Re: [RFC PATCH 2/3] mm: more aggressive page stealing for UNMOVABLE allocations

From: Joonsoo Kim
Date: Wed Dec 10 2014 - 01:28:35 EST

On Tue, Dec 09, 2014 at 10:12:15AM +0100, Vlastimil Babka wrote:
> On 12/09/2014 09:28 AM, Joonsoo Kim wrote:
> >On Mon, Dec 08, 2014 at 11:27:27AM +0100, Vlastimil Babka wrote:
> >>On 12/08/2014 08:11 AM, Joonsoo Kim wrote:
> >>>
> >>>I'm not sure that this change is good. If we steal order 0 pages,
> >>>this may be good. But, sometimes, we try to steal high order page
> >>>and, in this case, there would be many order 0 freepages and blindly
> >>>stealing freepages in that pageblock make the system more fragmented.
> >>
> >>I don't understand. If we try to steal high order page
> >>(current_order >= pageblock_order / 2), then nothing changes, the
> >>condition for extra stealing is the same.
> >
> >More accureately, I means mid order page (current_order <
> >pageblock_order / 2), but, not order 0, such as order 2,3,4(?).
> >In this case, perhaps, the system has enough unmovable order 0 freepages,
> >so we don't need to worry about second kind of fragmentation you
> >mentioned below. Stealing one mid order freepage is enough to satify
> >request.
> OK.
> >>
> >>>MIGRATE_RECLAIMABLE is different case than MIGRATE_UNMOVABLE, because
> >>>it can be reclaimed so excessive migratetype movement doesn't result
> >>>in permanent fragmentation.
> >>
> >>There's two kinds of "fragmentation" IMHO. First, inside a
> >>pageblock, unmovable allocations can prevent merging of lower
> >>orders. This can get worse if we steal multiple pages from a single
> >>pageblock, but the pageblock itself is not marked as unmovable.
> >
> >So, what's the intention pageblock itself not marked as unmovable?
> >I guess that if many pages are moved to unmovable, they can't be easily
> >back and this pageblock is highly fragmented. So, processing more unmovable
> >requests from this pageblock by changing pageblock migratetype makes more
> >sense to me.
> There's the danger that we mark too much pageblocks as unmovable in
> some unmovable allocation spike and even if the number of unmovable
> allocated pages later decreases, they will keep being allocated from
> many unmovable-marked pageblocks, and neither will become empty
> enough to be remarked back. If we don't mark pageblocks unmovable as
> aggressively, it's possible that the unmovable allocations in a
> partially-stolen pageblock will be eventually freed, and no more
> unmovable allocations will occur in that pageblock if it's not
> marked as unmovable.

Hmm... Yes, but, it seems to be really workload dependent. I'll check
the effect of changing pageblock migratetype aggressively on my test bed.

> >>Second kind of fragmentation is when unmovable allocations spread
> >>over multiple pageblocks. Lower order allocations within each such
> >>pageblock might be still possible, but less pageblocks are able to
> >>compact to have whole pageblock free.
> >>
> >>I think the second kind is worse, so when do have to pollute a
> >>movable pageblock with unmovable allocation, we better take as much
> >>as possible, so we prevent polluting other pageblocks.
> >
> >I agree.
> >
> >>
> >>>What I'd like to do to prevent fragmentation is
> >>>1) check whether we can steal all or almost freepages and change
> >>>migratetype of pageblock.
> >>>2) If above condition isn't met, deny allocation and invoke compaction.
> >>
> >>Could work to some extend, but we need also to prevent excessive compaction.
> >
> >So, I suggest knob to control behaviour. In small memory system,
> >fragmentation occurs frequently so the system can't handle just order 2
> >request. In that system, excessive compaction is acceptable because
> >it it better than system down.
> So you say that in these systems, order 2 requests fail because of
> page stealing?

Yes. At some point, system memory is highly fragmented and order 2
requests fail. It would be caused by page stealing but I didn't analyze it.

> >>
> >>We could also introduce a new pageblock migratetype, something like
> >>MIGRATE_MIXED. The idea is that once pageblock isn't used purely by
> >>MOVABLE allocations, it's marked as MIXED, until it either becomes
> >>marked UNMOVABLE or RECLAIMABLE by the existing mechanisms, or is
> >>fully freed. In more detail:
> >>
> >>- MIXED is preferred for fallback before any other migratetypes
> >>- if RECLAIMABLE/UNMOVABLE page allocation is stealing from MOVABLE
> >>pageblock and cannot mark pageblock as RECLAIMABLE/UNMOVABLE (by
> >>current rules), it marks it as MIXED instead.
> >>- if MOVABLE allocation is stealing from UNMOVABLE/RECLAIMABLE
> >>pageblocks, it will only mark it as MOVABLE if it was fully free.
> >>Otherwise, if current rules would result in marking it as MOVABLE
> >>(i.e. most of it was stolen, but not all) it will mark it as MIXED
> >>instead.
> >>
> >>This could in theory leave more MOVABLE pageblocks unspoiled by
> >>UNMOVABLE allocations.
> >
> >I guess that we can do it without introducing new migratetype pageblock.
> >Just always marking it as RECLAIMABLE/UNMOVABLE when
> >RECLAIMABLE/UNMOVABLE page allocation is stealing from MOVABLE would
> >have same effect.
> See the argument above. The difference with MIXED marking is that
> new unmovable allocations would take from these pageblocks only as a
> fallback. Primarily it would try to reuse a more limited number of
> unmovable-marked pageblocks.

Ah, I understand now. Looks like a good idea.

> But this is just an idea not related to the series at hand. Yes, it
> could be better, these are all heuristics and any change is a
> potential tradeoff.
> Also we need to keep in mind that ultimately, anything we devise
> cannot prevent fragmentation 100%. We cannot predict the future, so
> we don't know which unmovable allocations will be freed soon, and
> which will stay for longer time. To minimize fragmentation, we would
> need to recognize those longer-lived unmovable allocations, so we
> could put them together in as few pageblocks as possible.
> >Thanks.
> >
> >>>Maybe knob to control behaviour would be needed.
> >>>How about it?
> >>
> >>Adding new knobs is not a good solution.
> >
> --
> To unsubscribe, send a message with 'unsubscribe linux-mm' in
> the body to majordomo@xxxxxxxxxx For more info on Linux MM,
> see: .
> Don't email: <a href=mailto:"dont@xxxxxxxxx";> email@xxxxxxxxx </a>
To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in
the body of a message to majordomo@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
More majordomo info at
Please read the FAQ at