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SubjectRe: [PATCH v3] virtio-balloon: Switch back to OOM handler for VIRTIO_BALLOON_F_DEFLATE_ON_OOM
On 11.03.20 12:12, Michael S. Tsirkin wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 10, 2020 at 08:13:19PM +0100, David Hildenbrand wrote:
>> On 10.03.20 20:05, David Rientjes wrote:
>>> On Tue, 10 Mar 2020, 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 other slab cache that should be
>>>> shrunk when under memory pressure. The shrinker does not have a concept of
>>>> priorities yet, so this behavior cannot be configured. Eventually once
>>>> that is in place, we might want to switch back after doing proper
>>>> testing.
>>>> 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.
>>>> 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().
>>>> Testing done by Tyler for future reference:
>>>> Test setup: VM with 16 CPU, 64GB RAM. Running Debian 10. We have a 42
>>>> GB file full of random bytes that we continually cat to /dev/null.
>>>> This fills the page cache as the file is read. Meanwhile we trigger
>>>> the balloon to inflate, with a target size of 53 GB. This setup causes
>>>> the balloon inflation to pressure the page cache as the page cache is
>>>> also trying to grow. Afterwards we shrink the balloon back to zero (so
>>>> total deflate = total inflate).
>>>> Without patch (kernel 4.19.0-5):
>>>> Inflation never reaches the target until we stop the "cat file >
>>>> /dev/null" process. Total inflation time was 542 seconds. The longest
>>>> period that made no net forward progress was 315 seconds (see attached
>>>> graph).
>>>> Result of "grep balloon /proc/vmstat" after the test:
>>>> balloon_inflate 154828377
>>>> balloon_deflate 154828377
>>>> With patch (kernel 5.6.0-rc4+):
>>>> Total inflation duration was 63 seconds. No deflate-queue activity
>>>> occurs when pressuring the page-cache.
>>>> Result of "grep balloon /proc/vmstat" after the test:
>>>> balloon_inflate 12968539
>>>> balloon_deflate 12968539
>>>> Conclusion: This patch fixes the issue. In the test it reduced
>>>> inflate/deflate activity by 12x, and reduced inflation time by 8.6x.
>>>> But more importantly, if we hadn't killed the "grep balloon
>>>> /proc/vmstat" process then, without the patch, the inflation process
>>>> would never reach the target.
>>>> [1]
>>>> Reported-by: Tyler Sanderson <>
>>>> Tested-by: Tyler Sanderson <>
>>>> Fixes: 71994620bb25 ("virtio_balloon: replace oom notifier with shrinker")
>>>> Cc: Michael S. Tsirkin <>
>>>> Cc: Wei Wang <>
>>>> Cc: Alexander Duyck <>
>>>> Cc: David Rientjes <>
>>>> Cc: Nadav Amit <>
>>>> Cc: Michal Hocko <>
>>>> Cc: Andrew Morton <>
>>>> Signed-off-by: David Hildenbrand <>
>>> Acked-by: David Rientjes <>
>> Thanks!
> David could you repost with corrected commit log
> so Andrew can merge? To make sure it's not missed,
> it's probably a good idea to have a cover letter
> mentioning mm in the subject.

Yes, on my list, busy with some other stuff. Will make sure Andrew will
see this mail :)


David / dhildenb

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