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Subject[PATCH 00/14] mm: balance LRU lists based on relative thrashing v2
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The reclaim code that balances between swapping and cache reclaim
tries to predict likely reuse based on in-memory reference patterns
alone. This works in many cases, but when it fails it cannot detect
when the cache is thrashing pathologically, or when we're in the
middle of a swap storm.

The high seek cost of rotational drives under which the algorithm
evolved also meant that mistakes could quickly result in lockups from
too aggressive swapping (which is predominantly random IO). As a
result, the balancing code has been tuned over time to a point where
it mostly goes for page cache and defers swapping until the VM is
under significant memory pressure.

The resulting strategy doesn't make optimal caching decisions - where
optimal is the least amount of IO required to execute the workload.

The proliferation of fast random IO devices such as SSDs, in-memory
compression such as zswap, and persistent memory technologies on the
horizon, has made this undesirable behavior very noticable: Even in
the presence of large amounts of cold anonymous memory and a capable
swap device, the VM refuses to even seriously scan these pages, and
can leave the page cache thrashing needlessly.

This series sets out to address this. Since commit ("a528910e12ec mm:
thrash detection-based file cache sizing") we have exact tracking of
refault IO - the ultimate cost of reclaiming the wrong pages. This
allows us to use an IO cost based balancing model that is more
aggressive about scanning anonymous memory when the cache is
thrashing, while being able to avoid unnecessary swap storms.

These patches base the LRU balance on the rate of refaults on each
list, times the relative IO cost between swap device and filesystem
(swappiness), in order to optimize reclaim for least IO cost incurred.

History

I floated these changes in 2016. At the time they were incomplete and
full of workarounds due to a lack of infrastructure in the reclaim
code: We didn't have PageWorkingset, we didn't have hierarchical
cgroup statistics, and problems with the cgroup swap controller. As
swapping wasn't too high a priority then, the patches stalled out.
With all dependencies in place now, here we are again with much
cleaner, feature-complete patches.

I kept the acks for patches that stayed materially the same :-)

Below is a series of test results that demonstrate certain problematic
behavior of the current code, as well as showcase the new code's more
predictable and appropriate balancing decisions.

Test #1: No convergence

This test shows an edge case where the VM currently doesn't converge
at all on a new file workingset with a stale anon/tmpfs set.

The test sets up a cold anon set the size of 3/4 RAM, then tries to
establish a new file set half the size of RAM (flat access pattern).

The vanilla kernel refuses to even scan anon pages and never
converges. The file set is perpetually served from the filesystem.

The first test kernel is with the series up to the workingset patch
applied. This allows thrashing page cache to challenge the anonymous
workingset. The VM then scans the lists based on the current
scanned/rotated balancing algorithm. It converges on a stable state
where all cold anon pages are pushed out and the fileset is served
entirely from cache:

noconverge/5.7-rc5-mm noconverge/5.7-rc5-mm-workingset
Scanned 417719308.00 ( +0.00%) 64091155.00 ( -84.66%)
Reclaimed 417711094.00 ( +0.00%) 61640308.00 ( -85.24%)
Reclaim efficiency % 100.00 ( +0.00%) 96.18 ( -3.78%)
Scanned file 417719308.00 ( +0.00%) 59211118.00 ( -85.83%)
Scanned anon 0.00 ( +0.00%) 4880037.00 ( )
Swapouts 0.00 ( +0.00%) 2439957.00 ( )
Swapins 0.00 ( +0.00%) 257.00 ( )
Refaults 415246605.00 ( +0.00%) 59183722.00 ( -85.75%)
Restore refaults 0.00 ( +0.00%) 54988252.00 ( )

The second test kernel is with the full patch series applied, which
replaces the scanned/rotated ratios with refault/swapin rate-based
balancing. It evicts the cold anon pages more aggressively in the
presence of a thrashing cache and the absence of swapins, and so
converges with about 60% of the IO and reclaim activity:

noconverge/5.7-rc5-mm-workingset noconverge/5.7-rc5-mm-lrubalance
Scanned 64091155.00 ( +0.00%) 37579741.00 ( -41.37%)
Reclaimed 61640308.00 ( +0.00%) 35129293.00 ( -43.01%)
Reclaim efficiency % 96.18 ( +0.00%) 93.48 ( -2.78%)
Scanned file 59211118.00 ( +0.00%) 32708385.00 ( -44.76%)
Scanned anon 4880037.00 ( +0.00%) 4871356.00 ( -0.18%)
Swapouts 2439957.00 ( +0.00%) 2435565.00 ( -0.18%)
Swapins 257.00 ( +0.00%) 262.00 ( +1.94%)
Refaults 59183722.00 ( +0.00%) 32675667.00 ( -44.79%)
Restore refaults 54988252.00 ( +0.00%) 28480430.00 ( -48.21%)

We're triggering this case in host sideloading scenarios: When a
host's primary workload is not saturating the machine (primary load is
usually driven by user activity), we can optimistically sideload a
batch job; if user activity picks up and the primary workload needs
the whole host during this time, we freeze the sideload and rely on it
getting pushed to swap. Frequently that swapping doesn't happen and
the completely inactive sideload simply stays resident while the
expanding primary worklad is struggling to gain ground.

Test #2: Kernel build

This test is a a kernel build that is slightly memory-restricted (make
-j4 inside a 400M cgroup).

Despite the very aggressive swapping of cold anon pages in test #1,
this test shows that the new kernel carefully balances swap against
cache refaults when both the file and the cache set are pressured.

It shows the patched kernel to be slightly better at finding the
coldest memory from the combined anon and file set to evict under
pressure. The result is lower aggregate reclaim and paging activity:

5.7-rc5-mm 5.7-rc5-mm-lrubalance
Real time 210.60 ( +0.00%) 210.97 ( +0.18%)
User time 745.42 ( +0.00%) 746.48 ( +0.14%)
System time 69.78 ( +0.00%) 69.79 ( +0.02%)
Scanned file 354682.00 ( +0.00%) 293661.00 ( -17.20%)
Scanned anon 465381.00 ( +0.00%) 378144.00 ( -18.75%)
Swapouts 185920.00 ( +0.00%) 147801.00 ( -20.50%)
Swapins 34583.00 ( +0.00%) 32491.00 ( -6.05%)
Refaults 212664.00 ( +0.00%) 172409.00 ( -18.93%)
Restore refaults 48861.00 ( +0.00%) 80091.00 ( +63.91%)
Total paging IO 433167.00 ( +0.00%) 352701.00 ( -18.58%)

Test #3: Overload

This next test is not about performance, but rather about the
predictability of the algorithm. The current balancing behavior
doesn't always lead to comprehensible results, which makes performance
analysis and parameter tuning (swappiness e.g.) very difficult.

The test shows the balancing behavior under equivalent anon and file
input. Anon and file sets are created of equal size (3/4 RAM), have
the same access patterns (a hot-cold gradient), and synchronized
access rates. Swappiness is raised from the default of 60 to 100 to
indicate equal IO cost between swap and cache.

With the vanilla balancing code, anon scans make up around 9% of the
total pages scanned, or a ~1:10 ratio. This is a surprisingly skewed
ratio, and it's an outcome that is hard to explain given the input
parameters to the VM.

The new balancing model targets a 1:2 balance: All else being equal,
reclaiming a file page costs one page IO - the refault; reclaiming an
anon page costs two IOs - the swapout and the swapin. In the test we
observe a ~1:3 balance.

The scanned and paging IO numbers indicate that the anon LRU algorithm
we have in place right now does a slightly worse job at picking the
coldest pages compared to the file algorithm. There is ongoing work to
improve this, like Joonsoo's anon workingset patches; however, it's
difficult to compare the two aging strategies when the balancing
between them is behaving unintuitively.

The slightly less efficient anon reclaim results in a deviation from
the optimal 1:2 scan ratio we would like to see here - however, 1:3 is
much closer to what we'd want to see in this test than the vanilla
kernel's aging of 10+ cache pages for every anonymous one:

overload-100/5.7-rc5-mm-workingset overload-100/5.7-rc5-mm-lrubalance-realfile
Scanned 533633725.00 ( +0.00%) 595687785.00 ( +11.63%)
Reclaimed 494325440.00 ( +0.00%) 518154380.00 ( +4.82%)
Reclaim efficiency % 92.63 ( +0.00%) 86.98 ( -6.03%)
Scanned file 484532894.00 ( +0.00%) 456937722.00 ( -5.70%)
Scanned anon 49100831.00 ( +0.00%) 138750063.00 ( +182.58%)
Swapouts 8096423.00 ( +0.00%) 48982142.00 ( +504.98%)
Swapins 10027384.00 ( +0.00%) 62325044.00 ( +521.55%)
Refaults 479819973.00 ( +0.00%) 451309483.00 ( -5.94%)
Restore refaults 426422087.00 ( +0.00%) 399914067.00 ( -6.22%)
Total paging IO 497943780.00 ( +0.00%) 562616669.00 ( +12.99%)

Test #4: Parallel IO

It's important to note that these patches only affect the situation
where the kernel has to reclaim workingset memory, which is usually a
transitionary period. The vast majority of page reclaim occuring in a
system is from trimming the ever-expanding page cache.

These patches don't affect cache trimming behavior. We never swap as
long as we only have use-once cache moving through the file LRU, we
only consider swapping when the cache is actively thrashing.

The following test demonstrates this. It has an anon workingset that
takes up half of RAM and then writes a file that is twice the size of
RAM out to disk.

As the cache is funneled through the inactive file list, no anon pages
are scanned (aside from apparently some background noise of 10 pages):

5.7-rc5-mm 5.7-rc5-mm-lrubalance
Scanned 10714722.00 ( +0.00%) 10723445.00 ( +0.08%)
Reclaimed 10703596.00 ( +0.00%) 10712166.00 ( +0.08%)
Reclaim efficiency % 99.90 ( +0.00%) 99.89 ( -0.00%)
Scanned file 10714722.00 ( +0.00%) 10723435.00 ( +0.08%)
Scanned anon 0.00 ( +0.00%) 10.00 ( )
Swapouts 0.00 ( +0.00%) 7.00 ( )
Swapins 0.00 ( +0.00%) 0.00 ( +0.00%)
Refaults 92.00 ( +0.00%) 41.00 ( -54.84%)
Restore refaults 0.00 ( +0.00%) 0.00 ( +0.00%)
Total paging IO 92.00 ( +0.00%) 48.00 ( -47.31%)

These patches are based on v5.7-rc5-mm (minus linux-next and up).

Documentation/admin-guide/sysctl/vm.rst | 23 ++++--
fs/cifs/file.c | 10 +--
fs/fuse/dev.c | 2 +-
include/linux/memcontrol.h | 13 ++++
include/linux/mmzone.h | 21 ++----
include/linux/swap.h | 5 +-
include/linux/vm_event_item.h | 4 ++
include/linux/vmstat.h | 1 +
kernel/sysctl.c | 3 +-
mm/khugepaged.c | 8 +--
mm/memcontrol.c | 18 ++---
mm/memory.c | 2 +-
mm/shmem.c | 6 +-
mm/swap.c | 90 +++++++++++------------
mm/swap_state.c | 7 +-
mm/vmscan.c | 114 ++++++++++++------------------
mm/vmstat.c | 4 ++
mm/workingset.c | 21 ++++--
18 files changed, 180 insertions(+), 172 deletions(-)


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