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[linux-lvm] IO scheduler, queue depth, nr_requests



Hello,

	as you might have seen from the linux-kernel mailinglist
I have been testing for months now with a fileserver set up to
use XFS over LVM2 on a 3ware RAID5 controller.

I asked for help several times on the list, but nobody really
replied, so now I'm taking a shot at mailing you directly, since
you appear to be the I/O request queueing guru of the kernel ;)
Cc: sent to linux-lvm sistina com  Any hint appreciated.

For some reason, when using LVM, write requests get queued out
of order to the 3ware controller, which results in quite a bit
of seeking and thus performance loss.

The default queue depth of the 3ware controller is 254. I found
out that lowering it to 64 in the driver fixed my problems, and
I advised 3ware support about this. They weren't really convinced..

By fiddling about today I just found that changing
/sys/block/sda/queue/nr_requests from 128 to something above
the queue depth of the 3ware controller (256 doesn't work,
384 and up do) also fixes the problem.

Does that actually make sense ?

Ah yes, I'm currently using 2.6.2 with a 3ware 8506-8 in
hardware raid5 mode, deadline scheduler, PIV 3.0 Ghz, 2 GB RAM.

Debug output ("mydd" works just like "dd", but has an fsync option):

- /mnt is an XFS filesystem on a LVM2 volume on the 3ware
- /mnt2 is an XFS filesystem directly on /dev/sda1 of the 3ware

- First on /mnt, the LVM partition. Note that a small "dd" runs
  fast, a larger one runs slower:

# cd /mnt
# cat /sys/block/sda/device/queue_depth
254
# cat /sys/block/sda/queue/nr_requests
128
# ~/mydd --if /dev/zero --of file --bs 4096 --count 50000 --fsync
204800000 bytes transferred in 2.679812 seconds (76423271 bytes/sec)
# ~/mydd --if /dev/zero --of file --bs 4096 --count 100000 --fsync
409600000 bytes transferred in 9.501549 seconds (43108760 bytes/sec)

- Now I set the nr_requests to 512:
# echo 512 > /sys/block/sda/queue/nr_requests
# ~/mydd --if /dev/zero --of file --bs 4096 --count 100000 --fsync
409600000 bytes transferred in 5.374437 seconds (76212634 bytes/sec)

See that ? Weird thing is, it's only on LVM, directly on /dev/sda1
no problem at all:

# cat /sys/block/sda/device/queue_depth
254
# cat /sys/block/sda/queue/nr_requests
128
# ~/mydd --if /dev/zero --of file --bs 4096 --count 100000 --fsync
409600000 bytes transferred in 5.135642 seconds (79756338 bytes/sec)

Somehow, LVM is causing the requests to the underlying 3ware
device to get out of order, and increasing nr_requests to be
larger than the queue_depth of the device fixes this.

I tried the latest dm-patches in -mm (applied those to vanilla
2.6.2), which include a patch called dm-04-maintain-bio-ordering.patch
but that doesn't really help (at first I though otherwise, but the
tests scripts I used lowered the queue_depth of the 3ware to 64
by accident) - if anything, it makes things worse.

# ~/mydd --if /dev/zero --of file --bs 4096 --count 100000 --fsync
409600000 bytes transferred in 13.138224 seconds (31176208 bytes/sec)

Setting nr_requests to 512 fixes things up again.

Mike.



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