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Date:   Tue, 15 Sep 2020 10:52:44 -0700
From:   Linus Torvalds <>
To:     Michael Larabel <>
Cc:     Ext4 Developers List <>,
        linux-fsdevel <>
Subject: Re: Kernel Benchmarking

On Tue, Sep 15, 2020 at 7:22 AM Michael Larabel
<> wrote:
> Still running more benchmarks and on more systems, but so far at least
> as the Apache test is concerned this patch does seem to largely address
> the issue. The performance with the default 1000 page_lock_unfairness
> was yielding results more similar to 5.8 and in some cases tweaking the
> value did help improve the performance. A PLU value of 4~5 seems to
> yield the best performance.

Yeah. Although looking at those results, they are somewhat mixed - I
think the benchmark is just not very stable performance-wise.

Looking at your 250 concurrent users numbers, it's strange how that
unfairness=5 value gets performance _so_ much better than anything
else (including 5.8), so I do think that this benchmark is just very
borderline sensitive to this all, and some of the variation may just
be almost random.

We've often seen how cache placement etc can cause big differences on
benchmarks that just do one thing over and over.

But the big picture is fairly clear: apache siege absolutely hates the
complete fairness, and clearly the hybrid thing works fine.

The fact that a "unfairness count" of 4-5 seems to be consistently
fairly good (and sometimes seems clearly better than the "completely
unfair" behavior) makes me feel better about things, though. I was
suspecting that would be a somewhat reasonable value, and I _hope_
that it's small enough that it still gets rid of the watchdog issues
that the original fairness patch was aiming to fix.

> The results though with Hackbench and Redis that exhibited similar drops
> from the commit in question remained mixed.

The hackbench numbers seemed fairly randomly sensitive before too.

I wouldn't worry about it as long as there's no clear regression on a
load that seems realistic. We know the page lock is important, and we
do know that the _real_ fix in many ways is to try to not get
contention in the first place. Either by trying to avoid the page lock
entirely (ie the approach that Willy is pursuing), or by maybe trying
to have a reader-writer mode or something.

So in a very real sense, all this page lock fairness stuff is still
just a symptom of a more fundamental problem, even though I think that
the fairness itself is also a fairly fundamental thing.


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