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Subject2.4.23aa2 (bugfixes and important VM improvements for the high end)
this includes some relevant fix for 2.4, if I missed something important
please let me know. I'm not following 2.4 mainline anymore since it's a
lot of work and I'm trying to ship with a 2.6-aa soon.

The most interesting part of this update is a vm improvement for the
high end machines, this makes it possible to swap several gigs
efficiently while doing I/O on the very high end
>=32G machines, this is for all archs (it's unrelated to x86 or the zone
normal). See below for details.

URL:

http://www.us.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/people/andrea/kernels/v2.4/2.4.23aa2.gz

Diff between 2.4.23aa1 and 2.4.23aa2:

Only in 2.4.23aa2: 00_blkdev-eof-1

Allow reading last block (write not).

Only in 2.4.23aa1: 00_csum-trail-1

Obsoleted (can't trigger anymore).

Only in 2.4.23aa2: 00_elf-interp-check-arch-1

Make sure interpreter is of the right architecture.

Only in 2.4.23aa1: 00_extraversion-33
Only in 2.4.23aa2: 00_extraversion-34

Rediff.

Only in 2.4.23aa2: 00_mremap-1

Various mremap fixes.

Only in 2.4.23aa2: 00_ncpfs-1

Limit dentry name length (from Andi).

Only in 2.4.23aa2: 00_rawio-crash-1

Handle partial get_user_pages correctly.

Only in 2.4.23aa2: 05_vm_28-shmem-big-iron-1

Make it possible to swap efficiently huge amounts of shm. The
stock 2.4 VM algorithm aren't capable of dealing with huge amounts
of shm in huge machines. This has been a showstopper in production on
32G boxes swapping regularly (the shm in this case wasn't pure fs cache
like in oracle so it really had to be swapped out).

There are three basic problems that interact in non obvious manners, all
three fixed in this patch.

1) This one is well known and infact it's already fixed in 2.6 mainline,
too bad the way it's fixed in 2.6 mainline makes 2.6 unusable at all
in a workload like the one running in these 32G high end machines and
2.6 now will have to be changed because of that. Anyways returning to
2.4: the swap_out loop with pagetable walking doesn't scale for huge
shared memory. This is obvious. With half a million of pages mapped
some hundred times in the address space, when we've to swap shm, before
we can writepage a single shm dirty page with page_count(page) == 1,
we've first to walk and destroy the whole address space. It doesn't
only unmap 1 single page, but it unmaps everything else too. All the
address spaces in the machine are destroyed in order to make single
shared shm pages freeable, and that generates a constant flood of
expensive minor page faults. The way to fix it without any downside
(except purerly theorical ones exposed by Andrew last year, and you
can maliciously waste the same cpu using truncate) is a mix between
objrmap (note: objrmap has nothing to with the rmap as in 2.6), and the
pagetable walking code. In short during the pagetable walking I check
if a page is freeable and if it's not yet, I execute the objrmap on it to
make it immediatly freeable if the trylocking permits. This allow
swap_out to make progress and to unmap one shared page at time, instead
of unmapping all of them from all address spaces, before the first one
becomes freeable/swappable. Some lib function in the patch is taken
from the objrmap patch for 2.6 in the mbligh tree implemented by IBM
(thanks to Martin and IBM for maintaining that patch uptodate for 2.6,
that is a must-have starting point for the 2.6 VM too). The original
idea of using objrmap for the vm unmapping procedure is from David
Miller (objrmap itself has always existed in every linux kernel out
there, to provide mmap coherency through vmtruncate, and now
it is being used from the 2.4-aa swap_out pagetable walking too).
To give an idea the top profiled function during swapping 4G of shm on
the 32G box now is try_to_unmap_shared_vma.

2) the writepage callback of the shared memory converts a shm page
into a swapcache page, but it doesn't start the I/O on the swapcache
immediatly, this is a nosense and it's easy to fix by simply calling
the swapcache writepage within the shm_writepage before returning
(then of course we must not unlock the page anymore before returning,
the I/O completion will unlock it).

Not starting the I/O it means we'll start the I/O after another million
pages and then after starting the I/O we'll notice the finally free
page after another million page pass.

There was a super swap storm was happening because of these issues,
especially the interaction between point 1 and point 2 was detrimental
(with 1 and 2 I mean the phase from unmapping the page to starting the
I/O, the last phase from starting the I/O to effectivly noticing a
freeable clean swapcache page is addressed in point 3 below).

In short if you had to swap 4k of shm, the kernel would immadiatly move
into swapcache more than 4G (G is not a typo ;) of shm, and then it was
starting the I/O to swap all those 4G out because it was all dirty and
freeable cache (from the shmfs fs) queued contigously in the lru. So
after the first 4k of shm to be swapped out, every further allocation
would generate a swapout for a very very long time. Reading a file
would involve swapping the amount of data read as well, not to tell if
you were reading into empty vmas, that would generate two times more
swapping than the I/O itself. So machines that were swapping slightly
(around 4G on a 32G box) were entering a swap storm mode with very huge
stalls lasting several dozen minutes (you can imagine if every memory
allocation was executing I/O before returning).

Here a trace of that scenario as soon as the first 35M of address space
become freeable and moved into swapcache, this is the point
where basically all shm is already freeable but dirty, you see,
machine hangs with 100% system load (8 cpus doing nothing but
keeping throwing away address space with the background
swap_out, and calling shm_writepage until all shm is converted
to swapcache).

procs -----------memory---------- ---swap-- -----io---- --system-- ----cpu----
r b swpd free buff cache si so bi bo in cs us sy id wa
33 1 35156 507544 80232 13523880 0 116 0 772 223 53603 24 76 0 0
29 3 78944 505116 72184 13342024 0 124 0 2092 153 52579 27 73 0 0
29 0 114916 505612 70576 13174984 0 0 4 10556 415 26109 31 69 0 0
29 0 147924 506796 70588 13150352 0 0 12 7360 717 3944 32 68 0 0
25 1 108764 507192 68968 12942260 0 0 8 10989 1111 4886 19 81 0 0
27 0 266504 505104 64964 12717276 0 0 3 3122 223 2598 56 44 0 0
24 0 418204 505184 29956 12550032 0 4 1 3426 224 5242 56 44 0 0
16 0 613844 505084 29916 12361204 0 0 4 80 135 4522 23 77 0 0
20 2 781416 505048 29916 12197904 0 0 0 0 111 10961 13 87 0 0
22 0 1521712 505020 29880 11482256 0 0 40 839 1208 4182 13 87 0 0
24 0 1629888 505108 29852 11374864 0 0 0 24 377 537 13 87 0 0
27 0 1743756 505052 29852 11261732 0 0 0 0 364 598 11 89 0 0
25 0 1870012 505136 29900 11135420 0 0 4 254 253 491 7 93 0 0
24 0 2024436 505160 29900 10981496 0 0 0 24 125 484 10 90 0 0
25 0 2287968 505280 29840 10718172 0 0 0 0 116 2603 11 89 0 0
23 0 2436032 505316 29840 10570856 0 0 0 0 122 418 3 97 0 0
25 0 2536336 505380 29840 10470516 0 0 0 24 115 389 2 98 0 0
26 0 2691544 505564 29792 10316112 0 0 0 0 125 443 8 92 0 0
27 0 2847872 505508 29836 10159752 0 0 0 226 138 482 7 93 0 0
24 0 2985480 505380 29836 10022836 0 0 0 524 146 491 5 95 0 0
24 0 3123600 505048 29792 9885668 0 0 0 149 112 397 2 98 0 0
27 0 3274800 505116 29792 9734396 0 0 0 0 112 377 5 95 0 0
28 0 3415516 505156 29792 9593624 0 0 0 24 109 1822 8 92 0 0
26 0 3551020 505272 29700 9458072 0 0 0 0 113 453 7 93 0 0
26 0 3682576 505052 29744 9326488 0 0 0 462 140 461 5 95 0 0
26 0 3807984 505016 29744 9200960 0 0 0 24 125 458 3 97 0 0
27 0 3924152 505020 29700 9085040 0 0 0 0 121 514 3 97 0 0
28 0 4109196 505072 29700 8900812 0 0 0 0 120 417 6 94 0 0
23 2 4451156 505284 29596 8558780 0 0 4 24 122 491 9 91 0 0
23 0 4648772 505044 29600 8361080 0 0 4 0 124 544 5 95 0 0
26 2 4821844 505068 29572 8187904 0 0 0 314 132 492 3 97 0 0

After all address space has been destroyed multiple times
and all shm has been converted into swapcache, the kernel can
finally swapout the first 4kbyte of shm:

6 23 4560356 506160 22188 8440104 0 64888 16 67280 3006 534109 6 88 5 0

The rest is infinite swapping and machine total hung, since those 4.8G
of swapcache are now freeable and dirty, and the kernel will not
notice the freeable and clean swapcache generated by this 64M
swapout, since it's being queued at the opposite side of the lru
and we'll find another million pages to swap (i.e. writepage)
before noticing that. So the kernel will effectively start
generating the first 4k of free memory only after those half
million pages have been swapped out.

So point 1 and fixes the kernel so that we unmap only 64M of shm, and we
swapout then immediatly, but we can still run into huge problems in
having half million pages of shm queued in a row in the lru.

3) After fixing 1 and 2 a file copy was still not running (yeah it was running
but some 10 or 100 times slower than it had to, preventing any backup
activity to work etc..) after the machine was 4G into swap. But at least
the machine was swapping just fine, so the database and the
application itself was doing pretty good (no swap storms anymore
after fixing 1 and 2), it's the other apps allocating further
cache that didn't work yet.

So I tried reading an huge multi gigs file, I left the cp
running for a dozen minutes at a terribly slow rate (despite the
data was on the SAN), and I noticed this cp was pushing the
database into swap another few gigs more, precisely as much as
the size of the file. During the read the swapout greatly
exceeded the reads from the disk (so-bi from vmstat). In short
the cache allocated on the huge file, was beahaving like a
memory leak. But it was not a memory leak, it was a very fine
clean and freeable cache reacheable from the lru, too bad we
still had an hundred thousand shm pages being unmapped (by the
background obrjmap passes) to walk and to shm->writepage and
swapcache->writepage before noticing the immediatly freeable
gigs of clean cache of the file.

In short the system was doing fine, but due the ordering of the lru, it was
preferring to swap gigs and gigs of shm pushing the running db into
swap, instead of shrinking the several unused (and absolutely
not aged) gigs of clean cache. This wasn't too good also for
efficient swapping because it was taking a long time before the
vm could notice the clean swapcache, after it started the I/O on
it.

It was pretty clear after that, that we've to prioritize and to
prefer discarding memory that is zerocost to collect, than to do
extremely expensive things to release free memory instead. This
change isn't absolutely fair, but the current behaviour of the
vm is an order of magnitude worse in the high end. So the fix I
implemented is to run a inactive_list/vm_cache_scan_ratio pass
on the clean immediatly freeable cache in the inactive list
before going into the ->writepage business and whala, copies
were running back at 80M/sec like if no 4G were being swapped
out at the same time. Since swap, data and binaries are all on
different places (data on the SAN, swap on a local IDE, binaries
on another local IDE), swapping while copying didn't hurt too
much either.

A better fix would be to have an anchor in the lru (can be a per-lru
page_t with a PG_anchor set) and to avoid the clean-cache search to
alter the point where we keep swapping with writepage, but it
shouldn't matter that much and 2.4 being obsolete isn't very
worthwhile to make it even better.

On the low end (<8G) these effects that hangs machines for hours and makes
any I/O impossible weren't visible because the lru is more mixed and there
are never too many shm pages in a row. The less ram the less this effect
is visible. However even on small machines now swapping shm should be
more efficient now. The downside is that now the pure clean
cache is penalized against dirty cache but I believe it worth to
pay for this downside to survive and handle the very high end
workloads.

I didn't find very attractive doing these changes in 2.4 at this time,
but 2.6 has no way to run in those workloads, and no 2.6 kernel is
certified for some products yet etc.. This code is now running in
production and people seems happy. I think this is the first
linux ever with a chance of handling properly this high end
workload on high end hardware, so if you had problems give this
a spin. 2.6 obviously will lockup immediatly in this workloads
due the integration of rmap in 2.6 (already verified just to be
sure my math was correct) and 2.4 mainline as well will run oom
(but no lockup in 2.4 mainline since it can handle zone normal
failures gracefully unlike 2.6) since it lacks pte-highmem.

If this slowdown the VM on the low end (i.e. 32M machine,
probably the smaller box where I tested it is my laptop with 256M ;)
try increasing the vm_cache_scan_ratio sysctl and for any
regression please notify me. Thank you!

Only in 2.4.23aa1: 21_pte-highmem-mremap-smp-scale-1
Only in 2.4.23aa2: 21_pte-highmem-mremap-smp-scale-2

Fix race condition if src is cleared under us while
we allocate the pagetable (from 2.6 CVS, from Andrew).

Only in 2.4.23aa2: 30_20-nfs-directio-lfs-1

Read right page with directio.

Only in 2.4.23aa2: 9999900_overflow-buffers-1

paranoid check (dirty buffers should always be <= NORMAL_ZONE,
and the other counters for clean and locked are never read,
so this is a noop but it's safer).

Only in 2.4.23aa2: 9999900_scsi-deadlock-fix-1

Avoid locking inversion.
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