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    Subject[patch 00/21] Slab Fragmentation Reduction V12
    V11->V12:
    - Pekka and me fixed various minor issues pointed out by Andrew.
    - Split ext2/3/4 defrag support patches.
    - Add more documentation
    - Revise the way that slab defrag is triggered from reclaim. No longer
    use a timeout but track the amount of slab reclaim done by the shrinkers.
    Add a field in /proc/sys/vm/slab_defrag_limit to control the threshold.
    - Display current slab_defrag_counters in /proc/zoneinfo (for a zone) and
    /proc/sys/vm/slab_defrag_count (for global reclaim).
    - Add new config vaue slab_defrag_limit to /proc/sys/vm/slab_defrag_limit
    - Add a patch that obsoletes SLAB and explains why SLOB does not support
    defrag (Either of those could be theoretically equipped to support
    slab defrag in some way but it seems that Andrew/Linus want to reduce
    the number of slab allocators).

    Note that I am off till next Wednesday... my responsiveness will be limited
    till then.

    Slab fragmentation is mainly an issue if Linux is used as a fileserver
    and large amounts of dentries, inodes and buffer heads accumulate. In some
    load situations the slabs become very sparsely populated so that a lot of
    memory is wasted by slabs that only contain one or a few objects. In
    extreme cases the performance of a machine will become sluggish since
    we are continually running reclaim. Slab defragmentation adds the
    capability to recover the memory that is wasted.

    Memory reclaim for the following slab caches is possible:

    1. dentry cache
    2. inode cache (with a generic interface to allow easy setup of more
    filesystems than the currently supported ext2/3/4 reiserfs, XFS
    and proc)
    3. buffer_heads

    One typical mechanism that triggers slab defragmentation on my systems
    is the daily run of

    updatedb

    Updatedb scans all files on the system which causes a high inode and dentry
    use. After updatedb is complete we need to go back to the regular use
    patterns (typical on my machine: kernel compiles). Those need the memory now
    for different purposes. The inodes and dentries used for updatedb will
    gradually be aged by the dentry/inode reclaim algorithm which will free
    up the dentries and inode entries randomly through the slabs that were
    allocated. As a result the slabs will become sparsely populated. If they
    become empty then they can be freed but a lot of them will remain sparsely
    populated. That is where slab defrag comes in: It removes the objects from
    the slabs with just a few entries reclaiming more memory for other uses.
    In the simplest case (as provided here) this is done by simply reclaiming
    the objects.

    However, if the logic in the kick() function is made more
    sophisticated then we will be able to move the objects out of the slabs.
    Allocations of objects is possible if a slab is fragmented without the use of
    the page allocator because a large number of free slots are available. Moving
    an object will reduce fragmentation in the slab the object is moved to.

    V10->V11
    - Simplify determination when to reclaim: Just scan over all partials
    and check if they are sparsely populated.
    - Add support for performance counters
    - Rediff on top of current slab-mm.
    - Reduce frequency of scanning. A look at the stats showed that we
    were calling into reclaim very frequently when the system was under
    memory pressure which slowed things down. Various measures to
    avoid scanning the partial list too frequently were added and the
    earlier (expensive) method of determining the defrag ratio of the slab
    cache as a whole was dropped. I think this addresses the issues that
    Mel saw with V10.

    V9->V10
    - Rediff against upstream

    V8->V9
    - Rediff against 2.6.24-rc6-mm1

    V7->V8
    - Rediff against 2.6.24-rc3-mm2

    V6->V7
    - Rediff against 2.6.24-rc2-mm1
    - Remove lumpy reclaim support. No point anymore given that the antifrag
    handling in 2.6.24-rc2 puts reclaimable slabs into different sections.
    Targeted reclaim never triggers. This has to wait until we make
    slabs movable or we need to perform a special version of lumpy reclaim
    in SLUB while we scan the partial lists for slabs to kick out.
    Removal simplifies handling significantly since we
    get to slabs in a more controlled way via the partial lists.
    The patchset now provides pure reduction of fragmentation levels.
    - SLAB/SLOB: Provide inlines that do nothing
    - Fix various smaller issues that were brought up during review of V6.

    V5->V6
    - Rediff against 2.6.24-rc2 + mm slub patches.
    - Add reviewed by lines.
    - Take out the experimental code to make slab pages movable. That
    has to wait until this has been considered by Mel.

    V4->V5:
    - Support lumpy reclaim for slabs
    - Support reclaim via slab_shrink()
    - Add constructors to insure a consistent object state at all times.

    V3->V4:
    - Optimize scan for slabs that need defragmentation
    - Add /sys/slab/*/defrag_ratio to allow setting defrag limits
    per slab.
    - Add support for buffer heads.
    - Describe how the cleanup after the daily updatedb can be
    improved by slab defragmentation.

    V2->V3
    - Support directory reclaim
    - Add infrastructure to trigger defragmentation after slab shrinking if we
    have slabs with a high degree of fragmentation.

    V1->V2
    - Clean up control flow using a state variable. Simplify API. Back to 2
    functions that now take arrays of objects.
    - Inode defrag support for a set of filesystems
    - Fix up dentry defrag support to work on negative dentries by adding
    a new dentry flag that indicates that a dentry is not in the process
    of being freed or allocated.

    --


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