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SubjectRe: [PATCH] cfq-iosched: non-rot devices do not need read queue merging
On Thu, Jan 7, 2010 at 7:37 PM, Vivek Goyal <> wrote:
> On Thu, Jan 07, 2010 at 06:00:54PM +0100, Corrado Zoccolo wrote:
>> On Thu, Jan 7, 2010 at 3:36 PM, Vivek Goyal <> wrote:
>> > Hi Corrado,
>> >
>> > How does idle time value relate to flash card being slower for writes? If
>> > flash card is slow and we choose to idle on queue (because of direct
>> > writes), idle time value does not even kick in. We just continue to remain
>> > on same cfqq and don't do dispatch from next cfqq.
>> >
>> > Idle time value will matter only if there was delay from cpu side or from
>> > workload side in issuing next request after completion of previous one.
>> >
>> > Thanks
>> > Vivek
>> Hi Vivek,
>> for me, the optimal idle value should approximate the cost of
>> switching to an other queue.
>> So, for reads, if we are waiting for more than 1 ms, then we are
>> wasting bandwidth.
>> But if we switch from reads to writes (since the reader thought
>> slightly more than 1ms), and the write is really slow, we can have a
>> really long latency before the reader can complete its new request.
> What workload do you have where reader is thinking more than a 1ms?
My representative workload is booting my netbook. I found that if I
let cfq autotune to a lower slice idle, boot slows down, and bootchart
clearly shows that I/O wait increases and I/O bandwidth decreases.
This tells me that the writes are getting into the picture earlier
than with 8ms idle, and causing a regression.
Note that the reader doesn't need to be one. I could have a set of
readers, and I want to switch between them in 1ms, but idle up to 10ms
or more before switching to async writes.
> To me one issue probably is that for sync queues we drive shallow (1-2)
> queue depths and this can be an issue on high end storage where there
> can be multiple disks behind the array and this sync queue is just
> not keeping array fully utilized. Buffered sequential reads mitigate
> this issue up to some extent as requests size is big.
I think for sequential queues, you should tune your readahead to hit
all the disks of the raid. In that case, idling makes sense, because
all the disks will now be ready to serve the new request immediately.

> Idling on the queue helps in providing differentiated service for higher
> priority queue and also helps to get more out of disk on rotational media
> with single disk. But I suspect that on big arrays, this idling on sync
> queues and not driving deeper queue depths might hurt.
We should have some numbers to support. In all tests I saw, setting
slice idle to 0 causes regression also on decently sized arrays, at
least when the number of concurrent processes is big enough that 2 of
them likely will make requests to the same disk (and by the birthday
paradox, this can be a quite small number, even with very large
arrays: e.g. with 365-disk raids, 23 concurrent processes have 50%
probability of colliding on the same disk at every single request

> So if we had a way to detect that we got a big storage array underneath,
> may be we can get more throughput by not idling at all. But we will also
> loose the service differentiation between various ioprio queues. I guess
> your patches of monitoring service times might be useful here.
It might, but we need to identify an hardware in which not idling is
beneficial, measure its behaviour and see which measurable parameter
can clearly distinguish it from other hardware where idling is
required. If we are speaking of raid of rotational disks, seek time
(which I was measuring) is not a good parameter, because it can be
still high.
>> So the optimal choice would be to have two different idle times, one
>> for switch between readers, and one when switching from readers to
>> writers.
> Sounds like read and write batches. With you workload type, we are already
> doing it. Idle per service tree. At least it solves the problem for
> sync-noidle queues where we don't idle between read queues but do idle
> between read and buffered write (async queues).
In fact those changes improved my netbook boot time a lot, and I'm not
even using sreadahead. But if autotuning reduces the slice idle, then
I see again the huge penalty of small writes.

> In my testing so far, I have not encountered the workloads where readers
> are thinking a lot. Think time has been very small.
Sometimes real workloads have more variable think times than our
syntetic benchmarks.

> Thanks
> Vivek

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