On Sat, Jun 3, 2017 at 9:55 PM, Allan Jude <allanj...@freebsd.org> wrote:

> On 2017-06-03 22:35, Julian Elischer wrote:
> > On 4/6/17 4:59 am, Colin Percival wrote:
> >> On January 24, 1998, in what was later renumbered to SVN r32724, dyson@
> >> wrote:
> >>> Add better support for larger I/O clusters, including larger physical
> >>> I/O.  The support is not mature yet, and some of the underlying
> >>> implementation
> >>> needs help.  However, support does exist for IDE devices now.
> >> and increased MAXPHYS from 64 kB to 128 kB.  Is it time to increase it
> >> again,
> >> or do we need to wait at least two decades between changes?
> >>
> >> This is hurting performance on some systems; in particular, EC2 "io1"
> >> disks
> >> are optimized for 256 kB I/Os, EC2 "st1" (throughput optimized
> >> spinning rust)
> >> disks are optimized for 1 MB I/Os, and Amazon's NFS service (EFS)
> >> recommends
> >> using a maximum I/O size of 1 MB (and despite NFS not being *physical*
> >> I/O it
> >> seems to still be limited by MAXPHYS).
> >>
> > We increase it in freebsd 8 and 10.3 on our systems,  Only good results.
> >
> > sys/sys/param.h:#define MAXPHYS         (1024 * 1024)   /* max raw I/O
> > transfer size */
> >
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> At some point Warner and I discussed how hard it might be to make this a
> boot time tunable, so that big amd64 machines can have a larger value
> without causing problems for smaller machines.
> ZFS supports a block size of 1mb, and doing I/Os in 128kb negates some
> of the benefit.
> I am preparing some benchmarks and other data along with a patch to
> increase the maximum size of pipe I/O's as well, because using 1MB
> offers a relatively large performance gain there as well.

It doesn't look to be hard to change this, though struct buf depends on
        struct  vm_page *b_pages[btoc(MAXPHYS)];
and b_pages isn't the last item in the list, so changing MAXPHYS at boot
time would cause an ABI change. IMHO, we should move it to the last element
so that wouldn't happen. IIRC all buf allocations are from a fixed pool.
We'd have to audit anybody that creates one on the stack knowing it will be
persisted. Given how things work, I don't think this is possible, so we may
be safe. Thankfully, struct bio doesn't seem to be affected.

As for making it boot-time configurable, it shouldn't be too horrible with
the above change. We should have enough of the tunables mechanism up early
enough to pull this in before we create the buf pool.

Netflix runs MAXPHYS of 8MB. There's issues with something this big, to be
sure, especially on memory limited systems. Lots of hardware can't do this
big an I/O, and some drivers can't cope, even if the underlying hardware
can. Since we don't use such drivers at work, I don't have a list handy
(though I think the SG list for NVMe limits it to 1MB). 128k is totally
reasonable bump by default, but I think going larger by default should be
approached with some caution given the overhead that adds to struct buf.
Having it be a run-time tunable would be great.

There's a number of places in userland that depend on MAXPHYS, which is
unfortunate since they assume a fixed value and don't pick it up from the
kernel or kernel config. Thankfully, there are only a limited number of

Of course, there's times when I/Os can return much more than this. Reading
drive log pages, for example, can generate tens or hundreds of MB of data,
and there's no way to do that with one transaction today. If drive makers
were perfect, we could use the generally defined offset and length fields
to read them out piecemeal. If the log is table, a big if for some of the
snapshots of internal state logs that are sometimes necessary to
investigate problems... It sure would be nice if there were a way to have
super-huge I/O on an exception basis for these situations.

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