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SubjectRe: [RFC] Fine-grained memory priorities and PI
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On Thursday 15 December 2005 19:55, Kyle Moffett wrote:
> On Dec 15, 2005, at 03:21, David S. Miller wrote:
> > Not when we run out, but rather when we reach some low water mark,
> > the "critical sockets" would still use GFP_ATOMIC memory but only
> > "critical sockets" would be allowed to do so.
> >
> > But even this has faults, consider the IPSEC scenerio I mentioned,
> > and this applies to any kind of encapsulation actually, even simple
> > tunneling examples can be concocted which make the "critical
> > socket" idea fail.
> >
> > The knee jerk reaction is "mark IPSEC's sockets critical, and mark
> > the tunneling allocations critical, and... and..." well you have
> > GFP_ATOMIC then my friend.
> >
> > In short, these "seperate page pool" and "critical socket" ideas do
> > not work and we need a different solution, I'm sorry folks spent so
> > much time on them, but they are heavily flawed.
>
> What we really need in the kernel is a more fine-grained memory
> priority system with PI, similar in concept to what's being done to
> the scheduler in some of the RT patchsets. Currently we have a very
> black-and-white memory subsystem; when we go OOM, we just start
> killing processes until we are no longer OOM. Perhaps we should have
> some way to pass memory allocation priorities throughout the kernel,
> including a "this request has X priority", "this request will help
> free up X pages of RAM", and "drop while dirty under certain OOM to
> free X memory using this method".
>
> The initial benefit would be that OOM handling would become more
> reliable and less of a special case. When we start to run low on
> free pages, it might be OK to kill the SETI@home process long before
> we OOM if such action might prevent the OOM. Likewise, you might be
> able to flag certain file pages as being "less critical", such that
> the kernel can kill a process and drop its dirty pages for files in /
> tmp. Or the kernel might do a variety of other things just by
> failing new allocations with low priority and forcing existing
> allocations with low priority to go away using preregistered handlers.
>
> When processes request memory through any subsystem, their memory
> priority would be passed through the kernel layers to the allocator,
> along with any associated information about how to free the memory in
> a low-memory condition. As a result, I could configure my database
> to have a much higher priority than SETI@home (or boinc or whatever),
> so that when the database server wants to fill memory with clean DB
> cache pages, the kernel will kill SETI@home for it's memory, even if
> we could just leave some DB cache pages unfaulted.
>
> Questions? Comments? "This is a terrible idea that should never have
> seen the light of day"? Both constructive and destructive criticism
> welcomed! (Just please keep the language clean! :-D)

I have some basic process-that-called the memory allocator link in the -ck
tree already which alters how aggressively memory is reclaimed according to
priority. It does not affect out of memory management but that could be added
to said algorithm; however I don't see much point at the moment since oom is
still an uncommon condition but regular memory allocation is routine.

Cheers,
Con
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