Advanced: Metadata repair tools


If you do not have expert knowledge of CephFS internals, you will need to seek assistance before using any of these tools.

The tools mentioned here can easily cause damage as well as fixing it.

It is essential to understand exactly what has gone wrong with your file system before attempting to repair it.

If you do not have access to professional support for your cluster, consult the ceph-users mailing list or the #ceph IRC channel.

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 (

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 [--rank=N] journal reset

Specify the MDS rank using the --rank option when the file system has/had multiple active MDS.


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 file system (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.

Recovery from missing metadata objects

Depending on what objects are missing or corrupt, you may need to run various commands to regenerate default versions of the objects.

# Session table
cephfs-table-tool 0 reset session
# SnapServer
cephfs-table-tool 0 reset snap
# InoTable
cephfs-table-tool 0 reset inode
# Journal
cephfs-journal-tool --rank=0 journal reset
# Root inodes ("/" and MDS directory)
cephfs-data-scan init

Finally, you can regenerate metadata objects for missing files and directories based on the contents of a data pool. This is a three-phase process. First, scanning all objects to calculate size and mtime metadata for inodes. Second, scanning the first object from every file to collect this metadata and inject it into the metadata pool. Third, checking inode linkages and fixing found errors.

cephfs-data-scan scan_extents <data pool>
cephfs-data-scan scan_inodes <data pool>
cephfs-data-scan scan_links

'scan_extents' and 'scan_inodes' commands may take a very long time if there are many files or very large files in the data pool.

To accelerate the process, run multiple instances of the tool.

Decide on a number of workers, and pass each worker a number within the range 0-(worker_m - 1).

The example below shows how to run 4 workers simultaneously:

# Worker 0
cephfs-data-scan scan_extents --worker_n 0 --worker_m 4 <data pool>
# Worker 1
cephfs-data-scan scan_extents --worker_n 1 --worker_m 4 <data pool>
# Worker 2
cephfs-data-scan scan_extents --worker_n 2 --worker_m 4 <data pool>
# Worker 3
cephfs-data-scan scan_extents --worker_n 3 --worker_m 4 <data pool>

# Worker 0
cephfs-data-scan scan_inodes --worker_n 0 --worker_m 4 <data pool>
# Worker 1
cephfs-data-scan scan_inodes --worker_n 1 --worker_m 4 <data pool>
# Worker 2
cephfs-data-scan scan_inodes --worker_n 2 --worker_m 4 <data pool>
# Worker 3
cephfs-data-scan scan_inodes --worker_n 3 --worker_m 4 <data pool>

It is important to ensure that all workers have completed the scan_extents phase before any workers enter the scan_inodes phase.

After completing the metadata recovery, you may want to run cleanup operation to delete ancillary data generated during recovery.

cephfs-data-scan cleanup <data pool>

Using an alternate metadata pool for recovery


There has not been extensive testing of this procedure. It should be undertaken with great care.

If an existing file system is damaged and inoperative, it is possible to create a fresh metadata pool and attempt to reconstruct the file system metadata into this new pool, leaving the old metadata in place. This could be used to make a safer attempt at recovery since the existing metadata pool would not be modified.


During this process, multiple metadata pools will contain data referring to the same data pool. Extreme caution must be exercised to avoid changing the data pool contents while this is the case. Once recovery is complete, the damaged metadata pool should be archived or deleted.

To begin, the existing file system should be taken down, if not done already, to prevent further modification of the data pool. Unmount all clients and then mark the file system failed:

ceph fs fail <fs_name>

Next, create a recovery file system in which we will populate a new metadata pool backed by the original data pool.

ceph fs flag set enable_multiple true --yes-i-really-mean-it
ceph osd pool create cephfs_recovery_meta
ceph fs new cephfs_recovery recovery <data_pool> --allow-dangerous-metadata-overlay

The recovery file system starts with an MDS rank that will initialize the new metadata pool with some metadata. This is necessary to bootstrap recovery. However, now we will take the MDS down as we do not want it interacting with the metadata pool further.

ceph fs fail cephfs_recovery

Next, we will reset the initial metadata the MDS created:

cephfs-table-tool cephfs_recovery:all reset session
cephfs-table-tool cephfs_recovery:all reset snap
cephfs-table-tool cephfs_recovery:all reset inode

Now perform the recovery of the metadata pool from the data pool:

cephfs-data-scan init --force-init --filesystem cephfs_recovery --alternate-pool cephfs_recovery_meta
cephfs-data-scan scan_extents --alternate-pool cephfs_recovery_meta --filesystem <fs_name> <data_pool>
cephfs-data-scan scan_inodes --alternate-pool cephfs_recovery_meta --filesystem <fs_name> --force-corrupt <data_pool>
cephfs-data-scan scan_links --filesystem cephfs_recovery


Each scan procedure above goes through the entire data pool. This may take a significant amount of time. See the previous section on how to distribute this task among workers.

If the damaged file system contains dirty journal data, it may be recovered next with:

cephfs-journal-tool --rank=<fs_name>:0 event recover_dentries list --alternate-pool cephfs_recovery_meta
cephfs-journal-tool --rank cephfs_recovery:0 journal reset --force

After recovery, some recovered directories will have incorrect statistics. Ensure the parameters mds_verify_scatter and mds_debug_scatterstat are set to false (the default) to prevent the MDS from checking the statistics:

ceph config rm mds mds_verify_scatter
ceph config rm mds mds_debug_scatterstat

(Note, the config may also have been set globally or via a ceph.conf file.) Now, allow an MDS to join the recovery file system:

ceph fs set cephfs_recovery joinable true

Finally, run a forward scrub to repair the statistics. Ensure you have an MDS running and issue:

ceph fs status # get active MDS
ceph tell mds.<id> scrub start / recursive repair


Symbolic links are recovered as empty regular files. Symbolic link recovery is scheduled to be supported in Pacific.

It is recommended to migrate any data from the recovery file system as soon as possible. Do not restore the old file system while the recovery file system is operational.


If the data pool is also corrupt, some files may not be restored because backtrace information is lost. If any data objects are missing (due to issues like lost Placement Groups on the data pool), the recovered files will contain holes in place of the missing data.