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Date:	Thu, 01 Mar 2007 08:35:28 +0100
From:	Miklos Szeredi <miklos@...redi.hu>
To:	akpm@...ux-foundation.org
CC:	miklos@...redi.hu, linux-kernel@...r.kernel.org,
	linux-fsdevel@...r.kernel.org
Subject: Re: [patch 03/22] fix deadlock in balance_dirty_pages

> > This deadlock happens, when dirty pages from one filesystem are
> > written back through another filesystem.  It easiest to demonstrate
> > with fuse although it could affect looback mounts as well (see
> > following patches).
> > 
> > Let's call the filesystems A(bove) and B(elow).  Process Pr_a is
> > writing to A, and process Pr_b is writing to B.
> > 
> > Pr_a is bash-shared-mapping.  Pr_b is the fuse filesystem daemon
> > (fusexmp_fh), for simplicity let's assume that Pr_b is single
> > threaded.
> > 
> > These are the simplified stack traces of these processes after the
> > deadlock:
> > 
> > Pr_a (bash-shared-mapping):
> > 
> >   (block on queue)
> >   fuse_writepage
> >   generic_writepages
> >   writeback_inodes
> >   balance_dirty_pages
> >   balance_dirty_pages_ratelimited_nr
> >   set_page_dirty_mapping_balance
> >   do_no_page
> > 
> > 
> > Pr_b (fusexmp_fh):
> > 
> >   io_schedule_timeout
> >   congestion_wait
> >   balance_dirty_pages
> >   balance_dirty_pages_ratelimited_nr
> >   generic_file_buffered_write
> >   generic_file_aio_write
> >   ext3_file_write
> >   do_sync_write
> >   vfs_write
> >   sys_pwrite64
> > 
> > 
> > Thanks to the aggressive nature of Pr_a, it can happen, that
> > 
> >   nr_file_dirty > dirty_thresh + margin
> > 
> > This is due to both nr_dirty growing and dirty_thresh shrinking, which
> > in turn is due to nr_file_mapped rapidly growing.  The exact size of
> > the margin at which the deadlock happens is not known, but it's around
> > 100 pages.
> > 
> > At this point Pr_a enters balance_dirty_pages and starts to write back
> > some if it's dirty pages.  After submitting some requests, it blocks
> > on the request queue.
> > 
> > The first write request will trigger Pr_b to perform a write()
> > syscall.  This will submit a write request to the block device and
> > then may enter balance_dirty_pages().
> > 
> > The condition for exiting balance_dirty_pages() is
> > 
> >  - either that write_chunk pages have been written
> > 
> >  - or nr_file_dirty + nr_writeback < dirty_thresh
> > 
> > It is entirely possible that less than write_chunk pages were written,
> > in which case balance_dirty_pages() will not exit even after all the
> > submitted requests have been succesfully completed.
> > 
> > Which means that the write() syscall does not return.
> 
> But the balance_dirty_pages() loop does more than just wait for those two
> conditions.  It will also submit _more_ dirty pages for writeout.  ie: it
> should be feeding more of file A's pages into writepage.
> 
> Why isn't that happening?

All of A's data is actually written by B.  So just submitting more
pages to some queue doesn't help, it will just make the queue longer.

If the queue length were not limited, and B would have limitless
threads, and the write() wouldn't exclude other writes to the same
file (i_mutex), then there would be no deadlock.

But for fuse the first and the last condition isn't met.

For the loop device the second condition isn't met, loop is single
threaded.

Thanks,
Miklos
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