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SubjectRE: [PATCH v1 3/3] virtio-balloon: Switch back to OOM handler for VIRTIO_BALLOON_F_DEFLATE_ON_OOM
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On Friday, February 14, 2020 5:52 PM, David Hildenbrand wrote:
> > Commit 71994620bb25 ("virtio_balloon: replace oom notifier with
> > shrinker") changed the behavior when deflation happens automatically.
> > Instead of deflating when called by the OOM handler, the shrinker is used.
> >
> > However, the balloon is not simply some slab cache that should be
> > shrunk when under memory pressure. The shrinker does not have a
> > concept of priorities, so this behavior cannot be configured.
> >
> > There was a report that this results in undesired side effects when
> > inflating the balloon to shrink the page cache. [1]
> > "When inflating the balloon against page cache (i.e. no free memory
> > remains) vmscan.c will both shrink page cache, but also invoke the
> > shrinkers -- including the balloon's shrinker. So the balloon
> > driver allocates memory which requires reclaim, vmscan gets this
> > memory by shrinking the balloon, and then the driver adds the
> > memory back to the balloon. Basically a busy no-op."
> >
> > The name "deflate on OOM" makes it pretty clear when deflation should
> > happen - after other approaches to reclaim memory failed, not while
> > reclaiming. This allows to minimize the footprint of a guest - memory
> > will only be taken out of the balloon when really needed.
> >
> > Especially, a drop_slab() will result in the whole balloon getting
> > deflated - undesired. While handling it via the OOM handler might not
> > be perfect, it keeps existing behavior. If we want a different
> > behavior, then we need a new feature bit and document it properly
> > (although, there should be a clear use case and the intended effects should
> be well described).
> >
> > Keep using the shrinker for VIRTIO_BALLOON_F_FREE_PAGE_HINT,
> because
> > this has no such side effects. Always register the shrinker with
> > VIRTIO_BALLOON_F_FREE_PAGE_HINT now. We are always allowed to
> reuse
> > free pages that are still to be processed by the guest. The hypervisor
> > takes care of identifying and resolving possible races between
> > processing a hinting request and the guest reusing a page.
> >
> > In contrast to pre commit 71994620bb25 ("virtio_balloon: replace oom
> > notifier with shrinker"), don't add a moodule parameter to configure
> > the number of pages to deflate on OOM. Can be re-added if really needed.
> > Also, pay attention that leak_balloon() returns the number of 4k pages
> > - convert it properly in virtio_balloon_oom_notify().
> >
> > Note1: using the OOM handler is frowned upon, but it really is what we
> > need for this feature.
> >
> > Note2: without VIRTIO_BALLOON_F_MUST_TELL_HOST (iow, always with
> QEMU) we
> > could actually skip sending deflation requests to our hypervisor,
> > making the OOM path *very* simple. Besically freeing pages and
> > updating the balloon. If the communication with the host ever
> > becomes a problem on this call path.
> >
>
> @Michael, how to proceed with this?
>

I vote for not going back. When there are solid request and strong reasons in the future, we could reopen this discussion.

Best,
Wei
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