Re: [PATCH v2 0/5] Introduce MADV_COLD and MADV_PAGEOUT

From: Michal Hocko
Date: Wed Jun 19 2019 - 08:33:01 EST

On Mon 10-06-19 20:12:47, Minchan Kim wrote:
> This patch is part of previous series:
> Originally, it was created for external madvise hinting feature.
> Michal wanted to separte the discussion from external hinting interface
> so this patchset includes only first part of my entire patchset
> - introduce MADV_COLD and MADV_PAGEOUT hint to madvise.
> However, I keep entire description for others for easier understanding
> why this kinds of hint was born.
> Thanks.
> This patchset is against on next-20190530.
> Below is description of previous entire patchset.
> ================= &< =====================
> - Background
> The Android terminology used for forking a new process and starting an app
> from scratch is a cold start, while resuming an existing app is a hot start.
> While we continually try to improve the performance of cold starts, hot
> starts will always be significantly less power hungry as well as faster so
> we are trying to make hot start more likely than cold start.
> To increase hot start, Android userspace manages the order that apps should
> be killed in a process called ActivityManagerService. ActivityManagerService
> tracks every Android app or service that the user could be interacting with
> at any time and translates that into a ranked list for lmkd(low memory
> killer daemon). They are likely to be killed by lmkd if the system has to
> reclaim memory. In that sense they are similar to entries in any other cache.
> Those apps are kept alive for opportunistic performance improvements but
> those performance improvements will vary based on the memory requirements of
> individual workloads.
> - Problem
> Naturally, cached apps were dominant consumers of memory on the system.
> However, they were not significant consumers of swap even though they are
> good candidate for swap. Under investigation, swapping out only begins
> once the low zone watermark is hit and kswapd wakes up, but the overall
> allocation rate in the system might trip lmkd thresholds and cause a cached
> process to be killed(we measured performance swapping out vs. zapping the
> memory by killing a process. Unsurprisingly, zapping is 10x times faster
> even though we use zram which is much faster than real storage) so kill
> from lmkd will often satisfy the high zone watermark, resulting in very
> few pages actually being moved to swap.
> - Approach
> The approach we chose was to use a new interface to allow userspace to
> proactively reclaim entire processes by leveraging platform information.
> This allowed us to bypass the inaccuracy of the kernelâs LRUs for pages
> that are known to be cold from userspace and to avoid races with lmkd
> by reclaiming apps as soon as they entered the cached state. Additionally,
> it could provide many chances for platform to use much information to
> optimize memory efficiency.
> To achieve the goal, the patchset introduce two new options for madvise.
> One is MADV_COLD which will deactivate activated pages and the other is
> MADV_PAGEOUT which will reclaim private pages instantly. These new options
> complement MADV_DONTNEED and MADV_FREE by adding non-destructive ways to
> gain some free memory space. MADV_PAGEOUT is similar to MADV_DONTNEED in a way
> that it hints the kernel that memory region is not currently needed and
> should be reclaimed immediately; MADV_COLD is similar to MADV_FREE in a way
> that it hints the kernel that memory region is not currently needed and
> should be reclaimed when memory pressure rises.

This all is a very good background information suitable for the cover

> This approach is similar in spirit to madvise(MADV_WONTNEED), but the
> information required to make the reclaim decision is not known to the app.
> Instead, it is known to a centralized userspace daemon, and that daemon
> must be able to initiate reclaim on its own without any app involvement.
> To solve the concern, this patch introduces new syscall -
> struct pr_madvise_param {
> int size; /* the size of this structure */
> int cookie; /* reserved to support atomicity */
> int nr_elem; /* count of below arrary fields */
> int __user *hints; /* hints for each range */
> /* to store result of each operation */
> const struct iovec __user *results;
> /* input address ranges */
> const struct iovec __user *ranges;
> };
> int process_madvise(int pidfd, struct pr_madvise_param *u_param,
> unsigned long flags);

But this and the following paragraphs are referring to the later step
when the madvise gains a remote process capabilities and that is out
of the scope of this patch series so I would simply remove it from
here. Andrew tends to put the cover letter into the first patch of the
series and that would be indeed
confusing here.
Michal Hocko