#mount #monitor #status #model #operating-systems

app mount_status_monitor

Paranoid filesystem monitor which reports malfunctioning mountpoints

4 stable releases

Uses old Rust 2015

2.1.5 Mar 2, 2020
2.1.1 Aug 2, 2018
2.1.0 Mar 27, 2018
2.0.0 Sep 7, 2017

22 downloads per month

CC0 license

370 lines


Operating systems have traditionally assumed that storage components are either working or have failed and must be replaced. Most code has been developed using the synchronous I/O model where operations wait until they either receive a successful result or an error. This model is not suitable for complex storage environments involving many devices or, especially, networks where failures are more common and might be transient. Additionally, Linux, FreeBSD and macOS have all had serious NFS client bugs and design flaws which significantly amplified the damage from even a momentary failure or overload.

Unfortunately many programs have non-obvious triggers which cause them to scan all mounted filesystems, causing them to hang as soon as any mounted filesystem stops responding. In the case of NFS home directories the user experience is especially bad because most desktop environments will completely hang trying to access configuration files from the user's home directory, making the system unusable.

Finally, very few applications have the complicated code required to report when a storage request has blocked for a long period of time which makes it hard for a system administrator to proactively correct the problem. In some cases a reboot may be required but in many cases the fallout from a temporary outage can be significantly reduced by using umount -f or, in certain situations on Linux, umount -f -l, and remounting the filesystem so any new process will be completely unaffected.

What mount_status_monitor does

mount_status_monitor provides the missing notification solution for imperfect storage. It's a simple daemon which periodically checks every mounted filesystem using an asynchronous check with a timeout so it can report soft failures caused by unresponsive storage as well as hard errors.

After each run is complete it will send a message to syslog:

Checked 5 mounts; 0 are dead

Optionally, the Prometheus push-gateway will receive two metrics (total_mountpoints and dead_mountpoints) with the same information for alerting and correlation purposes.

When a mount test fails the mountpoint will be sent to syslog and stderr:

Mount failed health-check: /Volumes/TestSSHFS

There are several ways to simulate failures for testing. The easiest is to use a user-mode filesystem such as sshfs, s3fs, etc. and use kill -STOP to freeze the FUSE process long enough to trigger the unresponsive mount failure. For more involved testing or if you are also evaluating system tuning options you can use iptables to simulate packet loss or hard failure of an NFS server.


Compiling the code requires a working Rust toolchain:

cargo build --release

A Docker image is provided for testing basic functionality:

docker build -t mountstatus . && docker run -it --rm mountstatus

Running the monitor

For testing you can simply run mount_status_monitor directly and watch the output. Note that while the process can run without elevated permissions it is likely that this will generate error messages due to mountpoints which are inaccessible.

In normal operation mount_status_monitor relies a supervisor such as Upstart, systemd, or launchd to keep it running. See the upstart and systemd directories for provided config files.

Future Directions

A long term experiment is having mount_status_monitor actually attempt to run umount -f (or umount -f -l on Linux) and remount the filesystem to reduce the number of applications which hit a dead mountpoint. This may not be appropriate for all users and would require testing to avoid making the problem worse.

Contributors & Acknowledgements

Thanks to the following Rust community members who volunteered to review & improve this code, listed in alphabetical order:

  • Pascal Hertleif (@killercup)
  • Paul Daniel Faria (@Nashenas88)
  • Rahul Sharma (@creativcoder)
  • Zachary Dremann (@Dr-Emann)


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