Disaster recovery


The notes in this section are aimed at experts, making a best effort to recovery what they can from damaged filesystems. These steps have the potential to make things worse as well as better. If you are unsure, do not proceed.

Journal export

Before attempting dangerous operations, make a copy of the journal like so:

cephfs-journal-tool journal export backup.bin

Note that this command may not always work if the journal is badly corrupted, in which case a RADOS-level copy should be made (http://tracker.ceph.com/issues/9902).

Dentry recovery from journal

If a journal is damaged or for any reason an MDS is incapable of replaying it, attempt to recover what file metadata we can like so:

cephfs-journal-tool event recover_dentries summary

This command by default acts on MDS rank 0, pass –rank=<n> to operate on other ranks.

This command will write any inodes/dentries recoverable from the journal into the backing store, if these inodes/dentries are higher-versioned than the previous contents of the backing store. If any regions of the journal are missing/damaged, they will be skipped.

Note that in addition to writing out dentries and inodes, this command will update the InoTables of each ‘in’ MDS rank, to indicate that any written inodes’ numbers are now in use. In simple cases, this will result in an entirely valid backing store state.


The resulting state of the backing store is not guaranteed to be self-consistent, and an online MDS scrub will be required afterwards. The journal contents will not be modified by this command, you should truncate the journal separately after recovering what you can.

Journal truncation

If the journal is corrupt or MDSs cannot replay it for any reason, you can truncate it like so:

cephfs-journal-tool journal reset


Resetting the journal will lose metadata unless you have extracted it by other means such as recover_dentries. It is likely to leave some orphaned objects in the data pool. It may result in re-allocation of already-written inodes, such that permissions rules could be violated.

MDS table wipes

After the journal has been reset, it may no longer be consistent with respect to the contents of the MDS tables (InoTable, SessionMap, SnapServer).

To reset the SessionMap (erase all sessions), use:

cephfs-table-tool all reset session

This command acts on the tables of all ‘in’ MDS ranks. Replace ‘all’ with an MDS rank to operate on that rank only.

The session table is the table most likely to need resetting, but if you know you also need to reset the other tables then replace ‘session’ with ‘snap’ or ‘inode’.

MDS map reset

Once the in-RADOS state of the filesystem (i.e. contents of the metadata pool) is somewhat recovered, it may be necessary to update the MDS map to reflect the contents of the metadata pool. Use the following command to reset the MDS map to a single MDS:

ceph fs reset <fs name> --yes-i-really-mean-it

Once this is run, any in-RADOS state for MDS ranks other than 0 will be ignored: as a result it is possible for this to result in data loss.

One might wonder what the difference is between ‘fs reset’ and ‘fs remove; fs new’. The key distinction is that doing a remove/new will leave rank 0 in ‘creating’ state, such that it would overwrite any existing root inode on disk and orphan any existing files. In contrast, the ‘reset’ command will leave rank 0 in ‘active’ state such that the next MDS daemon to claim the rank will go ahead and use the existing in-RADOS metadata.