[PATCHv12,4/4] zswap: add documentation
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Message ID 1369067168-12291-5-git-send-email-sjenning@linux.vnet.ibm.com
State New, archived
Headers show
  • zswap: compressed swap caching
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Commit Message

Seth Jennings May 20, 2013, 4:26 p.m. UTC
This patch adds the documentation file for the zswap functionality

Signed-off-by: Seth Jennings <sjenning@linux.vnet.ibm.com>
Acked-by: Rik van Riel <riel@redhat.com>
 Documentation/vm/zswap.txt | 68 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 1 file changed, 68 insertions(+)
 create mode 100644 Documentation/vm/zswap.txt

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diff --git a/Documentation/vm/zswap.txt b/Documentation/vm/zswap.txt
new file mode 100644
index 0000000..7e492d8
--- /dev/null
+++ b/Documentation/vm/zswap.txt
@@ -0,0 +1,68 @@ 
+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.
+NOTE: Zswap is a new feature as of v3.11 and interacts heavily with memory
+reclaim.  This interaction has not be fully explored on the large set of
+potential configurations and workloads that exist.  For this reason, zswap
+is a work in progress and should be considered experimental.
+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 it size limit.  This requirement had
+been identified in prior community discussions.
+To enabled zswap, the "enabled" attribute must be set to 1 at boot time.  e.g.
+Zswap receives pages for compression through the Frontswap API 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 zbud for the managing the compressed memory pool.  Each
+allocation in zbud is not directly accessible by address.  Rather, a handle is
+return 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.
+When a swap page is passed from frontswap to zswap, zswap maintains a mapping
+of the swap entry, a combination of the swap type and swap offset, to the zbud
+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, frontswap calls the zswap
+load function to decompress the page into the page allocated by the page fault
+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,
+via frontswap, to free the compressed entry.
+Zswap seeks to be simple in its policies.  Sysfs attributes allow for one user
+controlled policies:
+* max_pool_percent - The maximum percentage of memory that the compressed
+    pool can occupy.
+Zswap allows the compressor to be selected at kernel boot time by setting the
+“compressor” attribute.  The default compressor is lzo.  e.g.
+A debugfs interface is provided for various statistic about pool size, number
+of pages stored, and various counters for the reasons pages are rejected.