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SubjectRe: out_of_memory() heuristic broken for different mem configurations


On Tue, 6 Nov 2001, Stephan von Krawczynski wrote:

> On Tue, 6 Nov 2001 10:22:02 -0200 (BRST) Marcelo Tosatti
> <marcelo@conectiva.com.br> wrote:
>
> > > How about this really stupid idea: oom means allocs fail, so why not simply
> > > count failed 0-order allocs, if one succeeds, reset counter. If a page is
> freed
> > > reset counter. If counter reaches <new magic number> then you're oom. No
> timing
> > > involved, which means you can have as much mem or as slow host as you like.
> >
> > > It isn't even really interesting, if you have swap or not, because a
> > > failed 0-order alloc tells you whatever mem you have, there is surely
> > > not much left.
> >
> > Wrong. If we have swap available, we are able to swapout anonymous data,
> > so we are _not_ OOM. This is an important point on this whole OOM killer
> > nightmare.
>
> I guess this is not the complete picture, either. There may as well be a
> situation, where there is nothing to swap out left, but still swap-space
> available. Anyway you would be deadlocked in this situation.

Memory used by the userspace tasks is either cache or anonymous memory.

If there is no anonymous memory to swap out (the case you just described),
and we are in a OOM condition, there _has_ to be cache available --- clean
or dirty.

We can easily drop clean cache from memory. Now dirty cache has to be
written out (cleaned), then can be easily freed.

So having no anonymous memory available to swapout _and_ an OOM condition
means that we should either drop clean cache or clean dirty cache to drop
it: The OOM killer has nothing to do with that.

It all depends on which kind of pressure you have on the system.


> can see is the failing allocs (and of course no frees). You will never enter
> oom-state, if you make "available swap" a negative-trigger. It _sounds_ good,
> but _is_ wrong.

Read the above.

>
> > Keep in mind that we don't want to destroy anonymous data from userspace
> > (OOM kill).
> >
> > > I'd try about 100 as magic number.
> >
> > I think your suggestion will work well in practice (except that we have to
> > check the swap).
> >
> > I'll try that later.
> >
> > > > /proc tunable (eeek) ?
> > >
> > > NoNoNo, please don't do that!
> >
> > Note that even if your suggestion works, we may want to make the magic
> > value /proc tunable.
>
> Well, in fact I really think my suggestion may be better than the current
> implementation, but do believe that it is not quite like "42". Whenever you
> hear someone talk about magic numbers/limits, keep in mind its only because he
> doesn't have the _complete_ answer to the question. I'm in no way different. I
> don't like my magic number, only I have no better answer.
>
> > The thing is that the point where tasks should be killed is also an admin
> > decision, not a complete kernel decision.
>
> I completely disagree. There can only be two completely independant ways for
> this oom stuff:
> 1) the kernel knows
> 2) the admin knows
>
> You suggest 2), but then you have to make a totally different approach to the
> problem.

Please read what I said again:

"The thing is that the point where tasks should be killed is also an admin
decision, not a complete kernel decision."

The kernel knows when the system runs out of memory. Period.

If we are completly out of memory, the kernel is going to choose a
userspace task to kill and free its memory otherwise the system can't do
any progress anymore.

> Because if admin knows, then it's very likely, that he even knows
> _which_ application should be killed, or even better, which should
> _not_ be killed.

Exactly.

> He (the admin) would like to have an option to choose this for sure.
> You cannot really solve this idea _inside_ the kernel, I guess. I
> think this would better be solved as an oom-daemon with a config-file
> in /etc, where you tell him, "whatever is bad, don't kill google".
> This would be Bens' config file :-)

Or something similar, yes.



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