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Performance on NFS

From: Ludovic Courtès
Subject: Performance on NFS
Date: Wed, 07 Jun 2017 12:35:06 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/25.2 (gnu/linux)

Hi Roel,

Roel Janssen <address@hidden> skribis:

>> That is going to make builds verrrry slow.  I would suggest having
>> guix-daemon operate on the local /gnu (that’s what Ricardo did, IIRC).
> That definitely speeds things up about 50%.  So, running the environment
> command from a node that is connected to the node that runs
> guix-daemon, will take about 30 seconds instead of one minute.
> This could be made faster by letting 'guix-daemon' do more of the work,
> and let the client-side 'guix' only do the minimum.

Right, but it’s the client that computes the derivation, which involves
quite a bit of I/O and computation.

> (I know.. this remote-guix-daemon stuff voids the warranty.. ;))
> The NFS overhead is pretty large.  Maybe we can better tune it, and if
> so, document how to tune it for GNU Guix.  I already talked to our
> storage expert, and tuning boils down to using fast disks, a
> large-enough NFS cache, and low-latency network equipment.
> The reason we have /gnu NFS-mounted on the build node is that we can
> then very easily replace the node when it would have a hardware failure,
> without even losing the ability to run programs that were already
> installed.

I guess you could also use a RAID device for /gnu/store.  Or you could
have a local /gnu/store and replicate it elsewhere, maybe
opportunistically via ‘guix publish’.

>> We should make sure these 1782 calls are all warranted (e.g., make sure
>> we don’t open the same file twice; this could be easily diagnosed by
>> looking at the output of ‘strace’.)
>> But then, as you say, it’s a process that opens lots of files.
>> We could cache package lookups, and maybe that’d help a little bit.
>> Currently we use ‘fold-packages’, which loads every single package
>> module, and then we look for a package named “coreutils” among them;
>> with a cache, we could directly load (gnu packages base) and its
>> dependencies.
>> Ludo’.
> Running 'guix package -A' only takes a couple of seconds.  So I don't
> think that loading the Scheme modules is really a big issue.

How does:

  time guix environment --ad-hoc coreutils --pure -- true

compare to:

  time guix environment --ad-hoc -e '(@ (gnu packages base) coreutils)' --pure 
-- true

?  That would give us an estimate of how much the cache I describe would


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