• I’ve been using FOG since around .32, and I’m running up against a strange slow-deployment scenario on FOG 1.5.0.

    For years, we’ve been imaging our inventory of Lenovo t410i computers. The topology of our FOG system has the server and clients sharing a private LAN, with Gigabit throughout. Non managed switch.

    With the t410i machines, they are imaging from a Partimage image, as these were converted from our old server.

    We regularly see 5-6 GB/min when either Capturing or Deploying these singly, and multicast deployments to up to 8 machines with similar results.

    We just bought a bunch of Lenovo t480 machines, and I’ve been working on the image for these. Capturing images from these goes similarly fast compared to the t410i’s, but when deploying them I’m only seeing between 400 and 500MB/min.

    While a machine is in mid-deploy, the switch link lights are indicating 1Gb link. I’ve tried the newest kernels for the client machines with no difference.

    I swapped out the non-managed Gigabit switch with a new, managed one (because I upgraded the link to our server to 10Gb fiber), and have seen no change in deploy speed on these machines. The new switch’s management console shows the machines are linking at GbE speeds.

    It’s not the cables; I can put a t410i on any of the same positions, and they deploy at Gb speeds.

    The Ethernet chipset on the t480 clients is Intel 219lm.

    The new switch is a Netgear GC728X. The server card is an Intel X520-DA2 with 10GTek transceivers on both ends.

    Are there BIOS or client kernel-level stuff I should look toward?


  • We bought 50 of these machines and one arrived with a cracked screen. I just received the replacement from the RMA of that broken machine, and of course it images at full speed.

    The replacement machine came with a Samsung m.2 drive, part: MZVLW256HEHP-000L7

    The other 49 machines have the Lenovo equivalent: LENSE20256GMSP34MEAT2TA

    I’ve contacted my Lenovo rep with the hopes that I can work with an engineer to narrow down a fix.

  • @george1421 I might just try that, just for troubleshooting purposes.

    Re: firmware - There is a BIOS update for the machines, and a firmware update for the NVM Samsung drive. Sadly, trying these was my first troubleshooting step (not listed here, because it was before I suspected components of FOG). I sure was holding my breath that it was the drive firmware though!

  • Moderator

    @tomierna Thank you for providing feedback on this issue.

    I wonder if you purchased a backup samsung m.2 drive and field upgraded a second one of these systems to see if it IS the m.2 drive at fault. The other option is that they had a firmware/hardware modification mid production run that correct the issue(??)

  • We bought 50 of these machines and one arrived with a cracked screen. I just received the replacement from the RMA of that broken machine, and of course it images at full speed.

    The replacement machine came with a Samsung m.2 drive, part: MZVLW256HEHP-000L7

    The other 49 machines have the Lenovo equivalent: LENSE20256GMSP34MEAT2TA

    I’ve contacted my Lenovo rep with the hopes that I can work with an engineer to narrow down a fix.

  • @tom-elliott I’m pretty stumped myself.

    And why does it matter on the FOS Client that it is not NTFS? Fuse NTFS version differences between FOS and Ubuntu?

  • @tomierna I see you’re doing a ton of research trying to narrow down the problem, but i have to agree that none of this makes sense, and seems to be specific to the m.2 SSDs. Why would it being mounted matter anyway? (I’m not expecting you to know the answer, nor do I know it lol)

  • So apparently on the Ubuntu machine, as long as the partition is mounted, a restore is fast.

    On the FOS Client, the partition has to be formatted as a FS other than NTFS and mounted.

    I’m too far down the rabbit hole to see how this makes any sense.

  • @sebastian-roth Thank you, Sebastian.

    This is getting weirder by the day.

    I went back to the Ubuntu test machine today to try and look for differences, and partclone.restore from NFS to the m.2 SSD ran at expected speeds!

    Going back through my shell history, I noticed I had never unmounted the partition I was cloning onto.

    So, after the restore completed, I unmounted the partition and ran the partclone.restore again. Boom, slow.

    Then remounted, re-ran command, boom, fast again.

    I did this a few more times to make sure I wasn’t seeing things, but sure enough, on the Ubuntu machine, when the target partition is mounted, partclone.restore writes at GbE speeds. When the target partition is not mounted, the restore speed falls to about 450MB/min.

    I tried this on the FOG Client machine, but partclone exits because it knows the partition is mounted.

    Thinking this might be due to the partclone version 0.2.89 on FOS, I copied over the 0.3.11 binaries and libraries.

    This allowed it to run the clone despite the partition being mounted, but it was still slow.

    I looked back at the history on the Ubuntu machine, and the FS I had mounted the first time I had a fast restore was ext4. Subsequent times it was NTFS (from the image).

    So, I did an mkfs.ext4 on the partition on the FOS machine, mounted it, and ran the partclone. IT RAN AT GbE SPEEDS!!!

    However, subsequent unmount/remount did not allow another restore to run quickly. I’m just about to test formatting as ext2 and trying the restore with that mounted to see if it matters which FS.

  • Moderator

    @tomierna You are doing a great job! Please keep us posted.

  • @george1421 I’ve tested partclone over NFS to m.2 under Ubuntu 18.04 now.

    The exact same issue is happening there with partclone.

    I ran partclone.restore to /dev/null, from the FOG NFS images share to get a non-writing baseline of network performance, and it showed 6.8GB/min.

    Then I ran partclone.restore to the m.2 drive, and it started at 14GB/min, and by 4% it was down to 2GB/min. By 50% it was down to 450MB/min.

    The /var/log/partclone.log showed multiple writes per buffer, like I outlined in another post.

    I guess it’s time for me to post in the partclone forums?

  • @george1421 LOL, yeah. Super frustrating.

    It really does seem like an interaction between partclone.restore and the m.2 ssd (or maybe the FOS kernel’s support of that device).

    Right now I’m running a partclone.restore from the command line of a debug deploy from the NFS share to the external USB3 SSD I’ve got connected. Solid 7.3GB/min.

    Tomorrow I will try booting from Ubuntu Live and install Partclone, and see if the same problem exists there, and maybe that will show what part of the nvm subsystem needs tweaking in the FOS kernel.

  • Moderator

    @tomierna Well from the sounds of it, you really don’t have a problem do you??

    All of the bits work perfectly, just not together. 😉

  • @george1421 I’ve already copied via NFS with rsync to the internal m.2 drive, at GbE speeds.

    I also excluded pigz and cat by pre-decompressing the image and trying the partclone.restore command from the command line.

    [edit]I just did another test, while I was doing 6 unicast t410i machines at the same time, and rsync to the internal m.2 drive from NFS was getting 60MB/second while each of the unicasts were doing 5.5GB/min (91MB/s). About halfway through the rsync, some of the unicasts finished, and the rsync speed took up the bandwidth, peaking at 110MB/sec.[/edit]

  • Moderator

    @tomierna So this shows us that the target computer can create files faster than ethernet net. So then if you mounted the fog servers /images/dev via nfs from the target computer (debug session). What rates do you get? (trying the divide and concur method). Again this is under FOS. If network rates are normal, then the slowness might be partclone or gzip/zstd slowing things down.

    [edit] I’m not sure if this will really tell us anything since you can upload at normal speed. So it will probably add no value to test [/edit]

  • @george1421 - I’ve restored an image over the Ubuntu install, but I will try a live boot and see if I can do the lspci command from there.

    Re: write speed to the m.2 SSD within the FOS debug session:

    dd if=/dev/zero of=./test1.img bs=1G count=1 oflag=direct
    1+0 records in
    1+0 records out
    1073741824 bytes (1.1 GB, 1.0 GiB) copied, 1.40934 s, 762 MB/s
    dd if=/dev/zero of=./test1.img bs=2G count=16 oflag=direct iflag=fullblock
    16+0 records in
    16+0 records out
    34359738368 bytes (34 GB, 32 GiB) copied, 159.576 s, 215 MB/s

    A larger file is slower, but still way faster than GbE speeds.

  • Moderator

    @tomierna It might be related to the kernel driver itself. You’ve done a hell of a lot of debugging here and I’ve lost a bit of where you are in the process.

    What kernel version works in ubuntu?

    In ubuntu, if you run lspci -NN it might show you the device and the kernel driver being used. Thinking about it, it might not show you the disk controller if its not connected via the internal pcie buss.

    And if booted into a fog debug session and then mounted the m.2 drive (/dev/sda1) over /mnt then ran this dd command.

    dd if=/dev/zero of=/mnt/test1.img bs=1G count=1 oflag=direct
    What throughput does it provide. This is just writing zeros to the test1.img file as fast as it can.

  • On a partclone mailing list a test to determine if write io was a bottleneck was mentioned: restore to /dev/null.

    I tried that, and got a solid 13GB/min from the SSD and 7.3GB/min from the NFS share.

    This tells me write performance to the m.2 drive is probably the culprit.

    Any kernel parameters I should be looking at? I will be doing a diff between sysctl -a on an Ubuntu 18.04 machine and the FOS client kernel.

  • Another day, another data point:

    I’ve copied the decompressed image file to an external USB3 SSD (over NFS, at 100+MB/s with rsync), and while in the debug-deploy shell, I ran partclone using the SSD as the source.

    The partclone session started out fast, but like with the NFS-based sessions, after about 5%, started to slow down. By 7%, transfer speed from SSD was at around 800MB/min, and by 10% was at 600MB/min.

    /var/log/partclone.log showed similar write fragmentation patterns to what I posted last night.

    I’m going to look next at kernel tunables to see if there are any io buffers I can set to be larger.

  • @tomierna then maybe this is ram related? We use fifo to handle receiving the data. This then stores the incoming data into ram, and from ram it is read and then written to disk.

    I’m not sure how familiar you are with linux, but maybe this can help others as well.

    The fifo literally means first in first out. It allows a file based access to a non file and is typically used for receiving a stream of data, of which we are when pulling from NFS. The data stream is likely working properly and meeting the upper limits of data that can be received in RAM.

    In the near future we will be using the same process but with http/s streams. Maybe this can help us understand where the issue is?

    Hopefully this can be of some use.

  • Doing some more testing.

    I finally compiled partclone 0.2.88, 0.2.91 and 0.3.11 and copied the binaries and enough of the libraries over to my debug-deploy machine so that they would run without error.

    None of the versions made any difference in deploy speed. 0.2.91 and 0.3.11 took longer to write the GPT, but I think I remember reading about that somewhere.

    Next I used gunzip to expand one of my partition files so I could run partclone from the shell to see if excluding pigz and cat from the FOS machine made a difference. It did not.

    I added -d2 to the command to increase the error log verbosity.

    The log doesn’t show any errors, but it does show all the reads and writes. The default buffer is 1MB, and so each of the reads is 256 4096-byte blocks.

    Many of the writes say “write 1048576, 0 left”, but a large number of the writes appear to be fragmented. Here are three read/write cycles, with the first being non-fragmented, and the next two being fragmented:

    read more: io_all: read 1049600, 0 left.
    io_all: write 1048576, 0 left.
    blocks_read = 256 and copied = 535552
    read more: io_all: read 1049600, 0 left.
    io_all: write 753664, 0 left.
    io_all: write 57344, 0 left.
    io_all: write 237568, 0 left.
    blocks_read = 256 and copied = 535808
    read more: io_all: read 1049600, 0 left.
    io_all: write 204800, 0 left.
    io_all: write 327680, 0 left.
    io_all: write 360448, 0 left.
    io_all: write 155648, 0 left.
    blocks_read = 256 and copied = 536064

    I don’t yet have a comparison log from a t410i to see if this type of write fragmentation pattern is normal, or if it’s potentially a reason for the slowdown.

    Again, when I format the partition as ext4 and do a straight copy or rsync from the NFS server or wget or curl from the http server, I get 100+MB/sec. Only when it passes through partclone does it slow down to 400-500MB/min.