Re: [RFC] Making memcg track ownership per address_space or anon_vma

From: Tejun Heo
Date: Tue Feb 10 2015 - 21:19:16 EST

Hello, again.

On Sat, Feb 07, 2015 at 09:38:39AM -0500, Tejun Heo wrote:
> If we can argue that memcg and blkcg having different views is
> meaningful and characterize and justify the behaviors stemming from
> the deviation, sure, that'd be fine, but I don't think we have that as
> of now.

If we assume that memcg and blkcg having different views is something
which represents an acceptable compromise considering the use cases
and implementation convenience - IOW, if we assume that read-sharing
is something which can happen regularly while write sharing is a
corner case and that while not completely correct the existing
self-corrective behavior from tracking ownership per-page at the point
of instantiation is good enough (as a memcg under pressure is likely
to give up shared pages to be re-instantiated by another sharer w/
more budget), we need to do the impedance matching between memcg and
blkcg at the writeback layer.

The main issue there is that the last chain of IO pressure propagation
is realized by making individual dirtying tasks to converge on a
common target dirty ratio point which naturally depending on those
tasks seeing the same picture in terms of the current write bandwidth
and available memory and how much of it is dirty. Tasks dirtying
pages belonging to the same memcg while some of them are mostly being
written out by a different blkcg would wreck the mechanism. It won't
be difficult for one subset to make the other to consider themselves
under severe IO pressure when there actually isn't one in that group
possibly stalling and starving those tasks unduly. At more basic
level, it's just wrong for one group to be writing out significant
amount for another.

These issues can persist indefinitely if we follow the same
instantiator-owns rule for inode writebacks. Even if we reset the
ownership when an inode becomes clea, it wouldn't work as it can be
dirtied over and over again while under writeback, and when things
like this happen, the behavior may become extremely difficult to
understand or characterize. We don't have visibility into how
individual pages of an inode get distributed across multiple cgroups,
who's currently responsible for writing back a specific inode or how
dirty ratio mechanism is behaving in the face of the unexpected
combination of parameters.

Even if we assume that write sharing is a fringe case, we need
something better than first-whatever rule when choosing which blkcg is
responsible for writing a shared inode out. There needs to be a
constant corrective pressure so that incidental and temporary sharings
don't end up screwing up the mechanism for an extended period of time.

Greg mentioned chossing the closest ancestor of the sharers, which
basically pushes inode sharing policy implmentation down to writeback
from memcg. This could work but we end up with the same collusion
problem as when this is used for memcg and it's even more difficult to
solve this at writeback layer - we'd have to communicate the shared
state all the way down to block layer and then implement a mechanism
there to take corrective measures and even after that we're likely to
end up with prolonged state where dirty ratio propagation is
essentially broken as the dirtier and writer would be seeing different

So, based on the assumption that write sharings are mostly incidental
and temporary (ie. we're basically declaring that we don't support
persistent write sharing), how about something like the following?

1. memcg contiues per-page tracking.

2. Each inode is associated with a single blkcg at a given time and
written out by that blkcg.

3. While writing back, if the number of pages from foreign memcg's is
higher than certain ratio of total written pages, the inode is
marked as disowned and the writeback instance is optionally
terminated early. e.g. if the ratio of foreign pages is over 50%
after writing out the number of pages matching 5s worth of write
bandwidth for the bdi, mark the inode as disowned.

4. On the following dirtying of the inode, the inode is associated
with the matching blkcg of the dirtied page. Note that this could
be the next cycle as the inode could already have been marked dirty
by the time the above condition triggered. In that case, the
following writeback would be terminated early too.

This should provide sufficient corrective pressure so that incidental
and temporary sharing of an inode doesn't become a persistent issue
while keeping the complexity necessary for implementing such pressure
fairly minimal and self-contained. Also, the changes necessary for
individual filesystems would be minimal.

I think this should work well enough as long as the forementioned
assumptions are true - IOW, if we maintain that write sharing is

What do you think?


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