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I'm trying to diagnose a slow filesystem issue on a server I look after. It's been ongoing for quite some time, and I've run out of ideas as to what I can try. Here's the thick of it.

The server itself is a Dell Poweredge T310. It has 4 SAS hard drives in it, configured at RAID5, and is running Citrix XenServer 5.6. The VM is a (relatively) old Debian 5.0.6 installation. It's given 4 cores, and 4Gb's of RAM. It has 3 volumes. A 10Gb volume (ext3) for the system, 980Gb volume (xfs) for data (~94% full), and another 200Gb volume (xfs) for data (~13% full).

Now here's the weird thing. Read/write access to the 980Gb volume is really slow. I might get 5Mb/s out of it if I'm lucky. At first I figured it was actually disk access in the system, or at a hypervisor level, but ruled that out entirely as other VMs on the same host are running perfectly fine (a good couple hundred Mb/s disk r/w access). So then I started to target this particular VM. I started thinking it was XFS, but to prove it I wasn't going to attempt to change the filesystem on the 980Gb drive, with years and years of billions of files on there. So I provisioned the 200Gb drive, and did the same read/write test (basically dd), and got a good couple hundred Mb/s r/w access to it. So that ruled out the VM, the hardware, and the filesystem type.

There's also a lot of these in /var/log/kern.log; (sorry, this is quite long)

Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564689] httpd: page allocation failure. order:5, mode:0x4020
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564693] Pid: 7318, comm: httpd Not tainted 2.6.32-4-686-bigmem #1
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564696] Call Trace:
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564705]  [<c1092a4d>] ? __alloc_pages_nodemask+0x476/0x4e0
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564711]  [<c1092ac3>] ? __get_free_pages+0xc/0x17
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564716]  [<c10b632e>] ? __kmalloc+0x30/0x128
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564722]  [<c11dd774>] ? pskb_expand_head+0x4f/0x157
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564727]  [<c11ddbbf>] ? __pskb_pull_tail+0x41/0x1fb
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564732]  [<c11e4882>] ? dev_queue_xmit+0xe4/0x38e
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564738]  [<c1205902>] ? ip_finish_output+0x0/0x5c
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564742]  [<c12058c7>] ? ip_finish_output2+0x187/0x1c2
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564747]  [<c1204dc8>] ? ip_local_out+0x15/0x17
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564751]  [<c12055a9>] ? ip_queue_xmit+0x31e/0x379
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564758]  [<c1279a90>] ? _spin_lock_bh+0x8/0x1e
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564767]  [<eda15a8d>] ? __nf_ct_refresh_acct+0x66/0xa4 [nf_conntrack]
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564773]  [<c103bf42>] ? _local_bh_enable_ip+0x16/0x6e
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564779]  [<c1214593>] ? tcp_transmit_skb+0x595/0x5cc
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564785]  [<c1005c4f>] ? xen_restore_fl_direct_end+0x0/0x1
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564791]  [<c12165ea>] ? tcp_write_xmit+0x7a3/0x874
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564796]  [<c121203a>] ? tcp_ack+0x1611/0x1802
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564801]  [<c10055ec>] ? xen_force_evtchn_callback+0xc/0x10
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564806]  [<c121392f>] ? tcp_established_options+0x1d/0x8b
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564811]  [<c1213be4>] ? tcp_current_mss+0x38/0x53
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564816]  [<c1216701>] ? __tcp_push_pending_frames+0x1e/0x50
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564821]  [<c1212246>] ? tcp_data_snd_check+0x1b/0xd2
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564825]  [<c1212de3>] ? tcp_rcv_established+0x5d0/0x626
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564831]  [<c121902c>] ? tcp_v4_do_rcv+0x15f/0x2cf
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564835]  [<c1219561>] ? tcp_v4_rcv+0x3c5/0x5c0
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564841]  [<c120197e>] ? ip_local_deliver_finish+0x10c/0x18c
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564846]  [<c12015a4>] ? ip_rcv_finish+0x2c4/0x2d8
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564852]  [<c11e3b71>] ? netif_receive_skb+0x3bb/0x3d6
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564864]  [<ed823efc>] ? xennet_poll+0x9b8/0xafc [xen_netfront]
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564869]  [<c11e40ee>] ? net_rx_action+0x96/0x194
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564874]  [<c103bd4c>] ? __do_softirq+0xaa/0x151
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564878]  [<c103be24>] ? do_softirq+0x31/0x3c
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564883]  [<c103befa>] ? irq_exit+0x26/0x58
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564890]  [<c118ff9f>] ? xen_evtchn_do_upcall+0x12c/0x13e
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564896]  [<c1008c3f>] ? xen_do_upcall+0x7/0xc
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564899] Mem-Info:
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564902] DMA per-cpu:
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564905] CPU    0: hi:    0, btch:   1 usd:   0
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564908] CPU    1: hi:    0, btch:   1 usd:   0
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564911] CPU    2: hi:    0, btch:   1 usd:   0
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564914] CPU    3: hi:    0, btch:   1 usd:   0
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564916] Normal per-cpu:
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564919] CPU    0: hi:  186, btch:  31 usd: 175
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564922] CPU    1: hi:  186, btch:  31 usd: 165
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564925] CPU    2: hi:  186, btch:  31 usd:  30
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564928] CPU    3: hi:  186, btch:  31 usd: 140
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564931] HighMem per-cpu:
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564933] CPU    0: hi:  186, btch:  31 usd: 159
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564936] CPU    1: hi:  186, btch:  31 usd:  22
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564939] CPU    2: hi:  186, btch:  31 usd:  24
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564942] CPU    3: hi:  186, btch:  31 usd:  13
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564947] active_anon:485974 inactive_anon:121138 isolated_anon:0
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564948]  active_file:75215 inactive_file:79510 isolated_file:0
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564949]  unevictable:0 dirty:516 writeback:15 unstable:0
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564950]  free:230770 slab_reclaimable:36661 slab_unreclaimable:21249
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564952]  mapped:20016 shmem:29450 pagetables:5600 bounce:0
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564958] DMA free:2884kB min:72kB low:88kB high:108kB active_anon:0kB inactive_anon:0kB active_file:5692kB inactive_file:724kB unevictable:0kB isolated(anon):0kB isolated(file):0kB present:15872kB mlocked:0kB dirty:8kB writeback:0kB mapped:0kB shmem:0kB slab_reclaimable:5112kB slab_unreclaimable:156kB kernel_stack:56kB pagetables:0kB unstable:0kB bounce:0kB writeback_tmp:0kB pages_scanned:0 all_unreclaimable? no
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564964] lowmem_reserve[]: 0 698 4143 4143
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564977] Normal free:143468kB min:3344kB low:4180kB high:5016kB active_anon:56kB inactive_anon:2068kB active_file:131812kB inactive_file:131728kB unevictable:0kB isolated(anon):0kB isolated(file):0kB present:715256kB mlocked:0kB dirty:156kB writeback:0kB mapped:308kB shmem:4kB slab_reclaimable:141532kB slab_unreclaimable:84840kB kernel_stack:1928kB pagetables:22400kB unstable:0kB bounce:0kB writeback_tmp:0kB pages_scanned:0 all_unreclaimable? no
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564983] lowmem_reserve[]: 0 0 27559 27559
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.564995] HighMem free:776728kB min:512kB low:4636kB high:8760kB active_anon:1943840kB inactive_anon:482484kB active_file:163356kB inactive_file:185588kB unevictable:0kB isolated(anon):0kB isolated(file):0kB present:3527556kB mlocked:0kB dirty:1900kB writeback:60kB mapped:79756kB shmem:117796kB slab_reclaimable:0kB slab_unreclaimable:0kB kernel_stack:0kB pagetables:0kB unstable:0kB bounce:0kB writeback_tmp:0kB pages_scanned:0 all_unreclaimable? no
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.565001] lowmem_reserve[]: 0 0 0 0
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.565011] DMA: 385*4kB 16*8kB 3*16kB 9*32kB 6*64kB 2*128kB 1*256kB 0*512kB 0*1024kB 0*2048kB 0*4096kB = 2900kB
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.565032] Normal: 21505*4kB 6508*8kB 273*16kB 24*32kB 3*64kB 0*128kB 0*256kB 0*512kB 0*1024kB 0*2048kB 0*4096kB = 143412kB
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.565054] HighMem: 949*4kB 8859*8kB 7063*16kB 6186*32kB 4631*64kB 727*128kB 6*256kB 0*512kB 0*1024kB 0*2048kB 0*4096kB = 776604kB
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.565076] 198980 total pagecache pages
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.565079] 14850 pages in swap cache
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.565082] Swap cache stats: add 2556273, delete 2541423, find 82961339/83153719
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.565085] Free swap  = 250592kB
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.565087] Total swap = 385520kB
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.575454] 1073152 pages RAM
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.575458] 888834 pages HighMem
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.575461] 11344 pages reserved
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.575463] 1090481 pages shared
Sep  4 10:16:59 uriel kernel: [32571790.575465] 737188 pages non-shared

Now, I've no idea what this means. There's plenty of free memory;

             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:       4247232    3455904     791328          0       5348     736412
-/+ buffers/cache:    2714144    1533088
Swap:       385520     131004     254516

Though now I see the swap is relatively low in size, but would that matter?

I've been starting to think about fragmentation, or inode usage on that large partition, but a recent fsck on it showed is as only like 0.5% fragmented. Which leaves me with inode usage, but how much of an effect really would a large inode table or filesystem TOC have?

I've love to hear people's opinions on this. It's driving me potty!

df -h output;

Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/xvda1            9.5G  6.6G  2.4G  74% /
tmpfs                 2.1G     0  2.1G   0% /lib/init/rw
udev                   10M  520K  9.5M   6% /dev
tmpfs                 2.1G     0  2.1G   0% /dev/shm
/dev/xvdb             980G  921G   59G  94% /data

xfs_db output;

# xfs_db -r -c frag /dev/xvdb
actual 15687263, ideal 15385050, fragmentation factor 1.93%
share|improve this question
    
Is this a 32-bit Debian? –  Janne Pikkarainen Sep 4 '12 at 10:42
    
yes it is. using a "bigmem" kernel. –  dannosaur Sep 4 '12 at 10:56
    
What is the output of df -h? –  ewwhite Sep 4 '12 at 12:26
    
Yeah, go ahead and check the fragmentation factor of the /dev/xvdb filesystem. –  ewwhite Sep 4 '12 at 14:22
    
post editting with xfs_db output. 1.93%. not that bad surely? –  dannosaur Sep 4 '12 at 18:10

3 Answers 3

It could still be the XFS filesystem in this case. You may have heavy fragmentation issues as well as the slowdown that comes with a nearly-full filesystem. You could benefit from more space in either case.

Please check the XFS filesystem's fragmentation. You can do this with the xfs_db command. If the filesystem is /dev/sdb1, for example, then you command would look like:

xfs_db -r -c frag /dev/sdb1

That will output a fragmentation factor:

actual 66524, ideal 55966, fragmentation factor 15.87%

You can run the online defragmentation utility, xfs_fsr -v, in a screen session to try to rectify this. By default, the command runs for 2 hours or TEN passes on the filesystem. You may have to run it multiple times. Check the fragmentation factor between runs.

share|improve this answer

Unix filesystems don't like being full. Try growing the slow filesystem. If that's not possible, try defragging it using xfs_fsr

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There are two tools you can use to see what is happening on your server. iostat and iotop, will help you to locate the problem.

If you want to two reassign priorities that different process have on you server in relation to IO, you can use ionice. This might be enough to fix your problems, but it is proably a tempory fix. You may want to look into different storage or resource allocation for your server.

iostat
Iostat can be used to identify which storage/memory devices are slowing down your server. It has some nice stats iowait. Once you know which device is slowing things down you might have a much better idea as to where to focus your attention.

$ iostat
Linux 3.2.0-30-generic (aaron-laptop)   11/09/2012  _x86_64_    (4 CPU)

avg-cpu:  %user   %nice %system %iowait  %steal   %idle
           5,83    0,07    3,00    1,81    0,00   89,29

Device:            tps    kB_read/s    kB_wrtn/s    kB_read    kB_wrtn
sda              20,64       231,97        76,26    1290702     424315

iotop
Is great for identifying which process are waiting the longest for IO to finish, or are the most io intensive.

Total DISK READ:       0.00 B/s | Total DISK WRITE:       9.89 K/s
  TID  PRIO  USER     DISK READ  DISK WRITE  SWAPIN     IO>    COMMAND          
  349 be/3 root        0.00 B/s 1012.49 B/s  0.00 %  1.79 % [jbd2/sda3-8]
    1 be/4 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % init
    2 be/4 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [kthreadd]
    3 be/4 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [ksoftirqd/0]

ionice

 ionice --help

ionice - sets or gets process io scheduling class and priority.

Usage:
  ionice [OPTION] -p PID [PID...]
  ionice [OPTION] COMMAND

Options:
  -c, --class    scheduling class name or number
                           0: none, 1: realtime, 2: best-effort, 3: idle
  -n, --classdata  scheduling class data
                           0-7 for realtime and best-effort classes
  -p, --pid=PID         view or modify already running process
  -t, --ignore          ignore failures
  -V, --version         output version information and exit
  -h, --help            display this help and exit

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