RE: extra free kbytes tunable

From: Seiji Aguchi
Date: Fri Feb 15 2013 - 17:22:13 EST

Rik, Satoru,

Do you have any comments?


> -----Original Message-----
> From: linux-kernel-owner@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:linux-kernel-owner@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of dormando
> Sent: Monday, February 11, 2013 9:01 PM
> To: Rik van Riel
> Cc: Randy Dunlap; Satoru Moriya; linux-kernel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx; linux-mm@xxxxxxxxx; lwoodman@xxxxxxxxxx; Seiji Aguchi;
> akpm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx; hughd@xxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: extra free kbytes tunable
> Hi,
> As discussed in this thread:
> (with this cleanup as well:
> A tunable was proposed to allow specifying the distance between pages_min and the low watermark before kswapd is kicked in to
> free up pages. I'd like to re-open this thread since the patch did not appear to go anywhere.
> We have a server workload wherein machines with 100G+ of "free" memory (used by page cache), scattered but frequent random io
> reads from 12+ SSD's, and 5gbps+ of internet traffic, will frequently hit direct reclaim in a few different ways.
> 1) It'll run into small amounts of reclaim randomly (a few hundred thousand).
> 2) A burst of reads or traffic can cause extra pressure, which kswapd occasionally responds to by freeing up 40g+ of the pagecache all
> at once
> (!) while pausing the system (Argh).
> 3) A blip in an upstream provider or failover from a peer causes the kernel to allocate massive amounts of memory for retransmission
> queues/etc, potentially along with buffered IO reads and (some, but not often a ton) of new allocations from an application. This
> paired with 2) can cause the box to stall for 15+ seconds.
> We're seeing this more in 3.4/3.5/3.6, saw it less in 2.6.38. Mass reclaims are more common in newer kernels, but reclaims still happen
> in all kernels without raising min_free_kbytes dramatically.
> I've found that setting "lowmem_reserve_ratio" to something like "1 1 32"
> (thus protecting the DMA32 zone) causes 2) to happen less often, and is generally less violent with 1).
> Setting min_free_kbytes to 15G or more, paired with the above, has been the best at mitigating the issue. This is simply trying to raise
> the distance between the min and low watermarks. With min_free_kbytes set to 15000000, that gives us a whopping 1.8G (!!!) of
> leeway before slamming into direct reclaim.
> So, this patch is unfortunate but wonderful at letting us reclaim 10G+ of otherwise lost memory. Could we please revisit it?
> I saw a lot of discussion on doing this automatically, or making kswapd more efficient to it, and I'd love to do that. Beyond making
> kswapd psychic I haven't seen any better options yet.
> The issue is more complex than simply having an application warn of an impending allocation, since this can happen via read load on
> disk or from kernel page allocations for the network, or a combination of the two (or three, if you add the app back in).
> It's going to get worse as we push machines with faster SSD's and bigger networks. I'm open to any ideas on how to make kswapd
> more efficient in our case, or really anything at all that works.
> I have more details, but cut it down as much as I could for this mail.
> Thanks,
> -Dormando
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