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SubjectRe: [PATCH 0/4] block: Per-partition block IO performance histograms
On Wed, Apr 14 2010, Divyesh Shah wrote:
> The following patchset implements per partition 2-d histograms for IO to block
> devices. The 3 types of histograms added are:
> 1) request histograms - 2-d histogram of total request time in ms (queueing +
> service) broken down by IO size (in bytes).
> 2) dma histograms - 2-d histogram of total service time in ms broken down by
> IO size (in bytes).
> 3) seek histograms - 1-d histogram of seek distance
> All of these histograms are per-partition. The first 2 are further divided into
> separate read and write histograms. The buckets for these histograms are
> configurable via config options as well as at runtime (per-device).
> These histograms have proven very valuable to us over the years to understand
> the seek distribution of IOs over our production machines, detect large
> queueing delays, find latency outliers, etc. by being used as part of an
> always-on monitoring system.
> They can be reset by writing any value to them which makes them useful for
> tests and debugging too.
> This was initially written by Edward Falk in 2006 and I've forward ported
> and improved it a few times it across kernel versions.
> He had also sent a very old version of this patchset (minus some features like
> runtime configurable buckets) back then to lkml - see
> Some of the reasons mentioned for not including these patches are given below.
> I'm requesting re-consideration for this patchset in light of the following
> arguments.
> 1) This can be done with blktrace too, why add another API?
> Yes blktrace can be used to get this kind of information w/ some help from
> userspace post-processing. However, to use this as an always-on monitoring tool
> w/ blktrace and have negligible performance overhead is difficult to achieve.
> I did a quick 10-thread iozone direct IO write phase run w/ and w/o blktrace
> on a traditional rotational disk to get a feel of the impact on throughput.
> This was kernel built from Jens' for-2.6.35 branch and did not have these new
> block histogram patches.
> o w/o blktrace:
> Children see throughput for 10 initial writers = 95211.22 KB/sec
> Parent sees throughput for 10 initial writers = 37593.20 KB/sec
> Min throughput per thread = 9078.65 KB/sec
> Max throughput per thread = 10055.59 KB/sec
> Avg throughput per thread = 9521.12 KB/sec
> Min xfer = 462848.00 KB
> o w/ blktrace:
> Children see throughput for 10 initial writers = 93527.98 KB/sec
> Parent sees throughput for 10 initial writers = 38594.47 KB/sec
> Min throughput per thread = 9197.06 KB/sec
> Max throughput per thread = 9640.09 KB/sec
> Avg throughput per thread = 9352.80 KB/sec
> Min xfer = 490496.00 KB
> This is about 1.8% average throughput loss per thread.
> The extra cpu time spent with blktrace is in addition to this loss of
> throughput. This overhead will only go up on faster SSDs.

blktrace definitely has a bit of overhead, even if I tried to keep it at
a minimum. I'm not too crazy about adding all this extra accounting for
something we can already get with the tracing that we have available.

The above blktrace run, I take it that was just a regular unmasked run?
Did you try and tailor the information logged? If you restricted to
logging just the particual event(s) that you need to generate this data,
the overhead would be a LOT smaller.

> 2) sysfs should be only for one value per file. There are some exceptions but we
> are working on fixing them. Please don't add new ones.
> There are excpetions like meminfo, etc. that violate this guideline (I'm not
> sure if its an enforced rule) and some actually make sense since there is no way
> of representing structured data. Though these block histograms are multi-valued
> one can also interpret them as one logical piece of information.

Not a problem in my book. There's also the case of giving a real
snapshot of the information as opposed to collecting from several files.

Jens Axboe

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