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SubjectRe: clearing filesystem cache for I/O benchmarks

(Please don't remove people from the email recipient list when doing kernel
work.)

Benjamin Rutt <rutt.4+news@osu.edu> wrote:
>
> Andrew Morton <akpm@osdl.org> writes:
>
> > Benjamin Rutt <rutt.4+news@osu.edu> wrote:
> >>
> >> How can I purge all of the kernel's filesystem caches, so I can trust
> >> that my I/O (read) requests I'm trying to benchmark bypass the kernel
> >> filesystem cache?
> >
> > Either delete the benchmark test files or
>
> I'm not sure I follow. If I delete the benchmark files, I'll only
> need to create them again later in order to do a read test, and I'll
> have the same problem then, of how to eliminate the just-written-data
> from cache.

OK.

> Thanks for the reference, I wasn't aware of that one. We are running
> some 2.4 kernels in our storage cluster unfortunately so that won't be
> usable for us everywhere. I take it POSIX_FADV_DONTNEED is ignored
> under 2.4.

posix_fadvise() will return -ENOSYS under 2.4.

However... If you write any amount of data to a file with O_DIRECT, that
will, as a side-effect, remove _all_ of that file's pagecache. In 2.4 as
well as 2.6. So you could scrub the pagecache by reading the first 4k then
writing it back with O_DIRECT.

However O_DIRECT is supported on very few filesystems in 2.4. ext2 and
reiserfs have it.

XFS in 2.4 has O_DIRECT, I think, but I don't know if the invalidation
side-effect works on XFS.

> A related question...if no posix_fadvise() advice has been given, does
> reading sequentially every byte of an 8GB file on a machine with <=
> 8GB of RAM guarantee that any page cache data that existed on the
> machine prior to the start of the 8GB read is now gone?

It's not guaranteed that this will work - if the pages which you're trying
to evict were accessed multiple times then it may take more page
replacement to reliably shoot them down. But writing a 2xmemory file and
then deleting it will be a reasonably effective way of evicting most of
the other pagecache.


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