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SubjectRe: [LKP] [mm] ac5b2c1891: vm-scalability.throughput -61.3% regression
On Mon, 3 Dec 2018, Linus Torvalds wrote:

> Side note: I think maybe people should just look at that whole
> compaction logic for that block, because it doesn't make much sense to
> me:
>
> /*
> * Checks for costly allocations with __GFP_NORETRY, which
> * includes THP page fault allocations
> */
> if (costly_order && (gfp_mask & __GFP_NORETRY)) {
> /*
> * If compaction is deferred for high-order allocations,
> * it is because sync compaction recently failed. If
> * this is the case and the caller requested a THP
> * allocation, we do not want to heavily disrupt the
> * system, so we fail the allocation instead of entering
> * direct reclaim.
> */
> if (compact_result == COMPACT_DEFERRED)
> goto nopage;
>
> /*
> * Looks like reclaim/compaction is worth trying, but
> * sync compaction could be very expensive, so keep
> * using async compaction.
> */
> compact_priority = INIT_COMPACT_PRIORITY;
> }
>
> this is where David wants to add *his* odd test, and I think everybody
> looks at that added case
>
> + if (order == pageblock_order &&
> + !(current->flags & PF_KTHREAD))
> + goto nopage;
>
> and just goes "Eww".
>
> But I think the real problem is that it's the "goto nopage" thing that
> makes _sense_, and the current cases for "let's try compaction" that
> are the odd ones, and then David adds one new special case for the
> sensible behavior.
>
> For example, why would COMPACT_DEFERRED mean "don't bother", but not
> all the other reasons it didn't really make sense?
>
> So does it really make sense to fall through AT ALL to that "retry"
> case, when we explicitly already had (gfp_mask & __GFP_NORETRY)?
>
> Maybe the real fix is to instead of adding yet another special case
> for "goto nopage", it should just be unconditional: simply don't try
> to compact large-pages if __GFP_NORETRY was set.
>

I think what is intended, which may not be represented by the code, is
that if compaction is not suitable (__compaction_suitable() returns
COMPACT_SKIPPED because of failing watermarks) that for non-hugepage
allocations reclaim may be useful. We just want to reclaim memory so that
memory compaction has pages available for migration targets.

Note the same caveat I keep bringing up still applies, though: if reclaim
frees memory that is iterated over by the compaction migration scanner, it
was pointless. That is a memory compaction implementation detail and can
lead to a lot of unnecessary reclaim (or even thrashing) if unmovable page
fragmentation cause compaction to fail even after it has migrated
everything it could. I think the likelihood of that happening increases
by the allocation order.

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