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From: Jens Axboe <jens.axboe <at> oracle.com>
Subject: Re: [GIT PULL] Ext3 latency fixes
Newsgroups: gmane.comp.file-systems.ext4
Date: Saturday 4th April 2009 15:16:50 UTC (over 8 years ago)
On Sat, Apr 04 2009, Theodore Tso wrote:
> On Fri, Apr 03, 2009 at 01:41:54PM -0700, Linus Torvalds wrote:
> > 
> > Hmm. So I decided to try with "data=writeback" to see if it really
> > that big of a difference. It does help, but I still easily trigger 
> > multi-second pauses
> Using ext3 data=writeback, your "write big (2GB) file and sync" as the
> background workload, and fsync-tester, I was able to reduce the
> latency down to under 1 second...
> fsync time: 0.1717
> fsync time: 0.0205
> fsync time: 0.1814
> fsync time: 0.7408
> fsync time: 0.1955
> fsync time: 0.0327
> fsync time: 0.0456
> fsync time: 0.0563
> ...by doing two things: (1) Applying the attached patch, which fixes
> one last critical place where we were using WRITE instead of
> WRITE_SYNC --- the commit record was being written by
> sync_dirty_buffer(), and this of _all_ places needs to use WRITE_SYNC,
> since it waits for the buffer to be written write after submitting the
> I/O, and (2) using the anticipatory I/O scheduler instead of the cfq
> I/O scheduler.
> (1) brought things down from 2-3.5 seconds on my system to 1-2
> seconds, and (2) brought things down to what you see above.  I think
> what is going on with the cfq scheduler is that it's using time slices
> to make sure sync and async operations never completely starve each
> other out, and in this case we need to tune the I/O scheduling
> parameters so that for this workload, the synchronous operations don't
> end up getting impeded by the asynchronous writes caused by background
> "write big file and sync" task.
> In any case, Jens may want to look at this test case (ext3
> data=writeback, 'while : ; do time sh -c "dd if=/dev/zero of=bigfile
> bs=8M count=256 ; sync"; done', and fsync-tester) as a good way to see
> how cfq might be improved.
> On another thread, it's been commented that there are still workloads
> for which people are quietly switching from CFQ to AS, and this is
> bad, because it causes us not to try to figure out why our default I/O
> scheduler still as these 1% of cases where people need to use another
> scheduler.  Well, here's one such case which is relatively easy to
> reproduce.
> > Are we perhaps ending up doing those regular 'bigfile' writes as 
> > WRITE_SYNC, just because of the global "sync()" call? That's probably a

> > bad idea. A "sync" is about pure throughput. It's not about latency
> > "fsync()" is.
> Well, at least on my system where I did this round of testing (4gig
> X61s with a 5400 RPM laptop drive), most of the time we weren't
> writing the bigfile writes because of the sync, but because dd and
> pdflush processes was trying to flush out the dirty pages from the big
> write operation.  At the moment where "dd" completes and the "sync"
> command is executed, the fsync latency jumped up to about 4-5 seconds
> before this last round of changes.  After adding the attached patch
> and switching to the AS I/O scheduler, at the moment of the sync the
> fsync latency was just over a second (1.1 to 1.2 seconds).  The rest
> of the time we are averaging between a 1/4 and a 1/3 of a second, with
> rare fsync latency spikes up to about 3/4 of a second, as show at the
> beginning of this message.
> (Maybe on a system with a lot more memory, the dirty pages don't start
> getting flushed to disk until the sync command, but that's not what
> I'm seeing on my 4 gig laptop.)
> In answer to your question, "sync" does the writes in two passes;
> first it pushes out writes with wbc.sync_mode set to WB_SYNC_NONE, and
> then it calls the page writeback routines a second time with
> WB_SYNC_ALL.  So most of the writes should go out with WRITE, except
> that the page writeback routines aren't as aggressive about pushing
> out _all_ pages in WB_SYNC_NONE, so I believe some of the pages would
> still be written on the WB_SYNC_ALL, and thus would go out using
> WRITE_SYNc.  This is based on 2-3 month old memory of how things
> worked in the page-writeback routines, which is the last time I traced
> the very deep call trees involved in this area.  I'd have to run a
> blktrace experiment to see for sure how many of the writes were going
> out as WRITE vs. WRITE_SYNC in the case of the 'sync' command.
> In any case, I recommend you take the following attached patch, and
> then try out ext3 data=writeback with anticipatory I/O scheduler.
> Hopefully you'll be pleased with the results.
> 							- Ted
> From 6d293d2aa42d43c120f113bde55f7b0d6f3f35ae Mon Sep 17 00:00:00 2001
> From: Theodore Ts'o 
> Date: Sat, 4 Apr 2009 09:17:38 -0400
> Subject: [PATCH] sync_dirty_buffer: Use WRITE_SYNC instead of WRITE
> The sync_dirty_buffer() function submits a buffer for write, and then
> synchronously waits for it.  It clearly should use WRITE_SYNC instead
> of WRITE.  This significantly reduces ext3's fsync() latency when
> there is a huge background task writing data asyncronously in the
> background, since ext3 uses sync_dirty_buffer() to write the commit
> block.

Sorry for not commenting on the rest of your email, I don't have a lot
of spare time on my hands. I'll get to that.

Big nack on this patch. Ted, this is EXACTLY where I told you we saw big
write regressions (sqlite performance drops by a factor of 4-5). Do a
git log on fs/buffer.c and see the original patch (which does what your
patch does) and the later revert. No idea why you are now suggestion
making that exact change?!

Low latency is nice, but not at the cost of 4-5x throughput for real
world cases. Lets please try and keep a reasonable focus here, things
need to be tested widely before we go and sprinkle sync magic
everywhere. I can't rule out that CFQ will need adjusting, cutting down
to basics it looks at sync vs async like AS does.

Jens Axboe

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