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SubjectRe: Strange IDE performance change in 2.6.1-rc1 (again)
On Saturday 10 January 2004 17:19, Ed Sweetman wrote:
> debian unstable's dd may also be seeing that it's writing to /dev/null
> and just not doing anything. I know extents are fast and make certain
> manipulations on them extremely faster than plain ext3 but 256MB/sec is
> really really too fast. So in either case it looks like this test is not
> usable to me.

yes... 256MB/s is a bit too high!
Can you try with "fadvice" installed?
Anyway I think your theroy is right... and so intalling "fadvice" you will
NOT see any big difference.

> I dont know why you dont also try 8192 for readahead, measuring

beacuse readahead setted to 8192 gives me BAD performance!

> performance by the duration or intensity of the hdd is led is not very
> sound. i actually copy large files to and from parts of the same ext3
> partition at over 20MB/sec sustained hdparm shows it's highest numbers
> under it. For me it doesn't get any faster than that. So what's this
> all say, maybe all these performance numbers are just as much based on
> your readahead value as they are on the position of the moon and the
> rest of the system and it's hardware. btw, what is the value of your HZ
> environment variable, debian still sets it to 100, i set it to 1024, not
> really sure if it made any difference.
> i'm using the via ide driver, so are you, i'm not seeing the type of
> regression that you are, my dd doesn't do what your dd does. our hdds
> are different. The regression in the kernels could just as easily be
> due to a regression in the schedular and nothing to do with the ide
> drivers. Have you tried just using 2.6.0 (whatever version you see
> changes with your readahead values) then the same kernel with the new
> ide code from the kernel you dont see any changes so you're running
> everything else the same but only ide has been "upgraded" and see if you
> see the same regression. I dont think you will. the readahead effects

Yes, the correct way to work is as you say....
BUT read the whole story:

1) using "hdparm -t /dev/hda" I found IDE performace regression (in
sequential reads) upgrading from 2.6.0 to 2.6.1-rc1

2) someone tell me to try to revert this patch:
"readahead: multiple performance fixes"

Reverting it in 2.6.1-rc1 kernel gives me the same ide performaces that
2.6.0 has.

3) Since 2.6.0 and 2.6.1-rc1(with "readahead: multiple performance fixes"
reverted) kernels give me the same results for any IDE performance test I
do --> I treat them as they are the same thing ;-)

The part of the patch that gives me all these problem is already found and
is quite small:

diff -Nru a/mm/filemap.c b/mm/filemap.c

--- a/mm/filemap.c Sat Jan 3 02:29:08 2004
+++ b/mm/filemap.c Sat Jan 3 02:29:08 2004
@@ -587,13 +587,22 @@
read_actor_t actor)
struct inode *inode = mapping->host;
- unsigned long index, offset;
+ unsigned long index, offset, last;
struct page *cached_page;
int error;

cached_page = NULL;
index = *ppos >> PAGE_CACHE_SHIFT;
offset = *ppos & ~PAGE_CACHE_MASK;
+ last = (*ppos + desc->count) >> PAGE_CACHE_SHIFT;
+ /*
+ * Let the readahead logic know upfront about all
+ * the pages we'll need to satisfy this request
+ */
+ for (; index < last; index++)
+ page_cache_readahead(mapping, ra, filp, index);
+ index = *ppos >> PAGE_CACHE_SHIFT;

for (;;) {
struct page *page;
@@ -612,7 +621,6 @@

- page_cache_readahead(mapping, ra, filp, index);

nr = nr - offset;

Paolo Ornati
Linux v2.4.24

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