[rrd-developers] madvise (MADV_WILLNEED) read-ahead behaviour

Daniel.Pocock at barclayscapital.com Daniel.Pocock at barclayscapital.com
Wed Nov 5 18:02:46 CET 2008

I suspect that the memory growth observed with rrdcached under high load
results from small I/O sizes.  The kernel is only getting those pages
that are being written, and so the queue is growing.

I've made some improvement by using madvise(MADV_WILLNEED) followed by
mlock() on the area of my stripe file that covers the RRD headers.  This
keeps about 150MB of data locked in RAM (the machine has 8GB).

However, the data section (RRA storage) is more complicated.  The
simplest idea that comes to mind is calling madvise() each time someone
calls rrd_read() or rrd_write().  This increases the I/O request sizes
(by pre-loading whole rows of stripes into RAM for future use), which is
good, but I quickly find that there are a lot of overlapping I/O
requests sent to the hardware - that seems a bit odd.  Shouldn't the
read-ahead algorithm only read pages that are not already in RAM?

Next I tried using mincore() to determine if the region used for
rrd_read() or rrd_write() is already resident in RAM.  If mincore()
returns true, then don't call madvise().  However, this isn't very
effective either, I suspect that it is because I/O requests have already
been queued but not yet completed.

Can anyone suggest a way to ensure that overlapping calls to
madvise(MADV_WILLNEED) don't trigger overlapping I/O read requests?


Daniel Pocock

Barclays Capital
40 Bank St, London, E14 5EN, United Kingdom
Phone: +44 (0) 20 3134 7982


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