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RFC 7530

Network File System (NFS) Version 4 Protocol

Pages: 323
Proposed Standard
Obsoletes:  3530
Updated by:  79318587
Part 8 of 14 – Pages 139 to 162
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Top   ToC   RFC7530 - Page 139   prevText

10. Client-Side Caching

Client-side caching of data, file attributes, and filenames is essential to providing good performance with the NFS protocol. Providing distributed cache coherence is a difficult problem, and previous versions of the NFS protocol have not attempted it. Instead, several NFS client implementation techniques have been used to reduce the problems that a lack of coherence poses for users. These techniques have not been clearly defined by earlier protocol specifications, and it is often unclear what is valid or invalid client behavior. The NFSv4 protocol uses many techniques similar to those that have been used in previous protocol versions. The NFSv4 protocol does not provide distributed cache coherence. However, it defines a more limited set of caching guarantees to allow locks and share reservations to be used without destructive interference from client-side caching. In addition, the NFSv4 protocol introduces a delegation mechanism that allows many decisions normally made by the server to be made locally by clients. This mechanism provides efficient support of the common cases where sharing is infrequent or where sharing is read-only.

10.1. Performance Challenges for Client-Side Caching

Caching techniques used in previous versions of the NFS protocol have been successful in providing good performance. However, several scalability challenges can arise when those techniques are used with very large numbers of clients. This is particularly true when clients are geographically distributed, which classically increases the latency for cache revalidation requests. The previous versions of the NFS protocol repeat their file data cache validation requests at the time the file is opened. This behavior can have serious performance drawbacks. A common case is one in which a file is only accessed by a single client. Therefore, sharing is infrequent.
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   In this case, repeated reference to the server to find that no
   conflicts exist is expensive.  A better option with regards to
   performance is to allow a client that repeatedly opens a file to do
   so without reference to the server.  This is done until potentially
   conflicting operations from another client actually occur.

   A similar situation arises in connection with file locking.  Sending
   file lock and unlock requests to the server as well as the READ and
   WRITE requests necessary to make data caching consistent with the
   locking semantics (see Section 10.3.2) can severely limit
   performance.  When locking is used to provide protection against
   infrequent conflicts, a large penalty is incurred.  This penalty may
   discourage the use of file locking by applications.

   The NFSv4 protocol provides more aggressive caching strategies with
   the following design goals:

   o  Compatibility with a large range of server semantics.

   o  Providing the same caching benefits as previous versions of the
      NFS protocol when unable to provide the more aggressive model.

   o  Organizing requirements for aggressive caching so that a large
      portion of the benefit can be obtained even when not all of the
      requirements can be met.

   The appropriate requirements for the server are discussed in later
   sections, in which specific forms of caching are covered (see
   Section 10.4).

10.2. Delegation and Callbacks

Recallable delegation of server responsibilities for a file to a client improves performance by avoiding repeated requests to the server in the absence of inter-client conflict. With the use of a "callback" RPC from server to client, a server recalls delegated responsibilities when another client engages in the sharing of a delegated file. A delegation is passed from the server to the client, specifying the object of the delegation and the type of delegation. There are different types of delegations, but each type contains a stateid to be used to represent the delegation when performing operations that depend on the delegation. This stateid is similar to those associated with locks and share reservations but differs in that the stateid for a delegation is associated with a client ID and may be
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   used on behalf of all the open-owners for the given client.  A
   delegation is made to the client as a whole and not to any specific
   process or thread of control within it.

   Because callback RPCs may not work in all environments (due to
   firewalls, for example), correct protocol operation does not depend
   on them.  Preliminary testing of callback functionality by means of a
   CB_NULL procedure determines whether callbacks can be supported.  The
   CB_NULL procedure checks the continuity of the callback path.  A
   server makes a preliminary assessment of callback availability to a
   given client and avoids delegating responsibilities until it has
   determined that callbacks are supported.  Because the granting of a
   delegation is always conditional upon the absence of conflicting
   access, clients must not assume that a delegation will be granted,
   and they must always be prepared for OPENs to be processed without
   any delegations being granted.

   Once granted, a delegation behaves in most ways like a lock.  There
   is an associated lease that is subject to renewal, together with all
   of the other leases held by that client.

   Unlike locks, an operation by a second client to a delegated file
   will cause the server to recall a delegation through a callback.

   On recall, the client holding the delegation must flush modified
   state (such as modified data) to the server and return the
   delegation.  The conflicting request will not be acted on until the
   recall is complete.  The recall is considered complete when the
   client returns the delegation or the server times out its wait for
   the delegation to be returned and revokes the delegation as a result
   of the timeout.  In the interim, the server will either delay
   responding to conflicting requests or respond to them with
   NFS4ERR_DELAY.  Following the resolution of the recall, the server
   has the information necessary to grant or deny the second client's

   At the time the client receives a delegation recall, it may have
   substantial state that needs to be flushed to the server.  Therefore,
   the server should allow sufficient time for the delegation to be
   returned since it may involve numerous RPCs to the server.  If the
   server is able to determine that the client is diligently flushing
   state to the server as a result of the recall, the server MAY extend
   the usual time allowed for a recall.  However, the time allowed for
   recall completion should not be unbounded.
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   An example of this is when responsibility to mediate opens on a given
   file is delegated to a client (see Section 10.4).  The server will
   not know what opens are in effect on the client.  Without this
   knowledge, the server will be unable to determine if the access and
   deny state for the file allows any particular open until the
   delegation for the file has been returned.

   A client failure or a network partition can result in failure to
   respond to a recall callback.  In this case, the server will revoke
   the delegation; this in turn will render useless any modified state
   still on the client.

   Clients need to be aware that server implementers may enforce
   practical limitations on the number of delegations issued.  Further,
   as there is no way to determine which delegations to revoke, the
   server is allowed to revoke any.  If the server is implemented to
   revoke another delegation held by that client, then the client may
   be able to determine that a limit has been reached because each new
   delegation request results in a revoke.  The client could then
   determine which delegations it may not need and preemptively
   release them.

10.2.1. Delegation Recovery

There are three situations that delegation recovery must deal with: o Client reboot or restart o Server reboot or restart (see Section o Network partition (full or callback-only) In the event that the client reboots or restarts, the confirmation of a SETCLIENTID done with an nfs_client_id4 with a new verifier4 value will result in the release of byte-range locks and share reservations. Delegations, however, may be treated a bit differently. There will be situations in which delegations will need to be re-established after a client reboots or restarts. The reason for this is the client may have file data stored locally and this data was associated with the previously held delegations. The client will need to re-establish the appropriate file state on the server. To allow for this type of client recovery, the server MAY allow delegations to be retained after other sorts of locks are released. This implies that requests from other clients that conflict with these delegations will need to wait. Because the normal recall
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   process may require significant time for the client to flush changed
   state to the server, other clients need to be prepared for delays
   that occur because of a conflicting delegation.  In order to give
   clients a chance to get through the reboot process -- during which
   leases will not be renewed -- the server MAY extend the period for
   delegation recovery beyond the typical lease expiration period.  For
   open delegations, such delegations that are not released are
   reclaimed using OPEN with a claim type of CLAIM_DELEGATE_PREV.  (See
   Sections 10.5 and 16.16 for discussions of open delegation and the
   details of OPEN, respectively.)

   A server MAY support a claim type of CLAIM_DELEGATE_PREV, but if it
   does, it MUST NOT remove delegations upon SETCLIENTID_CONFIRM and
   instead MUST make them available for client reclaim using
   CLAIM_DELEGATE_PREV.  The server MUST NOT remove the delegations
   until either the client does a DELEGPURGE or one lease period has
   elapsed from the time -- whichever is later -- of the

   Note that the requirement stated above is not meant to imply that,
   when the server is no longer obliged, as required above, to retain
   delegation information, it should necessarily dispose of it.  Some
   specific cases are:

   o  When the period is terminated by the occurrence of DELEGPURGE,
      deletion of unreclaimed delegations is appropriate and desirable.

   o  When the period is terminated by a lease period elapsing without a
      successful CLAIM_DELEGATE_PREV reclaim, and that situation appears
      to be the result of a network partition (i.e., lease expiration
      has occurred), a server's lease expiration approach, possibly
      including the use of courtesy locks, would normally provide for
      the retention of unreclaimed delegations.  Even in the event that
      lease cancellation occurs, such delegation should be reclaimed
      using CLAIM_DELEGATE_PREV as part of network partition recovery.

   o  When the period of non-communicating is followed by a client
      reboot, unreclaimed delegations should also be reclaimable by use
      of CLAIM_DELEGATE_PREV as part of client reboot recovery.

   o  When the period is terminated by a lease period elapsing without a
      successful CLAIM_DELEGATE_PREV reclaim, and lease renewal is
      occurring, the server may well conclude that unreclaimed
      delegations have been abandoned and consider the situation as one
      in which an implied DELEGPURGE should be assumed.
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   A server that supports a claim type of CLAIM_DELEGATE_PREV MUST
   support the DELEGPURGE operation, and similarly, a server that
   supports DELEGPURGE MUST support CLAIM_DELEGATE_PREV.  A server that
   does not support CLAIM_DELEGATE_PREV MUST return NFS4ERR_NOTSUPP if
   the client attempts to use that feature or performs a DELEGPURGE

   Support for a claim type of CLAIM_DELEGATE_PREV is often referred to
   as providing for "client-persistent delegations" in that they allow
   the use of persistent storage on the client to store data written by
   the client, even across a client restart.  It should be noted that,
   with the optional exception noted below, this feature requires
   persistent storage to be used on the client and does not add to
   persistent storage requirements on the server.

   One good way to think about client-persistent delegations is that for
   the most part, they function like "courtesy locks", with special
   semantic adjustments to allow them to be retained across a client
   restart, which cause all other sorts of locks to be freed.  Such
   locks are generally not retained across a server restart.  The one
   exception is the case of simultaneous failure of the client and
   server and is discussed below.

   When the server indicates support of CLAIM_DELEGATE_PREV (implicitly)
   by returning NFS_OK to DELEGPURGE, a client with a write delegation
   can use write-back caching for data to be written to the server,
   deferring the write-back until such time as the delegation is
   recalled, possibly after intervening client restarts.  Similarly,
   when the server indicates support of CLAIM_DELEGATE_PREV, a client
   with a read delegation and an open-for-write subordinate to that
   delegation may be sure of the integrity of its persistently cached
   copy of the file after a client restart without specific verification
   of the change attribute.

   When the server reboots or restarts, delegations are reclaimed (using
   the OPEN operation with CLAIM_PREVIOUS) in a similar fashion to
   byte-range locks and share reservations.  However, there is a slight
   semantic difference.  In the normal case, if the server decides that
   a delegation should not be granted, it performs the requested action
   (e.g., OPEN) without granting any delegation.  For reclaim, the
   server grants the delegation, but a special designation is applied so
   that the client treats the delegation as having been granted but
   recalled by the server.  Because of this, the client has the duty to
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   write all modified state to the server and then return the
   delegation.  This process of handling delegation reclaim reconciles
   three principles of the NFSv4 protocol:

   o  Upon reclaim, a client claiming resources assigned to it by an
      earlier server instance must be granted those resources.

   o  The server has unquestionable authority to determine whether
      delegations are to be granted and, once granted, whether they are
      to be continued.

   o  The use of callbacks is not to be depended upon until the client
      has proven its ability to receive them.

   When a client has more than a single open associated with a
   delegation, state for those additional opens can be established using
   OPEN operations of type CLAIM_DELEGATE_CUR.  When these are used to
   establish opens associated with reclaimed delegations, the server
   MUST allow them when made within the grace period.

   Situations in which there is a series of client and server restarts
   where there is no restart of both at the same time are dealt with via
   a combination of CLAIM_DELEGATE_PREV and CLAIM_PREVIOUS reclaim
   cycles.  Persistent storage is needed only on the client.  For each
   server failure, a CLAIM_PREVIOUS reclaim cycle is done, while for
   each client restart, a CLAIM_DELEGATE_PREV reclaim cycle is done.

   To deal with the possibility of simultaneous failure of client and
   server (e.g., a data center power outage), the server MAY
   persistently store delegation information so that it can respond to a
   CLAIM_DELEGATE_PREV reclaim request that it receives from a
   restarting client.  This is the one case in which persistent
   delegation state can be retained across a server restart.  A server
   is not required to store this information, but if it does do so, it
   should do so for write delegations and for read delegations, during
   the pendency of which (across multiple client and/or server
   instances), some open-for-write was done as part of delegation.  When
   the space to persistently record such information is limited, the
   server should recall delegations in this class in preference to
   keeping them active without persistent storage recording.

   When a network partition occurs, delegations are subject to freeing
   by the server when the lease renewal period expires.  This is similar
   to the behavior for locks and share reservations, and as for locks
   and share reservations, it may be modified by support for "courtesy
   locks" in which locks are not freed in the absence of a conflicting
   lock request.  Whereas for locks and share reservations the freeing
   of locks will occur immediately upon the appearance of a conflicting
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   request, for delegations, the server MAY institute a period during
   which conflicting requests are held off.  Eventually, the occurrence
   of a conflicting request from another client will cause revocation of
   the delegation.

   A loss of the callback path (e.g., by a later network configuration
   change) will have a similar effect in that it can also result in
   revocation of a delegation.  A recall request will fail, and
   revocation of the delegation will result.

   A client normally finds out about revocation of a delegation when it
   uses a stateid associated with a delegation and receives one of the
   (NFS4ERR_EXPIRED indicates that all lock state associated with the
   client has been lost).  It also may find out about delegation
   revocation after a client reboot when it attempts to reclaim a
   delegation and receives NFS4ERR_EXPIRED.  Note that in the case of a
   revoked OPEN_DELEGATE_WRITE delegation, there are issues because data
   may have been modified by the client whose delegation is revoked and,
   separately, by other clients.  See Section 10.5.1 for a discussion of
   such issues.  Note also that when delegations are revoked,
   information about the revoked delegation will be written by the
   server to stable storage (as described in Section 9.6).  This is done
   to deal with the case in which a server reboots after revoking a
   delegation but before the client holding the revoked delegation is
   notified about the revocation.

   Note that when there is a loss of a delegation, due to a network
   partition in which all locks associated with the lease are lost, the
   client will also receive the error NFS4ERR_EXPIRED.  This case can be
   distinguished from other situations in which delegations are revoked
   by seeing that the associated clientid becomes invalid so that
   NFS4ERR_STALE_CLIENTID is returned when it is used.

   When NFS4ERR_EXPIRED is returned, the server MAY retain information
   about the delegations held by the client, deleting those that are
   invalidated by a conflicting request.  Retaining such information
   will allow the client to recover all non-invalidated delegations
   using the claim type CLAIM_DELEGATE_PREV, once the
   SETCLIENTID_CONFIRM is done to recover.  Attempted recovery of a
   delegation that the client has no record of, typically because they
   were invalidated by conflicting requests, will result in the error
   NFS4ERR_BAD_RECLAIM.  Once a reclaim is attempted for all delegations
   that the client held, it SHOULD do a DELEGPURGE to allow any
   remaining server delegation information to be freed.
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10.3. Data Caching

When applications share access to a set of files, they need to be implemented so as to take account of the possibility of conflicting access by another application. This is true whether the applications in question execute on different clients or reside on the same client. Share reservations and byte-range locks are the facilities the NFSv4 protocol provides to allow applications to coordinate access by providing mutual exclusion facilities. The NFSv4 protocol's data caching must be implemented such that it does not invalidate the assumptions that those using these facilities depend upon.

10.3.1. Data Caching and OPENs

In order to avoid invalidating the sharing assumptions that applications rely on, NFSv4 clients should not provide cached data to applications or modify it on behalf of an application when it would not be valid to obtain or modify that same data via a READ or WRITE operation. Furthermore, in the absence of open delegation (see Section 10.4), two additional rules apply. Note that these rules are obeyed in practice by many NFSv2 and NFSv3 clients. o First, cached data present on a client must be revalidated after doing an OPEN. Revalidating means that the client fetches the change attribute from the server, compares it with the cached change attribute, and, if different, declares the cached data (as well as the cached attributes) as invalid. This is to ensure that the data for the OPENed file is still correctly reflected in the client's cache. This validation must be done at least when the client's OPEN operation includes DENY=WRITE or BOTH, thus terminating a period in which other clients may have had the opportunity to open the file with WRITE access. Clients may choose to do the revalidation more often (such as at OPENs specifying DENY=NONE) to parallel the NFSv3 protocol's practice for the benefit of users assuming this degree of cache revalidation. Since the change attribute is updated for data and metadata modifications, some client implementers may be tempted to use the time_modify attribute and not the change attribute to validate cached data, so that metadata changes do not spuriously invalidate clean data. The implementer is cautioned against this approach. The change attribute is guaranteed to change for each update to the file, whereas time_modify is guaranteed to change only at the
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      granularity of the time_delta attribute.  Use by the client's data
      cache validation logic of time_modify and not the change attribute
      runs the risk of the client incorrectly marking stale data as

   o  Second, modified data must be flushed to the server before closing
      a file OPENed for write.  This is complementary to the first rule.
      If the data is not flushed at CLOSE, the revalidation done after
      the client OPENs a file is unable to achieve its purpose.  The
      other aspect to flushing the data before close is that the data
      must be committed to stable storage, at the server, before the
      CLOSE operation is requested by the client.  In the case of a
      server reboot or restart and a CLOSEd file, it may not be possible
      to retransmit the data to be written to the file -- hence, this

10.3.2. Data Caching and File Locking

For those applications that choose to use file locking instead of share reservations to exclude inconsistent file access, there is an analogous set of constraints that apply to client-side data caching. These rules are effective only if the file locking is used in a way that matches in an equivalent way the actual READ and WRITE operations executed. This is as opposed to file locking that is based on pure convention. For example, it is possible to manipulate a two-megabyte file by dividing the file into two one-megabyte regions and protecting access to the two regions by file locks on bytes zero and one. A lock for write on byte zero of the file would represent the right to do READ and WRITE operations on the first region. A lock for write on byte one of the file would represent the right to do READ and WRITE operations on the second region. As long as all applications manipulating the file obey this convention, they will work on a local file system. However, they may not work with the NFSv4 protocol unless clients refrain from data caching. The rules for data caching in the file locking environment are: o First, when a client obtains a file lock for a particular region, the data cache corresponding to that region (if any cached data exists) must be revalidated. If the change attribute indicates that the file may have been updated since the cached data was obtained, the client must flush or invalidate the cached data for the newly locked region. A client might choose to invalidate all of the non-modified cached data that it has for the file, but the only requirement for correct operation is to invalidate all of the data in the newly locked region.
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   o  Second, before releasing a write lock for a region, all modified
      data for that region must be flushed to the server.  The modified
      data must also be written to stable storage.

   Note that flushing data to the server and the invalidation of cached
   data must reflect the actual byte ranges locked or unlocked.
   Rounding these up or down to reflect client cache block boundaries
   will cause problems if not carefully done.  For example, writing a
   modified block when only half of that block is within an area being
   unlocked may cause invalid modification to the region outside the
   unlocked area.  This, in turn, may be part of a region locked by
   another client.  Clients can avoid this situation by synchronously
   performing portions of WRITE operations that overlap that portion
   (initial or final) that is not a full block.  Similarly, invalidating
   a locked area that is not an integral number of full buffer blocks
   would require the client to read one or two partial blocks from the
   server if the revalidation procedure shows that the data that the
   client possesses may not be valid.

   The data that is written to the server as a prerequisite to the
   unlocking of a region must be written, at the server, to stable
   storage.  The client may accomplish this either with synchronous
   writes or by following asynchronous writes with a COMMIT operation.
   This is required because retransmission of the modified data after a
   server reboot might conflict with a lock held by another client.

   A client implementation may choose to accommodate applications that
   use byte-range locking in non-standard ways (e.g., using a byte-range
   lock as a global semaphore) by flushing to the server more data upon
   a LOCKU than is covered by the locked range.  This may include
   modified data within files other than the one for which the unlocks
   are being done.  In such cases, the client must not interfere with
   applications whose READs and WRITEs are being done only within the
   bounds of record locks that the application holds.  For example, an
   application locks a single byte of a file and proceeds to write that
   single byte.  A client that chose to handle a LOCKU by flushing all
   modified data to the server could validly write that single byte in
   response to an unrelated unlock.  However, it would not be valid to
   write the entire block in which that single written byte was located
   since it includes an area that is not locked and might be locked by
   another client.  Client implementations can avoid this problem by
   dividing files with modified data into those for which all
   modifications are done to areas covered by an appropriate byte-range
   lock and those for which there are modifications not covered by a
   byte-range lock.  Any writes done for the former class of files must
   not include areas not locked and thus not modified on the client.
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10.3.3. Data Caching and Mandatory File Locking

Client-side data caching needs to respect mandatory file locking when it is in effect. The presence of mandatory file locking for a given file is indicated when the client gets back NFS4ERR_LOCKED from a READ or WRITE on a file it has an appropriate share reservation for. When mandatory locking is in effect for a file, the client must check for an appropriate file lock for data being read or written. If a lock exists for the range being read or written, the client may satisfy the request using the client's validated cache. If an appropriate file lock is not held for the range of the READ or WRITE, the READ or WRITE request must not be satisfied by the client's cache and the request must be sent to the server for processing. When a READ or WRITE request partially overlaps a locked region, the request should be subdivided into multiple pieces with each region (locked or not) treated appropriately.

10.3.4. Data Caching and File Identity

When clients cache data, the file data needs to be organized according to the file system object to which the data belongs. For NFSv3 clients, the typical practice has been to assume for the purpose of caching that distinct filehandles represent distinct file system objects. The client then has the choice to organize and maintain the data cache on this basis. In the NFSv4 protocol, there is now the possibility of having significant deviations from a "one filehandle per object" model, because a filehandle may be constructed on the basis of the object's pathname. Therefore, clients need a reliable method to determine if two filehandles designate the same file system object. If clients were simply to assume that all distinct filehandles denote distinct objects and proceed to do data caching on this basis, caching inconsistencies would arise between the distinct client-side objects that mapped to the same server-side object. By providing a method to differentiate filehandles, the NFSv4 protocol alleviates a potential functional regression in comparison with the NFSv3 protocol. Without this method, caching inconsistencies within the same client could occur, and this has not been present in previous versions of the NFS protocol. Note that it is possible to have such inconsistencies with applications executing on multiple clients, but that is not the issue being addressed here.
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   For the purposes of data caching, the following steps allow an NFSv4
   client to determine whether two distinct filehandles denote the same
   server-side object:

   o  If GETATTR directed to two filehandles returns different values of
      the fsid attribute, then the filehandles represent distinct

   o  If GETATTR for any file with an fsid that matches the fsid of the
      two filehandles in question returns a unique_handles attribute
      with a value of TRUE, then the two objects are distinct.

   o  If GETATTR directed to the two filehandles does not return the
      fileid attribute for both of the handles, then it cannot be
      determined whether the two objects are the same.  Therefore,
      operations that depend on that knowledge (e.g., client-side data
      caching) cannot be done reliably.  Note that if GETATTR does not
      return the fileid attribute for both filehandles, it will return
      it for neither of the filehandles, since the fsid for both
      filehandles is the same.

   o  If GETATTR directed to the two filehandles returns different
      values for the fileid attribute, then they are distinct objects.

   o  Otherwise, they are the same object.

10.4. Open Delegation

When a file is being OPENed, the server may delegate further handling of opens and closes for that file to the opening client. Any such delegation is recallable, since the circumstances that allowed for the delegation are subject to change. In particular, the server may receive a conflicting OPEN from another client; the server must recall the delegation before deciding whether the OPEN from the other client may be granted. Making a delegation is up to the server, and clients should not assume that any particular OPEN either will or will not result in an open delegation. The following is a typical set of conditions that servers might use in deciding whether OPEN should be delegated: o The client must be able to respond to the server's callback requests. The server will use the CB_NULL procedure for a test of callback ability. o The client must have responded properly to previous recalls. o There must be no current open conflicting with the requested delegation.
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   o  There should be no current delegation that conflicts with the
      delegation being requested.

   o  The probability of future conflicting open requests should be low,
      based on the recent history of the file.

   o  The existence of any server-specific semantics of OPEN/CLOSE that
      would make the required handling incompatible with the prescribed
      handling that the delegated client would apply (see below).

   There are two types of open delegations: OPEN_DELEGATE_READ and
   client to handle, on its own, requests to open a file for reading
   that do not deny read access to others.  It MUST, however, continue
   to send all requests to open a file for writing to the server.
   Multiple OPEN_DELEGATE_READ delegations may be outstanding
   simultaneously and do not conflict.  An OPEN_DELEGATE_WRITE
   delegation allows the client to handle, on its own, all opens.  Only
   one OPEN_DELEGATE_WRITE delegation may exist for a given file at a
   given time, and it is inconsistent with any OPEN_DELEGATE_READ

   When a single client holds an OPEN_DELEGATE_READ delegation, it is
   assured that no other client may modify the contents or attributes of
   the file.  If more than one client holds an OPEN_DELEGATE_READ
   delegation, then the contents and attributes of that file are not
   allowed to change.  When a client has an OPEN_DELEGATE_WRITE
   delegation, it may modify the file data since no other client will be
   accessing the file's data.  The client holding an OPEN_DELEGATE_WRITE
   delegation may only affect file attributes that are intimately
   connected with the file data: size, time_modify, and change.

   When a client has an open delegation, it does not send OPENs or
   CLOSEs to the server but updates the appropriate status internally.
   For an OPEN_DELEGATE_READ delegation, opens that cannot be handled
   locally (opens for write or that deny read access) must be sent to
   the server.

   When an open delegation is made, the response to the OPEN contains an
   open delegation structure that specifies the following:

   o  the type of delegation (read or write)

   o  space limitation information to control flushing of data on close
      (OPEN_DELEGATE_WRITE delegation only; see Section 10.4.1)
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   o  an nfsace4 specifying read and write permissions

   o  a stateid to represent the delegation for READ and WRITE

   The delegation stateid is separate and distinct from the stateid for
   the OPEN proper.  The standard stateid, unlike the delegation
   stateid, is associated with a particular open-owner and will continue
   to be valid after the delegation is recalled and the file remains

   When a request internal to the client is made to open a file and open
   delegation is in effect, it will be accepted or rejected solely on
   the basis of the following conditions.  Any requirement for other
   checks to be made by the delegate should result in open delegation
   being denied so that the checks can be made by the server itself.

   o  The access and deny bits for the request and the file, as
      described in Section 9.9.

   o  The read and write permissions, as determined below.

   The nfsace4 passed with delegation can be used to avoid frequent
   ACCESS calls.  The permission check should be as follows:

   o  If the nfsace4 indicates that the open may be done, then it should
      be granted without reference to the server.

   o  If the nfsace4 indicates that the open may not be done, then an
      ACCESS request must be sent to the server to obtain the definitive

   The server may return an nfsace4 that is more restrictive than the
   actual ACL of the file.  This includes an nfsace4 that specifies
   denial of all access.  Note that some common practices, such as
   mapping the traditional user "root" to the user "nobody", may make it
   incorrect to return the actual ACL of the file in the delegation

   The use of delegation, together with various other forms of caching,
   creates the possibility that no server authentication will ever be
   performed for a given user since all of the user's requests might be
   satisfied locally.  Where the client is depending on the server for
   authentication, the client should be sure authentication occurs for
   each user by use of the ACCESS operation.  This should be the case
   even if an ACCESS operation would not be required otherwise.  As
   mentioned before, the server may enforce frequent authentication by
   returning an nfsace4 denying all access with every open delegation.
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10.4.1. Open Delegation and Data Caching

OPEN delegation allows much of the message overhead associated with the opening and closing files to be eliminated. An open when an open delegation is in effect does not require that a validation message be sent to the server unless there exists a potential for conflict with the requested share mode. The continued endurance of the "OPEN_DELEGATE_READ delegation" provides a guarantee that no OPEN for write and thus no write has occurred that did not originate from this client. Similarly, when closing a file opened for write and if OPEN_DELEGATE_WRITE delegation is in effect, the data written does not have to be flushed to the server until the open delegation is recalled. The continued endurance of the open delegation provides a guarantee that no open and thus no read or write has been done by another client. For the purposes of open delegation, READs and WRITEs done without an OPEN (anonymous and READ bypass stateids) are treated as the functional equivalents of a corresponding type of OPEN. READs and WRITEs done with an anonymous stateid done by another client will force the server to recall an OPEN_DELEGATE_WRITE delegation. A WRITE with an anonymous stateid done by another client will force a recall of OPEN_DELEGATE_READ delegations. The handling of a READ bypass stateid is identical, except that a READ done with a READ bypass stateid will not force a recall of an OPEN_DELEGATE_READ delegation. With delegations, a client is able to avoid writing data to the server when the CLOSE of a file is serviced. The file close system call is the usual point at which the client is notified of a lack of stable storage for the modified file data generated by the application. At the close, file data is written to the server, and through normal accounting the server is able to determine if the available file system space for the data has been exceeded (i.e., the server returns NFS4ERR_NOSPC or NFS4ERR_DQUOT). This accounting includes quotas. The introduction of delegations requires that an alternative method be in place for the same type of communication to occur between client and server. In the delegation response, the server provides either the limit of the size of the file or the number of modified blocks and associated block size. The server must ensure that the client will be able to flush to the server data of a size equal to that provided in the original delegation. The server must make this assurance for all outstanding delegations. Therefore, the server must be careful in its management of available space for new or modified data, taking into account available file system space and any applicable quotas. The server can recall delegations as a result of managing the
Top   ToC   RFC7530 - Page 155
   available file system space.  The client should abide by the server's
   state space limits for delegations.  If the client exceeds the stated
   limits for the delegation, the server's behavior is undefined.

   Based on server conditions, quotas, or available file system space,
   the server may grant OPEN_DELEGATE_WRITE delegations with very
   restrictive space limitations.  The limitations may be defined in a
   way that will always force modified data to be flushed to the server
   on close.

   With respect to authentication, flushing modified data to the server
   after a CLOSE has occurred may be problematic.  For example, the user
   of the application may have logged off the client, and unexpired
   authentication credentials may not be present.  In this case, the
   client may need to take special care to ensure that local unexpired
   credentials will in fact be available.  One way that this may be
   accomplished is by tracking the expiration time of credentials and
   flushing data well in advance of their expiration.

10.4.2. Open Delegation and File Locks

When a client holds an OPEN_DELEGATE_WRITE delegation, lock operations may be performed locally. This includes those required for mandatory file locking. This can be done since the delegation implies that there can be no conflicting locks. Similarly, all of the revalidations that would normally be associated with obtaining locks and the flushing of data associated with the releasing of locks need not be done. When a client holds an OPEN_DELEGATE_READ delegation, lock operations are not performed locally. All lock operations, including those requesting non-exclusive locks, are sent to the server for resolution.

10.4.3. Handling of CB_GETATTR

The server needs to employ special handling for a GETATTR where the target is a file that has an OPEN_DELEGATE_WRITE delegation in effect. The reason for this is that the client holding the OPEN_DELEGATE_WRITE delegation may have modified the data, and the server needs to reflect this change to the second client that submitted the GETATTR. Therefore, the client holding the OPEN_DELEGATE_WRITE delegation needs to be interrogated. The server will use the CB_GETATTR operation. The only attributes that the server can reliably query via CB_GETATTR are size and change.
Top   ToC   RFC7530 - Page 156
   Since CB_GETATTR is being used to satisfy another client's GETATTR
   request, the server only needs to know if the client holding the
   delegation has a modified version of the file.  If the client's copy
   of the delegated file is not modified (data or size), the server can
   satisfy the second client's GETATTR request from the attributes
   stored locally at the server.  If the file is modified, the server
   only needs to know about this modified state.  If the server
   determines that the file is currently modified, it will respond to
   the second client's GETATTR as if the file had been modified locally
   at the server.

   Since the form of the change attribute is determined by the server
   and is opaque to the client, the client and server need to agree on a
   method of communicating the modified state of the file.  For the size
   attribute, the client will report its current view of the file size.
   For the change attribute, the handling is more involved.

   For the client, the following steps will be taken when receiving an
   OPEN_DELEGATE_WRITE delegation:

   o  The value of the change attribute will be obtained from the server
      and cached.  Let this value be represented by c.

   o  The client will create a value greater than c that will be used
      for communicating that modified data is held at the client.  Let
      this value be represented by d.

   o  When the client is queried via CB_GETATTR for the change
      attribute, it checks to see if it holds modified data.  If the
      file is modified, the value d is returned for the change attribute
      value.  If this file is not currently modified, the client returns
      the value c for the change attribute.

   For simplicity of implementation, the client MAY for each CB_GETATTR
   return the same value d.  This is true even if, between successive
   CB_GETATTR operations, the client again modifies in the file's data
   or metadata in its cache.  The client can return the same value
   because the only requirement is that the client be able to indicate
   to the server that the client holds modified data.  Therefore, the
   value of d may always be c + 1.

   While the change attribute is opaque to the client in the sense that
   it has no idea what units of time, if any, the server is counting
   change with, it is not opaque in that the client has to treat it as
   an unsigned integer, and the server has to be able to see the results
   of the client's changes to that integer.  Therefore, the server MUST
   encode the change attribute in network byte order when sending it to
   the client.  The client MUST decode it from network byte order to its
Top   ToC   RFC7530 - Page 157
   native order when receiving it, and the client MUST encode it in
   network byte order when sending it to the server.  For this reason,
   the change attribute is defined as an unsigned integer rather than an
   opaque array of bytes.

   For the server, the following steps will be taken when providing an
   OPEN_DELEGATE_WRITE delegation:

   o  Upon providing an OPEN_DELEGATE_WRITE delegation, the server will
      cache a copy of the change attribute in the data structure it uses
      to record the delegation.  Let this value be represented by sc.

   o  When a second client sends a GETATTR operation on the same file to
      the server, the server obtains the change attribute from the first
      client.  Let this value be cc.

   o  If the value cc is equal to sc, the file is not modified and the
      server returns the current values for change, time_metadata, and
      time_modify (for example) to the second client.

   o  If the value cc is NOT equal to sc, the file is currently modified
      at the first client and most likely will be modified at the server
      at a future time.  The server then uses its current time to
      construct attribute values for time_metadata and time_modify.  A
      new value of sc, which we will call nsc, is computed by the
      server, such that nsc >= sc + 1.  The server then returns the
      constructed time_metadata, time_modify, and nsc values to the
      requester.  The server replaces sc in the delegation record with
      nsc.  To prevent the possibility of time_modify, time_metadata,
      and change from appearing to go backward (which would happen if
      the client holding the delegation fails to write its modified data
      to the server before the delegation is revoked or returned), the
      server SHOULD update the file's metadata record with the
      constructed attribute values.  For reasons of reasonable
      performance, committing the constructed attribute values to stable
      storage is OPTIONAL.

   As discussed earlier in this section, the client MAY return the same
   cc value on subsequent CB_GETATTR calls, even if the file was
   modified in the client's cache yet again between successive
   CB_GETATTR calls.  Therefore, the server must assume that the file
   has been modified yet again and MUST take care to ensure that the new
   nsc it constructs and returns is greater than the previous nsc it
   returned.  An example implementation's delegation record would
   satisfy this mandate by including a boolean field (let us call it
   "modified") that is set to FALSE when the delegation is granted, and
   an sc value set at the time of grant to the change attribute value.
   The modified field would be set to TRUE the first time cc != sc and
Top   ToC   RFC7530 - Page 158
   would stay TRUE until the delegation is returned or revoked.  The
   processing for constructing nsc, time_modify, and time_metadata would
   use this pseudo-code:

       if (!modified) {
           do CB_GETATTR for change and size;

           if (cc != sc)
               modified = TRUE;
       } else {
           do CB_GETATTR for size;

       if (modified) {
           sc = sc + 1;
           time_modify = time_metadata = current_time;
           update sc, time_modify, time_metadata into file's metadata;

   This would return to the client (that sent GETATTR) the attributes it
   requested but would make sure that size comes from what CB_GETATTR
   returned.  The server would not update the file's metadata with the
   client's modified size.

   In the case that the file attribute size is different than the
   server's current value, the server treats this as a modification
   regardless of the value of the change attribute retrieved via
   CB_GETATTR and responds to the second client as in the last step.

   This methodology resolves issues of clock differences between
   client and server and other scenarios where the use of CB_GETATTR
   breaks down.

   It should be noted that the server is under no obligation to use
   CB_GETATTR; therefore, the server MAY simply recall the delegation to
   avoid its use.

10.4.4. Recall of Open Delegation

The following events necessitate the recall of an open delegation: o Potentially conflicting OPEN request (or READ/WRITE done with "special" stateid) o SETATTR issued by another client
Top   ToC   RFC7530 - Page 159
   o  REMOVE request for the file

   o  RENAME request for the file as either source or target of the

   Whether a RENAME of a directory in the path leading to the file
   results in the recall of an open delegation depends on the semantics
   of the server file system.  If that file system denies such RENAMEs
   when a file is open, the recall must be performed to determine
   whether the file in question is, in fact, open.

   In addition to the situations above, the server may choose to recall
   open delegations at any time if resource constraints make it
   advisable to do so.  Clients should always be prepared for the
   possibility of a recall.

   When a client receives a recall for an open delegation, it needs to
   update state on the server before returning the delegation.  These
   same updates must be done whenever a client chooses to return a
   delegation voluntarily.  The following items of state need to be
   dealt with:

   o  If the file associated with the delegation is no longer open and
      no previous CLOSE operation has been sent to the server, a CLOSE
      operation must be sent to the server.

   o  If a file has other open references at the client, then OPEN
      operations must be sent to the server.  The appropriate stateids
      will be provided by the server for subsequent use by the client
      since the delegation stateid will not longer be valid.  These OPEN
      requests are done with the claim type of CLAIM_DELEGATE_CUR.  This
      will allow the presentation of the delegation stateid so that the
      client can establish the appropriate rights to perform the OPEN.
      (See Section 16.16 for details.)

   o  If there are granted file locks, the corresponding LOCK operations
      need to be performed.  This applies to the OPEN_DELEGATE_WRITE
      delegation case only.

   o  For an OPEN_DELEGATE_WRITE delegation, if at the time of the
      recall the file is not open for write, all modified data for the
      file must be flushed to the server.  If the delegation had not
      existed, the client would have done this data flush before the
      CLOSE operation.

   o  For an OPEN_DELEGATE_WRITE delegation, when a file is still open
      at the time of the recall, any modified data for the file needs to
      be flushed to the server.
Top   ToC   RFC7530 - Page 160
   o  With the OPEN_DELEGATE_WRITE delegation in place, it is possible
      that the file was truncated during the duration of the delegation.
      For example, the truncation could have occurred as a result of an
      OPEN UNCHECKED4 with a size attribute value of zero.  Therefore,
      if a truncation of the file has occurred and this operation has
      not been propagated to the server, the truncation must occur
      before any modified data is written to the server.

   In the case of an OPEN_DELEGATE_WRITE delegation, file locking
   imposes some additional requirements.  To precisely maintain the
   associated invariant, it is required to flush any modified data in
   any region for which a write lock was released while the
   OPEN_DELEGATE_WRITE delegation was in effect.  However, because the
   OPEN_DELEGATE_WRITE delegation implies no other locking by other
   clients, a simpler implementation is to flush all modified data for
   the file (as described just above) if any write lock has been
   released while the OPEN_DELEGATE_WRITE delegation was in effect.

   An implementation need not wait until delegation recall (or deciding
   to voluntarily return a delegation) to perform any of the above
   actions, if implementation considerations (e.g., resource
   availability constraints) make that desirable.  Generally, however,
   the fact that the actual open state of the file may continue to
   change makes it not worthwhile to send information about opens and
   closes to the server, except as part of delegation return.  Only in
   the case of closing the open that resulted in obtaining the
   delegation would clients be likely to do this early, since, in that
   case, the close once done will not be undone.  Regardless of the
   client's choices on scheduling these actions, all must be performed
   before the delegation is returned, including (when applicable) the
   close that corresponds to the open that resulted in the delegation.
   These actions can be performed either in previous requests or in
   previous operations in the same COMPOUND request.

10.4.5. OPEN Delegation Race with CB_RECALL

The server informs the client of a recall via a CB_RECALL. A race case that may develop is when the delegation is immediately recalled before the COMPOUND that established the delegation is returned to the client. As the CB_RECALL provides both a stateid and a filehandle for which the client has no mapping, it cannot honor the recall attempt. At this point, the client has two choices: either do not respond or respond with NFS4ERR_BADHANDLE. If it does not respond, then it runs the risk of the server deciding to not grant it further delegations.
Top   ToC   RFC7530 - Page 161
   If instead it does reply with NFS4ERR_BADHANDLE, then both the client
   and the server might be able to detect that a race condition is
   occurring.  The client can keep a list of pending delegations.  When
   it receives a CB_RECALL for an unknown delegation, it can cache the
   stateid and filehandle on a list of pending recalls.  When it is
   provided with a delegation, it would only use it if it was not on the
   pending recall list.  Upon the next CB_RECALL, it could immediately
   return the delegation.

   In turn, the server can keep track of when it issues a delegation and
   assume that if a client responds to the CB_RECALL with an
   NFS4ERR_BADHANDLE, then the client has yet to receive the delegation.
   The server SHOULD give the client a reasonable time both to get this
   delegation and to return it before revoking the delegation.  Unlike a
   failed callback path, the server should periodically probe the client
   with CB_RECALL to see if it has received the delegation and is ready
   to return it.

   When the server finally determines that enough time has elapsed, it
   SHOULD revoke the delegation and it SHOULD NOT revoke the lease.
   During this extended recall process, the server SHOULD be renewing
   the client lease.  The intent here is that the client not pay too
   onerous a burden for a condition caused by the server.

10.4.6. Clients That Fail to Honor Delegation Recalls

A client may fail to respond to a recall for various reasons, such as a failure of the callback path from the server to the client. The client may be unaware of a failure in the callback path. This lack of awareness could result in the client finding out long after the failure that its delegation has been revoked, and another client has modified the data for which the client had a delegation. This is especially a problem for the client that held an OPEN_DELEGATE_WRITE delegation. The server also has a dilemma in that the client that fails to respond to the recall might also be sending other NFS requests, including those that renew the lease before the lease expires. Without returning an error for those lease-renewing operations, the server leads the client to believe that the delegation it has is in force.
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   This difficulty is solved by the following rules:

   o  When the callback path is down, the server MUST NOT revoke the
      delegation if one of the following occurs:

      *  The client has issued a RENEW operation, and the server has
         returned an NFS4ERR_CB_PATH_DOWN error.  The server MUST renew
         the lease for any byte-range locks and share reservations the
         client has that the server has known about (as opposed to those
         locks and share reservations the client has established but not
         yet sent to the server, due to the delegation).  The server
         SHOULD give the client a reasonable time to return its
         delegations to the server before revoking the client's

      *  The client has not issued a RENEW operation for some period of
         time after the server attempted to recall the delegation.  This
         period of time MUST NOT be less than the value of the
         lease_time attribute.

   o  When the client holds a delegation, it cannot rely on operations,
      except for RENEW, that take a stateid, to renew delegation leases
      across callback path failures.  The client that wants to keep
      delegations in force across callback path failures must use RENEW
      to do so.

10.4.7. Delegation Revocation

At the point a delegation is revoked, if there are associated opens on the client, the applications holding these opens need to be notified. This notification usually occurs by returning errors for READ/WRITE operations or when a close is attempted for the open file. If no opens exist for the file at the point the delegation is revoked, then notification of the revocation is unnecessary. However, if there is modified data present at the client for the file, the user of the application should be notified. Unfortunately, it may not be possible to notify the user since active applications may not be present at the client. See Section 10.5.1 for additional details.

(page 162 continued on part 9)

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