I manage a 192TB Ceph cluster consisting mostly out of spinning rust. It's a weird cluster, lot's of PG's, as the cluster is storing millions and millions of tiny files in radosgw. To ensure all the PG's can be recovered in under a day, the pool's PG's are way higher then traditional recommendations - but that also means deep scrubbing is becoming a bit problematic (lot's of PG's per OSD and spinning rust is slow).

So here's how to correctly configure the deep scrub interval... (it's not documented anywhere)

How Deep Scrubbing Works

So, Ceph has two scrubbing operations. A normal scrub and a deep-scrub.

Normal scrubs are quick since they are only checking the consistency of a given PG's metadata (not the PG's correctness ). From my mailing list travels, Ceph developers have not observed any performance impact of these quick scrubs - so it's easy to ignore them (but don't).

Then there's deep scrubbing, which is designed to catch bit-rot (aka, the correctness of the PG's), it's naturally a data intensive operation. On my SAS drives, I see Ceph deep-scrubbing at about 20MB/s, for a 50GB PG, that's 42 minutes of deep scrubbing - in my case, eating 40% of my IOPS. It's not inconceivable that every OSD in the cluster could be deep-scrubbing something at the same time.

Thankfully, Ceph has several knobs we can tweak to reduce this impact:


Default: 604800 (7 days)

This one seems like an obvious first thing to look at, and you would be right. But it's a little nuanced.

The value is the number of seconds before a deep-scrub is mandated (bypasses load restrictions). That said, deep-scrubs will still happen before this interval - see osd_deep_scrub_randomize_ratio.


Default: 86400 (1 day)

The normal interval for normal scrubs and a percentage of deep-scrubs (see osd_deep_scrub_randomize_ratio).

To me, when I see a min/max interval, I think something is going to be randomly executed between those two temporal lines. No, that's not how Ceph uses this option.

Ceph delays normal scrubs (never deep-scrubs) if the load of the node is too high (defaults to 0.5 load, normalized for CPU count), but normally schedules normal scrubs at random(osd_scrub_min_interval, osd_scrub_min_interval + (osd_scrub_min_interval * osd_scrub_interval_randomize_ratio)). Which means that considering the default osd_scrub_min_interval value of 1 day, normal scrubs will be spread between 1 day and 1.5 days.


Default: 604800 (7 days)

The mandatory interval for normal scrubs. See osd_scrub_min_interval.


Default: 0.5 (50%)

A ratio used to spread out scrubs, between osd_scrub_min_interval and osd_scrub_min_interval * osd_scrub_interval_randomize_ratio. The option osd_scrub_max_interval has no impact to this window of possible times.


Default: 0.15 (15%)

Completely not related to osd_scrub_interval_randomize_ratio and not documented on the official docs, but it's been around since 2015 (Hammer), I found it in this PR.

Add the option osd_deep_scrub_randomize_ratio which defines the rate at which scrubs will randomly turn into deep scrubs.

You might ask why you would want normal, quick scrubs that normally happen once a week, to magically become deep-scrubs. I definitely did...

It makes sense if you consider what osd_deep_scrub_interval means, it means after this value, mandate a deep-scrub. So you'll end up in a position where all your deep-scrubs will run at the same time. You'll also notice that there's no version of the osd_scrub_interval_randomize_ratio for deep-scrubs. So, at the end of the day, Ceph is using the existing plumping of the normal scrub, to prevent the thundering herd problem.

The default value of 15% will turn 15% of normal scrubs into deep-scrubs. Meaning, with the default osd_scrub_min_interval, 15% of the cluster's deep-scrubs will execute each 1.25 days on average. The math gets a little complicated after that (at least for someone who's mostly forgotten statistics), but I think the work is generally spread out in my experience.

So that means osd_deep_scrub_interval and the osd_scrub_min_interval are important regarding deep-scrubbing.

How to set a Deep-Scrub Interval

Note that this is in the global namespace, not the osd namespace. This is important because the monitors that emit the PG_NOT_DEEP_SCRUBBED warning based on this OSD setting, so it needs to match between the osd and mon namespaces, or just use global.

# Schedule the next normal scrub in between 1-7 days.
ceph config set global osd_scrub_min_interval 86400 # 1 day
ceph config set global osd_scrub_interval_randomize_ratio 7 # 700%

# No more delays, normal scrub after 14 days. 
ceph config set global osd_scrub_max_interval 1209600 # 14 days

# No more waiting on a random 15% chance to deep-scrub, just deep-scrub.
ceph config set global osd_deep_scrub_interval 2419200 # 28 days

I've also seen docs/been told I need to restart the monitors and OSD's after these settings - that doesn't seem correct these days with the central Ceph configuration store.