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Zswap is a lightweight compressed cache for swap pages. It takes pages that are
in the process of being swapped out and attempts to compress them into a
dynamically allocated RAM-based memory pool. zswap basically trades CPU cycles
for potentially reduced swap I/O. This trade-off can also result in a
significant performance improvement if reads from the compressed cache are
faster than reads from a swap device.
Some potential benefits:
* Desktop/laptop users with limited RAM capacities can mitigate the
performance impact of swapping.
* Overcommitted guests that share a common I/O resource can
dramatically reduce their swap I/O pressure, avoiding heavy handed I/O
throttling by the hypervisor. This allows more work to get done with less
impact to the guest workload and guests sharing the I/O subsystem
* Users with SSDs as swap devices can extend the life of the device by
drastically reducing life-shortening writes.
Zswap evicts pages from compressed cache on an LRU basis to the backing swap
device when the compressed pool reaches its size limit. This requirement had
been identified in prior community discussions.
Whether Zswap is enabled at the boot time depends on whether
the ``CONFIG_ZSWAP_DEFAULT_ON`` Kconfig option is enabled or not.
This setting can then be overridden by providing the kernel command line
``zswap.enabled=`` option, for example ``zswap.enabled=0``.
Zswap can also be enabled and disabled at runtime using the sysfs interface.
An example command to enable zswap at runtime, assuming sysfs is mounted
at ``/sys``, is::
echo 1 > /sys/module/zswap/parameters/enabled
When zswap is disabled at runtime it will stop storing pages that are
being swapped out. However, it will _not_ immediately write out or fault
back into memory all of the pages stored in the compressed pool. The
pages stored in zswap will remain in the compressed pool until they are
either invalidated or faulted back into memory. In order to force all
pages out of the compressed pool, a swapoff on the swap device(s) will
fault back into memory all swapped out pages, including those in the
compressed pool.
Zswap receives pages for compression from the swap subsystem and is able to
evict pages from its own compressed pool on an LRU basis and write them back to
the backing swap device in the case that the compressed pool is full.
Zswap makes use of zpool for the managing the compressed memory pool. Each
allocation in zpool is not directly accessible by address. Rather, a handle is
returned by the allocation routine and that handle must be mapped before being
accessed. The compressed memory pool grows on demand and shrinks as compressed
pages are freed. The pool is not preallocated. By default, a zpool
of type selected in ``CONFIG_ZSWAP_ZPOOL_DEFAULT`` Kconfig option is created,
but it can be overridden at boot time by setting the ``zpool`` attribute,
e.g. ``zswap.zpool=zbud``. It can also be changed at runtime using the sysfs
``zpool`` attribute, e.g.::
echo zbud > /sys/module/zswap/parameters/zpool
The zbud type zpool allocates exactly 1 page to store 2 compressed pages, which
means the compression ratio will always be 2:1 or worse (because of half-full
zbud pages). The zsmalloc type zpool has a more complex compressed page
storage method, and it can achieve greater storage densities.
When a swap page is passed from swapout to zswap, zswap maintains a mapping
of the swap entry, a combination of the swap type and swap offset, to the zpool
handle that references that compressed swap page. This mapping is achieved
with a red-black tree per swap type. The swap offset is the search key for the
tree nodes.
During a page fault on a PTE that is a swap entry, the swapin code calls the
zswap load function to decompress the page into the page allocated by the page
fault handler.
Once there are no PTEs referencing a swap page stored in zswap (i.e. the count
in the swap_map goes to 0) the swap code calls the zswap invalidate function
to free the compressed entry.
Zswap seeks to be simple in its policies. Sysfs attributes allow for one user
controlled policy:
* max_pool_percent - The maximum percentage of memory that the compressed
pool can occupy.
The default compressor is selected in ``CONFIG_ZSWAP_COMPRESSOR_DEFAULT``
Kconfig option, but it can be overridden at boot time by setting the
``compressor`` attribute, e.g. ``zswap.compressor=lzo``.
It can also be changed at runtime using the sysfs "compressor"
attribute, e.g.::
echo lzo > /sys/module/zswap/parameters/compressor
When the zpool and/or compressor parameter is changed at runtime, any existing
compressed pages are not modified; they are left in their own zpool. When a
request is made for a page in an old zpool, it is uncompressed using its
original compressor. Once all pages are removed from an old zpool, the zpool
and its compressor are freed.
Some of the pages in zswap are same-value filled pages (i.e. contents of the
page have same value or repetitive pattern). These pages include zero-filled
pages and they are handled differently. During store operation, a page is
checked if it is a same-value filled page before compressing it. If true, the
compressed length of the page is set to zero and the pattern or same-filled
value is stored.
Same-value filled pages identification feature is enabled by default and can be
disabled at boot time by setting the ``same_filled_pages_enabled`` attribute
to 0, e.g. ``zswap.same_filled_pages_enabled=0``. It can also be enabled and
disabled at runtime using the sysfs ``same_filled_pages_enabled``
attribute, e.g.::
echo 1 > /sys/module/zswap/parameters/same_filled_pages_enabled
When zswap same-filled page identification is disabled at runtime, it will stop
checking for the same-value filled pages during store operation.
In other words, every page will be then considered non-same-value filled.
However, the existing pages which are marked as same-value filled pages remain
stored unchanged in zswap until they are either loaded or invalidated.
In some circumstances it might be advantageous to make use of just the zswap
ability to efficiently store same-filled pages without enabling the whole
compressed page storage.
In this case the handling of non-same-value pages by zswap (enabled by default)
can be disabled by setting the ``non_same_filled_pages_enabled`` attribute
to 0, e.g. ``zswap.non_same_filled_pages_enabled=0``.
It can also be enabled and disabled at runtime using the sysfs
``non_same_filled_pages_enabled`` attribute, e.g.::
echo 1 > /sys/module/zswap/parameters/non_same_filled_pages_enabled
Disabling both ``zswap.same_filled_pages_enabled`` and
``zswap.non_same_filled_pages_enabled`` effectively disables accepting any new
pages by zswap.
To prevent zswap from shrinking pool when zswap is full and there's a high
pressure on swap (this will result in flipping pages in and out zswap pool
without any real benefit but with a performance drop for the system), a
special parameter has been introduced to implement a sort of hysteresis to
refuse taking pages into zswap pool until it has sufficient space if the limit
has been hit. To set the threshold at which zswap would start accepting pages
again after it became full, use the sysfs ``accept_threshold_percent``
attribute, e. g.::
echo 80 > /sys/module/zswap/parameters/accept_threshold_percent
Setting this parameter to 100 will disable the hysteresis.
Some users cannot tolerate the swapping that comes with zswap store failures
and zswap writebacks. Swapping can be disabled entirely (without disabling
zswap itself) on a cgroup-basis as follows::
echo 0 > /sys/fs/cgroup/<cgroup-name>/memory.zswap.writeback
Note that if the store failures are recurring (for e.g if the pages are
incompressible), users can observe reclaim inefficiency after disabling
writeback (because the same pages might be rejected again and again).
When there is a sizable amount of cold memory residing in the zswap pool, it
can be advantageous to proactively write these cold pages to swap and reclaim
the memory for other use cases. By default, the zswap shrinker is disabled.
User can enable it as follows::
echo Y > /sys/module/zswap/parameters/shrinker_enabled
This can be enabled at the boot time if ``CONFIG_ZSWAP_SHRINKER_DEFAULT_ON`` is
A debugfs interface is provided for various statistic about pool size, number
of pages stored, same-value filled pages and various counters for the reasons
pages are rejected.