Search Results: "josch"

19 May 2012

Johannes Schauer: network file transfer to marvell kirkwood

I have a Seagate GoFlex Net with two 2TB harddrives attached to it via SATA. The device itself is connected to my PC via its Gigabit Ethernet connection. It houses a Marvell Kirkwood at 1.2GHz and 128MB. I am booting Debian from a USB stick connected to its USB 2.0 port. The specs are pretty neat so I planned it as my NAS with 4TB of storage being attached to it. The most common use case is the transfer of big files (1-10 GB) between my laptop and the device. Now what are the common ways to achieve this? scp:
scp /local/path user@goflex:/remote/path
rsync -Ph /local/path user@goflex:/remote/path
sshfs -o user@goflex:/remote/path /mnt
cp /local/path /mnt
ssh user@goflex "cat > /remote/path" < /local/path
I then did some benchmarks to see how they perform: scp: 5.90 MB/s rsync: 5.16 MB/s sshfs: 5.05 MB/s ssh: 5.42 MB/s Since they all use ssh for transmission, the similarity of the result does not come as a surprise and 5.90 MB/s are also not too shabby for a plain scp. It means that I can transfer 1 GB in a bit under three minutes. I could live with that. Even for 10 GB files I would only have to wait for half an hour which is mostly okay since it is mostly known well in advance that a file is needed. But lets see if we can somehow get faster than this. Lets analyze where the bottleneck is. Lets have a look at the effective TCP transfer rate with netcat:
ssh user@goflex "netcat -l -p 8000 > /dev/null"
dd if=/dev/zero bs=10M count=1000   netcat goflex 8000
79.3 MB/s wow! Can we get more? Lets try increasing the buffer size on both ends. This can be done using nc6 with the -x argument on both sides.
ssh user@goflex "netcat -x -l -p 8000 > /dev/null"
dd if=/dev/zero bs=10M count=1000   netcat -x gloflex 8000
103 MB/s okay this is definitely NOT the bottleneck here. Lets see how fast I can read from my harddrive:
hdparm -tT /dev/sda
114.86 MB/s.. hmm... and writing to it?
ssh user@goflex "time sh -c 'dd if=/dev/zero of=/remote/path bs=10M count=100; sync'"
42.93 MB/s Those values are far faster than my puny 5.90 MB/s I get with scp. A look at the CPU usage during transfer shows, that the ssh process is at 100% CPU usage the whole time. It seems the bottleneck was found to be ssh and the encryption/decryption involved. I'm transferring directly from my laptop to the device. Not even a switch is in the middle so encryption seems to be quite pointless here. Even authentication doesnt seem to be necessary in this setup. So how to make the transfer unencrypted? The ssh protocol specifies a null cipher for not-encrypted connections. OpenSSH doesnt support this. Supposedly, adding
  "none", SSH_CIPHER_NONE, 8, 0, 0, EVP_enc_null  
to cipher.c adds a null cipher but I didnt want to patch around in my installation. So lets see how a plain netcat performs.
ssh user@goflex "netcat -l -p 8000 > /remote/path"
netcat goflex 8000 < /local/path
32.9 MB/s This is far better! Lets try a bigger buffer:
ssh user@goflex "netcat -x -l -p 8000 > /remote/path"
netcat -x goflex 8000 < /local/path
37.8 MB/s now this is far better! My Gigabyte will now take under half a minute and my 10 GB file under five minutes. But it is tedious to copy multiple files or even a whole directory structure with netcat. There are far better tools for this. An obvious candidate that doesnt encrypt is rsync when being used with the rsync protocol.
rsync -Ph /local/path user@goflex::module/remote/path
30.96 MB/s which is already much better! I used the following line to have the rsync daemon being started by inetd:
rsync stream tcp nowait root /usr/bin/rsync rsyncd --daemon
But it is slower than pure netcat. If we want directory trees, then how about netcatting a tarball?
ssh user@goflex "netcat -x -l -p 8000   tar -C /remote/path -x"
tar -c /local/path   netcat goflex 8000
26.2 MB/s so tar seems to add quite the overhead. How about ftp then? For this test I installed vsftpd and achieved a speed of 30.13 MB/s. This compares well with rsync. I also tried out nfs. Not surprisingly, its transfer rate is up in par with rsync and ftp at 31.5 MB/s. So what did I learn? Lets make a table: </dr></dr></dr></dr></dr></dr></dr></dr></dr></dr>
methodspeed in MB/s
netcat -x37.8
netcat -x tar26.2
For transfer of a directory structure or many small files, unencrypted rsync seems the way to go. It outperforms a copy over ssh more than five-fold. When the convenience of having the remote data mounted locally is needed, nfs outperforms sshfs at speeds similar to rsync and ftp. As rsync and nfs already provide good performance, I didnt look into a more convenient solution using ftp. My policy will now be to use rsync for partial file transfers and mount my remote files with nfs. For transfer of one huge file, netcat is faster. Especially with increased buffer sizes it is a quarter faster than without. But copying a file with netcat is tedious and hence I wrote a script that simplifies the whole remote-login, listen, send process to one command. First argument is the local file, second argument is the remote name and path just as in scp.
#!/bin/sh -e
HOST=$ 2%%:* 
USER=$ HOST%%@* 
if [ "$HOST" = "$2" -o "$USER" = "$HOST" ]; then
        echo "second argument is not of form user@host:path" >&2
        exit 1
LNAME= basename "$1" 
RPATH= printf %q $ 2#*: /$LNAME 
ssh "$USER@$HOST" "nc6 -x -l -p 8000 > $RPATH" &
sleep 1.5
pv "$LPATH"   nc6 -x "$HOST" 8000
wait $!
ssh "$USER@$HOST" "md5sum $RPATH" &
md5sum "$LPATH"
wait $!
I use pv to get a status of the transfer on my local machine and ssh to login to the remote machine and start netcat in listening mode. After the transfer I check the md5sum to be sure that everything went fine. This step can of course be left out but during testing it was useful. Escaping of the arguments is done with printf %q. Problems with the above are the sleep, which can not be avoided but must be there to give the remote some time to start netcat and listen. This is unclean. A next problem with the above is, that one has to specify a username. Another is, that in scp, one has to double-escape the argument while above this is not necessary. The host that it netcats to is the same as the host it ssh's to. This is not necessarily the case as one can specify an alias in ~/.ssh/config. Last but not least this only transfers from the local machine to the remote host. Doing it the other way round is of course possible in the same manner but then one must be able to tell how the local machine is reachable for the remote host. Due to all those inconveniences I decided not to expand on the above script. Plus, rsync and nfs seem to perform well enough for day to day use.

18 May 2012

Johannes Schauer: a periodic counter

tldr: counting without cumulative timing errors Sometimes I want just a small counter, incrementing an integer each second running somewhere in a terminal. Maybe it is because my wristwatch is in the bathroom or because I want to do more rewarding things than counting seconds manually. Maybe I want not only to know how long something takes but also for how long it already ran in the middle of its execution? There are many reason why I would want some script that does nothing else than simply counting upward or downward with some specific frequency. Some bonuses: Now this can not be hard, right? One would probably write this line and be done with it:
while sleep 1; do echo $i; i=$((i+1)); done
or to count for a certain number of steps:
for i in  seq 1 100 ; do echo $i; sleep 1; done
This would roughly do the job but in each iteration some small offset would be added and though small, this offset would quickly accumulate. Sure that cumulative error is tiny but given that this task seems to be so damn trivial I couldn't bear anymore with running any of the above but started looking into a solution. Sure I could just quickly hack a small C script that would check gettimeofday(2) at each iteration and would adjust the time to usleep(3) accordinly but there HAD to be people before me with the same problem who already came up with a solution. And there was! The solution is the sleepenh(1) program which, when given the timestamp of its last invocation and the sleep time in floating point seconds, will sleep for just the right amount to keep the overall frequency stable. The author suggests, that sleepenh is to be used in shell scripts that need to repeat an action in a regular time interval and that is just what I did. The result is trivial and simple but does just what I want: You can check it out and read how to use and what to do with it on github: Now lets compare the periodic script with the second example from above:
$ time sh -c 'for i in  seq 1 1000 ; do echo $i; sleep 1; done'
0.08s user 0.12s system 0% cpu 16:41.55 total
So after only 1000 iterations, the counter is already off by 1.55 seconds. This means that instead of having run with a frequency of 1.0 Hz, the actual frequency was 1.00155 Hz. Is it too much to not want this 0.155% of error?
$ time ./periodic -c 1000
0.32s user 0.00s system 0% cpu 16:40.00 total
1000 iterations took exactly 1000 seconds. Cool.

24 August 2008

Enrico Zini: Polysms

Polysms Here is my first software designed for the FreeRunner: polysms. It's a commandline tool: you pass it a polygen grammar name and a phone number, and it will send a SMS to that phone number using the polygen output for that grammar as the SMS text:
# polyrun manager 0012345678

And here is the code, that works on the dbus framework:
# (C) 2008 Enrico Zini
# Most bits of this are stripped from zhone, which is:
# (C) 2007 Johannes 'Josch' Schauer
# (C) 2008 Michael 'Mickey' Lauer <>
# (C) 2008 Jan 'Shoragan' Luebbe
# (C) 2008 Daniel 'Alphaone' Willmann
# (C) 2008 Openmoko, Inc.
# GPLv2 or later
from dbus import SystemBus, Interface
from dbus.exceptions import DBusException
import logging
logger = logging.getLogger( __name__ )
from dbus.mainloop.glib import DBusGMainLoop
import gobject
import sys
from subprocess import Popen, PIPE
class Phone:
    def tryGetProxy( self, busname, objname ):
            return self.bus.get_object( busname, objname )
        except DBusException, e:
            logger.warning( "could not create proxy for %s:%s" % ( busname, objname ) )
    def __init__(self):
            self.bus = SystemBus()
        except DBusException, e:
            logger.error( "could not connect to dbus_object system bus: %s" % e )
            return False
        # Phone
        self.gsm_device_obj = self.tryGetProxy( 'org.freesmartphone.ogsmd', '/org/freesmartphone/GSM/Device' )
        if ( self.gsm_device_obj is not None ):
            self.gsm_device_iface = Interface(self.gsm_device_obj, 'org.freesmartphone.GSM.Device')
            self.gsm_sim_iface = Interface(self.gsm_device_obj, 'org.freesmartphone.GSM.SIM')
            self.gsm_network_iface = Interface(self.gsm_device_obj, 'org.freesmartphone.GSM.Network')
            self.gsm_call_iface = Interface(self.gsm_device_obj, 'org.freesmartphone.GSM.Call')
            self.gsm_test_iface = Interface(self.gsm_device_obj, 'org.freesmartphone.GSM.Test')
        # Main loop
        self.loop = gobject.MainLoop()
    def send(self, number, message):
        def onSent():
            print "SENT"
        def onStore(index):
            print "STORED AS", index
            number, message,
    def onError(self, result):
        print "ERROR", result
    def mainloop(self):
if len(sys.argv) != 3:
    print >>sys.stderr, "Usage: %s grammarname phonenumber"
message = Popen(["/usr/bin/polyrun", sys.argv[1]], stdout=PIPE).communicate()[0]
number = sys.argv[2]
print "Sending to %s:" % number
print message
phone = Phone()
phone.send(number, message)