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SubjectRe: swapping and the value of /proc/sys/vm/swappiness
Marcelo Tosatti wrote:
> On Wed, Sep 15, 2004 at 08:53:21AM +1000, Con Kolivas wrote:
>>Marcelo Tosatti wrote:
>>>On Tue, Sep 14, 2004 at 11:31:53AM -0700, Florin Andrei wrote:
>>>>On Mon, 2004-09-06 at 16:27, Andrew Morton wrote:
>>>>>Con Kolivas <> wrote:
>>>>>>The change was not deliberate but there have been some other people
>>>>>>report significant changes in the swappiness behaviour as well (see
>>>>>>archives). It has usually been of the increased swapping variety
>>>>>>lately. It has been annoying enough to the bleeding edge desktop users
>>>>>>for a swag of out-of-tree hacks to start appearing (like mine).
>>>>>All of which is largely wasted effort.
>>>>>From a highly-theoretical, ivory-tower perspective, maybe; i am not the
>>>>one to pass judgement.
>>>>>From a realistic, "fix it 'cause it's performing worse than MSDOS
>>>>without a disk cache" perspective, definitely not true.
>>>>I've found a situation where the vanilla kernel has a behaviour that
>>>>makes no sense:
>>>>A patch by Con Kolivas fixed it:
>>>>I cannot offer more details, i have no time for experiments, i just need
>>>>a system that works. The vanilla kernel does not.
>>>Have you tried to decrease the value of /proc/sys/vm/swappiness
>>>to say 30 and see what you get?
>>>Andrew's point is that we should identify the problem - Con's patch
>>>rewrites swapping policy.
>>I already answered this. That hard swappiness patch does not really
>>rewrite swapping policy. It identifies exactly what has changed because
>>it does not count "distress in the swap tendency". Therefore if the
>>swappiness value is the same, the mapped ratio is the same (in the
>>workload) yet the vm is swappinig more, it is getting into more
>>"distress". The mapped ratio is the same but the "distress" is for some
>>reason much higher in later kernels, meaning the priority of our
>>scanning is getting more and more intense. This should help direct your
>>These are the relevant lines of code _from mainline_:
>>distress = 100 >> zone->prev_priority
>>mapped_ratio = (sc->nr_mapped * 100) / total_memory;
>>swap_tendency = mapped_ratio / 2 + distress + vm_swappiness
>>if (swap_tendency >= 100)
>>- reclaim_mapped = 1;
>>That hard swappiness patch effectively made "distress == 0" always.
> So isnt it true that decreasing vm_swappiness should compensate
> distress and have the same effect of your patch?

Nope. We swap large amounts with the wrong workload at swappiness==0
where we wouldn't before at swappiness==60. ie there is no workaround
possible without changing the code in some way.

> To be fair I'm just arguing, haven't really looked at the code.

Thats cool ;)

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