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SubjectRe: [PATCH 8/8] vm: Add an tuning knob for vm.max_writeback_mb
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On Tue, 2009-09-08 at 19:46 +0200, Peter Zijlstra wrote:
> On Tue, 2009-09-08 at 13:28 -0400, Chris Mason wrote:
> > > Right, so what can we do to make it useful? I think the intent is to
> > > limit the number of pages in writeback and provide some progress
> > > feedback to the vm.
> > >
> > > Going by your experience we're failing there.
> >
> > Well, congestion_wait is a stop sign but not a queue. So, if you're
> > being nice and honoring congestion but another process (say O_DIRECT
> > random writes) doesn't, then you back off forever and none of your IO
> > gets done.
> >
> > To get around this, you can add code to make sure that you do
> > _some_ io, but this isn't enough for your work to get done
> > quickly, and you do end up waiting in get_request() so the async
> > benefits of using the congestion test go away.
> >
> > If we changed everyone to honor congestion, we end up with a poll model
> > because a ton of congestion_wait() callers create a thundering herd.
> >
> > So, we could add a queue, and then congestion_wait() would look a lot
> > like get_request_wait(). I'd rather that everyone just used
> > get_request_wait, and then have us fix any latency problems in the
> > elevator.
>
> Except you'd need to lift it to the BDI layer, because not all backing
> devices are a block device.
>
> Making it into a per-bdi queue sounds good to me though.
>
> > For me, perfect would be one or more threads per-bdi doing the
> > writeback, and never checking for congestion (like what Jens' code
> > does). The congestion_wait inside balance_dirty_pages() is really just
> > a schedule_timeout(), on a fully loaded box the congestion doesn't go
> > away anyway. We should switch that to a saner system of waiting for
> > progress on the bdi writeback + dirty thresholds.
>
> Right, one of the things we could possibly do is tie into
> __bdi_writeout_inc() and test levels there once every so often and then
> flip a bit when we're low enough to stop writing.

I think I'm somewhat confused here though..

There's kernel threads doing writeout, and there's apps getting stuck in
balance_dirty_pages().

If we want all writeout to be done by kernel threads (bdi/pd-flush like
things) then we still need to manage the actual apps and delay them.

As things stand now, we kick pdflush into action when dirty levels are
above the background level, and start writing out from the app task when
we hit the full dirty level.

Moving all writeout to a kernel thread sounds good from writing linear
stuff pov, but what do we make apps wait on then?


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