Why Computers Are Getting Slower (and what we can do about it) Rik van Riel Sr. Software Engineer, Red Hat

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1 Why Computers Are Getting Slower (and what we can do about it) Rik van Riel Sr. Software Engineer, Red Hat

2 Why Computers Are Getting Slower The traditional approach better performance Why computers are getting slower No miracle good enough Operating system improvements What Red Hat can do Deployment & application improvements What you can do Conclusions

3 Your performance needs More More More More More Cheaper, too.

4 The traditional approach to performance 1. Wait for the hardware people to perform miracles. 2.??? 3. Performance!

5 Why computers are getting slower Moore's law Pretty graphs of an ugly reality: CPUs performance vs core performance Storage cannot keep up Capacity vs. performance Why the upcoming hardware miracles are not enough

6 Moore's law The number of transistors on a chip will double about every two years Moore's law predicts density and complexity, not performance Multi-core performance still doubles about every two years, but single core performance does not However, software people relied on exponentially increasing performance, making Moore's law cause of, and solution to, every performance problem Moore's law will not save us this time

7 Saved by Moore's law? Not any more... Processor Performance MIPS Time Single Core MIPS Multi Core MIPS

8 Memory access latencies Access latencies in CPU cycles CPU L1 cache L2 cache RAM Disk Pentium II Pentium III Pentium Core Note: old CPUs took multiple cycles to run one instruction while new CPUs can run multiple instructions per cycle

9 Hard disk capacity & performance

10 Availability consequences Filesystem checks Fsck has turned from a standard boot procedure into a major inconvenience As disk error rates drop slower than disk capacity increases, errors become more likely As disks continue to grow in size and seek times barely drop, fsck times will increase from inconvenience to disaster Backups Full backups take too long Incremental backups solve the problem Can you afford to wait for a restore from backup?

11 Hardware miracles Solid State Disks Flash SSD to overtake disks in $/GB in 5 years time Current access latencies x lower than disk 2+ million rewrite cycles, better longevity than disk However, in 5 years time capacity will be 10x larger than today. Fsck and backup/restore times could still be bad NUMA Can alleviate memory bottleneck in SMP systems, but only if programs mostly access local memory and CPU cache Not new, just getting more widespread

12 Hardware miracles cont. Large CPU caches CPU cache size growing fast, but data sets grow faster Data can only be cached if read-only or accessed just by this CPU Conclusions Faster hardware can lead to slower system operations, due to increased capacity Hardware miracles will not save us this time

13 Operating system improvements Things we can do for you. Scheduler improvements Lockless kernel synchronization Tickless timer & power management Memory management improvements Filesystem developments

14 Scheduler improvements Lower latency scheduling for real time needs Better CPU affinity and SMP/NUMA balancing More cache accesses, fewer RAM accesses Keep processes on their own NUMA node when possible Power aware scheduling Move tasks to one CPU core, keep others in deep sleep With Intel's Dynamic Acceleration Technology, the non-idle core can run faster as a result

15 Lockless kernel synchronization Locks require that CPUs exchange data via RAM Exchanging data between CPUs is slow Fine-grained locking can reduce throughput Linux uses several lockless synchronization algorithms RCU (Read Copy Update) and seqlocks Both are best for read-heavy data structures Readers do not dirty the lock Cache line with synchronization info can be shared between all CPU caches Writers notify the readers by writing to the lock Do not have to wait for readers to finish

16 Tickless timer & power management Traditionally, Linux used a 100Hz or 1000Hz timer interrupt Uses power Keeps the CPU from going into a deep sleep mode Makes higher precision wakeups difficult Performance problem with virtualization Instead of a fixed timer Determine when the next timer expires Set the hardware clock to go off at that time Longer sleep periods allow the CPU to go into a deeper power saving mode

17 Memory management improvements Lockless page cache File data can be looked up faster, on multiple CPUs simultaneously Improved concurrency is especially important for things like glibc, which get mmaped and faulted on every exec() Split LRU lists At pageout time, only scan pages that are a candidate for eviction Important for systems with many millions of pages Can do different replacement algorithm for page cache and process pages

18 Filesystem developments Capacity 48 or 64 bit block numbers Reliability Disk error rates between 1 in 1TB and 1 in 1000TB Disk sizes have reached 1TB already Metadata checksums can detect errors Availability Errors will be more common on larger filesystems Fsck needs to be fast; repair driven design Performance Smarter metadata layout can reduce disk seeks

19 Deployment & application changes Things you will have to do. Analyze your performance and capacity needs Experiment with new hardware Use NUMA/SMP friendly applications Virtualization & availability

20 Analyze your needs How much space will your users' programs need? RAM and disk How much performance do they expect? What kind of latencies do they need? What are the availability requirements? Can a hardware problem stop you from meeting availability goals? How long will a restore from backup take? How realistic are the users' requirements?

21 Experiment with new hardware Running on more CPUs Can result in more cache misses Some workloads run slower with more CPUs Especially true when NUMA is involved Solid state disks More expensive than hard disks per GB Cheaper than hard disks per IO ops/second May be cost effective for certain workloads Databases, mail servers,...

22 NUMA & SMP friendly applications CPUs are fast, communication between CPUs is slow Maximize performance by minimizing communication Fine-grained locking increases parallelism, but also increases inter-cpu communication! Worked great in the 1990's, but no more Writing to common data structures invalidates cache lines and increases inter-cpu communication Write mostly to thread-local data, read mostly from shared data Use NUMA/SMP friendly runtimes (JVM, etc)

23 Virtualization & availability How reliable do your systems need to be? What do you spend time on when doing recovery? Installing the OS? Configuring applications? Restoring data from backup? Virtualization can hide some of that time Guest OS w/ application lives on network storage Guest OS w/ application can run elsewhere while you configure new hardware and host OS Use redundant network storage

24 Conclusions Expectation: higher performance, cheaper Reality: faster components sometimes lead to slower systems Software needs to improve Some things can be fixed at the OS level Red Hat is working on this Other things can be fixed at the deployment and application levels You will have to do those Analyze your needs and tell Red Hat

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