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SubjectRe: VM Report was:Re: Break 2.4 VM in five easy steps
On Fri, 8 Jun 2001, Tobias Ringstrom wrote:

> On Fri, 8 Jun 2001, Mike Galbraith wrote:
> > On Fri, 8 Jun 2001, Tobias Ringstrom wrote:
> > > On Fri, 8 Jun 2001, Mike Galbraith wrote:
> > > > I gave this a shot at my favorite vm beater test (make -j30 bzImage)
> > > > while testing some other stuff today.
> > >
> > > Could you please explain what is good about this test? I understand that
> > > it will stress the VM, but will it do so in a realistic and relevant way?
> >
> > Can you explain what is bad about this test? ;) It spins the same VM wheels
> I think a load of ~30 is quit uncommon, and therefor it is unclear to me
> that it would be a test that would be repesentative of most normal loads.

It's not supposed to be repesentative. It's supposed to take the box
rapidly (but not instantly) from idle through lo->medium->high and
maintain solid throughput.

> > as any other load does. What's the difference if I have a bunch of httpd
> > allocating or a bunch of cc1/as/ld? This load has a modest cachable data
> > set and is compute bound.. and above all gives very repeatable results.
> Not a big difference. The difference I was thinking abount is the
> difference between spawning lots of processes allocating, using and
> freeing lots of memory, compared to a case where you have a few processes
> touching a lot of already allocated pages in some pattern. I was
> wondering whether optimizing for your case would be good or bad for the
> other case. I know, I know, I should do more testing myself. And I
> should probably not ask you, since you really really like your test,
> and you will probably just say yes... ;-)

It's not a matter of optimizing for my case.. that would be horrible.
It's a matter of is the vm capable of rapid and correct responses.

> At home, I'm running a couple of computers. One of them is a slow
> computer running Linux, serving mail, NFS, SMB, etc. I'm usually logged
> in on a couple of virtual consoles. On this machine, I do not mind if all
> shells, daemons and other idle processes are beeing swapped out in favor
> of disk cache for the NFS and SMB serving. In fact, that is a very good
> thing, and I want it that way.
> Another maching is my desktop machine. When using this maching, I really
> hate when my emacsen, browsers, xterms, etc are swapped out just to give
> me some stupid disk cache for my xmms or compilations. I do not care if a
> kernel compile is a little slower as long as my applications are snappy.
> How could Linux predict this? It is a matter of taste, IMHO.

I have no idea. It would be _wonderful_ if it could detect interactive
tasks and give them preferencial treatment.

> > I use it to watch reaction to surge. I watch for the vm to build to a
> > solid maximum throughput without thrashing. That's the portion of VM
> > that I'm interested in, so that's what I test. Besides :) I simply don't
> > have the hardware to try to simulate hairy chested server loads. There
> > are lots of folks with hairy chested boxes.. they should test that stuff.
> Agreed. More testing is needed. Now if we would have those knobs and
> wheels to turn, we could perhaps also tune our systems to behave as we
> like them, and submit that as well. Right now you need to be a kernel
> hacker, and see through all the magic with shm, mmap, a bunch of caches,
> page lists, etc. I'd give a lot for a nice picture (or state diagram)
> showing the lifetime of a page, but I have not found such a picture
> anywhere. Besides, the VM seems to change every new release anyway.
> > I've been repeating ~this test since 2.0 times, and have noticed a 1:1
> > relationship. When I notice that my box is ~happy doing this load test,
> > I also notice very few VM gripes hitting the list.
> Ok, but as you say, we need more tests.
> > > Isn't the interesting case when you have a number of processes using lots
> > > of memory, but only a part of all that memory is beeing actively used, and
> > > that memory fits in RAM. In that case, the VM should make sure that the
> > > not used memory is swapped out. In RAM you should have the used memory,
> > > but also disk cache if there is any RAM left. Does the current VM handle
> > > this case fine yet? IMHO, this is the case most people care about. It is
> > > definately the case I care about, at least. :-)
> >
> > The interesting case is _every_ case. Try seeing my particular test as
> > a simulation of a small classroom box with 30 students compiling their
> > assignments and it'll suddenly become quite realistic. You'll notice
> > by the numbers I post that I was very careful to not overload the box in
> > a rediculous manner when selecting the total size of the job.. it's just
> > a heavily loaded box. This test does not overload my IO resources, so
> > it tests the VM's ability to choose and move the right stuff at the right
> > time to get the job done with a minimum of additional overhead.
> I did not understand those numbers when I saw them the first time. Now, I
> must say that your test does not look as silly as it did before.

[snip.. save a tree]

> Why isn't user+system+idle == real? SMP?

Good question, no smp (sniff) here.

> > Tunables aren't really practical in VM (imho). If there were a dozen
> > knobs, you'd have to turn a dozen knobs a dozen times a day. VM has
> > to be self regulating.
> Yes, that is of course the goal, but I'm suggesting that we would reach
> the goal of a self-optimizing VM faster, if there were tunables to play
> with. The human brain is a very good optimizer.

You bet! The CPU is a stupid robot. I've tried to think up good generic
tunables, and failed. This is something that more folks should give some
thought. Maybe someone will think of knobs that _are_ practical.

> > In case you can't tell (the length of this reply) I like my fovorite
> > little generic throughput test a LOT :-)
> Point taken. :-)



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