On Wed, Jan 15, 2014 at 10:16:27AM -0500, Robert Haas wrote:
> On Wed, Jan 15, 2014 at 4:44 AM, Mel Gorman <mgor...@suse.de> wrote:
> > That applies if the dirty pages are forced to be kept dirty. You call
> > this pinned but pinned has special meaning so I would suggest calling it
> > something like dirty-sticky pages. It could be the case that such hinting
> > will have the pages excluded from dirty background writing but can still
> > be cleaned if dirty limits are hit or if fsync is called. It's a hint,
> > not a forced guarantee.
> >
> > It's still a hand grenade because if this is tracked on a per-page basis
> > because of what happens if the process crashes? Those pages stay dirty
> > potentially forever. An alternative would be to track this on a per-inode
> > instead of per-page basis. The hint would only exist where there is an
> > open fd for that inode.  Treat it as a privileged call with a sysctl
> > controlling how many dirty-sticky pages can exist in the system with the
> > information presented during OOM kills and maybe it starts becoming a bit
> > more manageable. Dirty-sticky pages are not guaranteed to stay dirty
> > until userspace action, the kernel just stays away until there are no
> > other sensible options.
> I think this discussion is vividly illustrating why this whole line of
> inquiry is a pile of fail.  If all the processes that have the file
> open crash, the changes have to be *thrown away* not written to disk
> whenever the kernel likes.

I realise that now and sorry for the noise.

I later read the parts of the thread that covered the strict ordering
requirements and in a summary mail I split the requirements in two. In one,
there are dirty sticky pages that the kernel should not writeback unless
it has no other option or fsync is called. This may be suitable for large
temporary files that Postgres does not necessarily want to hit the platter
but also does not have strict ordering requirements for. The second is have
pages that are strictly kept dirty until the application syncs them. An
unbounded number of these pages would blow up but maybe bounds could be
placed on it. There are no solid conclusions on that part yet.

Mel Gorman

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