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SubjectRe: [PATCH 0/5] Prevent kswapd dumping excessive amounts of memory in response to high-order allocations V2
On Fri, Dec 03, 2010 at 11:45:29AM +0000, Mel Gorman wrote:

> This still needs testing. I've tried multiple reproduction scenarios locally
> but two things are tripping me. One, Simon's network card is using GFP_ATOMIC
> allocations where as the one I use locally does not. Second, Simon's is a real
> mail workload with network traffic and there are no decent mail simulator
> benchmarks (that I could find at least) that would replicate the situation.
> Still, I'm hopeful it'll stop kswapd going mad on his machine and might
> also alleviate some of the "too much free memory" problem.
> Changelog since V1
> o Take classzone into account
> o Ensure that kswapd always balances at order-09
> o Reset classzone and order after reading
> o Require a percentage of a node be balanced for high-order allocations,
> not just any zone as ZONE_DMA could be balanced when the node in general
> is a mess
> Simon Kirby reported the following problem
> We're seeing cases on a number of servers where cache never fully
> grows to use all available memory. Sometimes we see servers with 4
> GB of memory that never seem to have less than 1.5 GB free, even with
> a constantly-active VM. In some cases, these servers also swap out
> while this happens, even though they are constantly reading the working
> set into memory. We have been seeing this happening for a long time;
> I don't think it's anything recent, and it still happens on 2.6.36.
> After some debugging work by Simon, Dave Hansen and others, the prevaling
> theory became that kswapd is reclaiming order-3 pages requested by SLUB
> too aggressive about it.
> There are two apparent problems here. On the target machine, there is a small
> Normal zone in comparison to DMA32. As kswapd tries to balance all zones, it
> would continually try reclaiming for Normal even though DMA32 was balanced
> enough for callers. The second problem is that sleeping_prematurely() uses
> the requested order, not the order kswapd finally reclaimed at. This keeps
> kswapd artifically awake.
> This series aims to alleviate these problems but needs testing to confirm
> it alleviates the actual problem and wider review to think if there is a
> better alternative approach. Local tests passed but are not reproducing
> the same problem unfortunately so the results are inclusive.

So, we have been running the first version of this series in production
since November 26th, and this version of this series in production since
early yesterday morning. Both versions definitely solve the kswapd not
sleeping problem and do improve the use of memory for caching. There are
still problems with fragmentation causing reclaim of more page cache than
I would like, but without this patch, the system is in bad shape (it
keeps reading daemons in from disk because kswapd keeps reclaiming them).;O=A

No problem with page allocation failures or any other problem in the
weeks of testing.


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