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Traversing a large sparse directory is extremely slow with long running READDIR requests

Applies to

  • Data ONTAP 8
  • ONTAP9
  • NFS
  • SMB


It takes a long time to traverse a large directory with the following possible symptoms:

  • Many long running READDIR/READDIR+ requests could be identified from a packet trace, it could take up to tens of seconds, or even hundreds of seconds in the worst case scenario 

Note:  The same applies to SMB2 QUERY_DIRECTORY requests or its equivalents in other SMB versions

  • Timeout on the NFS/SMB clients
  • Horrible latency reported from various Performance Monitoring tools

A number of different error messages would pop up from EMS logs:

  • [<node_name>: wafl_exemptxx: wafl.readdir.expired:error]: A READDIR file operation has expired for the directory associated with volume <volume_name>/@vserver:<vserver_uuid> Snapshot copy ID xx and inode <inode_number>.
  • [<node_name>: wafl_exemptxx: wafl.readdir.sparse:notice]: A READDIR file operation has detected that a directory associated with volume <volume_name>/@vserver:<vserver_uuid> Snapshot ID xx and inode <inode_name> is sparse.




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