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SubjectRe: [PATCH v2 3/4] fs/dcache: Enable automatic pruning of negative dentries
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On Fri, 2017-07-21 at 16:17 -0400, Waiman Long wrote:
> On 07/21/2017 03:30 PM, James Bottomley wrote:
> >
> > On Fri, 2017-07-21 at 09:43 -0400, Waiman Long wrote:
> > >
> > > Having a limit for the number of negative dentries does have an
> > > undesirable side effect that no new negative dentries will be
> > > allowed when the limit is reached. This will have performance
> > > implication for some types of workloads.
> > This really seems like a significant problem: negative dentries
> > should be released in strict lru order because the chances are no-
> > one cares about the least recently used one, but they may care
> > about having the most recently created one.
>
> This should not happen under normal circumstances as the asynchronous
> shrinker should be able to keep enough free negative dentry available
> in the pool that direct negative dentry killing will rarely happen.

But that's an argument for not bothering with the patch set at all: if
it's a corner case that rarely occurs.

Perhaps we should start with why the series is important and then get
back to what we do if the condition is hit?

> >
> > [...]
> > >
> > > @@ -323,6 +329,16 @@ static void __neg_dentry_inc(struct dentry
> > > *dentry)
> > >    */
> > >   if (!cnt)
> > >   dentry->d_flags |= DCACHE_KILL_NEGATIVE;
> > > +
> > > + /*
> > > +  * Initiate negative dentry pruning if free pool has
> > > less
> > > than
> > > +  * 1/4 of its initial value.
> > > +  */
> > > + if (READ_ONCE(ndblk.nfree) < neg_dentry_nfree_init/4) {
> > > + WRITE_ONCE(ndblk.prune_sb, dentry->d_sb);
> > > + schedule_delayed_work(&prune_neg_dentry_work,
> > > +       NEG_PRUNING_DELAY);
> > > + }
> > So here, why not run the negative dentry shrinker synchronously to
> > see if we can shrink the cache and avoid killing the current
> > negative dentry.  If there are context problems doing that, we
> > should at least make the effort to track down the least recently
> > used negative dentry and mark that for killing instead.
>
> Only one CPU will be calling the asynchronous shrinker. So its effect
> on the overall performance of the system should be negligible.
>
> Allowing all CPUs to potentially do synchronous shrinking can cause a
> lot of lock and cacheline contention.

Does that matter on something you thought was a rare occurrence above?
 Plus, if the only use case is malicious user, as you say below, then
they get to pay the biggest overhead penalty because they're the ones
trying to create negative dentries.

Perhaps if the threat model truly is malicious users creating negative
dentries then a better fix is to add a delay penalty to true negative
dentry creation (say short msleep) when we get into this situation (if
you only pay the penalty on true negative dentry creation, not negative
promotes to positive, then we'll mostly penalise the process trying to
be malicious).

> I will look further to see if there is opportunity to do some
> optimistic synchronous shrinking. If that fails because of a
> contended lock, for example, we will need to fall back to killing the
> dentry. That should only happen under the worst case situation, like
> when a malicious process is running.

Right, so I can force this by doing a whole load of non existent file
lookups then what happens:  negative dentries stop working for everyone
because they're killed as soon as they're created.  Negative dentries
are useful performance enhancements for things like the usual does
x.lock exist, if not modify x things that applications do.

It also looks like the dentry never loses DCACHE_KILL_NEGATIVE, so if
I'm creating the x.lock file, and we're in this situation, it gets a
positive dentry with the DCACHE_KILL_NEGATIVE flag set (because we
start the lookup finding a negative dentry which gets the flag and then
promote it to positive).

James

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