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Subjectext3 IO latency measurements (was: Linux 2.6.29)

* Jan Kara <jack@suse.cz> wrote:

> > So tell me again how the VM can rely on the filesystem not
> > blocking at random points.
>
> I can write a patch to make writepage() in the non-"mmapped
> creation" case non-blocking on journal. But I'll also have to find
> out whether it really helps something. But it's probably worth
> trying...

_all_ the problems i ever had with ext3 were 'collateral damage'
type of things: simple writes (sometimes even reads) getting
serialized on some large [but reasonable] dirtying activity
elsewhere - even if the system was still well within its
hard-dirty-limit threshold.

So it sure sounds like an area worth improving, and it's not that
hard to reproduce either. Take a system with enough RAM but only a
single disk, and do this in a kernel tree:

sync
echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches
while :; do
date
make mrproper 2>/dev/null >/dev/null
make defconfig 2>/dev/null >/dev/null
make -j32 bzImage 2>/dev/null >/dev/null
done &

Plain old kernel build, no distcc and no icecream. Wait a few
minutes for the system to reach equilibrium. There's no tweaking
anywhere, kernel, distro and filesystem defaults used everywhere:

aldebaran:/home/mingo/linux/linux> ./compile-test
Thu Mar 26 10:33:03 CET 2009
Thu Mar 26 10:35:24 CET 2009
Thu Mar 26 10:36:48 CET 2009
Thu Mar 26 10:38:54 CET 2009
Thu Mar 26 10:41:22 CET 2009
Thu Mar 26 10:43:41 CET 2009
Thu Mar 26 10:46:02 CET 2009
Thu Mar 26 10:48:28 CET 2009

And try to use the system while this workload is going on. Use Vim
to edit files in this kernel tree. Use plain _cat_ - and i hit
delays all the time - and it's not the CPU scheduler but all IO
related.

I have such an ext3 based system where i can do such tests and where
i dont mind crashes and data corruption either, so if you send me
experimental patches against latet -git i can try them immediately.
The system has 16 CPUs, 12GB of RAM and a single disk.

Btw., i had this test going on that box while i wrote some simple
scripts in Vim - and it was a horrible experience. The worst wait
was well above one minute - Vim just hung there indefinitely. Not
even Ctrl-Z was possible. I captured one such wait, it was hanging
right here:

aldebaran:~/linux/linux> cat /proc/3742/stack
[<ffffffff8034790a>] log_wait_commit+0xbd/0x110
[<ffffffff803430b2>] journal_stop+0x1df/0x20d
[<ffffffff8034421f>] journal_force_commit+0x28/0x2d
[<ffffffff80331c69>] ext3_force_commit+0x2b/0x2d
[<ffffffff80328b56>] ext3_write_inode+0x3e/0x44
[<ffffffff802ebb9d>] __sync_single_inode+0xc1/0x2ad
[<ffffffff802ebed6>] __writeback_single_inode+0x14d/0x15a
[<ffffffff802ebf0c>] sync_inode+0x29/0x34
[<ffffffff80327453>] ext3_sync_file+0xa7/0xb4
[<ffffffff802ef17d>] vfs_fsync+0x78/0xaf
[<ffffffff802ef1eb>] do_fsync+0x37/0x4d
[<ffffffff802ef228>] sys_fsync+0x10/0x14
[<ffffffff8020bd1b>] system_call_fastpath+0x16/0x1b
[<ffffffffffffffff>] 0xffffffffffffffff
It took about 120 seconds for it to recover.

And it's not just sys_fsync(). The script i wrote tests file read
latencies. I have created 1000 files with the same size (all copies
of kernel/sched.c ;-), and tested their cache-cold plain-cat
performance via:

for ((i=0;i<1000;i++)); do
printf "file #%4d, plain reading it took: " $i
/usr/bin/time -f "%e seconds." cat $i >/dev/null
done

I.e. plain, supposedly high-prio reads. The result is very common
hickups in read latencies:

file # 579 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.08 seconds.
file # 580 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.05 seconds.
file # 581 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.01 seconds.
file # 582 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.01 seconds.
file # 583 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 4.61 seconds.
file # 584 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 1.29 seconds.
file # 585 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 3.01 seconds.
file # 586 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 7.74 seconds.
file # 587 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 3.22 seconds.
file # 588 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.05 seconds.
file # 589 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.36 seconds.
file # 590 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 7.39 seconds.
file # 591 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 7.58 seconds.
file # 592 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 7.90 seconds.
file # 593 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 8.78 seconds.
file # 594 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 8.01 seconds.
file # 595 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 7.47 seconds.
file # 596 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 11.52 seconds.
file # 597 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 10.33 seconds.
file # 598 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 8.56 seconds.
file # 599 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 7.58 seconds.

The system's RAM is ridiculously under-utilized, 96.1% is free, only
3.9% is utilized:

total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 12318192 476732 11841460 0 48324 142936
-/+ buffers/cache: 285472 12032720
Swap: 4096564 0 4096564

Dirty data in /proc/meminfo fluctuates between 0.4% and 1.6% of
total RAM. (the script removes the freshly build kernel object
files, so the workload is pretty steady.)

The peak of 1.6% looks like this:

Dirty: 118376 kB
Dirty: 143784 kB
Dirty: 161756 kB
Dirty: 185084 kB
Dirty: 210524 kB
Dirty: 213348 kB
Dirty: 200124 kB
Dirty: 122152 kB
Dirty: 121508 kB
Dirty: 121512 kB

(1 second snapshots)

So the problems are all around the place and they are absolutely,
trivially reproducible. And this is how a default ext3 based distro
and the default upstream kernel will present itself to new Linux
users and developers. It's not a pretty experience.

Oh, and while at it - also a job control complaint. I tried to
Ctrl-C the above script:

file # 858 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.06 seconds.
file # 859 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.02 seconds.
file # 860 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 5.53 seconds.
file # 861 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 3.70 seconds.
file # 862 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.88 seconds.
file # 863 (253560 bytes), reading it took: 0.04 seconds.
file # 864 (253560 bytes), reading it took: ^C0.69 seconds.
file # 865 (253560 bytes), reading it took: ^C0.49 seconds.
file # 866 (253560 bytes), reading it took: ^C0.01 seconds.
file # 867 (253560 bytes), reading it took: ^C0.02 seconds.
file # 868 (253560 bytes), reading it took: ^C^C0.01 seconds.
file # 869 (253560 bytes), reading it took: ^C^C0.04 seconds.
file # 870 (253560 bytes), reading it took: ^C^C^C0.03 seconds.
file # 871 (253560 bytes), reading it took: ^C0.02 seconds.
file # 872 (253560 bytes), reading it took: ^C^C0.02 seconds.
file # 873 (253560 bytes), reading it took:
^C^C^C^Caldebaran:~/linux/linux/test-files/src>
I had to hit Ctrl-C numerous times before Bash would honor it. This
to is a very common thing on large SMP systems. I'm willing to test
patches until all these problems are fixed. Any takers?

Ingo


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