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SubjectRe: Reclaim regression after 1c30844d2dfe
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On Fri, 2020-02-07 at 14:54 -0800, Ivan Babrou wrote:
> This change from 5.5 times:
>
> * https://github.com/torvalds/linux/commit/1c30844d2dfe
>
> > mm: reclaim small amounts of memory when an external fragmentation
> > event occurs
>
> Introduced undesired effects in our environment.
>
> * NUMA with 2 x CPU
> * 128GB of RAM
> * THP disabled
> * Upgraded from 4.19 to 5.4
>
> Before we saw free memory hover at around 1.4GB with no spikes. After
> the upgrade we saw some machines decide that they need a lot more
> than
> that, with frequent spikes above 10GB, often only on a single numa
> node.
>
> We can see kswapd quite active in balance_pgdat (it didn't look like
> it slept at all):
>
> $ ps uax | fgrep kswapd
> root 1850 23.0 0.0 0 0 ? R Jan30 1902:24
> [kswapd0]
> root 1851 1.8 0.0 0 0 ? S Jan30 152:16
> [kswapd1]
>
> This in turn massively increased pressure on page cache, which did
> not
> go well to services that depend on having a quick response from a
> local cache backed by solid storage.
>
> Here's how it looked like when I zeroed vm.watermark_boost_factor:

We have observed the same thing, even on single node systems.

I have some hacky patches to apply the watermark_boost thing on
a per pgdat basis, which seems to resolve the issue, but I have
not yet found the time to get the locking for that correct.

Given how rare the watermark boosting is, maybe the answer is
just to use atomics? Not sure :)

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