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+CFQ (Complete Fairness Queueing)
+===============================
+
+The main aim of CFQ scheduler is to provide a fair allocation of the disk
+I/O bandwidth for all the processes which requests an I/O operation.
+
+CFQ maintains the per process queue for the processes which request I/O
+operation(syncronous requests). In case of asynchronous requests, all the
+requests from all the processes are batched together according to their
+process's I/O priority.
+
+CFQ ioscheduler tunables
+========================
+
+slice_idle
+----------
+This specifies how long CFQ should idle for next request on certain cfq queues
+(for sequential workloads) and service trees (for random workloads) before
+queue is expired and CFQ selects next queue to dispatch from.
+
+By default slice_idle is a non-zero value. That means by default we idle on
+queues/service trees. This can be very helpful on highly seeky media like
+single spindle SATA/SAS disks where we can cut down on overall number of
+seeks and see improved throughput.
+
+Setting slice_idle to 0 will remove all the idling on queues/service tree
+level and one should see an overall improved throughput on faster storage
+devices like multiple SATA/SAS disks in hardware RAID configuration. The down
+side is that isolation provided from WRITES also goes down and notion of
+IO priority becomes weaker.
+
+So depending on storage and workload, it might be useful to set slice_idle=0.
+In general I think for SATA/SAS disks and software RAID of SATA/SAS disks
+keeping slice_idle enabled should be useful. For any configurations where
+there are multiple spindles behind single LUN (Host based hardware RAID
+controller or for storage arrays), setting slice_idle=0 might end up in better
+throughput and acceptable latencies.
+
+back_seek_max
+-------------
+This specifies, given in Kbytes, the maximum "distance" for backward seeking.
+The distance is the amount of space from the current head location to the
+sectors that are backward in terms of distance.
+
+This parameter allows the scheduler to anticipate requests in the "backward"
+direction and consider them as being the "next" if they are within this
+distance from the current head location.
+
+back_seek_penalty
+-----------------
+This parameter is used to compute the cost of backward seeking. If the
+backward distance of request is just 1/back_seek_penalty from a "front"
+request, then the seeking cost of two requests is considered equivalent.
+
+So scheduler will not bias toward one or the other request (otherwise scheduler
+will bias toward front request). Default value of back_seek_penalty is 2.
+
+fifo_expire_async
+-----------------
+This parameter is used to set the timeout of asynchronous requests. Default
+value of this is 248ms.
+
+fifo_expire_sync
+----------------
+This parameter is used to set the timeout of synchronous requests. Default
+value of this is 124ms. In case to favor synchronous requests over asynchronous
+one, this value should be decreased relative to fifo_expire_async.
+
+slice_async
+-----------
+This parameter is same as of slice_sync but for asynchronous queue. The
+default value is 40ms.
+
+slice_async_rq
+--------------
+This parameter is used to limit the dispatching of asynchronous request to
+device request queue in queue's slice time. The maximum number of request that
+are allowed to be dispatched also depends upon the io priority. Default value
+for this is 2.
+
+slice_sync
+----------
+When a queue is selected for execution, the queues IO requests are only
+executed for a certain amount of time(time_slice) before switching to another
+queue. This parameter is used to calculate the time slice of synchronous
+queue.
+
+time_slice is computed using the below equation:-
+time_slice = slice_sync + (slice_sync/5 * (4 - prio)). To increase the
+time_slice of synchronous queue, increase the value of slice_sync. Default
+value is 100ms.
+
+quantum
+-------
+This specifies the number of request dispatched to the device queue. In a
+queue's time slice, a request will not be dispatched if the number of request
+in the device exceeds this parameter. This parameter is used for synchronous
+request.
+
+In case of storage with several disk, this setting can limit the parallel
+processing of request. Therefore, increasing the value can imporve the
+performace although this can cause the latency of some I/O to increase due
+to more number of requests.
+
+CFQ Group scheduling
+====================
+
+CFQ supports blkio cgroup and has "blkio." prefixed files in each
+blkio cgroup directory. It is weight-based and there are four knobs
+for configuration - weight[_device] and leaf_weight[_device].
+Internal cgroup nodes (the ones with children) can also have tasks in
+them, so the former two configure how much proportion the cgroup as a
+whole is entitled to at its parent's level while the latter two
+configure how much proportion the tasks in the cgroup have compared to
+its direct children.
+
+Another way to think about it is assuming that each internal node has
+an implicit leaf child node which hosts all the tasks whose weight is
+configured by leaf_weight[_device]. Let's assume a blkio hierarchy
+composed of five cgroups - root, A, B, AA and AB - with the following
+weights where the names represent the hierarchy.
+
+ weight leaf_weight
+ root : 125 125
+ A : 500 750
+ B : 250 500
+ AA : 500 500
+ AB : 1000 500
+
+root never has a parent making its weight is meaningless. For backward
+compatibility, weight is always kept in sync with leaf_weight. B, AA
+and AB have no child and thus its tasks have no children cgroup to
+compete with. They always get 100% of what the cgroup won at the
+parent level. Considering only the weights which matter, the hierarchy
+looks like the following.
+
+ root
+ / | \
+ A B leaf
+ 500 250 125
+ / | \
+ AA AB leaf
+ 500 1000 750
+
+If all cgroups have active IOs and competing with each other, disk
+time will be distributed like the following.
+
+Distribution below root. The total active weight at this level is
+A:500 + B:250 + C:125 = 875.
+
+ root-leaf : 125 / 875 =~ 14%
+ A : 500 / 875 =~ 57%
+ B(-leaf) : 250 / 875 =~ 28%
+
+A has children and further distributes its 57% among the children and
+the implicit leaf node. The total active weight at this level is
+AA:500 + AB:1000 + A-leaf:750 = 2250.
+
+ A-leaf : ( 750 / 2250) * A =~ 19%
+ AA(-leaf) : ( 500 / 2250) * A =~ 12%
+ AB(-leaf) : (1000 / 2250) * A =~ 25%
+
+CFQ IOPS Mode for group scheduling
+===================================
+Basic CFQ design is to provide priority based time slices. Higher priority
+process gets bigger time slice and lower priority process gets smaller time
+slice. Measuring time becomes harder if storage is fast and supports NCQ and
+it would be better to dispatch multiple requests from multiple cfq queues in
+request queue at a time. In such scenario, it is not possible to measure time
+consumed by single queue accurately.
+
+What is possible though is to measure number of requests dispatched from a
+single queue and also allow dispatch from multiple cfq queue at the same time.
+This effectively becomes the fairness in terms of IOPS (IO operations per
+second).
+
+If one sets slice_idle=0 and if storage supports NCQ, CFQ internally switches
+to IOPS mode and starts providing fairness in terms of number of requests
+dispatched. Note that this mode switching takes effect only for group
+scheduling. For non-cgroup users nothing should change.
+
+CFQ IO scheduler Idling Theory
+===============================
+Idling on a queue is primarily about waiting for the next request to come
+on same queue after completion of a request. In this process CFQ will not
+dispatch requests from other cfq queues even if requests are pending there.
+
+The rationale behind idling is that it can cut down on number of seeks
+on rotational media. For example, if a process is doing dependent
+sequential reads (next read will come on only after completion of previous
+one), then not dispatching request from other queue should help as we
+did not move the disk head and kept on dispatching sequential IO from
+one queue.
+
+CFQ has following service trees and various queues are put on these trees.
+
+ sync-idle sync-noidle async
+
+All cfq queues doing synchronous sequential IO go on to sync-idle tree.
+On this tree we idle on each queue individually.
+
+All synchronous non-sequential queues go on sync-noidle tree. Also any
+request which are marked with REQ_NOIDLE go on this service tree. On this
+tree we do not idle on individual queues instead idle on the whole group
+of queues or the tree. So if there are 4 queues waiting for IO to dispatch
+we will idle only once last queue has dispatched the IO and there is
+no more IO on this service tree.
+
+All async writes go on async service tree. There is no idling on async
+queues.
+
+CFQ has some optimizations for SSDs and if it detects a non-rotational
+media which can support higher queue depth (multiple requests at in
+flight at a time), then it cuts down on idling of individual queues and
+all the queues move to sync-noidle tree and only tree idle remains. This
+tree idling provides isolation with buffered write queues on async tree.
+
+FAQ
+===
+Q1. Why to idle at all on queues marked with REQ_NOIDLE.
+
+A1. We only do tree idle (all queues on sync-noidle tree) on queues marked
+ with REQ_NOIDLE. This helps in providing isolation with all the sync-idle
+ queues. Otherwise in presence of many sequential readers, other
+ synchronous IO might not get fair share of disk.
+
+ For example, if there are 10 sequential readers doing IO and they get
+ 100ms each. If a REQ_NOIDLE request comes in, it will be scheduled
+ roughly after 1 second. If after completion of REQ_NOIDLE request we
+ do not idle, and after a couple of milli seconds a another REQ_NOIDLE
+ request comes in, again it will be scheduled after 1second. Repeat it
+ and notice how a workload can lose its disk share and suffer due to
+ multiple sequential readers.
+
+ fsync can generate dependent IO where bunch of data is written in the
+ context of fsync, and later some journaling data is written. Journaling
+ data comes in only after fsync has finished its IO (atleast for ext4
+ that seemed to be the case). Now if one decides not to idle on fsync
+ thread due to REQ_NOIDLE, then next journaling write will not get
+ scheduled for another second. A process doing small fsync, will suffer
+ badly in presence of multiple sequential readers.
+
+ Hence doing tree idling on threads using REQ_NOIDLE flag on requests
+ provides isolation from multiple sequential readers and at the same
+ time we do not idle on individual threads.
+
+Q2. When to specify REQ_NOIDLE
+A2. I would think whenever one is doing synchronous write and not expecting
+ more writes to be dispatched from same context soon, should be able
+ to specify REQ_NOIDLE on writes and that probably should work well for
+ most of the cases.