mm: vmscan: limit the number of pages kswapd reclaims at each priority

Linux Kernel / Linux Kernel - Mel Gorman [] - 3 July 2013 18:07 UTC

This series does not fix all the current known problems with reclaim but it addresses one important swapping bug when there is background IO.

Changelog since V3- Drop the slab shrink changes in light of Glaubers series and discussions highlighted that there were a number of potential problems with the patch. (mel)- Rebased to 3.10-rc1

Changelog since V2- Preserve ratio properly for proportional scanning (kamezawa)

Changelog since V1- Rename ZONE_DIRTY to ZONE_TAIL_LRU_DIRTY (andi)- Reformat comment in shrink_page_list (andi)- Clarify some comments (dhillf)- Rework how the proportional scanning is preserved- Add PageReclaim check before kswapd starts writeback- Reset sc.nr_reclaimed on every full zone scan

Kswapd and page reclaim behaviour has been screwy in one way or the other for a long time. Very broadly speaking it worked in the far past because machines were limited in memory so it did not have that many pages to scan and it stalled congestion_wait() frequently to prevent it going completely nuts. In recent times it has behaved very unsatisfactorily with some of the problems compounded by the removal of stall logic and the introduction of transparent hugepage support with high-order reclaims.

There are many variations of bugs that are rooted in this area. One example is reports of a large copy operations or backup causing the machine to grind to a halt or applications pushed to swap. Sometimes in low memory situations a large percentage of memory suddenly gets reclaimed. In other cases an application starts and kswapd hits 100% CPU usage for prolonged periods of time and so on. There is now talk of introducing features like an extra free kbytes tunable to work around aspects of the problem instead of trying to deal with it. It's compounded by the problem that it can be very workload and machine specific.

This series aims at addressing some of the worst of these problems without attempting to fundmentally alter how page reclaim works.

Patches 1-2 limits the number of pages kswapd reclaims while still obeying the anon/file proportion of the LRUs it should be scanning.

Patches 3-4 control how and when kswapd raises its scanning priority and deletes the scanning restart logic which is tricky to follow.

Patch 5 notes that it is too easy for kswapd to reach priority 0 when scanning and then reclaim the world. Down with that sort of thing.

Patch 6 notes that kswapd starts writeback based on scanning priority which is not necessarily related to dirty pages. It will have kswapd writeback pages if a number of unqueued dirty pages have been recently encountered at the tail of the LRU.

Patch 7 notes that sometimes kswapd should stall waiting on IO to complete to reduce LRU churn and the likelihood that it'll reclaim young clean pages or push applications to swap. It will cause kswapd to block on IO if it detects that pages being reclaimed under writeback are recycling through the LRU before the IO completes.

Patchies 8-9 are cosmetic but balance_pgdat() is easier to follow after they are applied.

This was tested using memcached+memcachetest while some background IO was in progress as implemented by the parallel IO tests implement in MM Tests.

memcachetest benchmarks how many operations/second memcached can service and it is run multiple times. It starts with no background IO and then re-runs the test with larger amounts of IO in the background to roughly simulate a large copy in progress. The expectation is that the IO should have little or no impact on memcachetest which is running entirely in memory.

3.10.0-rc1 3.10.0-rc1
vanilla lessdisrupt-v4 Ops memcachetest-0M 22155.00 ( 0.00%) 22180.00 ( 0.11%) Ops memcachetest-715M 22720.00 ( 0.00%) 22355.00 ( -1.61%) Ops memcachetest-2385M 3939.00 ( 0.00%) 23450.00 (495.33%) Ops memcachetest-4055M 3628.00 ( 0.00%) 24341.00 (570.92%) Ops io-duration-0M 0.00 ( 0.00%) 0.00 ( 0.00%) Ops io-duration-715M 12.00 ( 0.00%) 7.00 ( 41.67%) Ops io-duration-2385M 118.00 ( 0.00%) 21.00 ( 82.20%) Ops io-duration-4055M 162.00 ( 0.00%) 36.00 ( 77.78%) Ops swaptotal-0M 0.00 ( 0.00%) 0.00 ( 0.00%) Ops swaptotal-715M 140134.00 ( 0.00%) 18.00 ( 99.99%) Ops swaptotal-2385M 392438.00 ( 0.00%) 0.00 ( 0.00%) Ops swaptotal-4055M 449037.00 ( 0.00%) 27864.00 ( 93.79%) Ops swapin-0M 0.00 ( 0.00%) 0.00 ( 0.00%) Ops swapin-715M 0.00 ( 0.00%) 0.00 ( 0.00%) Ops swapin-2385M 148031.00 ( 0.00%) 0.00 ( 0.00%) Ops swapin-4055M 135109.00 ( 0.00%) 0.00 ( 0.00%) Ops minorfaults-0M 1529984.00 ( 0.00%) 1530235.00 ( -0.02%) Ops minorfaults-715M 1794168.00 ( 0.00%) 1613750.00 ( 10.06%) Ops minorfaults-2385M 1739813.00 ( 0.00%) 1609396.00 ( 7.50%) Ops minorfaults-4055M 1754460.00 ( 0.00%) 1614810.00 ( 7.96%) Ops majorfaults-0M 0.00 ( 0.00%) 0.00 ( 0.00%) Ops majorfaults-715M 185.00 ( 0.00%) 180.00 ( 2.70%) Ops majorfaults-2385M 24472.00 ( 0.00%) 101.00 ( 99.59%) Ops majorfaults-4055M 22302.00 ( 0.00%) 229.00 ( 98.97%)

Note how the vanilla kernels performance collapses when there is enough IO taking place in the background. This drop in performance is part of what users complain of when they start backups. Note how the swapin and major fault figures indicate that processes were being pushed to swap prematurely. With the series applied, there is no noticable performance drop and while there is still some swap activity, it's tiny.

20 iterations of this test were run in total and averaged. Every 5 iterations, additional IO was generated in the background using dd to measure how the workload was impacted. The 0M, 715M, 2385M and 4055M subblock refer to the amount of IO going on in the background at each iteration. So memcachetest-2385M is reporting how many transactions/second memcachetest recorded on average over 5 iterations while there was 2385M of IO going on in the ground. There are six blocks of information reported here

memcachetest is the transactions/second reported by memcachetest. In the vanilla kernel note that performance drops from around 22K/sec to just under 4K/second when there is 2385M of IO going on in the background. This is one type of performance collapse users complain about if a large cp or backup starts in the background

io-duration refers to how long it takes for the background IO to complete. It's showing that with the patched kernel that the IO completes faster while not interfering with the memcache workload

swaptotal is the total amount of swap traffic. With the patched kernel, the total amount of swapping is much reduced although it is still not zero.

swapin in this case is an indication as to whether we are swap trashing. The closer the swapin/swapout ratio is to 1, the worse the trashing is. Note with the patched kernel that there is no swapin activity indicating that all the pages swapped were really inactive unused pages.

minorfaults are just minor faults. An increased number of minor faults can indicate that page reclaim is unmapping the pages but not swapping them out before they are faulted back in. With the patched kernel, there is only a small change in minor faults

majorfaults are just major faults in the target workload and a high number can indicate that a workload is being prematurely swapped. With the patched kernel, major faults are much reduced. As there are no swapin's recorded so it's not being swapped. The likely explanation is that that libraries or configuration files used by the workload during startup get paged out by the background IO.

Overall with the series applied, there is no noticable performance drop due to background IO and while there is still some swap activity, it's tiny and the lack of swapins imply that the swapped pages were inactive and unused.

3.10.0-rc1 3.10.0-rc1
vanilla lessdisrupt-v4 Page Ins 1234608 101892 Page Outs 12446272 11810468 Swap Ins 283406 0 Swap Outs 698469 27882 Direct pages scanned 0 136480 Kswapd pages scanned 6266537 5369364 Kswapd pages reclaimed 1088989 930832 Direct pages reclaimed 0 120901 Kswapd efficiency 17% 17% Kswapd velocity 5398.371 4635.115 Direct efficiency 100% 88% Direct velocity 0.000 117.817 Percentage direct scans 0% 2% Page writes by reclaim 1655843 4009929 Page writes file 957374 3982047 Page writes anon 698469 27882 Page reclaim immediate 5245 1745 Page rescued immediate 0 0 Slabs scanned 33664 25216 Direct inode steals 0 0 Kswapd inode steals 19409 778 Kswapd skipped wait 0 0 THP fault alloc 35 30 THP collapse alloc 472 401 THP splits 27 22 THP fault fallback 0 0 THP collapse fail 0 1 Compaction stalls 0 4 Compaction success 0 0 Compaction failures 0 4 Page migrate success 0 0 Page migrate failure 0 0 Compaction pages isolated 0 0 Compaction migrate scanned 0 0 Compaction free scanned 0 0 Compaction cost 0 0 NUMA PTE updates 0 0 NUMA hint faults 0 0 NUMA hint local faults 0 0 NUMA pages migrated 0 0 AutoNUMA cost 0 0

Unfortunately, note that there is a small amount of direct reclaim due to kswapd no longer reclaiming the world. ftrace indicates that the direct reclaim stalls are mostly harmless with the vast bulk of the stalls incurred by dd

23 tclsh-3367 38 memcachetest-13733 49 memcachetest-12443 57 tee-3368 1541 dd-13826 1981 dd-12539

A consequence of the direct reclaim for dd is that the processes for the IO workload may show a higher system CPU usage. There is also a risk that kswapd not reclaiming the world may mean that it stays awake balancing zones, does not stall on the appropriate events and continually scans pages it cannot reclaim consuming CPU. This will be visible as continued high CPU usage but in my own tests I only saw a single spike lasting less than a second and I did not observe any problems related to reclaim while running the series on my desktop.

This patch:

The number of pages kswapd can reclaim is bound by the number of pages it scans which is related to the size of the zone and the scanning priority. In many cases the priority remains low because it's reset every SWAP_CLUSTER_MAX reclaimed pages but in the event kswapd scans a large number of pages it cannot reclaim, it will raise the priority and potentially discard a large percentage of the zone as sc->nr_to_reclaim is ULONG_MAX. The user-visible effect is a reclaim "spike" where a large percentage of memory is suddenly freed. It would be bad enough if this was just unused memory but because of how anon/file pages are balanced it is possible that applications get pushed to swap unnecessarily.

This patch limits the number of pages kswapd will reclaim to the high watermark. Reclaim will still overshoot due to it not being a hard limit as shrink_lruvec() will ignore the sc.nr_to_reclaim at DEF_PRIORITY but it prevents kswapd reclaiming the world at higher priorities. The number of pages it reclaims is not adjusted for high-order allocations as kswapd will reclaim excessively if it is to balance zones for high-order allocations.

7548536 mm: vmscan: limit the number of pages kswapd reclaims at each priority
mm/vmscan.c | 49 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++--------------------
1 file changed, 29 insertions(+), 20 deletions(-)


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