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Re: [Qemu-block] [PATCH 0/6] qcow2: Make the L2 cache cover the whole im

From: Kevin Wolf
Subject: Re: [Qemu-block] [PATCH 0/6] qcow2: Make the L2 cache cover the whole image by default
Date: Fri, 3 Aug 2018 16:55:42 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.9.1 (2017-09-22)

Am 03.08.2018 um 15:37 hat Alberto Garcia geschrieben:
> On Mon 30 Jul 2018 12:55:22 PM CEST, Kevin Wolf wrote:
> > I agree with changing the defaults, I would have proposed a change
> > myself soon. We have been offering cache size options for a long time,
> > and management tools are still ignoring them. So we need to do
> > something in QEMU.
> Indeed, there's been a bit of discussion in the mailing list and here:
>    https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=1377735
> There are some proposals but I haven't seen one that looks evidently
> like the best choice yet.
> > Now, what the exact defaults should be, is something to use a bit more
> > thought on. You say "the memory overhead is very small", without going
> > into details. Let's check.
> Thanks for showing these numbers, Kevin. The memory overhead is
> definitely not very small, and as a matter of fact a significant part of
> the work that I've been doing in the past couple of years has the goal
> of reducing that memory overhead, which is very significant if you have
> large images and long backing chains.

The actual overhead is probably quite small in the common cases, we just
must be careful that corner cases don't completely break.

By the way, weren't you working on subclusters a while ago? How did that
go? Because I think those would enable us to use larger cluster sizes
and therefore reduce the metadata sizes as well.

> > * Cap it at 32 MB (?) by default
> > * Enable cache-clean-interval=30 (?) by default to compensate a bit for
> >   the higher maximum memory usage
> I think this seems like a reasonable approach. One question that I was
> asked already was "Why is cache-clean-interval not enabled by default?".
> I don't think the performance impact is a problem (unless the interval
> is too low of course), the only thing that I could think of is that it
> could make the memory usage more unpredictable.

Yes, but I think being more unpredictable is better than being
constantly wrong. Always using more cache just because it would be more
predictable sounds silly, and using too little cache results in bad
performance. So something adaptive seems right to me.

In fact, we already have significant additonal memory use under high I/O
load because we allocate many coroutines with a 1 MB stack each. Caches
that also grow a bit under load should be bearable, I hope.

In the end, we only have a choice between bad performance for random I/O
across the whole disk or throwing more memory at the problem. Let's
choose something that performs good by default and if someone wants to
save memory, they can still set the options.

> > Another thing I just noticed while looking at the code is that
> > cache-clean-interval only considers blocks that aren't dirty, but
> > doesn't take measures to get dirty blocks written out, so we depend on
> > the guest flushing the cache before we can get free the memory. Should
> > we attempt to write unused dirty entries back? Berto?
> I never thought about it, but sounds like worth exploring.

Are you planning to do that or should I add it to my own todo list?

> > Maybe the right interface with this in mind would be a boolean option
> > that specifies whether the given cache sizes are exact values (old
> > semantics) or maximum values, which are limited to what the actual
> > images size requires. If you do want the "real" full mode, you'd set
> > l2-cache-size=INT64_MAX and exact-cache-sizes=false (this could use a
> > better name). The new default would be l2-cache-size=32M,
> > exact-cache-sizes=false. The old default is cache-size=1M,
> > exact-cache-sizes=true.
> That sounds quite complicated ... plus with the current ("exact values")
> semantics l2-cache-size already represents a "maximum" since cache
> entries are only filled on demand. That is, you can set up a 128MB L2
> cache but most of that memory won't be used unless you fill it up first.
> So, if you have an 8GB qcow2 image, having a 1MB L2 cache (enough for
> the whole image) or a 100MB one shouldn't be very different, because in
> the latter case only the first MB is going to be used in practice.
> The only actual difference is the overhead of having larger data
> structures (Qcow2Cache.entries and Qcow2Cache.table_array).
> And thinking about this, perhaps this could be the simplest approach of
> them all: let the user pass any value to l2-cache-size but then in
> read_cache_sizes() do something like
>     if (l2_cache_size_set && *l2_cache_size > max_l2_cache) {
>         *l2_cache_size = max_l2_cache;
>     }
> Then if the image is resized you can recalculate this.
> This way the user can make l2-cache-size the hard maximum that they ever
> are willing to use for an image's L2 cache, and QEMU guarantees that it
> won't allocate that much memory if it can cover the whole image with
> less.
> How does that sound?

Yes. When you read the rest of the thread, you'll see that Leonid
suggested the same and I agree. And if someone really wants cover the
full image no matter how much memory it requires, they can just pass
INT64_MAX and get the right thing.


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