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Subject[PATCH 06/10] writeback: IO-less balance_dirty_pages()
As proposed by Chris, Dave and Jan, don't start foreground writeback IO
inside balance_dirty_pages(). Instead, simply let it idle sleep for some
time to throttle the dirtying task. In the mean while, kick off the
per-bdi flusher thread to do background writeback IO.

RATIONALS
=========
- disk seeks on concurrent writeback of multiple inodes (Dave Chinner)

If every thread doing writes and being throttled start foreground
writeback, it leads to N IO submitters from at least N different
inodes at the same time, end up with N different sets of IO being
issued with potentially zero locality to each other, resulting in
much lower elevator sort/merge efficiency and hence we seek the disk
all over the place to service the different sets of IO.
OTOH, if there is only one submission thread, it doesn't jump between
inodes in the same way when congestion clears - it keeps writing to
the same inode, resulting in large related chunks of sequential IOs
being issued to the disk. This is more efficient than the above
foreground writeback because the elevator works better and the disk
seeks less.

- lock contention and cache bouncing on concurrent IO submitters (Dave Chinner)

With this patchset, the fs_mark benchmark on a 12-drive software RAID0 goes
from CPU bound to IO bound, freeing "3-4 CPUs worth of spinlock contention".

* "CPU usage has dropped by ~55%", "it certainly appears that most of
the CPU time saving comes from the removal of contention on the
inode_wb_list_lock" (IMHO at least 10% comes from the reduction of
cacheline bouncing, because the new code is able to call much less
frequently into balance_dirty_pages() and hence access the global
page states)

* the user space "App overhead" is reduced by 20%, by avoiding the
cacheline pollution by the complex writeback code path

* "for a ~5% throughput reduction", "the number of write IOs have
dropped by ~25%", and the elapsed time reduced from 41:42.17 to
40:53.23.

* On a simple test of 100 dd, it reduces the CPU %system time from 30% to 3%,
and improves IO throughput from 38MB/s to 42MB/s.

- IO size too small for fast arrays and too large for slow USB sticks

The write_chunk used by current balance_dirty_pages() cannot be
directly set to some large value (eg. 128MB) for better IO efficiency.
Because it could lead to more than 1 second user perceivable stalls.
Even the current 4MB write size may be too large for slow USB sticks.
The fact that balance_dirty_pages() starts IO on itself couples the
IO size to wait time, which makes it hard to do suitable IO size while
keeping the wait time under control.

Now it's possible to increase writeback chunk size proportional to the
disk bandwidth. In a simple test of 50 dd's on XFS, 1-HDD, 3GB ram,
the larger writeback size dramatically reduces the seek count to 1/10
(far beyond my expectation) and improves the write throughput by 24%.

- long block time in balance_dirty_pages() hurts desktop responsiveness

Many of us may have the experience: it often takes a couple of seconds
or even long time to stop a heavy writing dd/cp/tar command with
Ctrl-C or "kill -9".

- IO pipeline broken by bumpy write() progress

There are a broad class of "loop {read(buf); write(buf);}" applications
whose read() pipeline will be under-utilized or even come to a stop if
the write()s have long latencies _or_ don't progress in a constant rate.
The current threshold based throttling inherently transfers the large
low level IO completion fluctuations to bumpy application write()s,
and further deteriorates with increasing number of dirtiers and/or bdi's.
For example, when doing 50 dd's + 1 remote rsync to an XFS partition,
the rsync progresses very bumpy in legacy kernel, and throughput is
improved by 67% by this patchset. (plus the larger write chunk size,
it will be 93% speedup).

The new rate based throttling can support 1000+ dd's with excellent
smoothness, low latency and low overheads.

For the above reasons, it's much better to do IO-less and low latency
pauses in balance_dirty_pages().

Jan Kara, Dave Chinner and me explored the scheme to let
balance_dirty_pages() wait for enough writeback IO completions to
safeguard the dirty limit. However it's found to have two problems:

- in large NUMA systems, the per-cpu counters may have big accounting
errors, leading to big throttle wait time and jitters.

- NFS may kill large amount of unstable pages with one single COMMIT.
Because NFS server serves COMMIT with expensive fsync() IOs, it is
desirable to delay and reduce the number of COMMITs. So it's not
likely to optimize away such kind of bursty IO completions, and the
resulted large (and tiny) stall times in IO completion based throttling.

So here is a pause time oriented approach, which tries to control the
pause time in each balance_dirty_pages() invocations, by controlling
the number of pages dirtied before calling balance_dirty_pages(), for
smooth and efficient dirty throttling:

- avoid useless (eg. zero pause time) balance_dirty_pages() calls
- avoid too small pause time (less than 4ms, which burns CPU power)
- avoid too large pause time (more than 200ms, which hurts responsiveness)
- avoid big fluctuations of pause times

It can control pause times at will. The default policy (in a followup
patch) will be to do ~10ms pauses in 1-dd case, and increase to ~100ms
in 1000-dd case.

BEHAVIOR CHANGE
===============
(1) dirty threshold

Users will notice that the applications will get throttled once crossing
the global (background + dirty)/2=15% threshold, and then balanced around
17.5%. Before patch, the behavior is to just throttle it at 20% dirtyable
memory in 1-dd case.

Since the task will be soft throttled earlier than before, it may be
perceived by end users as performance "slow down" if his application
happens to dirty more than 15% dirtyable memory.

(2) smoothness/responsiveness

Users will notice a more responsive system during heavy writeback.
"killall dd" will take effect instantly.

Signed-off-by: Wu Fengguang <fengguang.wu@intel.com>
---
include/trace/events/writeback.h | 24 ----
mm/page-writeback.c | 161 +++++++++--------------------
2 files changed, 54 insertions(+), 131 deletions(-)
--- linux-next.orig/mm/page-writeback.c 2011-08-26 16:14:45.000000000 +0800
+++ linux-next/mm/page-writeback.c 2011-08-26 16:14:46.000000000 +0800
@@ -309,50 +309,6 @@ static void bdi_writeout_fraction(struct
numerator, denominator);
}

-static inline void task_dirties_fraction(struct task_struct *tsk,
- long *numerator, long *denominator)
-{
- prop_fraction_single(&vm_dirties, &tsk->dirties,
- numerator, denominator);
-}
-
-/*
- * task_dirty_limit - scale down dirty throttling threshold for one task
- *
- * task specific dirty limit:
- *
- * dirty -= (dirty/8) * p_{t}
- *
- * To protect light/slow dirtying tasks from heavier/fast ones, we start
- * throttling individual tasks before reaching the bdi dirty limit.
- * Relatively low thresholds will be allocated to heavy dirtiers. So when
- * dirty pages grow large, heavy dirtiers will be throttled first, which will
- * effectively curb the growth of dirty pages. Light dirtiers with high enough
- * dirty threshold may never get throttled.
- */
-#define TASK_LIMIT_FRACTION 8
-static unsigned long task_dirty_limit(struct task_struct *tsk,
- unsigned long bdi_dirty)
-{
- long numerator, denominator;
- unsigned long dirty = bdi_dirty;
- u64 inv = dirty / TASK_LIMIT_FRACTION;
-
- task_dirties_fraction(tsk, &numerator, &denominator);
- inv *= numerator;
- do_div(inv, denominator);
-
- dirty -= inv;
-
- return max(dirty, bdi_dirty/2);
-}
-
-/* Minimum limit for any task */
-static unsigned long task_min_dirty_limit(unsigned long bdi_dirty)
-{
- return bdi_dirty - bdi_dirty / TASK_LIMIT_FRACTION;
-}
-
/*
*
*/
@@ -989,29 +945,34 @@ static unsigned long dirty_poll_interval
/*
* balance_dirty_pages() must be called by processes which are generating dirty
* data. It looks at the number of dirty pages in the machine and will force
- * the caller to perform writeback if the system is over `vm_dirty_ratio'.
+ * the caller to wait once crossing the (background_thresh + dirty_thresh) / 2.
* If we're over `background_thresh' then the writeback threads are woken to
* perform some writeout.
*/
static void balance_dirty_pages(struct address_space *mapping,
- unsigned long write_chunk)
+ unsigned long pages_dirtied)
{
- unsigned long nr_reclaimable, bdi_nr_reclaimable;
+ unsigned long nr_reclaimable;
unsigned long nr_dirty; /* = file_dirty + writeback + unstable_nfs */
unsigned long bdi_dirty;
unsigned long background_thresh;
unsigned long dirty_thresh;
unsigned long bdi_thresh;
- unsigned long task_bdi_thresh;
- unsigned long min_task_bdi_thresh;
- unsigned long pages_written = 0;
- unsigned long pause = 1;
+ long pause = 0;
bool dirty_exceeded = false;
- bool clear_dirty_exceeded = true;
+ unsigned long task_ratelimit;
+ unsigned long base_rate;
+ unsigned long pos_ratio;
struct backing_dev_info *bdi = mapping->backing_dev_info;
unsigned long start_time = jiffies;

for (;;) {
+ /*
+ * Unstable writes are a feature of certain networked
+ * filesystems (i.e. NFS) in which data may have been
+ * written to the server's write cache, but has not yet
+ * been flushed to permanent storage.
+ */
nr_reclaimable = global_page_state(NR_FILE_DIRTY) +
global_page_state(NR_UNSTABLE_NFS);
nr_dirty = nr_reclaimable + global_page_state(NR_WRITEBACK);
@@ -1027,9 +988,23 @@ static void balance_dirty_pages(struct a
background_thresh))
break;

+ if (unlikely(!writeback_in_progress(bdi)))
+ bdi_start_background_writeback(bdi);
+
+ /*
+ * bdi_thresh is not treated as some limiting factor as
+ * dirty_thresh, due to reasons
+ * - in JBOD setup, bdi_thresh can fluctuate a lot
+ * - in a system with HDD and USB key, the USB key may somehow
+ * go into state (bdi_dirty >> bdi_thresh) either because
+ * bdi_dirty starts high, or because bdi_thresh drops low.
+ * In this case we don't want to hard throttle the USB key
+ * dirtiers for 100 seconds until bdi_dirty drops under
+ * bdi_thresh. Instead the auxiliary bdi control line in
+ * bdi_position_ratio() will let the dirtier task progress
+ * at some rate <= (write_bw / 2) for bringing down bdi_dirty.
+ */
bdi_thresh = bdi_dirty_limit(bdi, dirty_thresh);
- min_task_bdi_thresh = task_min_dirty_limit(bdi_thresh);
- task_bdi_thresh = task_dirty_limit(current, bdi_thresh);

/*
* In order to avoid the stacked BDI deadlock we need
@@ -1041,57 +1016,38 @@ static void balance_dirty_pages(struct a
* actually dirty; with m+n sitting in the percpu
* deltas.
*/
- if (task_bdi_thresh < 2 * bdi_stat_error(bdi)) {
- bdi_nr_reclaimable = bdi_stat_sum(bdi, BDI_RECLAIMABLE);
- bdi_dirty = bdi_nr_reclaimable +
+ if (bdi_thresh < 2 * bdi_stat_error(bdi))
+ bdi_dirty = bdi_stat_sum(bdi, BDI_RECLAIMABLE) +
bdi_stat_sum(bdi, BDI_WRITEBACK);
- } else {
- bdi_nr_reclaimable = bdi_stat(bdi, BDI_RECLAIMABLE);
- bdi_dirty = bdi_nr_reclaimable +
+ else
+ bdi_dirty = bdi_stat(bdi, BDI_RECLAIMABLE) +
bdi_stat(bdi, BDI_WRITEBACK);
- }

- /*
- * The bdi thresh is somehow "soft" limit derived from the
- * global "hard" limit. The former helps to prevent heavy IO
- * bdi or process from holding back light ones; The latter is
- * the last resort safeguard.
- */
- dirty_exceeded = (bdi_dirty > task_bdi_thresh) ||
+ dirty_exceeded = (bdi_dirty > bdi_thresh) ||
(nr_dirty > dirty_thresh);
- clear_dirty_exceeded = (bdi_dirty <= min_task_bdi_thresh) &&
- (nr_dirty <= dirty_thresh);
-
- if (!dirty_exceeded)
- break;
-
- if (!bdi->dirty_exceeded)
+ if (dirty_exceeded && !bdi->dirty_exceeded)
bdi->dirty_exceeded = 1;

bdi_update_bandwidth(bdi, dirty_thresh, background_thresh,
nr_dirty, bdi_thresh, bdi_dirty,
start_time);

- /* Note: nr_reclaimable denotes nr_dirty + nr_unstable.
- * Unstable writes are a feature of certain networked
- * filesystems (i.e. NFS) in which data may have been
- * written to the server's write cache, but has not yet
- * been flushed to permanent storage.
- * Only move pages to writeback if this bdi is over its
- * threshold otherwise wait until the disk writes catch
- * up.
- */
- trace_balance_dirty_start(bdi);
- if (bdi_nr_reclaimable > task_bdi_thresh) {
- pages_written += writeback_inodes_wb(&bdi->wb,
- write_chunk);
- trace_balance_dirty_written(bdi, pages_written);
- if (pages_written >= write_chunk)
- break; /* We've done our duty */
+ base_rate = bdi->dirty_ratelimit;
+ pos_ratio = bdi_position_ratio(bdi, dirty_thresh,
+ background_thresh, nr_dirty,
+ bdi_thresh, bdi_dirty);
+ if (unlikely(pos_ratio == 0)) {
+ pause = MAX_PAUSE;
+ goto pause;
}
+ task_ratelimit = (u64)base_rate *
+ pos_ratio >> RATELIMIT_CALC_SHIFT;
+ pause = (HZ * pages_dirtied) / (task_ratelimit | 1);
+ pause = min(pause, (long)MAX_PAUSE);
+
+pause:
__set_current_state(TASK_UNINTERRUPTIBLE);
io_schedule_timeout(pause);
- trace_balance_dirty_wait(bdi);

dirty_thresh = hard_dirty_limit(dirty_thresh);
/*
@@ -1100,22 +1056,11 @@ static void balance_dirty_pages(struct a
* 200ms is typically more than enough to curb heavy dirtiers;
* (b) the pause time limit makes the dirtiers more responsive.
*/
- if (nr_dirty < dirty_thresh &&
- bdi_dirty < (task_bdi_thresh + bdi_thresh) / 2 &&
- time_after(jiffies, start_time + MAX_PAUSE))
+ if (nr_dirty < dirty_thresh)
break;
-
- /*
- * Increase the delay for each loop, up to our previous
- * default of taking a 100ms nap.
- */
- pause <<= 1;
- if (pause > HZ / 10)
- pause = HZ / 10;
}

- /* Clear dirty_exceeded flag only when no task can exceed the limit */
- if (clear_dirty_exceeded && bdi->dirty_exceeded)
+ if (!dirty_exceeded && bdi->dirty_exceeded)
bdi->dirty_exceeded = 0;

current->nr_dirtied = 0;
@@ -1132,8 +1077,10 @@ static void balance_dirty_pages(struct a
* In normal mode, we start background writeout at the lower
* background_thresh, to keep the amount of dirty memory low.
*/
- if ((laptop_mode && pages_written) ||
- (!laptop_mode && (nr_reclaimable > background_thresh)))
+ if (laptop_mode)
+ return;
+
+ if (nr_reclaimable > background_thresh)
bdi_start_background_writeback(bdi);
}

--- linux-next.orig/include/trace/events/writeback.h 2011-08-26 16:14:45.000000000 +0800
+++ linux-next/include/trace/events/writeback.h 2011-08-26 16:14:46.000000000 +0800
@@ -104,30 +104,6 @@ DEFINE_WRITEBACK_EVENT(writeback_bdi_reg
DEFINE_WRITEBACK_EVENT(writeback_bdi_unregister);
DEFINE_WRITEBACK_EVENT(writeback_thread_start);
DEFINE_WRITEBACK_EVENT(writeback_thread_stop);
-DEFINE_WRITEBACK_EVENT(balance_dirty_start);
-DEFINE_WRITEBACK_EVENT(balance_dirty_wait);
-
-TRACE_EVENT(balance_dirty_written,
-
- TP_PROTO(struct backing_dev_info *bdi, int written),
-
- TP_ARGS(bdi, written),
-
- TP_STRUCT__entry(
- __array(char, name, 32)
- __field(int, written)
- ),
-
- TP_fast_assign(
- strncpy(__entry->name, dev_name(bdi->dev), 32);
- __entry->written = written;
- ),
-
- TP_printk("bdi %s written %d",
- __entry->name,
- __entry->written
- )
-);

DECLARE_EVENT_CLASS(wbc_class,
TP_PROTO(struct writeback_control *wbc, struct backing_dev_info *bdi),



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