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Date:   Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:01:08 +0000
From:   Mel Gorman <>
To:     Vlastimil Babka <>
Cc:     Andrew Morton <>,
        Shantanu Goel <>, Chris Mason <>,
        Johannes Weiner <>,
        LKML <>,
        Linux-MM <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH 3/3] mm, vmscan: Prevent kswapd sleeping prematurely due
 to mismatched classzone_idx

On Mon, Feb 20, 2017 at 05:42:49PM +0100, Vlastimil Babka wrote:
> > With this patch on top, all the latencies relative to the baseline are
> > improved, particularly write latencies. The read latencies are still high
> > for the number of threads but it's worth noting that this is mostly due
> > to the IO scheduler and not directly related to reclaim. The vmstats are
> > a bit of a mix but the relevant ones are as follows;
> > 
> >                             4.10.0-rc7  4.10.0-rc7  4.10.0-rc7
> >                           mmots-20170209 clear-v1r25keepawake-v1r25
> > Swap Ins                             0           0           0
> > Swap Outs                            0         608           0
> > Direct pages scanned           6910672     3132699     6357298
> > Kswapd pages scanned          57036946    82488665    56986286
> > Kswapd pages reclaimed        55993488    63474329    55939113
> > Direct pages reclaimed         6905990     2964843     6352115
> These stats are confusing me. The earlier description suggests that this patch
> should cause less direct reclaim and more kswapd reclaim, but compared to
> "clear-v1r25" it does the opposite? Was clear-v1r25 overreclaiming then? (when
> considering direct + kswapd combined)

The description is referring to the impact relative to baseline. It is
true that relative to patch that direct reclaim is higher but there are
a number of anomalies.

Note that kswapd is scanning very aggressively in "clear-v1" and overall
efficiency is down to 76%. It's also not clear in the stats but in
"clear-v1", pgskip_* is active as the wrong zone is being reclaimed for
due to the patch "mm, vmscan: fix zone balance check in
prepare_kswapd_sleep". It's also doing a lot of writing of file-backed
pages from reclaim context and some swapping due to the aggressiveness
of the scan.

While direct reclaim activity might be lower, it's due to kswapd scanning
aggressively and trying to reclaim the world which is not the right thing
to do.  With the patches applied, there is still direct reclaim but the fast
bulk of them are when the workload changes phase from "creating work files"
to starting multiple threads that allocate a lot of anonymous memory with
a sudden spike in memory pressure that kswapd does not keep ahead of with
multiple allocating threads.

> > @@ -3328,6 +3330,22 @@ static int balance_pgdat(pg_data_t *pgdat, int order, int classzone_idx)
> >  	return sc.order;
> >  }
> >  
> > +/*
> > + * pgdat->kswapd_classzone_idx is the highest zone index that a recent
> > + * allocation request woke kswapd for. When kswapd has not woken recently,
> > + * the value is MAX_NR_ZONES which is not a valid index. This compares a
> > + * given classzone and returns it or the highest classzone index kswapd
> > + * was recently woke for.
> > + */
> > +static enum zone_type kswapd_classzone_idx(pg_data_t *pgdat,
> > +					   enum zone_type classzone_idx)
> > +{
> > +	if (pgdat->kswapd_classzone_idx == MAX_NR_ZONES)
> > +		return classzone_idx;
> > +
> > +	return max(pgdat->kswapd_classzone_idx, classzone_idx);
> A bit paranoid comment: this should probably read pgdat->kswapd_classzone_idx to
> a local variable with READ_ONCE(), otherwise something can set it to
> MAX_NR_ZONES between the check and max(), and compiler can decide to reread.
> Probably not an issue with current callers, but I'd rather future-proof it.

I'm a little wary of adding READ_ONCE unless there is a definite
problem. Even if it was an issue, I think it would be better to protect
thse kswapd_classzone_idx and kswapd_order with a spinlock that is taken
if an update is required or a read to fully guarantee the ordering.

The consequences as they are is that kswapd may miss reclaiming at a
higher order or classzone than it should have although it is very
unlikely and the update and read are made with a workqueue wake and
scheduler wakeup which should be sufficient in terms of barriers.

Mel Gorman

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