Take the 2-minute tour ×
Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

The commends nice/renice have no effect between processes started as foreground process and processes started as background processes. Even with maximum niceness on the foreground processes they get always more attention. While this makes a lot of sense for processes where the user is waitung for the result, it becomes a problem if a long running process is started that way. I thought that Linux should de-prioritize (make slower) long running tasks, but according to the below example, this is not the case: user_foo started all processes as foreground processes, they run now for several weeks. The recently started background tasks of user_bar (they would potentially also use 100% of a CPU if they could) are scheduled with lower priority, despite having niceness -20.

top - 17:12:27 up 31 days,  8:29,  4 users,  load average: 33.04, 32.60, 29.48
Tasks: 278 total,  26 running, 252 sleeping,   0 stopped,   0 zombie
Cpu(s): 91.6%us,  0.8%sy,  0.0%ni,  0.0%id,  0.0%wa,  0.0%hi,  0.0%si,  7.5%st
Mem:  16434608k total, 15893028k used,   541580k free,  1168920k buffers
Swap: 24673276k total,    18100k used, 24655176k free,  2255512k cached

  PID USER      PR  NI  VIRT  RES  SHR S %CPU %MEM    TIME+  COMMAND
 2399 user_foo  39  19 4117m 246m  60m S  102  1.5  34915:56 heavytask
 2234 user_foo  39  19 4052m 201m  59m S  101  1.3  39631:48 heavytask
 3474 user_foo  39  19 4674m 1.1g  58m S  100  7.2  36057:58 heavytask
 3782 user_foo  39  19 4447m 1.3g  58m S  100  8.5  36108:42 heavytask
 3128 user_foo  39  19 3112m 182m  60m S  100  1.1  29983:33 heavytask
 6644 user_foo  39  19 3637m 705m  59m S  100  4.4  26310:45 heavytask
 2571 user_foo  39  19 5220m 1.8g  60m S   99 11.7  14908:44 heavytask
14607 user_bar   0 -20 52488  12m 5368 R   84  0.1  10:42.24 otherTASK
14755 user_bar   0 -20 52488  12m 5368 R   82  0.1  10:35.85 otherTASK
14758 user_bar   0 -20 52488  12m 5368 R   78  0.1  10:54.96 otherTASK
14795 user_bar   0 -20 52488  12m 5368 R   76  0.1  10:01.66 otherTASK
14783 user_bar   0 -20 52488  12m 5368 R   75  0.1   9:32.76 otherTASK
14596 user_bar   0 -20 52488  12m 5368 R   30  0.1  10:40.58 otherTASK
14728 user_bar   0 -20 52488  12m 5368 R   30  0.1   9:39.03 otherTASK
14583 user_bar   0 -20 52488  12m 5368 R   27  0.1  10:07.11 otherTASK
14706 user_bar   0 -20 52488  12m 5368 R   26  0.1   9:38.22 otherTASK
14501 user_bar   0 -20 52488  12m 5368 R   25  0.1   9:40.70 otherTASK

What can be done to degrade the priority of these particular foreground processes? (or to elevate the priority of particular background processes)?

(System is Ubuntu 12.04 LTS with Kernel 3.2.0-32)

share|improve this question
    
I'd like to dispute your claims that foreground processes ALWAYS get more resources than background processes. This can be changed by maniuplating the NICE factor which affects the CPU proirity. Thus nice/renice does what you want. I've done this before, but be careful on the processes you want to renice downward, Oracle does not like you to do this (and neither the users waiting to get their query completed). –  mdpc Dec 8 '12 at 23:07
    
The top output above shows that nicing the processes did not have this effect. The first seven tasks have max niceness (19) and still get more resources than the tasks with negative niceness below. –  Peter B. Dec 8 '12 at 23:45

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

It was necessary to disable autogroup feature in the scheduler: to do this one time

sudo sysctl kernel.sched_autogroup_enabled=0

or add

kernel.sched_autogroup_enabled = 0

in /etc/sysctl.d/50-disable-autogroup.conf so that it get set on reboot.

See also Nice level not working on linux reporting on the same problem.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.