Re: [PATCH]: Free pages from local pcp lists under tight memoryconditions

From: Rohit Seth
Date: Wed Nov 23 2005 - 14:35:06 EST

On Wed, 2005-11-23 at 18:06 +0000, Mel Gorman wrote:
> On Wed, 23 Nov 2005, Rohit Seth wrote:
> >
> I doubt you gain a whole lot by releasing them in batches. There is no way
> to determine if freeing a few will result in contiguous blocks or not and
> the overhead of been cautious will likely exceed the cost of simply
> refilling them on the next order-0 allocation.

It depends. If most of the higher order allocations are only order 1
(and may be order 2) then it is possible that we may gain in freeing in

> Your worst case is where
> the buddies you need are in different per-cpu caches.

That is why we need another patch that tries to allocate physically
contiguous pages in each per_cpu_pagelist. Actually this patch used to
be there in Andrew's tree for some time (2.6.14) before couple of corner
cases came up failing where order 1 allocations were unsuccessful.

> As it's easy to refill a per-cpu cache, it would be easier, clearer and
> probably faster to just purge the per-cpu cache and have it refilled on
> the next order-0 allocation. The release-in-batch approach would only be
> worthwhile if you expect an order-1 allocation to be very rare.

Well, my only fear is if this shunting happens too often...

> In 005_drainpercpu.patch from the last version of the anti-defrag, I used
> the smp_call_function() and it did not seem to slow up the system.
> Certainly, by the time it was called, the system was already low on
> memory and trashing a bit so it just wasn't noticable.

I agree at this point in alloaction, speed probably does not matter too
much. I definitely want to first see for simple workloads how much (and
how deep we have to go into deallocations) this extra logic helps.

> > 2- Do we drain the whole pcp on remote processors or again follow the
> > stepped approach (but may be with a steeper slope).
> >
> I would say do the same on the remote case as you do locally to keep
> things consistent.

Well, I think in bigger scope these allocations/deallocations will get
automatically balanced.

> >
> > > We need to verify that this patch actually does something useful.
> > >
> > >
> > I'm working on this. Will let you know later today if I can come with
> > some workload easily hitting this additional logic.
> >
> I found it hard to generate reliable workloads which hit these sort of
> situations although a fork-heavy workload with 8k stacks will put pressure
> on order-1 allocations. You can artifically force high order allocations
> using vmregress by doing something like this;

Need something more benign/stupid to kick into this logic.


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