Writing Device Drivers

Sun Disk Device Drivers

Sun disk devices represent an important class of block device drivers. A Sun disk device is one that is supported by disk utility commands such as format(1M) and newfs(1M).

Disk I/O Controls

Sun disk drivers need to support a minimum set of I/O controls specific to Sun disk drivers. These I/O controls are specified in the dkio(7) manual page. Disk I/O controls transfer disk information to or from the device driver. In the case where data is copied out of the driver to the user, ddi_copyout(9F) should be used to copy the information into the user's address space. When data is copied to the disk from the user, the ddi_copyin(9F) should be used to copy data into the kernels address space. Table G-1 lists the mandatory Sun disk I/O controls.

Table G-1 Mandatory Sun Disk I/O Controls

I/O Control 



Returns information describing the disk controller. 


Returns a disk's partition map. 


Sets a disk's partition map. 


Returns a disk's geometry. 


Sets a disk's geometry. 


Returns a disk's Volume Table of Contents. 


Sets a disk's Volume Table of Contents. 

Disk Performance

The Solaris 7 DDI/DKI provides facilities to optimize I/O transfers for improved file system performance. It supports a mechanism to manage the list of I/O requests so as to optimize disk access for a file system. See "Asynchronous Data Transfers"for a description of enqueuing an I/O request.

The diskhd structure is used to manage a linked list of I/O requests.

struct diskhd {
 	long	b_flags;		/* not used, needed for */
 			/* consistency          */
 	struct buf *b_forw,	*b_back;	/* queue of unit queues */
 	struct buf *av_forw,	*av_back;	/* queue of bufs for this unit */
 	long	b_bcount;		/* active flag */

The diskhd data structure has two buf pointers that the driver can manipulate. The av_forw pointer points to the first active I/O request. The second pointer, av_back, points to the last active request on the list.

A pointer to this structure is passed as an argument to disksort(9F), along with a pointer to the current buf structure being processed. The disksort(9F) routine is used to sort the buf requests in a fashion that optimizes disk seek and then inserts the buf pointer into the diskhd list. The disksort program uses the value that is in b_resid of the buf structure as a sort key. The driver is responsible for setting this value. Most Sun disk drivers use the cylinder group as the sort key. This tends to optimize the file system read-ahead accesses.

Once data has been added to the diskhd list, the device needs to transfer the data. If the device is not busy processing a request, the xxstart()( ) routine pulls the first buf structure off the diskhd list and starts a transfer.

If the device is busy, the driver should return from the xxstrategy()( ) entry point. Once the hardware is done with the data transfer, it generates an interrupt. The driver's interrupt routine is then called to service the device. After servicing the interrupt, the driver can then call the start()( ) routine to process the next buf structure in the diskhd list.