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Subjectupdated: ext3 IO latency measurements on v2.6.30-rc1

This is an update to the ext3+CFQ latency measurements i did early
in the merge window - originally with a v2.6.29 based kernel.

Today i've repeated my measurements under v2.6.30-rc1, using the
exact same system and the exact same workload.

The quick executive summary:

_what a difference a week of upstream development makes_!

:-)

Here are the specific details, as a reply to my earlier mail:

* Ingo Molnar <mingo@elte.hu> wrote:

> * Jan Kara <jack@suse.cz> wrote:
>
> > > So tell me again how the VM can rely on the filesystem not
> > > blocking at random points.
> >
> > I can write a patch to make writepage() in the non-"mmapped
> > creation" case non-blocking on journal. But I'll also have to find
> > out whether it really helps something. But it's probably worth
> > trying...
>
> _all_ the problems i ever had with ext3 were 'collateral damage'
> type of things: simple writes (sometimes even reads) getting
> serialized on some large [but reasonable] dirtying activity
> elsewhere - even if the system was still well within its
> hard-dirty-limit threshold.
>
> So it sure sounds like an area worth improving, and it's not that
> hard to reproduce either. Take a system with enough RAM but only a
> single disk, and do this in a kernel tree:
>
> sync
> echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches
>
> while :; do
> date
> make mrproper 2>/dev/null >/dev/null
> make defconfig 2>/dev/null >/dev/null
> make -j32 bzImage 2>/dev/null >/dev/null
> done &
>
> Plain old kernel build, no distcc and no icecream. Wait a few
> minutes for the system to reach equilibrium. There's no tweaking
> anywhere, kernel, distro and filesystem defaults used everywhere:
>
> aldebaran:/home/mingo/linux/linux> ./compile-test
> Thu Mar 26 10:33:03 CET 2009
> Thu Mar 26 10:35:24 CET 2009
> Thu Mar 26 10:36:48 CET 2009
> Thu Mar 26 10:38:54 CET 2009
> Thu Mar 26 10:41:22 CET 2009
> Thu Mar 26 10:43:41 CET 2009
> Thu Mar 26 10:46:02 CET 2009
> Thu Mar 26 10:48:28 CET 2009
>
> And try to use the system while this workload is going on. Use Vim
> to edit files in this kernel tree. Use plain _cat_ - and i hit
> delays all the time - and it's not the CPU scheduler but all IO
> related.

Under .30-rc1 i couldnt hit a single (!) annoying delay during half
an hour of trying. The "Vim experience" is _totally_ smooth with a
load average of 40+.

And this is with default, untweaked ext3 - not even ext4. I'm
impressed.

> I have such an ext3 based system where i can do such tests and
> where i dont mind crashes and data corruption either, so if you
> send me experimental patches against latet -git i can try them
> immediately. The system has 16 CPUs, 12GB of RAM and a single
> disk.
>
> Btw., i had this test going on that box while i wrote some simple
> scripts in Vim - and it was a horrible experience. The worst wait
> was well above one minute - Vim just hung there indefinitely. Not
> even Ctrl-Z was possible. I captured one such wait, it was hanging
> right here:
>
> aldebaran:~/linux/linux> cat /proc/3742/stack
> [<ffffffff8034790a>] log_wait_commit+0xbd/0x110
> [<ffffffff803430b2>] journal_stop+0x1df/0x20d
> [<ffffffff8034421f>] journal_force_commit+0x28/0x2d
> [<ffffffff80331c69>] ext3_force_commit+0x2b/0x2d
> [<ffffffff80328b56>] ext3_write_inode+0x3e/0x44
> [<ffffffff802ebb9d>] __sync_single_inode+0xc1/0x2ad
> [<ffffffff802ebed6>] __writeback_single_inode+0x14d/0x15a
> [<ffffffff802ebf0c>] sync_inode+0x29/0x34
> [<ffffffff80327453>] ext3_sync_file+0xa7/0xb4
> [<ffffffff802ef17d>] vfs_fsync+0x78/0xaf
> [<ffffffff802ef1eb>] do_fsync+0x37/0x4d
> [<ffffffff802ef228>] sys_fsync+0x10/0x14
> [<ffffffff8020bd1b>] system_call_fastpath+0x16/0x1b
> [<ffffffffffffffff>] 0xffffffffffffffff
>
> It took about 120 seconds for it to recover.

These delays are definitely below 300 msecs now. (100 msecs is
roughly the lag i can still notice in typing)

> And it's not just sys_fsync(). The script i wrote tests file read
> latencies. I have created 1000 files with the same size (all copies
> of kernel/sched.c ;-), and tested their cache-cold plain-cat
> performance via:
>
> for ((i=0;i<1000;i++)); do
> printf "file #%4d, plain reading it took: " $i
> /usr/bin/time -f "%e seconds." cat $i >/dev/null
> done
>
> I.e. plain, supposedly high-prio reads. The result is very common
> hickups in read latencies:
>
> file # 579 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.08 seconds.
> file # 580 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.05 seconds.
> file # 581 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.01 seconds.
> file # 582 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.01 seconds.
> file # 583 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 4.61 seconds.
> file # 584 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 1.29 seconds.
> file # 585 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 3.01 seconds.
> file # 586 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 7.74 seconds.
> file # 587 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 3.22 seconds.
> file # 588 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.05 seconds.
> file # 589 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.36 seconds.
> file # 590 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 7.39 seconds.
> file # 591 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 7.58 seconds.
> file # 592 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 7.90 seconds.
> file # 593 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 8.78 seconds.
> file # 594 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 8.01 seconds.
> file # 595 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 7.47 seconds.
> file # 596 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 11.52 seconds.
> file # 597 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 10.33 seconds.
> file # 598 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 8.56 seconds.
> file # 599 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 7.58 seconds.

This test is totally smooth now:

file # 6 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.05 seconds.
file # 7 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.11 seconds.
file # 8 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.12 seconds.
file # 9 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.06 seconds.
file # 10 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.05 seconds.
file # 11 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.11 seconds.
file # 12 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.09 seconds.
file # 13 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.09 seconds.
file # 14 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.03 seconds.
file # 15 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.08 seconds.
file # 16 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.15 seconds.
file # 17 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.06 seconds.
file # 18 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.13 seconds.
file # 19 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.16 seconds.
file # 20 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.29 seconds.
file # 21 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.18 seconds.
file # 22 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.28 seconds.
file # 23 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.04 seconds.

290 msecs was the worst in thes series above.

The vim read+write test takes longer:

aldebaran:~/linux/linux/test-files/src> ./vim-test
file # 0 (253560 bytes), Vim-opening it took: 2.35 seconds.
file # 1 (253560 bytes), Vim-opening it took: 2.09 seconds.
file # 2 (253560 bytes), Vim-opening it took: 2.20 seconds.
file # 3 (253560 bytes), Vim-opening it took: 2.14 seconds.
file # 4 (253560 bytes), Vim-opening it took: 2.15 seconds.
file # 5 (253560 bytes), Vim-opening it took: 2.13 seconds.
file # 6 (253560 bytes), Vim-opening it took: 2.11 seconds.
file # 7 (253560 bytes), Vim-opening it took: 2.09 seconds.
file # 8 (253560 bytes), Vim-opening it took: 2.03 seconds.
file # 9 (253560 bytes), Vim-opening it took: 2.03 seconds.
file # 10 (253560 bytes), Vim-opening it took: 2.06 seconds.
file # 11 (253560 bytes), Vim-opening it took: 2.19 seconds.
file # 12 (253560 bytes), Vim-opening it took: 2.07 seconds.
file # 13 (253560 bytes), Vim-opening it took: 2.02 seconds.

I suspect that is to be expected? The test does:

vim -c "q" $i 2>/dev/null >/dev/null

2 seconds is OK-ish - when close+writing a file i mentally expect
some short delay anyway. I think vim fsyncs the swap file in that
case as well.

I havent actually experienced any such delays while editing files.

> The system's RAM is ridiculously under-utilized, 96.1% is free, only
> 3.9% is utilized:
>
> total used free shared buffers cached
> Mem: 12318192 476732 11841460 0 48324 142936
> -/+ buffers/cache: 285472 12032720
> Swap: 4096564 0 4096564
>
> Dirty data in /proc/meminfo fluctuates between 0.4% and 1.6% of
> total RAM. (the script removes the freshly build kernel object
> files, so the workload is pretty steady.)
>
> The peak of 1.6% looks like this:
>
> Dirty: 118376 kB
> Dirty: 143784 kB
> Dirty: 161756 kB
> Dirty: 185084 kB
> Dirty: 210524 kB
> Dirty: 213348 kB
> Dirty: 200124 kB
> Dirty: 122152 kB
> Dirty: 121508 kB
> Dirty: 121512 kB
>
> (1 second snapshots)
>
> So the problems are all around the place and they are absolutely,
> trivially reproducible. And this is how a default ext3 based distro
> and the default upstream kernel will present itself to new Linux
> users and developers. It's not a pretty experience.
>
> Oh, and while at it - also a job control complaint. I tried to
> Ctrl-C the above script:
>
> file # 858 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.06 seconds.
> file # 859 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.02 seconds.
> file # 860 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 5.53 seconds.
> file # 861 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 3.70 seconds.
> file # 862 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.88 seconds.
> file # 863 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.04 seconds.
> file # 864 (253560 bytes), reading it took: ^C0.69 seconds.
> file # 865 (253560 bytes), reading it took: ^C0.49 seconds.
> file # 866 (253560 bytes), reading it took: ^C0.01 seconds.
> file # 867 (253560 bytes), reading it took: ^C0.02 seconds.
> file # 868 (253560 bytes), reading it took: ^C^C0.01 seconds.
> file # 869 (253560 bytes), reading it took: ^C^C0.04 seconds.
> file # 870 (253560 bytes), reading it took: ^C^C^C0.03 seconds.
> file # 871 (253560 bytes), reading it took: ^C0.02 seconds.
> file # 872 (253560 bytes), reading it took: ^C^C0.02 seconds.
> file # 873 (253560 bytes), reading it took:
> ^C^C^C^Caldebaran:~/linux/linux/test-files/src>
>
> I had to hit Ctrl-C numerous times before Bash would honor it.
> This to is a very common thing on large SMP systems. I'm willing
> to test patches until all these problems are fixed. Any takers?

This Bash bug still occurs and is highly annoying when using scripts
on SMP Linux boxes and trying to Ctrl-C out of them.

But all in one, the ext3 and IO latency problems seem to be
thoroughly cured!

To me the past 1 week has made more difference in filesystems and IO
interactivity than all filesystems development done in the past 5+
years, combined. Kudos!

Ingo


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