mm, memcg: make scan aggression always exclude protection

This patch is an incremental improvement on the existing
memory.{low,min} relative reclaim work to base its scan pressure
calculations on how much protection is available compared to the current
usage, rather than how much the current usage is over some protection

This change doesn't change the experience for the user in the normal
case too much.  One benefit is that it replaces the (somewhat arbitrary)
100% cutoff with an indefinite slope, which makes it easier to ballpark
a memory.low value.

As well as this, the old methodology doesn't quite apply generically to
machines with varying amounts of physical memory.  Let's say we have a
top level cgroup, workload.slice, and another top level cgroup,
system-management.slice.  We want to roughly give 12G to
system-management.slice, so on a 32GB machine we set memory.low to 20GB
in workload.slice, and on a 64GB machine we set memory.low to 52GB.
However, because these are relative amounts to the total machine size,
while the amount of memory we want to generally be willing to yield to
system.slice is absolute (12G), we end up putting more pressure on
system.slice just because we have a larger machine and a larger workload
to fill it, which seems fairly unintuitive.  With this new behaviour, we
don't end up with this unintended side effect.

Previously the way that memory.low protection works is that if you are
50% over a certain baseline, you get 50% of your normal scan pressure.
This is certainly better than the previous cliff-edge behaviour, but it
can be improved even further by always considering memory under the
currently enforced protection threshold to be out of bounds.  This means
that we can set relatively low memory.low thresholds for variable or
bursty workloads while still getting a reasonable level of protection,
whereas with the previous version we may still trivially hit the 100%
clamp.  The previous 100% clamp is also somewhat arbitrary, whereas this
one is more concretely based on the currently enforced protection
threshold, which is likely easier to reason about.

There is also a subtle issue with the way that proportional reclaim
worked previously -- it promotes having no memory.low, since it makes
pressure higher during low reclaim.  This happens because we base our
scan pressure modulation on how far memory.current is between memory.min
and memory.low, but if memory.low is unset, we only use the overage
method.  In most cromulent configurations, this then means that we end
up with *more* pressure than with no memory.low at all when we're in low
reclaim, which is not really very usable or expected.

With this patch, memory.low and memory.min affect reclaim pressure in a
more understandable and composable way.  For example, from a user
standpoint, "protected" memory now remains untouchable from a reclaim
aggression standpoint, and users can also have more confidence that
bursty workloads will still receive some amount of guaranteed

Signed-off-by: Chris Down <>
Reviewed-by: Roman Gushchin <>
Acked-by: Johannes Weiner <>
Acked-by: Michal Hocko <>
Cc: Tejun Heo <>
Cc: Dennis Zhou <>
Cc: Vladimir Davydov <>
Signed-off-by: Andrew Morton <>
Signed-off-by: Linus Torvalds <>
2 files changed