path: root/Documentation
diff options
authorChristoph Lameter <>2006-02-01 03:05:34 -0800
committerLinus Torvalds <>2006-02-01 08:53:16 -0800
commit1b2ffb7896ad46067f5b9ebf7de1891d74a4cdef (patch)
treea8f257639d4041bf0e7d61eda3fb72f2eb69f4bc /Documentation
parent2a11ff06d7d12be5d1bbcf592fff649b45ac2388 (diff)
[PATCH] Zone reclaim: Allow modification of zone reclaim behavior
In some situations one may want zone_reclaim to behave differently. For example a process writing large amounts of memory will spew unto other nodes to cache the writes if many pages in a zone become dirty. This may impact the performance of processes running on other nodes. Allowing writes during reclaim puts a stop to that behavior and throttles the process by restricting the pages to the local zone. Similarly one may want to contain processes to local memory by enabling regular swap behavior during zone_reclaim. Off node memory allocation can then be controlled through memory policies and cpusets. Signed-off-by: Christoph Lameter <> Signed-off-by: Andrew Morton <> Signed-off-by: Linus Torvalds <>
Diffstat (limited to 'Documentation')
1 files changed, 30 insertions, 8 deletions
diff --git a/Documentation/sysctl/vm.txt b/Documentation/sysctl/vm.txt
index 44518c023949..4bca2a3d9174 100644
--- a/Documentation/sysctl/vm.txt
+++ b/Documentation/sysctl/vm.txt
@@ -127,17 +127,39 @@ the high water marks for each per cpu page list.
-This is set during bootup to 1 if it is determined that pages from
-remote zones will cause a significant performance reduction. The
+Zone_reclaim_mode allows to set more or less agressive approaches to
+reclaim memory when a zone runs out of memory. If it is set to zero then no
+zone reclaim occurs. Allocations will be satisfied from other zones / nodes
+in the system.
+This is value ORed together of
+1 = Zone reclaim on
+2 = Zone reclaim writes dirty pages out
+4 = Zone reclaim swaps pages
+zone_reclaim_mode is set during bootup to 1 if it is determined that pages
+from remote zones will cause a measurable performance reduction. The
page allocator will then reclaim easily reusable pages (those page
-cache pages that are currently not used) before going off node.
+cache pages that are currently not used) before allocating off node pages.
+It may be beneficial to switch off zone reclaim if the system is
+used for a file server and all of memory should be used for caching files
+from disk. In that case the caching effect is more important than
+data locality.
+Allowing zone reclaim to write out pages stops processes that are
+writing large amounts of data from dirtying pages on other nodes. Zone
+reclaim will write out dirty pages if a zone fills up and so effectively
+throttle the process. This may decrease the performance of a single process
+since it cannot use all of system memory to buffer the outgoing writes
+anymore but it preserve the memory on other nodes so that the performance
+of other processes running on other nodes will not be affected.
-The user can override this setting. It may be beneficial to switch
-off zone reclaim if the system is used for a file server and all
-of memory should be used for caching files from disk.
+Allowing regular swap effectively restricts allocations to the local
+node unless explicitly overridden by memory policies or cpuset
-It may be beneficial to switch this on if one wants to do zone
-reclaim regardless of the numa distances in the system.