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SubjectRe: [RFC] writeback and cgroup
On Mon, Apr 23, 2012 at 11:14:32AM +0200, Jan Kara wrote:
> On Fri 20-04-12 21:34:41, Wu Fengguang wrote:
> > On Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 10:26:35PM +0200, Jan Kara wrote:
> > > > It's not uncommon for me to see filesystems sleep on PG_writeback
> > > > pages during heavy writeback, within some lock or transaction, which in
> > > > turn stall many tasks that try to do IO or merely dirty some page in
> > > > memory. Random writes are especially susceptible to such stalls. The
> > > > stable page feature also vastly increase the chances of stalls by
> > > > locking the writeback pages.
> > > >
> > > > Page reclaim may also block on PG_writeback and/or PG_dirty pages. In
> > > > the case of direct reclaim, it means blocking random tasks that are
> > > > allocating memory in the system.
> > > >
> > > > PG_writeback pages are much worse than PG_dirty pages in that they are
> > > > not movable. This makes a big difference for high-order page allocations.
> > > > To make room for a 2MB huge page, vmscan has the option to migrate
> > > > PG_dirty pages, but for PG_writeback it has no better choices than to
> > > > wait for IO completion.
> > > >
> > > > The difficulty of THP allocation goes up *exponentially* with the
> > > > number of PG_writeback pages. Assume PG_writeback pages are randomly
> > > > distributed in the physical memory space. Then we have formula
> > > >
> > > > P(reclaimable for THP) = 1 - P(hit PG_writeback)^256
> > > Well, this implicitely assumes that PG_Writeback pages are scattered
> > > across memory uniformly at random. I'm not sure to which extent this is
> > > true...
> >
> > Yeah, when describing the problem I was also thinking about the
> > possibilities of optimization (it would be a very good general
> > improvements). Or maybe Mel already has some solutions :)
> >
> > > Also as a nitpick, this isn't really an exponential growth since
> > > the exponent is fixed (256 - actually it should be 512, right?). It's just
> >
> > Right, 512 4k pages to form one x86_64 2MB huge pages.
> >
> > > a polynomial with a big exponent. But sure, growth in number of PG_Writeback
> > > pages will cause relatively steep drop in the number of available huge
> > > pages.
> >
> > It's exponential indeed, because "1 - p(x)" here means "p(!x)".
> > It's exponential for a 10x increase in x resulting in 100x drop of y.
> If 'x' is the probability page has PG_Writeback set, then the probability
> a huge page has a single PG_Writeback page is (as you almost correctly wrote):
> (1-x)^512. This is a polynominal by the definition: It can be
> expressed as $\sum_{i=0}^n a_i*x^i$ for $a_i\in R$ and $n$ finite.
>
> The expression decreases fast as x approaches to 1, that's for sure, but
> that does not make it exponential. Sorry, my mathematical part could not
> resist this terminology correction.

ok, ok :-)

I actually got the equation wrong above, the one used in the script is
correct. The correct one is "it takes all 512 component pages to be
free of PG_writeback for the huge page to be free of PG_writeback and
immediately reclaimable for THP".

P(reclaimable for THP) = P(non-PG_writeback)^512

> > > ...
> > > > > > To me, balance_dirty_pages() is *the* proper layer for buffered writes.
> > > > > > It's always there doing 1:1 proportional throttling. Then you try to
> > > > > > kick in to add *double* throttling in block/cfq layer. Now the low
> > > > > > layer may enforce 10:1 throttling and push balance_dirty_pages() away
> > > > > > from its balanced state, leading to large fluctuations and program
> > > > > > stalls.
> > > > >
> > > > > Just do the same 1:1 inside each cgroup.
> > > >
> > > > Sure. But the ratio mismatch I'm talking about is inter-cgroup.
> > > > For example there are only 2 dd tasks doing buffered writes in the
> > > > system. Now consider the mismatch that cfq is dispatching their IO
> > > > requests at 10:1 weights, while balance_dirty_pages() is throttling
> > > > the dd tasks at 1:1 equal split because it's not aware of the cgroup
> > > > weights.
> > > >
> > > > What will happen in the end? The 1:1 ratio imposed by
> > > > balance_dirty_pages() will take effect and the dd tasks will progress
> > > > at the same pace. The cfq weights will be defeated because the async
> > > > queue for the second dd (and cgroup) constantly runs empty.
> > > Yup. This just shows that you have to have per-cgroup dirty limits. Once
> > > you have those, things start working again.
> >
> > Right. I think Tejun was more of less aware of this.
> >
> > I was rather upset by this per-memcg dirty_limit idea indeed. I never
> > expect it to work well when used extensively. My plan was to set the
> > default memcg dirty_limit high enough, so that it's not hit in normal.
> > Then Tejun came and proposed to (mis-)use dirty_limit as the way to
> > convert the dirty pages' backpressure into real dirty throttling rate.
> > No, that's just crazy idea!
> >
> > Come on, let's not over-use memcg's dirty_limit. It's there as the
> > *last resort* to keep dirty pages under control so as to maintain
> > interactive performance inside the cgroup. However if used extensively
> > in the system (like dozens of memcgs all hit their dirty limits), the
> > limit itself may stall random dirtiers and create interactive
> > performance issues!
> >
> > In the recent days I've come up with the idea of memcg.dirty_setpoint
> > for the blkcg backpressure stuff. We can use that instead.
> >
> > memcg.dirty_setpoint will scale proportionally with blkcg.writeout_rate.
> > Imagine bdi_setpoint. It's all the same concepts. Why we need this?
> > Because if blkcg A and B does 10:1 weights and are both doing buffered
> > writes, their dirty pages should better be maintained around 10:1
> > ratio to avoid underrun and hopefully achieve better IO size.
> > memcg.dirty_limit cannot guarantee that goal.
> I agree that to avoid stalls of throttled processes we shouldn't be
> hitting memcg.dirty_limit on a regular basis. When I wrote we need "per
> cgroup dirty limits" I actually imagined something like you write above -
> do complete throttling computations within each memcg - estimate throughput
> available for it, compute appropriate dirty rates for it's processes and
> from its dirty limit estimate appropriate setpoint to balance around.
>

Yes. balance_dirty_pages() will need both dirty pages and dirty page
writeout rate for the cgroup to do proper dirty throttling for it.

> > But be warned! Partitioning the dirty pages always means more
> > fluctuations of dirty rates (and even stalls) that's perceivable by
> > the user. Which means another limiting factor for the backpressure
> > based IO controller to scale well.
> Sure, the smaller the memcg gets, the more noticeable these fluctuations
> would be. I would not expect memcg with 200 MB of memory to behave better
> (and also not much worse) than if I have a machine with that much memory...

It would be much worse if it's one single flusher thread round robin
over the cgroups...

For a small machine with 200MB memory, its IO completion events can
arrive continuously over time. However if its a 2000MB box divided
into 10 cgroups and the flusher is writing out dirty pages, spending
0.5s on each cgroup and then go on to the next, then for any single
cgroup, its IO completion events go quiet for every 9.5s and goes up
on the other 0.5s. It becomes really hard to control the number of
dirty pages.

Thanks,
Fengguang


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