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SubjectRe: [PATCH 2/2] improve ext3 fsync batching
Andrew Morton wrote:
> On Tue, 19 Aug 2008 16:55:47 -0400
> Ric Wheeler <rwheeler@redhat.com> wrote:
>
>
>>>
>>>
>>>>> Perhaps a better scheme would be to tune it based on how many other
>>>>> processes are joining that transaction. If it's "zero" then decrease
>>>>> the timeout. But one would need to work out how to increase it, which
>>>>> perhaps could be done by detecting the case where process A runs an
>>>>> fsync when a commit is currently in progress, and that commit was
>>>>> caused by process B's fsync.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>> This is really, really a property of the device's latency at any given
>>>> point in time. If there are no other processes running, we could do an
>>>> optimization and not wait.
>>>>
>>>>
>>> well yes. This represents yet another attempt to predict future
>>> application behaviour. The way in which we _usually_ do that is by
>>> monitoring past application behaviour.
>>>
>>>
>> This whole area is very similar to the IO elevator area where some of
>> the same device characteristics are measured.
>>
>>
>>
>>> Only this patch didn't do that (directly) and I'm wondering why not.
>>>
>>>
>> The average transaction commit time is a direct measurement of the past
>> behaviour, right?
>>
>
> Of commit time, yes. Somewhat - it has obvious failures during
> transients.
>
> But there's an assumption here that commit time is usefully correlated
> with "mean time between fsync()s", which might introduce further
> inaccuracies.
>
>
>>>
>>>
>>>>> But before doing all that I would recommend/ask that the following be
>>>>> investigated:
>>>>>
>>>>> - How effective is the present code?
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>> It causes the most expensive storage (arrays) to run 3-4 times slower
>>>> than they should on a synchronous write workload (NFS server, mail
>>>> server?) with more than 1 thread. For example, against a small EMC
>>>> array, I saw single threaded write rates of 720 files/sec against ext3
>>>> with 1 thread, 225 (if I remember correctly) with 2 ;-)
>>>>
>>>>
>>> Current code has:
>>>
>>> /*
>>> * Implement synchronous transaction batching. If the handle
>>> * was synchronous, don't force a commit immediately. Let's
>>> * yield and let another thread piggyback onto this transaction.
>>> * Keep doing that while new threads continue to arrive.
>>> * It doesn't cost much - we're about to run a commit and sleep
>>> * on IO anyway. Speeds up many-threaded, many-dir operations
>>> * by 30x or more...
>>> *
>>> * But don't do this if this process was the most recent one to
>>> * perform a synchronous write. We do this to detect the case where a
>>> * single process is doing a stream of sync writes. No point in waiting
>>> * for joiners in that case.
>>> */
>>>
>>> has the 30x been reproduced? If not, what broke? If so, what effect
>>> did the proposed change have upon it?
>>>
>>>
>> The huge gain was only in the case of a RAM disk test which I assume was
>> not tested against the original patch early on. Against an array (with a
>> 250HZ kernel), we saw a 2.5x speedup with the new code.
>>
>
> You only answered question 3/3 ;)
>
> I am concerned that the current code is no longer working correctly.
> If so then apart from the obvious we-should-fix-that issue, there's
> also the possibility that we're adding more stuff on top of the broken
> stuff rather than fixing the broken stuff.
>

I think it is still working for slow devices, our testing will try and
verify that.


>
>>>
>>>
>>>>> - What happens when it is simply removed?
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>> If you remove the code, you will not see the throughput rise when you go
>>>> multithreaded on existing slow devices (S-ATA/ATA for example). Faster
>>>> devices will not see that 2 threaded drop.
>>>>
>>>>
>>> See above - has this been tested and confirmed?
>>>
>>>
>> Yes - we (back at EMC) did remove the logic and the fast devices will
>> write at least at their starting rate (700+ files/sec).
>>
>
> Did you observe the effect upon slower devices?
>

Slower devices were still great with this code, but that can vary with
high HZ kernels. Could you have tested and seen poor results with a
1000HZ kernel (where the slow devices don't sleep long enough?)

>
>>>
>>>
>>>>> - Add instrumentation (a counter and a printk) to work out how
>>>>> many other tasks are joining this task's transaction.
>>>>>
>>>>> - If the answer is "zero" or "small", work out why.
>>>>>
>>>>> - See if we can increase its effectiveness.
>>>>>
>>>>> Because it could be that the code broke. There might be issues with
>>>>> higher-level locks which are preventing the batching. For example, if
>>>>> all the files which the test app is syncing are in the same directory,
>>>>> perhaps all the tasks are piling up on that directory's i_mutex?
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>> I have to admit that I don't see the down side here - we have shown a
>>>> huge increase for arrays (embarrassingly huge increase for RAM disks)
>>>> and see no degradation for the S-ATA/ATA case.
>>>>
>>>> The code is not broken (having been there and done the performance
>>>> tuning on the original code), it just did not account for the widely
>>>> varying average response times for different classes of storage ;-)
>>>>
>>>>
>>> Well, as I said - last time I checked, it did seem to be broken. By
>>> what means did you confirm that it is still effective, and what were
>>> the results?
>>>
>>>
>>>
>> I think Josef posted those results for S-ATA earlier in the thread and
>> they were still working. We can repost/rerun to give more detail...
>>
>
> Yes please.
>
We should do a clean retest and repost with the types of storage we have
at hand. Roughly, that would include:

* RAM disk
* mid sized array (FC first, iSCSI second?)
* S-ATA
* SAS

It would also be interesting to test with various HZ settings (100, 250,
1000).

Would that fill in most of the interesting spots?

Not sure how much time we have to cover all of these, but we will take a
stab at it ;-)

ric



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