Re: Hardcore trashing without any swap

From: LÃszlà Monda
Date: Mon Jun 14 2010 - 08:35:12 EST

On Mon, Jun 14, 2010 at 4:12 AM, KAMEZAWA Hiroyuki
<kamezawa.hiroyu@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> On Fri, 11 Jun 2010 23:38:58 +0200
> LÃszlà Monda <laci@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> On Fri, Jun 11, 2010 at 3:47 PM, Ed Tomlinson <edt@xxxxxx> wrote:
>> > On Friday 11 June 2010 08:53:50 LÃszlà Monda wrote:
>> >> On Fri, Jun 11, 2010 at 2:16 PM, Alan Cox <alan@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> >> > On Fri, 11 Jun 2010 02:10:33 +0200
>> >> > LÃszlà Monda <laci@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> >> >
>> >> >> Hi List,
>> >> >>
>> >> >> The problem I'm facing with is very simple, yet extremely irritating
>> >> >> in nature. ÂI have a laptop with 4G RAM and I don't use any swap.
>> >> >> Whenever the RAM is full my system keeps trashing. ÂThis makes X and
>> >> >> SSH completely unresponsive for about a hour then a bunch of processes
>> >> >> gets killed and it's usable again.
>> >> >>
>> >> >> How is possible that my system is trashing even though I don't use any swap?
>> >> >
>> >> > Because you don't have any swap. Its having to dump stuff it doesn't want
>> >> > to like bits of applications that it can retrieve back from disk.
>> >>
>> >> I can read what you wrote but cannot really understand it. ÂPlease
>> >> tell me where my logic fails:
>> >>
>> >> No swap -> no dedicated space on disk to dump stuff -> no disk I/O
>> >> should happen at all
>> >
>> > No. ÂThis is not the case. ÂIf the vm needs memory it will discard pages from that are
>> > backed by objects _not_ stored in swap - like executables. ÂOnly if there is nothing to
>> > discard will it start killing... ÂThat being said you need to read up on what Alan's
>> > suggestion below does - or add a swapfile (which works nearly as well as a swap partition
>> > now).
>> By reading your reply I think I understood what's going on.
>> Previously I thought that trashing can only happen because the kernel
>> discards pages to swap which I thought is the only reason why disk I/O
>> can happen in such a case. ÂIt didn't made sense to me because I don't
>> use swap.
>> The other possibility that occured to me is the following scenario:
>> 1) Process A grows really big and fills up the RAM.
>> 2) The kernel discards code pages from process B in favor of process A.
>> 3) Process A has some RAM and keeps growing further until it almost
>> fills up the RAM.
>> 4) Process B gets scheduled and needs to be paged in which makes
>> process A paged out, hence disk I/O occurs.
>> 5) Process A gets scheduled and needs to be paged in which makes
>> process B paged out, hence disk I/O occurs.
>> 6) Go to 4)
>> This is not truly an infinite loop because the memory gradually gets
>> filled up in 4) and 5) but it happens really slowly because process
>> code has to be paged in upon every rescheduling.
>> So I've just realized that trashing cannot only happen due to paging
>> out to swap. ÂIt can also happen due to simply discarding code pages
>> and paging them in later.
>> Is the above scenario valid in my case?
>> I suppose that the OOM killer could kill process A in step 3) right
>> away but the scheduler is fast and the 4)-5) loop keeps making disk
>> I/O for a very long time until process A exhausts the memory and the
>> OOM killer intervenes eventually.
>> I've also realized that it's probably impossible to truly reliably
>> foresee trashing so that's why there are no out of the box solutions
>> for my problem. ÂThe best hack I can think of is a daemon that
>> monitors memory usage in about every 10 milisec and kills the biggest
>> process if something seems to go wrong before trashing can begin.
> If you know possible memory eaters, can't be memory cgroup a help ?
> You can keep some important tasks by isolating workloads.

It's a very interesting feature that I've just became aware of it but
I'm not sure that it'd help me and I feel that it's a little bit

LÃszlà Monda <>
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