Checksums, CRC's, and NFS

Rob Horn (adelie!infinet!rhorn@XN.LL.MIT.EDU)
2 Apr 88 02:57:21 GMT

There are sometimes good reasons to use CRC rather than just checksums,
especially when in the asynch world. We send a lot of data over hostile
links using asynch and we have found that one of the more anti-social failure
modes of port sharing devices and muxes is byte or buffer swapping. Checksums
don't catch these. CRC's do, and they cost relatively little. Our CRC
code compiles into only nine (9) instructions per byte, and could be cut
to seven (7) if we went to assembler. This is not as good as checksums, but
it is nothing when compared to the CPU cost of servicing the interrupts
for the comm device. I think that CRC's have gotten too much bad press
because people think they are expensive. So our CRC code (sans 512 byte table)
is attached at the end.

On the other hand, for reliable high speed links (like LANs) I think
Sun made the right decision to drop even checksums. With a typical 8
KB block, even if the checksum cost is down to 1 microsecond per byte
you have added 8 milliseconds to the response. This is a big portion
of the total response time for a disk on the same LAN, especially for
a cache hit. But Sun should have made checksumming a per mount
option, to accomodate those cases where the connection is slower or
less reliable than a LAN.

Rob Horn
     ...harvard!adelie!infinet!rhorn, ..!ulowell!infinet!rhorn

 * A simple table driven CRC calculator.

extern BYTE CRC_TABLE [256] [2];

rx_crc(crc, buffer, len)

char crc[2];
char *buffer;
short len;

#define high 1
#define low 0
register BYTE *crcptr;
register char crclow;
register char crchigh;
register char *workptr;
register char *limit; /* This should only be a register on 68K or VAXen */
                            /* Not on Intel processors */
crclow = 0xff;
crchigh = 0xff;
limit = buffer + len;
workptr = buffer;
while( workptr < limit) {
   crcptr = CRC_TABLE [(unsigned char) ( *workptr++ ^ crclow)];
   crclow = crcptr[high] ^ crchigh;
   crchigh = crcptr[low];
crc[low] = crclow;
crc[high] = crchigh;


				Rob  Horn
	UUCP:	...harvard!adelie!infinet!rhorn
	Snail:	Infinet,  40 High St., North Andover, MA
	(Note: harvard!infinet path is in maps but not working yet)

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