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Subject[PATCH] bdi: Move cgroup bdi_writeback to a dedicated low concurrency workqueue
From 0aa2e9b921d6db71150633ff290199554f0842a8 Mon Sep 17 00:00:00 2001
From: Tejun Heo <>
Date: Wed, 23 May 2018 10:29:00 -0700

cgwb_release() punts the actual release to cgwb_release_workfn() on
system_wq. Depending on the number of cgroups or block devices, there
can be a lot of cgwb_release_workfn() in flight at the same time.

We're periodically seeing close to 256 kworkers getting stuck with the
following stack trace and overtime the entire system gets stuck.

[<ffffffff810ee40c>] _synchronize_rcu_expedited.constprop.72+0x2fc/0x330
[<ffffffff810ee634>] synchronize_rcu_expedited+0x24/0x30
[<ffffffff811ccf23>] bdi_unregister+0x53/0x290
[<ffffffff811cd1e9>] release_bdi+0x89/0xc0
[<ffffffff811cd645>] wb_exit+0x85/0xa0
[<ffffffff811cdc84>] cgwb_release_workfn+0x54/0xb0
[<ffffffff810a68d0>] process_one_work+0x150/0x410
[<ffffffff810a71fd>] worker_thread+0x6d/0x520
[<ffffffff810ad3dc>] kthread+0x12c/0x160
[<ffffffff81969019>] ret_from_fork+0x29/0x40
[<ffffffffffffffff>] 0xffffffffffffffff

The events leading to the lockup are...

1. A lot of cgwb_release_workfn() is queued at the same time and all
system_wq kworkers are assigned to execute them.

2. They all end up calling synchronize_rcu_expedited(). One of them
wins and tries to perform the expedited synchronization.

3. However, that invovles queueing rcu_exp_work to system_wq and
waiting for it. Because #1 is holding all available kworkers on
system_wq, rcu_exp_work can't be executed. cgwb_release_workfn()
is waiting for synchronize_rcu_expedited() which in turn is waiting
for cgwb_release_workfn() to free up some of the kworkers.

We shouldn't be scheduling hundreds of cgwb_release_workfn() at the
same time. There's nothing to be gained from that. This patch
updates cgwb release path to use a dedicated percpu workqueue with
@max_active of 1.

While this resolves the problem at hand, it might be a good idea to
isolate rcu_exp_work to its own workqueue too as it can be used from
various paths and is prone to this sort of indirect A-A deadlocks.

Signed-off-by: Tejun Heo <>
Cc: "Paul E. McKenney" <>
mm/backing-dev.c | 18 +++++++++++++++++-
1 file changed, 17 insertions(+), 1 deletion(-)

diff --git a/mm/backing-dev.c b/mm/backing-dev.c
index 7441bd9..8fe3ebd 100644
--- a/mm/backing-dev.c
+++ b/mm/backing-dev.c
@@ -412,6 +412,7 @@ static void wb_exit(struct bdi_writeback *wb)
* protected.
static DEFINE_SPINLOCK(cgwb_lock);
+static struct workqueue_struct *cgwb_release_wq;

* wb_congested_get_create - get or create a wb_congested
@@ -522,7 +523,7 @@ static void cgwb_release(struct percpu_ref *refcnt)
struct bdi_writeback *wb = container_of(refcnt, struct bdi_writeback,
- schedule_work(&wb->release_work);
+ queue_work(cgwb_release_wq, &wb->release_work);

static void cgwb_kill(struct bdi_writeback *wb)
@@ -784,6 +785,21 @@ static void cgwb_bdi_register(struct backing_dev_info *bdi)

+static int __init cgwb_init(void)
+ /*
+ * There can be many concurrent release work items overwhelming
+ * system_wq. Put them in a separate wq and limit concurrency.
+ * There's no point in executing many of these in parallel.
+ */
+ cgwb_release_wq = alloc_workqueue("cgwb_release", 0, 1);
+ if (!cgwb_release_wq)
+ return -ENOMEM;
+ return 0;

static int cgwb_bdi_init(struct backing_dev_info *bdi)
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