Re: [PATCH 1/1] suspend: delete sys_sync()

From: Len Brown
Date: Fri May 08 2015 - 12:36:10 EST

On Fri, May 8, 2015 at 10:34 AM, Alan Stern <stern@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> On Fri, 8 May 2015, Len Brown wrote:
>> From: Len Brown <len.brown@xxxxxxxxx>
>> Remove sys_sync() from the kernel's suspend flow.
>> sys_sync() is extremely expensive in some configurations,
>> and so the kernel should not force users to pay this cost
>> on every suspend.
>> The user-space utilities s2ram and s2disk choose to invoke sync() today.
>> A user can invoke suspend directly via /sys/power/state to skip that cost.
> I can understand the motivation for this, but is it aimed in the right
> direction?
> Consider a system where sys_sync() is very expensive. Should such a
> system be using system suspend in the first place? If there is a valid
> use case, why does the extra overhead of sys_sync() matter?

There are four significant issues with sys_sync() here:

1. It is not determinitic
Some devices (and their caches) are quick on the 1st sync,
and then slow on the 2nd sync etc.

2. worst case latency is obscene, there are examples of some
syncs which take over 3,000 ms to complete.

3. It doesn't necessarily deliver on the assumed benefits.
Rafael tells me that it depends on the file system
exactly what sync does. Look no further than the fact
that for two sync's in a row, the 2nd one may be slower.

4. Whether to sync or not is a policy choice, and that choice
should be made by the user, not the kernel. Many systems today
want to wake for a packet, process that packet, and get back
to sleep as fast as possible. Jamming a sys_sync() in their
wake doesn't make sense.

> To put it another way, if the system wants to go into a low-latency
> suspend state, why doesn't it use an extreme version of runtime suspend
> rather than system suspend?

There are systems where systems suspend is FAST, except for the sync.
I can e-mail you the analyze_suspend output for such a system.

> This reminds me of the discussions we had with the Android developers
> when they proposed adding wakelocks to the kernel -- they needed them
> so that they could support system suspend when what they really wanted
> to do was an extreme version of runtime suspend. But generally
> speaking, sys_sync() is not tremendously expensive on devices running
> Android.

Unfortunately, sys_sync() can be a significant pain point,
even for systems that run Android.

Len Brown, Intel Open Source Technology Center
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