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SubjectRe: faster boots?
Pavel Machek wrote:
> > > > I've had no luck at all with noflushd on my Toshiba Satellite 4070CDT.
> > > > It would spin down every few minutes, and then spin up _immediately_,
> > > > every time. I have no idea why.
> > >
> > > Were you using the console? Any activity on ttys causes device inode
> > > atime/mtime updates which trigger disk spin ups. The easiest way to
> > > work around this is to run X while using devpts for the ptys.
> >
> > I was using X, nodiratime on all /dev/hda mounts. My friend who has the
> > small VAIO with a Crusoe chip also reports the same problem: noflushd
> > doesn't work with 2.4 kernels (versions that we tried), and the problem
> > is the same: it spins down and then spins up immediately afterward.
>
> It works for me, 2.4.18 on HP omnibook xe3.
>
> You may want to watch /proc/stats to see if it is read or write
> activity that wakes disk up.

It's write activity, due to atime updates. I was using nodiratime, but
that's not good enough because every time an executable is run a load of
things are accessed.

I found it interesting that some write activity happens almost
immediately after the access -- and noflushd is connected in some way.
If I do this:

while :; do cat /proc/stat; sleep 1; done

Then I see a few writes have occurred at nearly every iteration. I
think that is due to the atime updates, because using "noatime" there
are no writes at most iterations.

But more interesting: I only see those few-per-second atime writes while
noflushd is running. If I kill noflushd then they go away.

So, noflushd triggers some kind of regular write activity. Either
killing noflushd, or mounting with "noatime", makes it go away.

I don't like "noatime" because some programs monitor
/var/spool/mail/jamie's atime to decide if there is any new mail. But I
am using it now anyway.

With "noatime", I find the disk is able to spin down for 20 seconds. A
record :-) But not a very useful one.

When the disk spins up, I see both read and write activity at the same
time. Of course I have no idea what files are triggering the spin up.
(And atime is switched off so I can't use that as a guide!)

I am a bit surprised that "noatime" makes a difference -- I thought that
if noflushd spun down a disk, then pending inode writes should be
delayed until a read or excess memory pressure forces a spin up.

So: "noatime" is definitely required, to spin the disk down for more
than an instant. But even that is not good enough. I have 192MB RAM,
btw. Is that enough to expect longer spin down times than 20s?

-- Jamie
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