Re: another approach to rss : sloppy rss

From: Robin Holt <>
Date: 2004-11-20 06:57:21
On Fri, Nov 19, 2004 at 11:21:38AM -0800, Christoph Lameter wrote:
> On Fri, 19 Nov 2004, Nick Piggin wrote:
> > Just coming back to your sloppy rss patch - this thing will of course allow
> > unbounded error to build up. Well, it *will* be bounded by the actual RSS if
> > we assume the races can only cause rss to be underestimated. However, such an
> > assumption (I think it is a safe one?) also means that rss won't hover around
> > the correct value, but tend to go increasingly downward.
> >
> > On your HPC codes that never reclaim memory, and don't do a lot of mapping /
> > unmapping I guess this wouldn't matter... But a long running database or
> > something?
> Databases preallocate memory on startup and then manage memory themselves.
> One reason for this patch is that these applications cause anonymous page
> fault storms on startup given lots of memory which will make
> the system seem to freeze for awhile.
> It is rare for a program to actually free up memory.
> Where this approach could be problematic is when the system is under
> heavy swap load. Pages of an application will be repeatedly paged in and
> out and therefore rss will be incremented and decremented. But in those
> cases these incs and decs are not done in a way that is on purpose
> parallel like in my test programs. So I would expect rss to be more
> accurate than in my tests.
> I think the sloppy rss approach is the right way to go.

Is this really that much of a problem?  Why not leave rss as an _ACCURATE_
count of pages.  That way stuff like limits based upon rss and accounting
of memory usage are accurate.

Have we tried splitting into seperate cache lines?  How about grouped counters
for every 16 cpus instead of a per-cpu counter as proposed by someone else

IMHO, keeping rss as an accurate count is much more important that having
a nearly correct value.  If this turns into more of a scaling issue later on,
your patch will have to be caught by someone accidentally noticing that
the rss value is _WAY_ off as opposed to our normal methods for detecting
cacheline contention.

Just my opinion,
Robin Holt
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Received on Fri Nov 19 15:02:20 2004

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