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Date:	Fri, 18 Jan 2008 17:47:02 -0500
From:	"Mike Snitzer" <snitzer@...il.com>
To:	"Linus Torvalds" <torvalds@...ux-foundation.org>
Cc:	"Mel Gorman" <mel@....ul.ie>,
	"Martin Knoblauch" <spamtrap@...bisoft.de>,
	"Fengguang Wu" <wfg@...l.ustc.edu.cn>,
	"Peter Zijlstra" <peterz@...radead.org>, jplatte@...sa.net,
	"Ingo Molnar" <mingo@...e.hu>, linux-kernel@...r.kernel.org,
	"linux-ext4@...r.kernel.org" <linux-ext4@...r.kernel.org>,
	James.Bottomley@...eleye.com
Subject: Re: regression: 100% io-wait with 2.6.24-rcX

On Jan 18, 2008 3:00 PM, Mike Snitzer <snitzer@...il.com> wrote:
>
> On Jan 18, 2008 12:46 PM, Linus Torvalds <torvalds@...ux-foundation.org> wrote:
> >
> >
> > On Fri, 18 Jan 2008, Mel Gorman wrote:
> > >
> > > Right, and this is consistent with other complaints about the PFN of the
> > > page mattering to some hardware.
> >
> > I don't think it's actually the PFN per se.
> >
> > I think it's simply that some controllers (quite probably affected by both
> > driver and hardware limits) have some subtle interactions with the size of
> > the IO commands.
> >
> > For example, let's say that you have a controller that has some limit X on
> > the size of IO in flight (whether due to hardware or driver issues doesn't
> > really matter) in addition to a limit on the size of the scatter-gather
> > size. They all tend to have limits, and they differ.
> >
> > Now, the PFN doesn't matter per se, but the allocation pattern definitely
> > matters for whether the IO's are physically contiguous, and thus matters
> > for the size of the scatter-gather thing.
> >
> > Now, generally the rule-of-thumb is that you want big commands, so
> > physical merging is good for you, but I could well imagine that the IO
> > limits interact, and end up hurting each other. Let's say that a better
> > allocation order allows for bigger contiguous physical areas, and thus
> > fewer scatter-gather entries.
> >
> > What does that result in? The obvious answer is
> >
> >   "Better performance obviously, because the controller needs to do fewer
> >    scatter-gather lookups, and the requests are bigger, because there are
> >    fewer IO's that hit scatter-gather limits!"
> >
> > Agreed?
> >
> > Except maybe the *real* answer for some controllers end up being
> >
> >   "Worse performance, because individual commands grow because they don't
> >    hit the per-command limits, but now we hit the global size-in-flight
> >    limits and have many fewer of these good commands in flight. And while
> >    the commands are larger, it means that there are fewer outstanding
> >    commands, which can mean that the disk cannot scheduling things
> >    as well, or makes high latency of command generation by the controller
> >    much more visible because there aren't enough concurrent requests
> >    queued up to hide it"
> >
> > Is this the reason? I have no idea. But somebody who knows the AACRAID
> > hardware and driver limits might think about interactions like that.
> > Sometimes you actually might want to have smaller individual commands if
> > there is some other limit that means that it can be more advantageous to
> > have many small requests over a few big onees.
> >
> > RAID might well make it worse. Maybe small requests work better because
> > they are simpler to schedule because they only hit one disk (eg if you
> > have simple striping)! So that's another reason why one *large* request
> > may actually be slower than two requests half the size, even if it's
> > against the "normal rule".
> >
> > And it may be that that AACRAID box takes a big hit on DIO exactly because
> > DIO has been optimized almost purely for making one command as big as
> > possible.
> >
> > Just a theory.
>
> Oddly enough, I'm seeing the opposite here with 2.6.22.16 w/ AACRAID
> configured with 5 LUNS (each 2disk HW RAID0, 1024k stripesz).  That
> is, with dd the avgrqsiz (from iostat) shows DIO to be ~130k whereas
> non-DIO is a mere ~13k! (NOTE: with aacraid, max_hw_sectors_kb=192)
...
> I can fire up 2.6.24-rc8 in short order to see if things are vastly
> improved (as Martin seems to indicate that he is happy with AACRAID on
> 2.6.24-rc8).  Although even Martin's AACRAID numbers from 2.6.19.2 are
> still quite good (relative to mine).  Martin can you share any tuning
> you may have done to get AACRAID to where it is for you right now?

I can confirm 2.6.24-rc8 behaves like Martin has posted for the
AACRAID.  Slower DIO with smaller avgreqsiz.  Much faster buffered IO
(for my config anyway) with a much larger avgreqsiz (180K).

I have no idea why 2.6.22.16's request size on non-DIO is _so_ small...

Mike
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