virtio-balloon: switch back to OOM handler for VIRTIO_BALLOON_F_DEFLATE_ON_OOM

Commit 71994620bb25 ("virtio_balloon: replace oom notifier with shrinker")
changed the behavior when deflation happens automatically.  Instead of
deflating when called by the OOM handler, the shrinker is used.

However, the balloon is not simply some other slab cache that should be
shrunk when under memory pressure.  The shrinker does not have a concept
of priorities yet, so this behavior cannot be configured.  Eventually once
that is in place, we might want to switch back after doing proper testing.

There was a report that this results in undesired side effects when
inflating the balloon to shrink the page cache. [1]
	"When inflating the balloon against page cache (i.e. no free memory
	 remains) vmscan.c will both shrink page cache, but also invoke the
	 shrinkers -- including the balloon's shrinker. So the balloon
	 driver allocates memory which requires reclaim, vmscan gets this
	 memory by shrinking the balloon, and then the driver adds the
	 memory back to the balloon. Basically a busy no-op."

The name "deflate on OOM" makes it pretty clear when deflation should
happen - after other approaches to reclaim memory failed, not while
reclaiming. This allows to minimize the footprint of a guest - memory
will only be taken out of the balloon when really needed.

Keep using the shrinker for VIRTIO_BALLOON_F_FREE_PAGE_HINT, because
this has no such side effects. Always register the shrinker with
VIRTIO_BALLOON_F_FREE_PAGE_HINT now. We are always allowed to reuse free
pages that are still to be processed by the guest. The hypervisor takes
care of identifying and resolving possible races between processing a
hinting request and the guest reusing a page.

In contrast to pre commit 71994620bb25 ("virtio_balloon: replace oom
notifier with shrinker"), don't add a module parameter to configure the
number of pages to deflate on OOM. Can be re-added if really needed.
Also, pay attention that leak_balloon() returns the number of 4k pages -
convert it properly in virtio_balloon_oom_notify().

Testing done by Tyler for future reference:
  Test setup: VM with 16 CPU, 64GB RAM. Running Debian 10. We have a 42
  GB file full of random bytes that we continually cat to /dev/null.
  This fills the page cache as the file is read. Meanwhile, we trigger
  the balloon to inflate, with a target size of 53 GB. This setup causes
  the balloon inflation to pressure the page cache as the page cache is
  also trying to grow. Afterwards we shrink the balloon back to zero (so
  total deflate == total inflate).

  Without this patch (kernel 4.19.0-5):
  Inflation never reaches the target until we stop the "cat file >
  /dev/null" process. Total inflation time was 542 seconds. The longest
  period that made no net forward progress was 315 seconds.
    Result of "grep balloon /proc/vmstat" after the test:
    balloon_inflate 154828377
    balloon_deflate 154828377

  With this patch (kernel 5.6.0-rc4+):
  Total inflation duration was 63 seconds. No deflate-queue activity
  occurs when pressuring the page-cache.
    Result of "grep balloon /proc/vmstat" after the test:
    balloon_inflate 12968539
    balloon_deflate 12968539

  Conclusion: This patch fixes the issue.  In the test it reduced
  inflate/deflate activity by 12x, and reduced inflation time by 8.6x.
  But more importantly, if we hadn't killed the "cat file > /dev/null"
  process then, without the patch, the inflation process would never reach
  the target.


TEST=presubmit, manual test as described in the commit message
RELEASE_NOTE=Improve CPU usage for certain workloads with heavy page cache usage

cos-patch: bug
Fixes: 71994620bb25 ("virtio_balloon: replace oom notifier with shrinker")
Signed-off-by: David Hildenbrand <>
Reported-by: Tyler Sanderson <>
Tested-by: Tyler Sanderson <>
Acked-by: David Rientjes <>
Acked-by: Michael S. Tsirkin <>
Cc: Wei Wang <>
Cc: Alexander Duyck <>
Cc: David Rientjes <>
Cc: Nadav Amit <>
Cc: Michal Hocko <>
Signed-off-by: Andrew Morton <>
Signed-off-by: Linus Torvalds <>
(cherry picked from commit da10329cb057e49be7f099eb7864d16f7705f798)
Change-Id: I3868a66f701ed594dc4c5f3ee985efea8ac5649e
Reviewed-by: Vaibhav Rustagi <>
Reviewed-by: Roy Yang <>
Tested-by: Cusky Presubmit Bot <>
(cherry picked from commit 47b0ae241be71d51b875c5f22b0b7950277e67f5)
Main-Branch-Verified: Cusky Presubmit Bot <>
1 file changed