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SubjectRe: Read starvation by sync writes
2012/12/12 Jan Kara <>:
> On Wed 12-12-12 10:55:15, Shaohua Li wrote:
>> 2012/12/11 Jan Kara <>:
>> > Hi,
>> >
>> > I was looking into IO starvation problems where streaming sync writes (in
>> > my case from kjournald but DIO would look the same) starve reads. This is
>> > because reads happen in small chunks and until a request completes we don't
>> > start reading further (reader reads lots of small files) while writers have
>> > plenty of big requests to submit. Both processes end up fighting for IO
>> > requests and writer writes nr_batching 512 KB requests while reader reads
>> > just one 4 KB request or so. Here the effect is magnified by the fact that
>> > the drive has relatively big queue depth so it usually takes longer than
>> > BLK_BATCH_TIME to complete the read request. The net result is it takes
>> > close to two minutes to read files that can be read under a second without
>> > writer load. Without the big drive's queue depth, results are not ideal but
>> > they are bearable - it takes about 20 seconds to do the reading. And for
>> > comparison, when writer and reader are not competing for IO requests (as it
>> > happens when writes are submitted as async), it takes about 2 seconds to
>> > complete reading.
>> >
>> > Simple reproducer is:
>> >
>> > echo 3 >/proc/sys/vm/drop_caches
>> > dd if=/dev/zero of=/tmp/f bs=1M count=10000 &
>> > sleep 30
>> > time cat /etc/* 2>&1 >/dev/null
>> > killall dd
>> > rm /tmp/f
>> >
>> > The question is how can we fix this? Two quick hacks that come to my mind
>> > are remove timeout from the batching logic (is it that important?) or
>> > further separate request allocation logic so that reads have their own
>> > request pool. More systematic fix would be to change request allocation
>> > logic to always allow at least a fixed number of requests per IOC. What do
>> > people think about this?
>> As long as queue depth > workload iodepth, there is little we can do
>> to prioritize tasks/IOC. Because throttling a task/IOC means queue
>> will be idle. We don't want to idle a queue (especially for SSD), so
>> we always push as more requests as possible to the queue, which
>> will break any prioritization. As far as I know we always have such
>> issue in CFQ for big queue depth disk.
> Yes, I understand that. But actually big queue depth on its own doesn't
> make the problem really bad (at least for me). When the reader doesn't have
> to wait for free IO requests, it progresses at a reasonable speed. What
> makes it really bad is that big queue depth effectively disallows any use
> of ioc_batching() mode for the reader and thus it blocks in request
> allocation for every single read request unlike writer which always uses
> its full batch (32 requests).

This can't explain why setting queue depth 1 makes the performance
better. In that case, write still get that number of requests, read will
wait for a request. Anyway, try setting nr_request to a big number
and check if performance is different.


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