fadvise – may be not what you expect

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I often hear suggestion to use

system call to avoid caching in OS cache.
We recently made patch for

, which supposes to create archive without polluting OS cache, as like in case with backup, you do not really expect any benefits from caching.

However working on the patch, I noticed, that


, does not really do what I expected (I used this call as it is often suggested for this purpose). In fact it does not prevent caching, it only releases already cached data.

And if we do

, it says exactly:

So it is totally fair. What we may really want is


But… But, there is surprise. It does not work. And no wonder, there is Linux kernel source code:

which means that Linux kernel does nothing on fadvise call with FADV_NOREUSE.

Digging a little more on this topic, I found
http://kerneltrap.org/node/7563, where Linus Torvalds, about 3 years ago, confirms that FADV_NOREUSE is no-op operation.
Quite hopeless that it is not fixed for many years.

As for the patch for tar, I ended up with FADV_DONTNEED call after each copy of each block. Dirty, but it works, it only uses OS cache with one block size.

You can get patch there

, it adds parameter

, along with our old patch

to throttle read IO.

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Vadim Tkachenko

Vadim leads Percona's development group, which produces the Percona Server, Percona Server for MongoDB, Percona XtraDB Cluster and Percona XtraBackup. He is an expert in solid-state storage, and has helped many hardware and software providers succeed in the MySQL market.


Hardware and Storage, MySQL


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