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SubjectRe: mmotm 2009-06-02-16-11 uploaded (readahead)

Wu Fengguang, on 06/09/2009 08:51 AM wrote:
> On Tue, Jun 09, 2009 at 12:38:17PM +0800, Andrew Morton wrote:
>> On Tue, 9 Jun 2009 05:59:16 +0200 Jens Axboe <> wrote:
>>> ...
>>>> Doing a block-specific call from inside page_cache_async_readahead() is
>>>> a bit of a layering violation - this may not be a block-backed
>>>> filesystem at all.
>>>> otoh, perhaps blk_run_backing_dev() is wrongly named and defined in the
>>>> wrong place. Perhaps non-block-backed backing_devs want to implement
>>>> an unplug-style function too? In which case the whole thing should be
>>>> renamed and moved outside blkdev.h.
>>>> If we don't want to do that, shouldn't backing_dev_info.unplug* be
>>>> wrapped in #ifdef CONFIG_BLOCK? And wasn't it a layering violation to
>>>> put block-specific things into the backing_dev_info?
>>>> Jens, talk to me!
>>>> From the readahead POV: does it make sense to call the backing-dev's
>>>> "unplug" function even if that isn't a block-based device? Or was this
>>>> just a weird block-device-only performance problem? Hard to say.
>>> Layering wise, I don't think it's that bad. It would have looked cleaner
>>> to do:
>>> blk_run_address_space(mapping);
>>> instead, but we would still need to make that available outside of
>>> CONFIG_BLOCK as well.
>>> What I don't like about the patch is that it's a heuristic, a "I poked
>>> this and it made that faster" with nobody really understanding why.
>> Well. I _think_ we understand it. I'm not sure that we understand why
>> it made scst faster though.
> Because the NFS/SCST servers are running RAID?
> Also the client side NFS/SCST IO request may be slitted up and served
> by a pool of server processes, which introduces the same disorderness
> as in RAID configuration. But I wonder whether blk_* work for them,
> or NFS/SCST have the "plug" concept at all.

Yes, I agree about the disorderness. In the Beheer's case there are both
RAID and IO reordering caused by IO submission by a pool of SCST IO
threads. So, your comment in the patch can well explain why the
blk_run_backing_dev() patch recovers read-ahead and, hence, improves
performance in this case.

But I also agree that it would be good to prove that theory by some
block/RA/SCST traces, because there might be other similar issues in the
RA code, which could be discovered with better understanding of the
problem. We can ask Beheer to prepare the necessary traces.


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