Re: [PATCH 0/4] [RFC] Migrate Pages in lieu of discard

From: Suleiman Souhlal
Date: Thu Oct 17 2019 - 12:01:49 EST

On Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 7:14 AM Dave Hansen <dave.hansen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> We're starting to see systems with more and more kinds of memory such
> as Intel's implementation of persistent memory.
> Let's say you have a system with some DRAM and some persistent memory.
> Today, once DRAM fills up, reclaim will start and some of the DRAM
> contents will be thrown out. Allocations will, at some point, start
> falling over to the slower persistent memory.
> That has two nasty properties. First, the newer allocations can end
> up in the slower persistent memory. Second, reclaimed data in DRAM
> are just discarded even if there are gobs of space in persistent
> memory that could be used.
> This set implements a solution to these problems. At the end of the
> reclaim process in shrink_page_list() just before the last page
> refcount is dropped, the page is migrated to persistent memory instead
> of being dropped.
> While I've talked about a DRAM/PMEM pairing, this approach would
> function in any environment where memory tiers exist.
> This is not perfect. It "strands" pages in slower memory and never
> brings them back to fast DRAM. Other things need to be built to
> promote hot pages back to DRAM.
> This is part of a larger patch set. If you want to apply these or
> play with them, I'd suggest using the tree from here. It includes
> autonuma-based hot page promotion back to DRAM:
> This is also all based on an upstream mechanism that allows
> persistent memory to be onlined and used as if it were volatile:

We prototyped something very similar to this patch series in the past.

One problem that came up is that if you get into direct reclaim,
because persistent memory can have pretty low write throughput, you
can end up stalling users for a pretty long time while migrating

To mitigate that, we tried changing background reclaim to start
migrating much earlier (but not otherwise reclaiming), however it
drastically increased the code complexity and still had the chance of
not being able to catch up with pressure.

Because of that, we moved to a solution based on the proactive reclaim
of idle pages, that was presented at LSFMM earlier this year: .

-- Suleiman