Re: write-behind on streaming writes

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On Wed, Jun 06, 2012 at 08:14:08AM -0400, Vivek Goyal wrote:
> On Tue, Jun 05, 2012 at 08:14:08PM -0700, Linus Torvalds wrote:
> > On Tue, Jun 5, 2012 at 7:57 PM, Vivek Goyal <vgoyal@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > >
> > > I had expected a bigger difference as sync_file_range() is just driving
> > > max queue depth of 32 (total 16MB IO in flight), while flushers are
> > > driving queue depths up to 140 or so. So in this paritcular test, driving
> > > much deeper queue depths is not really helping much. (I have seen higher
> > > throughputs with higher queue depths in the past. Now sure why don't we
> > > see it here).
> > 
> > How did interactivity feel?
> > 
> > Because quite frankly, if the throughput difference is 12.5 vs 12
> > seconds, I suspect the interactivity thing is what dominates.
> > 
> > And from my memory of the interactivity different was absolutely
> > *huge*. Even back when I used rotational media, I basically couldn't
> > even notice the background write with the sync_file_range() approach.
> > While the regular writeback without the writebehind had absolutely
> > *huge* pauses if you used something like firefox that uses fsync()
> > etc. And starting new applications that weren't cached was noticeably
> > worse too - and then with sync_file_range it wasn't even all that
> > noticeable.
> > 
> > NOTE! For the real "firefox + fsync" test, I suspect you'd need to do
> > the writeback on the same filesystem (and obviously disk) as your home
> > directory is. If the big write is to another filesystem and another
> > disk, I think you won't see the same issues.
> Ok, I did following test on my single SATA disk and my root filesystem
> is on this disk.
> I dropped caches and launched firefox and monitored the time it takes
> for firefox to start. (cache cold).
> And my results are reverse of what you have been seeing. With
> sync_file_range() running, firefox takes roughly 30 seconds to start and
> with flusher in operation, it takes roughly 20 seconds to start. (I have
> approximated the average of 3 runs for simplicity).
> I think it is happening because sync_file_range() will send all
> the writes as SYNC and it will compete with firefox IO. On the other
> hand, flusher's IO will show up as ASYNC and CFQ  will be penalize it
> heavily and firefox's IO will be prioritized. And this effect should
> just get worse as more processes do sync_file_range().
> So write-behind should provide better interactivity if writes submitted
> are ASYNC and not SYNC.

Hi Vivek, thanks for testing all of these out! The result is
definitely interesting and a surprise: we overlooked the SYNC nature
of sync_file_range().

I'd suggest to use these calls to achieve the write-and-drop-behind
behavior, *with* WB_SYNC_NONE:

        posix_fadvise(fd, offset, len, POSIX_FADV_DONTNEED);
        sync_file_range(fd, offset, len, SYNC_FILE_RANGE_WAIT_AFTER);

The caveat is, the below bdi_write_congested() will never evaluate to
true since we are only filling the request queue with 8MB data.


                if (!bdi_write_congested(mapping->backing_dev_info))
                        __filemap_fdatawrite_range(mapping, offset, endbyte,

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