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SubjectRe: [PATCH] mm: vmscan: do not share cgroup iteration between reclaimers
On Tue, Aug 13, 2019 at 03:29:38PM +0200, Michal Hocko wrote:
> On Mon 12-08-19 15:23:16, Johannes Weiner wrote:
> > One of our services observed a high rate of cgroup OOM kills in the
> > presence of large amounts of clean cache. Debugging showed that the
> > culprit is the shared cgroup iteration in page reclaim.
> >
> > Under high allocation concurrency, multiple threads enter reclaim at
> > the same time. Fearing overreclaim when we first switched from the
> > single global LRU to cgrouped LRU lists, we introduced a shared
> > iteration state for reclaim invocations - whether 1 or 20 reclaimers
> > are active concurrently, we only walk the cgroup tree once: the 1st
> > reclaimer reclaims the first cgroup, the second the second one etc.
> > With more reclaimers than cgroups, we start another walk from the top.
> >
> > This sounded reasonable at the time, but the problem is that reclaim
> > concurrency doesn't scale with allocation concurrency. As reclaim
> > concurrency increases, the amount of memory individual reclaimers get
> > to scan gets smaller and smaller. Individual reclaimers may only see
> > one cgroup per cycle, and that may not have much reclaimable
> > memory. We see individual reclaimers declare OOM when there is plenty
> > of reclaimable memory available in cgroups they didn't visit.
> >
> > This patch does away with the shared iterator, and every reclaimer is
> > allowed to scan the full cgroup tree and see all of reclaimable
> > memory, just like it would on a non-cgrouped system. This way, when
> > OOM is declared, we know that the reclaimer actually had a chance.
> >
> > To still maintain fairness in reclaim pressure, disallow cgroup
> > reclaim from bailing out of the tree walk early. Kswapd and regular
> > direct reclaim already don't bail, so it's not clear why limit reclaim
> > would have to, especially since it only walks subtrees to begin with.
> The code does bail out on any direct reclaim - be it limit or page
> allocator triggered. Check the !current_is_kswapd part of the condition.

Ah you're right. In practice I doubt it makes much of a difference,
though, because...

> > This change completely eliminates the OOM kills on our service, while
> > showing no signs of overreclaim - no increased scan rates, %sys time,
> > or abrupt free memory spikes. I tested across 100 machines that have
> > 64G of RAM and host about 300 cgroups each.
> What is the usual direct reclaim involvement on those machines?

80-200 kb/s. In general we try to keep this low to non-existent on our
hosts due to the latency implications. So it's fair to say that kswapd
does page reclaim, and direct reclaim is a sign of overload.

> That being said, I do agree that the oom side of the coin is causing
> real troubles and it is a real problem to be addressed first. Especially with
> cgroup v2 where we have likely more memcgs without any pages because
> inner nodes do not have any tasks and direct charges which makes some
> reclaimers hit memcgs without pages more likely.
> Let's see whether we see regression due to over-reclaim.
> > Signed-off-by: Johannes Weiner <>
> With the direct reclaim bail out reference fixed - unless I am wrong
> there of course
> Acked-by: Michal Hocko <>

Thanks! I'll send an updated changelog.

> It is sad to see this piece of fun not being used after that many years
> of bugs here and there and all the lockless fun but this is the life

Haha, agreed.

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