Anyway, all of last week my developer workstation kept locking up, losing me work in progress. I tried relocating the NVMe SSD (a Samsung 970 Pro) into a new M.2 socket, and since then it appears to be reliable again. But that’s water under the bridge, what I’m here to talk about now is how I fixed Visual Studio 2019 not building reliably over a Samba share, because absolutely nobody else seemed to find a solution to this oft reported problem (well apart from this guy here who found a workaround to a related but different problem which has the same manifestation as mine).
Firstly, I am not building into the Samba share. I create a build directory on Windows, and tell cmake to populate that Windows build directory using a git worktree located on a mapped network drive
M:\ which is the Samba share of the git worktree in the Linux VM
\\kate-linux. As the build never writes into the source worktree, Samba is only being used here for reads only, and so thanks to opportunistic locking (oplocks), Windows aggressively caches the source tree in Windows and build performance is pretty close to native speed.
Except, it’s not quite reliable. 99.9% of the time it works fine. But occasionally MSVC doesn’t find some header file, or Visual Studio refuses to save a file, and if you look in the directory it is creating lots of orphaned temporary files from the failed saves. The problem is much worse if you use
cmake --build . --config Debug where MSVC will fail to find lots of header files, sufficiently so that you don’t get a usable build. Initially I thought this was purely a MSVC/Visual Studio problem, as it only ever appeared there, not helped by all the google searches reporting the same problem and almost all also mentioned MSVC/Visual Studio. But I also noticed that occasionally executing
git from Windows where the git repo was on the mapped network drive would fail too with messages such as:
fatal: update_ref failed for ref 'HEAD': cannot lock ref 'HEAD': unable to create lock file non-directory in the way
… and other messages suggesting that the network share was being racy with respect to changes on the network share.
My initial thought was that Samba must be misconfigured, even though it was pretty much with default config, and Ubuntu 20.04’s Samba is v4.11.6 which to my best knowledge, has no known major bugs and its default config is pretty optimal for performance, unlike earlier versions before Samba v4. I spent all last week when I was waiting on Linux build trial and error A-B testing various network and Samba configurations, alas to no avail.
This weekend passed, and today Monday morning I had a bit of a brainwave: What if Samba is absolutely fine, and it is Windows 10 which is the cause?
That led me to Microsoft’s documentation page about SMB2 Redirector Caches which documents three registry settings to fiddle with. It turns out that setting these parameters in
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Lanmanworkstation\Parameters fixes all my MSVC failed-to-find-file, Visual Studio 2019 failed-save-edited-file, and git failed-to-checkout-branch problems:
DirectoryCacheLifetime = (DWORD) 0
FileNotFoundCacheLifetime = (DWORD) 0
FileInfoCacheLifetime = (DWORD) 0
After you have set these using
services.msc, find the
Workstation service and restart it. To verify it’s working, open powershell with Administrator privileges and do
ConnectionCountPerRssNetworkInterface : 4 DirectoryCacheEntriesMax : 16 DirectoryCacheEntrySizeMax : 65536 DirectoryCacheLifetime : 0 DormantFileLimit : 1023 EnableBandwidthThrottling : True EnableByteRangeLockingOnReadOnlyFiles : True EnableInsecureGuestLogons : False EnableLargeMtu : True EnableLoadBalanceScaleOut : True EnableMultiChannel : True EnableSecuritySignature : True ExtendedSessionTimeout : 1000 FileInfoCacheEntriesMax : 64 FileInfoCacheLifetime : 0 FileNotFoundCacheEntriesMax : 128 FileNotFoundCacheLifetime : 0 KeepConn : 600 MaxCmds : 50 MaximumConnectionCountPerServer : 32 OplocksDisabled : False RequireSecuritySignature : False SessionTimeout : 60 UseOpportunisticLocking : True WindowSizeThreshold : 8
Note the zero values for the parameters we forced to zero, but large MTUs remain on, oplocks are on, and multichannel is on.
SMB Multichannel is probably the only major Samba performance enhancing feature not enabled by default in Samba v4. This is because it was buggy until recently, but now it’s working very well. SMB Multichannel lets file transfers multiplex over multiple TCP connections, so just like with Download Accelerators on the internet, you can multiply a per-TCP-connection maximum several fold over multiple connections, thus greatly increasing transfer rates. This isn’t particularly important for many small files like during a C++ compile run, but if you have multiple threads all accessing a single Samba share, with SMB Multichannel those threads actually see some concurrency whereas without SMB Multichannel, they all get funnelled through a single TCP connection with a global mutex. So, for a parallel build like what Visual Studio now does by default, SMB Multichannel is a big gain.
You can see if your Hyper-VM Linux and your Windows installation are already employing SMB Multichannel using this command in an Administrator privileged PowerShell:
Get-SmbMultichannelConnection -IncludeNotSelected Server Name Selected Client IP Server IP Client Interface Index Server Interface Index Client RSS Capable Client RDMA Capable ----------- -------- --------- --------- ---------------------- ---------------------- ------------------ ------------------- kate-linux False 192.168.137.1 192.168.137.235 7 2 False False kate-linux False 192.168.2.172 192.168.137.234 11 1 False False kate-linux False 192.168.2.172 192.168.137.234 11 1 False False kate-linux False 192.168.137.1 192.168.137.234 7 1 False False kate-linux True 192.168.137.1 192.168.137.234 7 1 True False kate-linux False 192.168.2.172 192.168.137.235 11 2 False False
If it prints nothing, SMB Multichannel is NOT being employed.
If your Samba is after v4.13, it should autodetect when your network setup is RSS capable on its own. If both sides can do RSS, enabling SMB multichannel is as simple as adding this into your
[global] server min protocol = SMB3 server multi channel support = yes
Note you need to reboot your Linux VM and then your host Windows machine before this takes effect.
If your Samba is before v4.13, you will need to either force RSS on (ideal as it can parallelise according to CPUs in your machine) or assign more than one network adapter to both your VM and your host on the Hyper-VM bridge (not ideal, as max concurrency is the number of multiple NIC pairs between Linux and Windows). Here is how you force Samba to advertise support for RSS and RDMA:
interfaces = "192.168.137.234;if_index=1,capability=RSS,capability=RDMA,speed=10000000000"
Obviously, you will need a static IP for your Linux VM for this to work, and you need to enable RSS in the virtual 10Gb NIC and on the Hyper-VM bridge you are using.
I left RDMA enabled in there too, though it only makes sense on real hardware with a sufficiently capable real NIC on a real server. Obviously if you do have such capable hardware, you can sustain 10Gb/sec on a 100Gbit link with 256Kb per i/o @ QD8, or 2Gb/sec on a 100Gbit link with 4Kb per i/o @ QD200. Over a software emulated switch and NIC, the SMB Multichannel only mainly increases concurrency for both host and VM, helping ameliorate the VM<=>Host latency.
Finally, the only other settings which Samba v4 doesn’t currently enable which might help are:
socket options = TCP_NODELAY IPTOS_LOWDELAY use sendfile = yes
TCP_NODELAY is already on by default in Samba v4, but
IPTOS_LOWDELAY is not. This might improve performance a bit given that now Windows does no caching of metadata whatsoever given the registry changes above. And use of kernel
sendfile() to zero copy transmit files is off by default, for some reason, so turning it on might reduce CPU cache loading a little.
Hopefully I helped other people now reading figure out the solution to what has been a very frustrating week for me in getting Visual Studio/MSVC to reliably build a Linux Samba share supplied git worktree.
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