Kostas Chatzikokolakis' lowmem patches merged

Gavin Carr gavin at openfusion.com.au
Tue Jan 19 13:46:58 UTC 2010

On Mon, Jan 18, 2010 at 07:24:32PM +0100, Kostas Chatzikokolakis wrote:
> > Turns out there's a problem with using tempfile_obj here. If we're doing 
> > lots of small files and encryption is fast compared to storage, we end up
> > building up a big backlog of encrypted tempfiles we're waiting to consume.
> > We have open filehandles on all of these, and can easily hit the limit on
> > number of open files, and fall over. I saw this in the weekend on a large
> > backup, quadrupled the open files limit from 1024 to 4096, and it still 
> > died pretty quickly.
> You're right, that's a problem.
> > I see two options:
> > 
> > 1. Revert to what we had earlier, which is using the tempfile function, 
> >    and closing the initial filehandle, reopening the file only when we're
> >    ready to consume the data (at which time we unlink the file). This is
> >    reasonable, although File::Temp points out there's a race condition
> >    there that we avoid if we hang on to the open file handle.
> I'd vote for this. I don't like taking up resources that are not really
> used, even in a controlled way. I'm not sure about the race condition,
> but tempfile() opens the file in a temp dir that shouldn't be used by
> any other process.

I'm ambivalent on this one. We *do* want to read from the filehandle, so it's
not unused, just not used immediately.

> Btw, unlinking an open file might not work on all platforms (does it on
> windows?). We could unlink in forget_chunkref().

Yes, it doesn't work on windows, good point.

> > 2. We're really encrypting too fast in this situation - having a thousand
> >    encrypted tempfiles on disk ready to go really isn't that useful. At the
> >    moment the GPGProcManager only slows down when it's got 128MB of data on 
> >    disk waiting to be read. I'm thinking we should we also throttle on the
> >    actual number of outstanding chunks? e.g. attached patch
> > 
> > 
> > Thoughts? 
> > 
> > Not sure what the uncollected_chunk limit should be either - setting it to 
> > 20 is 4 * the number of GPG processes we run by default, and adds that many
> > to the number of open files we have (but limits it at that). Too big/small?
> This is also a reasonable thing to do in general (not just to fix this
> problem). 

Yeah, I agree.

> Maybe it's better to just make the 128MB limit configurable.
> In principle one should care about space, not number of files, and the
> number of files will lower anyway if you lower the size limit.

I think throttling on both is ok - they're both real resources with real-world
limits. Making them configurable might be worth doing too.

FWIW, I reran my large backup from the weekend with that gpg throttling patch
applied, and it performed nicely - 29 open files max at any point. It also 
reduced the load over the whole backup, because we weren't (pointlessly) doing 
all the encryption as fast as we could. So I'll probably commit this shortly.


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