Re: [PATCH v2 1/2] cpufreq: Make iowait boost a policy option

From: Peter Zijlstra
Date: Mon May 22 2017 - 04:22:21 EST

On Fri, May 19, 2017 at 10:04:28AM -0700, Joel Fernandes wrote:
> Hi Peter,
> On Fri, May 19, 2017 at 2:42 AM, Peter Zijlstra <peterz@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > On Thu, May 18, 2017 at 11:23:43PM -0700, Joel Fernandes wrote:
> >> Make iowait boost a cpufreq policy option and enable it for intel_pstate
> >> cpufreq driver. Governors like schedutil can use it to determine if
> >> boosting for tasks that wake up with p->in_iowait set is needed.
> >
> > Rather than just flat out disabling the option, is there something
> > better we can do on ARM?
> >
> > The reason for the IO-wait boost is to ensure we feed our external
> > devices data ASAP, this reduces wait times, increases throughput and
> > decreases the duration the devices have to operate.
> Can you help understand how CPU frequency can affect I/O? The ASAP
> makes me think of it as a latency thing than a throughput in which
> case there should a scheduling priority increase? Also, to me it
> sounds more like memory instead of CPU frequency should be boosted
> instead so that DMA transfers happen quicker to feed devices data
> faster.

Suppose your (I/O) device has the task waiting for a completion for 1ms
for each request. Further suppose that feeding it the next request takes
.1ms at full speed (1 GHz).

Then we get, without contending tasks, a cycle of:

R----------R---------- (1 GHz)

Which comes at 1/11-th utilization, which would then select something
like 100 MHz as being sufficient. But then the R part becomes 10x longer
and we end up with:

RRRRRRRRRR----------RRRRRRRRRR---------- (100 MHz)

And since there's still plenty idle time, and the effective utilization
is still the same 1/11th, we'll not ramp up at all and continue in this

Note however that the total time of the cycle increased from 1.1ms
to 2ms, for an ~80% decrease in throughput.

> Are you trying to boost the CPU frequency so that a process waiting on
> I/O does its next set of processing quickly enough after iowaiting on
> the previous I/O transaction, and is ready to feed I/O the next time
> sooner?

This. So we break the above pattern by boosting the task that wakes from
IO-wait. Its utilization will never be enough to cause a significant
bump in frequency on its own, as its constantly blocked on the IO

> The case I'm seeing a lot is a background thread does I/O request and
> blocks for short period, and wakes up. All this while the CPU
> frequency is low, but that wake up causes a spike in frequency. So
> over a period of time, you see these spikes that don't really help
> anything.

So the background thread is doing some spurious IO but nothing

> > I realize max freq/volt might not be the best option for you, but is
> > there another spot that would make sense? I can imagine you want to
> > return your MMC to low power state ASAP as well.
> >
> >
> > So rather than a disable flag, I would really rather see an IO-wait OPP
> > state selector or something.
> We never had this in older kernels and I don't think we ever had an
> issue where I/O was slow because of CPU frequency. If a task is busy a
> lot, then its load tracking signal should be high and take care of
> keeping CPU frequency high right?

As per the above, no. If the device completion takes long enough to
inject enough idle time, the utilization signal will never be high
enough to break out of that pattern.

> If PELT is decaying the load
> tracking of iowaiting tasks too much, then I think that it should be
> fixed there (probably decay an iowaiting task lesser?).

For the above to work, we'd have to completely discard IO-wait time on
the utilization signal. But that would then give the task u=1, which
would be incorrect for placement decisions and wreck EAS.

> Considering
> that it makes power worse on newer kernels, it'd probably be best to
> disable it in my opinion for those who don't need it.

You have yet to convince me you don't need it. Sure Android might not
have much IO heavy workloads, but that's not to say nothing on ARM ever

Also note that if you set the boost OPP to the lowest OPP you
effectively do disable it.

Looking at the code, it appears we already have this in