really late :)

I believe the problem only occurs on machines with hardware RAID card ... in
particular those that use the megaraid2 kernel module.  I'm not sure what kernel
module the LSI Logic / Symbios Logic 53c1030 PCI-X Fusion-MPT cards use (as in
comment #46), but I've reproduced it on 3 different Dell machines and there are
3 other users in this bug that have reproduced the bug.

I *guarantee* you can reproduce it if you use Dell 46xx or 66xx series servers
with a Dell PERC RAID card (that uses the megaraid2 module) and at least 8GB of
RAM.  Comment #9 and comment #46 also indicate hardware that can reproduce the

I should refine my Steps to Reproduce to include a Dell PERC hardware RAID card.

Comment 53 Heinz Mauelshagen 2007-09-12 15:37:12 UTC
Closing now w/o possibility to reproduce and fix.

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