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USENIX, The Advanced Computing Systems Association

FAST '08 – Abstract

Pp. 207–222 of the Proceedings

EIO: Error Handling is Occasionally Correct

Haryadi S. Gunawi, Cindy Rubio-González, Andrea C. Arpaci-Dusseau, Remzi H. Arpaci-Dusseau, and Ben Liblit, University of Wisconsin, Madison


The reliability of file systems depends in part on how well they propagate errors. We develop a static analysis technique, EDP, that analyzes how file systems and storage device drivers propagate error codes. Running our EDP analysis on all file systems and 3 major storage device drivers in Linux 2.6, we find that errors are often incorrectly propagated; 1153 calls (13%) drop an error code without handling it.

We perform a set of analyses to rank the robustness of each subsystem based on the completeness of its error propagation; we find that many popular file systems are less robust than other available choices. We confirm that write errors are neglected more often than read errors. We also find that many violations are not corner-case mistakes, but perhaps intentional choices. Finally, we show that inter-module calls play a part in incorrect error propagation, but that chained propagations do not. In conclusion, error propagation appears complex and hard to perform correctly in modern systems.

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Last changed: 7 May 2008 mn