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SubjectRe: [PATCH] vmscan: raise the bar to PAGEOUT_IO_SYNC stalls
On Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 4:17 PM, Wu Fengguang <> wrote:
> Fix "system goes unresponsive under memory pressure and lots of
> dirty/writeback pages" bug.
> In the above thread, Andreas Mohr described that
>        Invoking any command locked up for minutes (note that I'm
>        talking about attempted additional I/O to the _other_,
>        _unaffected_ main system HDD - such as loading some shell
>        binaries -, NOT the external SSD18M!!).
> This happens when the two conditions are both meet:
> - under memory pressure
> - writing heavily to a slow device
> OOM also happens in Andreas' system. The OOM trace shows that 3
> processes are stuck in wait_on_page_writeback() in the direct reclaim
> path. One in do_fork() and the other two in unix_stream_sendmsg(). They
> are blocked on this condition:
>        (sc->order && priority < DEF_PRIORITY - 2)
> which was introduced in commit 78dc583d (vmscan: low order lumpy reclaim
> also should use PAGEOUT_IO_SYNC) one year ago. That condition may be too
> permissive. In Andreas' case, 512MB/1024 = 512KB. If the direct reclaim
> for the order-1 fork() allocation runs into a range of 512KB
> hard-to-reclaim LRU pages, it will be stalled.
> It's a severe problem in three ways.
> Firstly, it can easily happen in daily desktop usage.  vmscan priority
> can easily go below (DEF_PRIORITY - 2) on _local_ memory pressure. Even
> if the system has 50% globally reclaimable pages, it still has good
> opportunity to have 0.1% sized hard-to-reclaim ranges. For example, a
> simple dd can easily create a big range (up to 20%) of dirty pages in
> the LRU lists.
> Secondly, once triggered, it will stall unrelated processes (not doing IO
> at all) in the system. This "one slow USB device stalls the whole system"
> avalanching effect is very bad.
> Thirdly, once stalled, the stall time could be intolerable long for the
> users.  When there are 20MB queued writeback pages and USB 1.1 is
> writing them in 1MB/s, wait_on_page_writeback() will stuck for up to 20
> seconds.  Not to mention it may be called multiple times.
> So raise the bar to only enable PAGEOUT_IO_SYNC when priority goes below
> DEF_PRIORITY/3, or 6.25% LRU size. As the default dirty throttle ratio is
> 20%, it will hardly be triggered by pure dirty pages. We'd better treat
> PAGEOUT_IO_SYNC as some last resort workaround -- its stall time is so
> uncomfortably long (easily goes beyond 1s).
> The bar is only raised for (order < PAGE_ALLOC_COSTLY_ORDER) allocations,
> which are easy to satisfy in 1TB memory boxes. So, although 6.25% of
> memory could be an awful lot of pages to scan on a system with 1TB of
> memory, it won't really have to busy scan that much.
> Reported-by: Andreas Mohr <>
> Signed-off-by: Mel Gorman <>
> Signed-off-by: Wu Fengguang <>
Reviewed-by: Minchan Kim <>

The description and code both look good to me.
Thanks for great effort, Wu.

Kind regards,
Minchan Kim
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