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SubjectRe: [resent PATCH] Re: very slow parallel read performance
with you moving things to the inactive queue both when they are used and
when they spillover from the readahead queue I think you end up putting to
much preasure on the inactive queue.

given that the readahead queue will fill almost all memory when things
start spilling off of it you are needing to free memory, so if you just
put it on the inactive queue you then have to free an equivalent amount of
space from the inactive queue to actually make any progress on freeing

David Lang

On Mon, 27 Aug 2001, Daniel Phillips wrote:

> Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2001 16:31:21 +0200
> From: Daniel Phillips <>
> To: Helge Hafting <>,
> Subject: Re: [resent PATCH] Re: very slow parallel read performance
> On August 27, 2001 09:08 am, Helge Hafting wrote:
> > Daniel Phillips wrote:
> > >
> > > On August 24, 2001 09:02 pm, Rik van Riel wrote:
> > > > I guess in the long run we should have automatic collapse
> > > > of the readahead window when we find that readahead window
> > > > thrashing is going on, in the short term I think it is
> > > > enough to have the maximum readahead size tunable in /proc,
> > > > like what is happening in the -ac kernels.
> > >
> > > Yes, and the most effective way to detect that the readahead window is too
> > > high is by keeping a history of recently evicted pages. When we find
> > > ourselves re-reading pages that were evicted before ever being used we
> > > know exactly what the problem is.
> >
> > Counting how much we are reading ahead and comparing with total RAM
> > (or total cache) might also be an idea. We may then read ahead
> > a lot for those who runs a handful of processes, and
> > do smaller readahead for those that runs thousands of processes.
> Yes. In fact I was just sitting down to write up a design for a new
> readahead-handling strategy that incorporates this idea. Here are my design
> notes so far:
> - Readahead cache should be able to expand to fill (almost) all
> memory in the absence of other activity.
> - Readahead pages have higher priority than inactive pages, lower
> than active.
> - Readahead cache is naturally a fifo - new chunks of readahead
> are added at the head and unused readahead is (eventually)
> culled from the tail.
> - Readahead cache is important enough to get its own lru list.
> We know it's a fifo so don't have to waste cycles scanning/aging.
> Having a distinct list makes the accounting trivial, vs keeping
> readahead on the active list for example.
> - A new readahead page starts on the readahead queue. When used
> (by generic_file_read) the readahead page moves to the inactive
> queue and becomes a used-once page (i.e., low priority). If a
> readahead page reaches the tail of the readahead queue it may
> be culled by moving it to the inactive queue.
> - When the readahead cache fills up past its falloff limit we
> will reduce amount of readahead submitted proportionally by the
> amount the readahead cache exceeds the falloff limit. At the
> cutoff limit, no new readahead is submitted.
> - At each try_to_free_pages step the readahead queue is culled
> proportionally by the amount it exceeds its falloff limit. A
> tuning parameter controls the rate at which readahead is
> culled vs new readahead submissions (is there a better way?).
> - The cutoff limit is adjusted periodically according to the size
> of the active list, implementing the idea that active pages
> take priority over readahead pages.
> - The falloff limit is set proportionally to the cutoff limit.
> - The mechanism operates without user intervention, though there
> are several points at which proportional factors could be
> exposed as tuning parameters.
> The overarching idea here is that we can pack more readahead into memory by
> managing it carefully, in such a way that we do not often discard unused
> readahead pages. In other words, we do as much readahead as possible but
> avoid thrashing.
> The advantages seem clear enough that I'll proceed to an implementation
> without further ado.
> --
> Daniel
> -
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