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Re: [patch 1/4] mm: exclude reserved pages from dirtyable memory

To: Mel Gorman <mgorman@xxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [patch 1/4] mm: exclude reserved pages from dirtyable memory
From: Johannes Weiner <jweiner@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2011 11:03:26 +0200
Cc: Andrew Morton <akpm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Christoph Hellwig <hch@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Dave Chinner <david@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Wu Fengguang <fengguang.wu@xxxxxxxxx>, Jan Kara <jack@xxxxxxx>, Rik van Riel <riel@xxxxxxxxxx>, Minchan Kim <minchan.kim@xxxxxxxxx>, Chris Mason <chris.mason@xxxxxxxxxx>, "Theodore Ts'o" <tytso@xxxxxxx>, Andreas Dilger <adilger.kernel@xxxxxxxxx>, xfs@xxxxxxxxxxx, linux-btrfs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, linux-ext4@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, linux-mm@xxxxxxxxx, linux-fsdevel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, linux-kernel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
In-reply-to: <20110921150328.GJ4849@xxxxxxx>
References: <1316526315-16801-1-git-send-email-jweiner@xxxxxxxxxx> <1316526315-16801-2-git-send-email-jweiner@xxxxxxxxxx> <20110921140423.GG4849@xxxxxxx> <20110921150328.GJ4849@xxxxxxx>
On Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 04:03:28PM +0100, Mel Gorman wrote:
> On Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 03:04:23PM +0100, Mel Gorman wrote:
> > On Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 03:45:12PM +0200, Johannes Weiner wrote:
> > > The amount of dirtyable pages should not include the total number of
> > > free pages: there is a number of reserved pages that the page
> > > allocator and kswapd always try to keep free.
> > > 
> > > The closer (reclaimable pages - dirty pages) is to the number of
> > > reserved pages, the more likely it becomes for reclaim to run into
> > > dirty pages:
> > > 
> > >        +----------+ ---
> > >        |   anon   |  |
> > >        +----------+  |
> > >        |          |  |
> > >        |          |  -- dirty limit new    -- flusher new
> > >        |   file   |  |                     |
> > >        |          |  |                     |
> > >        |          |  -- dirty limit old    -- flusher old
> > >        |          |                        |
> > >        +----------+                       --- reclaim
> > >        | reserved |
> > >        +----------+
> > >        |  kernel  |
> > >        +----------+
> > > 
> > > Not treating reserved pages as dirtyable on a global level is only a
> > > conceptual fix.  In reality, dirty pages are not distributed equally
> > > across zones and reclaim runs into dirty pages on a regular basis.
> > > 
> > > But it is important to get this right before tackling the problem on a
> > > per-zone level, where the distance between reclaim and the dirty pages
> > > is mostly much smaller in absolute numbers.
> > > 
> > > Signed-off-by: Johannes Weiner <jweiner@xxxxxxxxxx>
> > > ---
> > >  include/linux/mmzone.h |    1 +
> > >  mm/page-writeback.c    |    8 +++++---
> > >  mm/page_alloc.c        |    1 +
> > >  3 files changed, 7 insertions(+), 3 deletions(-)
> > > 
> > > diff --git a/include/linux/mmzone.h b/include/linux/mmzone.h
> > > index 1ed4116..e28f8e0 100644
> > > --- a/include/linux/mmzone.h
> > > +++ b/include/linux/mmzone.h
> > > @@ -316,6 +316,7 @@ struct zone {
> > >    * sysctl_lowmem_reserve_ratio sysctl changes.
> > >    */
> > >   unsigned long           lowmem_reserve[MAX_NR_ZONES];
> > > + unsigned long           totalreserve_pages;
> > >  
> > 
> > This is nit-picking but totalreserve_pages is a poor name because it's
> > a per-zone value that is one of the lowmem_reserve[] fields instead
> > of a total. After this patch, we have zone->totalreserve_pages and
> > totalreserve_pages but are not related to the same thing.
> > but they are not the same.
> 
> As you correctly pointed out to be on IRC, zone->totalreserve_pages
> is not the lowmem_reserve because it takes the high_wmark into
> account. Sorry about that, I should have kept thinking.  The name is
> still poor though because it does not explain what the value is or
> what it means.
> 
> zone->FOO value needs to be related to lowmem_reserve because this
>       is related to balancing zone usage.
> 
> zone->FOO value should also be related to the high_wmark because
>       this is avoiding writeback from page reclaim
> 
> err....... umm... this?
> 
>       /*
>        * When allocating a new page that is expected to be
>        * dirtied soon, the number of free pages and the
>        * dirty_balance reserve are taken into account. The
>        * objective is that the globally allowed number of dirty
>        * pages should be distributed throughout the zones such
>        * that it is very unlikely that page reclaim will call
>        * ->writepage.
>        *
>        * dirty_balance_reserve takes both lowmem_reserve and
>        * the high watermark into account. The lowmem_reserve
>        * is taken into account because we don't want the
>        * distribution of dirty pages to unnecessarily increase
>        * lowmem pressure. The watermark is taken into account
>        * because it's correlated with when kswapd wakes up
>        * and how long it stays awake.
>        */
>       unsigned long           dirty_balance_reserve.

Yes, that's much better, thanks.

I assume this is meant the same for both the zone and the global level
and we should not mess with totalreserve_pages in either case?

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