Re: [LSF/MM/BPF TOPIC] Measuring limits and enhancing buffered IO

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On Fri, Feb 23, 2024 at 03:59:58PM -0800, Luis Chamberlain wrote:
> Part of the testing we have done with LBS was to do some performance
> tests on XFS to ensure things are not regressing. Building linux is a
> fine decent test and we did some random cloud instance tests on that and
> presented that at Plumbers, but it doesn't really cut it if we want to
> push things to the limit though. What are the limits to buffered IO
> and how do we test that? Who keeps track of it?
> The obvious recurring tension is that for really high performance folks
> just recommend to use birect IO. But if you are stress testing changes
> to a filesystem and want to push buffered IO to its limits it makes
> sense to stick to buffered IO, otherwise how else do we test it?
> It is good to know limits to buffered IO too because some workloads
> cannot use direct IO.  For instance PostgreSQL doesn't have direct IO
> support and even as late as the end of last year we learned that adding
> direct IO to PostgreSQL would be difficult.  Chris Mason has noted also
> that direct IO can also force writes during reads (?)... Anyway, testing
> the limits of buffered IO limits to ensure you are not creating
> regressions when doing some page cache surgery seems like it might be
> useful and a sensible thing to do .... The good news is we have not found
> regressions with LBS but all the testing seems to beg the question, of what
> are the limits of buffered IO anyway, and how does it scale? Do we know, do
> we care? Do we keep track of it? How does it compare to direct IO for some
> workloads? How big is the delta? How do we best test that? How do we
> automate all that? Do we want to automatically test this to avoid regressions?
> The obvious issues with some workloads for buffered IO is having a
> possible penality if you are not really re-using folios added to the
> page cache. Jens Axboe reported a while ago issues with workloads with
> random reads over a data set 10x the size of RAM and also proposed
> RWF_UNCACHED as a way to help [0]. As Chinner put it, this seemed more
> like direct IO with kernel pages and a memcpy(), and it requires
> further serialization to be implemented that we already do for
> direct IO for writes. There at least seems to be agreement that if we're
> going to provide an enhancement or alternative that we should strive to not
> make the same mistakes we've done with direct IO. The rationale for some
> workloads to use buffered IO is it helps reduce some tail latencies, so
> that's something to live up to.
> On that same thread Christoph also mentioned the possibility of a direct
> IO variant which can leverage the cache. Is that something we want to
> move forward with?

The thing to consider here would be an improved O_SYNC. There's a fair
amount of tree walking and thread to thread cacheline bouncing that
would be avoided by just calling .write_folios() and kicking bios off
from .write_iter().

OTOH - the way it's done now is probably the best possible way of
splitting up the work between multiple threads, so I'd expect this
approach to get less throughput than current O_SYNC.

Luis, are you profiling these workloads? I haven't looked at high
throughput profiles of the buffered IO path in years, and that's a good
place to start.

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