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Date:   Fri, 14 Feb 2020 13:31:51 +0000
From:   "Wang, Wei W" <wei.w.wang@...el.com>
To:     David Hildenbrand <david@...hat.com>,
        "linux-kernel@...r.kernel.org" <linux-kernel@...r.kernel.org>
CC:     "linux-mm@...ck.org" <linux-mm@...ck.org>,
        "virtualization@...ts.linux-foundation.org" 
        <virtualization@...ts.linux-foundation.org>,
        Tyler Sanderson <tysand@...gle.com>,
        "Michael S . Tsirkin" <mst@...hat.com>,
        Alexander Duyck <alexander.h.duyck@...ux.intel.com>,
        David Rientjes <rientjes@...gle.com>,
        Nadav Amit <namit@...are.com>, Michal Hocko <mhocko@...nel.org>
Subject: RE: [PATCH v1 3/3] virtio-balloon: Switch back to OOM handler for
 VIRTIO_BALLOON_F_DEFLATE_ON_OOM

On Friday, February 14, 2020 5:52 PM, David Hildenbrand wrote:
> > Commit 71994620bb25 ("virtio_balloon: replace oom notifier with
> > shrinker") changed the behavior when deflation happens automatically.
> > Instead of deflating when called by the OOM handler, the shrinker is used.
> >
> > However, the balloon is not simply some slab cache that should be
> > shrunk when under memory pressure. The shrinker does not have a
> > concept of priorities, so this behavior cannot be configured.
> >
> > There was a report that this results in undesired side effects when
> > inflating the balloon to shrink the page cache. [1]
> > 	"When inflating the balloon against page cache (i.e. no free memory
> > 	 remains) vmscan.c will both shrink page cache, but also invoke the
> > 	 shrinkers -- including the balloon's shrinker. So the balloon
> > 	 driver allocates memory which requires reclaim, vmscan gets this
> > 	 memory by shrinking the balloon, and then the driver adds the
> > 	 memory back to the balloon. Basically a busy no-op."
> >
> > The name "deflate on OOM" makes it pretty clear when deflation should
> > happen - after other approaches to reclaim memory failed, not while
> > reclaiming. This allows to minimize the footprint of a guest - memory
> > will only be taken out of the balloon when really needed.
> >
> > Especially, a drop_slab() will result in the whole balloon getting
> > deflated - undesired. While handling it via the OOM handler might not
> > be perfect, it keeps existing behavior. If we want a different
> > behavior, then we need a new feature bit and document it properly
> > (although, there should be a clear use case and the intended effects should
> be well described).
> >
> > Keep using the shrinker for VIRTIO_BALLOON_F_FREE_PAGE_HINT,
> because
> > this has no such side effects. Always register the shrinker with
> > VIRTIO_BALLOON_F_FREE_PAGE_HINT now. We are always allowed to
> reuse
> > free pages that are still to be processed by the guest. The hypervisor
> > takes care of identifying and resolving possible races between
> > processing a hinting request and the guest reusing a page.
> >
> > In contrast to pre commit 71994620bb25 ("virtio_balloon: replace oom
> > notifier with shrinker"), don't add a moodule parameter to configure
> > the number of pages to deflate on OOM. Can be re-added if really needed.
> > Also, pay attention that leak_balloon() returns the number of 4k pages
> > - convert it properly in virtio_balloon_oom_notify().
> >
> > Note1: using the OOM handler is frowned upon, but it really is what we
> >        need for this feature.
> >
> > Note2: without VIRTIO_BALLOON_F_MUST_TELL_HOST (iow, always with
> QEMU) we
> >        could actually skip sending deflation requests to our hypervisor,
> >        making the OOM path *very* simple. Besically freeing pages and
> >        updating the balloon. If the communication with the host ever
> >        becomes a problem on this call path.
> >
> 
> @Michael, how to proceed with this?
> 

I vote for not going back. When there are solid request and strong reasons in the future, we could reopen this discussion.

Best,
Wei

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