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SubjectRe: Scaling noise
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On Thursday 04 September 2003 04:19, Steven Cole wrote:
> On Wed, 2003-09-03 at 19:50, Daniel Phillips wrote:
> > There was a time when SMP locking overhead actually cost something in the
> > high single digits on Linux, on certain loads. Today, you'd have to work
> > at it to find a real load where the 2.5/6 kernel spends more than 1% of
> > its time in locking overhead, even on a large SMP machine (sample size of
> > one: I asked Bill Irwin how his 32 node Numa cluster is running these
> > days). This blows the ccCluster idea out of the water, sorry. The only
> > way ccCluster gets to live is if SMP locking is pathetic and it's not.
>
> I would never call the SMP locking pathetic, but it could be improved.
> Looking at Figure 6 (Star-CD, 1-64 processors on Altix) and Figure 7
> (Gaussian 1-32 processors on Altix) on page 13 of "Linux Scalability for
> Large NUMA Systems", available for download here:
> http://archive.linuxsymposium.org/ols2003/Proceedings/
> it appears that for those applications, the curves begin to flatten
> rather alarmingly. This may have little to do with locking overhead.

2.4.17 is getting a little old, don't you think? This is the thing that
changed most in 2.4 -> 2.6, and indeed, much of the work was in locking.

> One possible benefit of using ccClusters would be to stay on that lower
> part of the curve for the nodes, using perhaps 16 CPUs in a node. That
> way, a 256 CPU (e.g. Altix 3000) system might perform better than if a
> single kernel were to be used. I say might. It's likely that only
> empirical data will tell the tale for sure.

Right, and we do not see SGI contributing patches for partitioning their 256
CPU boxes. That's all the empirical data I need at this point.

They surely do partition them, but not at the Linux OS level.

> > As for Karim's work, it's a quintessentially flashy trick to make two UP
> > kernels run on a dual processor. It's worth doing, but not because it
> > blazes the way forward for ccClusters. It can be the basis for hot
> > kernel swap: migrate all the processes to one of the two CPUs, load and
> > start a new kernel on the other one, migrate all processes to it, and let
> > the new kernel restart the first processor, which is now idle.
>
> Thank you for that very succinct summary of my rather long-winded
> exposition on that subject which I posted here:
> http://marc.theaimsgroup.com/?l=linux-kernel&m=105214105131450&w=2

I swear I made the above up on the spot, just now :-)

> Quite a bit of the complexity which I mentioned, if it were necessary at
> all, could go into user space helper processes which get spawned for the
> kernel going away, and before init for the on-coming kernel. Also, my
> comment about not being able to shoe-horn two kernels in at once for
> 32-bit arches may have been addressed by Ingo's 4G/4G split.

I don't see what you're worried about, they are separate kernels and you get
two instances of whatever split you want.

Regards,

Daniel

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