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SubjectRe: [PATCH 1/3] Reintroduce zone_reclaim_interval for when zone_reclaim() scans and fails to avoid CPU spinning at 100% on NUMA
On Tue, Jun 09, 2009 at 09:58:22AM +0800, Wu Fengguang wrote:
> On Mon, Jun 08, 2009 at 09:01:28PM +0800, Mel Gorman wrote:
> > On NUMA machines, the administrator can configure zone_reclaim_mode that is a
> > more targetted form of direct reclaim. On machines with large NUMA distances,
> > zone_reclaim_mode defaults to 1 meaning that clean unmapped pages will be
> > reclaimed if the zone watermarks are not being met. The problem is that
> > zone_reclaim() can be in a situation where it scans excessively without
> > making progress.
> >
> > One such situation is where a large tmpfs mount is occupying a large
> > percentage of memory overall. The pages do not get cleaned or reclaimed by
> > zone_reclaim(), but the lists are uselessly scanned frequencly making the
> > CPU spin at 100%. The scanning occurs because zone_reclaim() cannot tell
> > in advance the scan is pointless because the counters do not distinguish
> > between pagecache pages backed by disk and by RAM. The observation in
> > the field is that malloc() stalls for a long time (minutes in some cases)
> > when this situation occurs.
> >
> > Accounting for ram-backed file pages was considered but not implemented on
> > the grounds it would be introducing new branches and expensive checks into
> > the page cache add/remove patches and increase the number of statistics
> > needed in the zone. As zone_reclaim() failing is currently considered a
> > corner case, this seemed like overkill. Note, if there are a large number
> > of reports about CPU spinning at 100% on NUMA that is fixed by disabling
> > zone_reclaim, then this assumption is false and zone_reclaim() scanning
> > and failing is not a corner case but a common occurance
> >
> > This patch reintroduces zone_reclaim_interval which was removed by commit
> > 34aa1330f9b3c5783d269851d467326525207422 [zoned vm counters: zone_reclaim:
> > remove /proc/sys/vm/zone_reclaim_interval] because the zone counters were
> > considered sufficient to determine in advance if the scan would succeed.
> > As unsuccessful scans can still occur, zone_reclaim_interval is still
> > required.
> Can we avoid the user visible parameter zone_reclaim_interval?

You could, but then there is no way of disabling it by setting it to 0
either. I can't imagine why but the desired behaviour might really be to
spin and never go off-node unless there is no other option. They might
want to set it to 0 for example when determining what the right value for
zone_reclaim_mode is for their workloads.

> That means to introduce some heuristics for it.

I suspect the vast majority of users will ignore it unless they are runing
zone_reclaim_mode at the same time and even then will probably just leave
it as 30 as a LRU scan every 30 seconds worst case is not going to show up
on many profiles.

> Since the whole point
> is to avoid 100% CPU usage, we can take down the time used for this
> failed zone reclaim (T) and forbid zone reclaim until (NOW + 100*T).

i.e. just fix it internally at 100 seconds? How is that better than
having an obscure tunable? I think if this heuristic exists at all, it's
important that an administrator be able to turn it off if absolutly
necessary and so something must be user-visible.

Mel Gorman
Part-time Phd Student Linux Technology Center
University of Limerick IBM Dublin Software Lab

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