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Subjectblock cache replacement strategy?
Hi,

during some simple disk read throughput testing I observed
caching behaviour that doesn't seem right. The machine
has 2G of RAM and AMD Athlon 4850e, x86_64 kernel but 32bit
userspace, Linux 2.6.35.4. It seems that contents of the
block cache are not evicted to make room for other blocks.
(Or something like that, I have no real clue about this.)

Since this is a rather artificial test I'm not too worried,
but it looks strange to me so I thought I better report it.


zzz:~# echo 3 >/proc/sys/vm/drop_caches
zzz:~# dd if=/dev/sda2 of=/dev/null bs=1M count=1000
1000+0 records in
1000+0 records out
1048576000 bytes (1.0 GB) copied, 13.9454 s, 75.2 MB/s
zzz:~# dd if=/dev/sda2 of=/dev/null bs=1M count=1000
1000+0 records in
1000+0 records out
1048576000 bytes (1.0 GB) copied, 0.92799 s, 1.1 GB/s

OK, seems like the blocks are cached. But:

zzz:~# dd if=/dev/sda2 of=/dev/null bs=1M count=1000 skip=1000
1000+0 records in
1000+0 records out
1048576000 bytes (1.0 GB) copied, 13.8375 s, 75.8 MB/s
zzz:~# dd if=/dev/sda2 of=/dev/null bs=1M count=1000 skip=1000
1000+0 records in
1000+0 records out
1048576000 bytes (1.0 GB) copied, 13.8429 s, 75.7 MB/s

Even if I let 15min pass and repeat the dd command
several times, I cannot see any caching effects, it
stays at ~75 MB/s.

zzz:~# cat /proc/meminfo
MemTotal: 1793272 kB
MemFree: 15216 kB
Buffers: 1378820 kB
Cached: 20080 kB
SwapCached: 0 kB
Active: 792720 kB
Inactive: 758832 kB
Active(anon): 91716 kB
Inactive(anon): 64652 kB
Active(file): 701004 kB
Inactive(file): 694180 kB

But then:

zzz:~# dd if=/dev/sda2 of=/dev/null bs=1M count=1000
1000+0 records in
1000+0 records out
1048576000 bytes (1.0 GB) copied, 5.23983 s, 200 MB/s
zzz:~# dd if=/dev/sda2 of=/dev/null bs=1M count=1000
1000+0 records in
1000+0 records out
1048576000 bytes (1.0 GB) copied, 0.908284 s, 1.2 GB/s

zzz:~# cat /proc/meminfo
MemTotal: 1793272 kB
MemFree: 16168 kB
Buffers: 1377308 kB
Cached: 20660 kB
SwapCached: 0 kB
Active: 1140384 kB
Inactive: 410236 kB
Active(anon): 91716 kB
Inactive(anon): 64652 kB
Active(file): 1048668 kB
Inactive(file): 345584 kB


And finally:

zzz:~# echo 3 >/proc/sys/vm/drop_caches
zzz:~# dd if=/dev/sda2 of=/dev/null bs=1M count=1000 skip=1000
1000+0 records in
1000+0 records out
1048576000 bytes (1.0 GB) copied, 13.948 s, 75.2 MB/s
zzz:~# dd if=/dev/sda2 of=/dev/null bs=1M count=1000 skip=1000
1000+0 records in
1000+0 records out
1048576000 bytes (1.0 GB) copied, 0.985031 s, 1.1 GB/s


Now these blocks get cached but then the others don't:

zzz:~# dd if=/dev/sda2 of=/dev/null bs=1M count=1000
1000+0 records in
1000+0 records out
1048576000 bytes (1.0 GB) copied, 13.9394 s, 75.2 MB/s
zzz:~# dd if=/dev/sda2 of=/dev/null bs=1M count=1000
1000+0 records in
1000+0 records out
1048576000 bytes (1.0 GB) copied, 13.9403 s, 75.2 MB/s


Best Regards,
Johannes


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