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SubjectRe: [Bug #14141] order 2 page allocation failures in iwlagn
(Adding Jens to CC.)

On Wednesday 14 October 2009, Frans Pop wrote:
> > > There still has not been a mm-change identified that makes
> > > fragmentation significantly worse.

On Mon, 2009-10-19 at 01:33 +0200, Frans Pop wrote:
> > My bisection shows a very clear point, even if not an individual commit,
> > in the 'akpm' merge where SKB errors suddenly become *much* more
> > frequent and easy to trigger.
> > I'm sorry to say this, but the fact that nothing has been identified yet
> > is IMO the result of a lack of effort, not because there is no such
> > change.
> I was wrong. It turns out that I was creating the variations in the test
> results around the akpm merge myself by tiny changes in the way I ran the
> tests. It took another round of about 30 compilations and tests purely in
> this range to show that, but those same tests also made me aware of other
> patterns I should look at.
> Until a few days ago I was concentrating on "do I see SKB allocation errors
> or not". Since then I've also been looking more consciously at when they
> happen, at disk access patterns and at desktop freeze patterns.
> I think I did mention before that this whole issue is rather subtle :-/
> So, my apologies for finguering the wrong area for so long, but it looked
> solid given the info available at the time.
> On Thursday 15 October 2009, Mel Gorman wrote:
> > Outside the range of commits suspected of causing problems was the
> > following. It's extremely low probability
> >
> > Commit 8aa7e84 Fix congestion_wait() sync/async vs read/write confusion
> > This patch alters the call to congestion_wait() in the page
> > allocator. Frankly, I don't get the change but it might worth
> > checking if replacing BLK_RW_ASYNC with WRITE on top of 2.6.31
> > makes any difference
> This is the real culprit. Mel: thanks very much for looking beyond the
> area I identified. Your overview of mm changes was exactly what I needed
> and really helped a lot during my later tests.
> This commit definitely causes most of the problems; confirmed by reverting
> it on top of 2.6.31 (also requires reverting 373c0a7e, which is a later
> build fix).

Mel/Jens, any ideas why commit 8aa7e84 makes us run out of high order
pages? Should we be using BLK_RW_SYNC in mm/page_alloc.c instead of


diff --git a/mm/page_alloc.c b/mm/page_alloc.c
index bf72055..fa8380a 100644
--- a/mm/page_alloc.c
+++ b/mm/page_alloc.c
@@ -1727,7 +1727,7 @@ __alloc_pages_high_priority(gfp_t gfp_mask, unsigned int order,
preferred_zone, migratetype);

if (!page && gfp_mask & __GFP_NOFAIL)
- congestion_wait(BLK_RW_ASYNC, HZ/50);
+ congestion_wait(BLK_RW_SYNC, HZ/50);
} while (!page && (gfp_mask & __GFP_NOFAIL));

return page;
@@ -1898,7 +1898,7 @@ rebalance:
pages_reclaimed += did_some_progress;
if (should_alloc_retry(gfp_mask, order, pages_reclaimed)) {
/* Wait for some write requests to complete then retry */
- congestion_wait(BLK_RW_ASYNC, HZ/50);
+ congestion_wait(BLK_RW_SYNC, HZ/50);
goto rebalance;

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