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SubjectRe: Adaptive Readahead V14 - statistics question...
On Tue, 30 May 2006 05:36:31 +0200, Voluspa said:
> On 2006-05-30 0:37:57 Wu Fengguang wrote:
> > On Mon, May 29, 2006 at 03:44:59PM -0400, Valdis Kletnieks wrote:
> [...]
> >> doing anything useful? (One thing I've noticed is that xmms, rather
> >> than gobble up 100K of data off disk every 10 seconds or so, snarfs
> >> a big 2M chunk every 3-4 minutes, often sucking in an entire song at
> >> (nearly) one shot...)
> >
> > Hehe, it's resulted from the enlarged default max readahead size(128K
> > => 1M). Too much aggressive? I'm interesting to know the recommended
> > size for desktops, thanks. For now you can adjust it through the
> > 'blockdev --setra /dev/hda' command.

Actually, it doesn't seem too aggressive at all - I have 768M of memory,
and the larger max readahead means that it hits the disk 1/8th as often
for a bigger slurp. Since I'm on a laptop with a slow 5400rpm 60g disk,
a 128K seek-and-read "costs" almost exactly the same as a 1M seek-and-read...

(If I was more memory constrained, I'd probably be hitting that --setra though ;)

The only hard numbers I have so far are a build of a 17-rc4-mm3 kernel tree
under -mm3+readahead and a slightly older -mm2 - the readahead kernel got
through the build about 30 seconds faster (19 mins 45 secs versus 20:17 -but
that's only 1 trial each).

Oh.. another "hard number" - elapsed time for a 4AM 'tripwire' run from cron
with a -mm3+readahead kernel was 36 minutes. A few days earlier, a -mm3
kernel took 46 minutes for the same thing. I'll have to go and retry this
with equivalent cache-cold scenarios - I *think* the file cache was roughly
equivalent, but can't prove it...

The desktop "feel" is certainly at least as good, but it's a lot harder
to quantify that - yesterday I was doing some heavy-duty cleaning in my
~/Mail directory (MH-style one message per file, about 250K files and 3G,
obviously seriously in need of cleaning). I'd often have 2 different
'find | xargs grep' type commands running at a time, and that seemed to
work a lot better than it used to (but again, no numbers)..

Damn, this is a lot harder to benchmark than the sort of microbenchmarks
we usually see around here. :)

> And notebooks? I'm running a 64bit system with 2gig memory and a 7200
> RPM disk. Without your patches a movie like Elephants_Dream_HD.avi
> causes a continuous silent read. After patching 2.6.17-rc5 (more on that
> later) there's a slow 'click-read-click-read-click-etc' during the
> same movie as the head travels _somewhere_ to rest(?) between reads.

For my usage patterns, this is a feature, not a bug. As mentioned before,
on this machine anything that reduces the number of seeks is a Good Thing.

> Distracting in silent sequences, and perhaps increased disk wear/tear.

It would be increased wear/tear only if the disk was idle long enough to
spin down. Especially for video, the read-ahead needed to let the disk spin
down (assuming a sane timeout for that) would be enormous. :)

> I'll try adjusting the readahead size towards silence tomorrow.

The onboard sound chip is an ok-quality CS4205, the onboard speakers are crap.
However, running the audio through a nice pair of Kenwood headphones is a good
solution. I don't hear the disk (or sometimes even the phone), and my
co-workers don't have to hear my Malmsteen collection. :)

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