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SubjectRe: [RFC] scheduler: improve SMP fairness in CFS
Tong Li wrote:
> This patch extends CFS to achieve better fairness for SMPs. For example,
> with 10 tasks (same priority) on 8 CPUs, it enables each task to receive
> equal CPU time (80%). The code works on top of CFS and provides SMP
> fairness at a coarser time grainularity; local on each CPU, it relies on
> CFS to provide fine-grained fairness and good interactivity.
>
> The code is based on the distributed weighted round-robin (DWRR)
> algorithm. It keeps two RB trees on each CPU: one is the original
> cfs_rq, referred to as active, and one is a new cfs_rq, called
> round-expired. Each CPU keeps a round number, initially zero. The
> scheduler works exactly the same way as in CFS, but only runs tasks from
> the active tree. Each task is assigned a round slice, equal to its
> weight times a system constant (e.g., 100ms), controlled by
> sysctl_base_round_slice. When a task uses up its round slice, it moves
> to the round-expired tree on the same CPU and stops running. Thus, at
> any time on each CPU, the active tree contains all tasks that are
> running in the current round, while tasks in round-expired have all
> finished the current round and await to start the next round. When an
> active tree becomes empty, it calls idle_balance() to grab tasks of the
> same round from other CPUs. If none can be moved over, it switches its
> active and round-expired trees, thus unleashing round-expired tasks and
> advancing the local round number by one. An invariant it maintains is
> that the round numbers of any two CPUs in the system differ by at most
> one. This property ensures fairness across CPUs. The variable
> sysctl_base_round_slice controls fairness-performance tradeoffs: a
> smaller value leads to better cross-CPU fairness at the potential cost
> of performance; on the other hand, the larger the value is, the closer
> the system behavior is to the default CFS without the patch.
>
> Any comments and suggestions would be highly appreciated.

This patch is massive overkill. Maybe you're not seeing the overhead on your
8-way box, but I bet we'd see it on a 4096-way NUMA box with a partially-RT
workload. Do you have any data justifying the need for this patch?

Doing anything globally is expensive, and should be avoided at all costs. The
scheduler already rebalances when a CPU is idle, so you're really just
rebalancing the overload here. On a server workload, we don't necessarily want
to do that, since the overload may be multiple threads spawned to service a
single request, and could be sharing a lot of data.

Instead of an explicit system-wide fairness invariant (which will get very hard
to enforce when you throw SCHED_FIFO processes into the mix and the scheduler
isn't running on some CPUs), try a simpler invariant. If we guarantee that the
load on CPU X does not differ from the load on CPU (X+1)%N by more than some
small constant, then we know that the system is fairly balanced. We can achieve
global fairness with local balancing, and avoid all this overhead. This has the
added advantage of keeping most of the migrations core/socket/node-local on
SMT/multicore/NUMA systems.

-- Chris
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