0002 Control Group v2
0004 October, 2015 Tejun Heo <email@example.com>
0006 This is the authoritative documentation on the design, interface and
0007 conventions of cgroup v2. It describes all userland-visible aspects
0008 of cgroup including core and specific controller behaviors. All
0009 future changes must be reflected in this document. Documentation for
0010 v1 is available under Documentation/cgroup-v1/.
0014 1. Introduction
0015 1-1. Terminology
0016 1-2. What is cgroup?
0017 2. Basic Operations
0018 2-1. Mounting
0019 2-2. Organizing Processes
0020 2-3. [Un]populated Notification
0021 2-4. Controlling Controllers
0022 2-4-1. Enabling and Disabling
0023 2-4-2. Top-down Constraint
0024 2-4-3. No Internal Process Constraint
0025 2-5. Delegation
0026 2-5-1. Model of Delegation
0027 2-5-2. Delegation Containment
0028 2-6. Guidelines
0029 2-6-1. Organize Once and Control
0030 2-6-2. Avoid Name Collisions
0031 3. Resource Distribution Models
0032 3-1. Weights
0033 3-2. Limits
0034 3-3. Protections
0035 3-4. Allocations
0036 4. Interface Files
0037 4-1. Format
0038 4-2. Conventions
0039 4-3. Core Interface Files
0040 5. Controllers
0041 5-1. CPU
0042 5-1-1. CPU Interface Files
0043 5-2. Memory
0044 5-2-1. Memory Interface Files
0045 5-2-2. Usage Guidelines
0046 5-2-3. Memory Ownership
0047 5-3. IO
0048 5-3-1. IO Interface Files
0049 5-3-2. Writeback
0050 6. Namespace
0051 6-1. Basics
0052 6-2. The Root and Views
0053 6-3. Migration and setns(2)
0054 6-4. Interaction with Other Namespaces
0055 P. Information on Kernel Programming
0056 P-1. Filesystem Support for Writeback
0057 D. Deprecated v1 Core Features
0058 R. Issues with v1 and Rationales for v2
0059 R-1. Multiple Hierarchies
0060 R-2. Thread Granularity
0061 R-3. Competition Between Inner Nodes and Threads
0062 R-4. Other Interface Issues
0063 R-5. Controller Issues and Remedies
0064 R-5-1. Memory
0067 1. Introduction
0069 1-1. Terminology
0071 "cgroup" stands for "control group" and is never capitalized. The
0072 singular form is used to designate the whole feature and also as a
0073 qualifier as in "cgroup controllers". When explicitly referring to
0074 multiple individual control groups, the plural form "cgroups" is used.
0077 1-2. What is cgroup?
0079 cgroup is a mechanism to organize processes hierarchically and
0080 distribute system resources along the hierarchy in a controlled and
0081 configurable manner.
0083 cgroup is largely composed of two parts - the core and controllers.
0084 cgroup core is primarily responsible for hierarchically organizing
0085 processes. A cgroup controller is usually responsible for
0086 distributing a specific type of system resource along the hierarchy
0087 although there are utility controllers which serve purposes other than
0088 resource distribution.
0090 cgroups form a tree structure and every process in the system belongs
0091 to one and only one cgroup. All threads of a process belong to the
0092 same cgroup. On creation, all processes are put in the cgroup that
0093 the parent process belongs to at the time. A process can be migrated
0094 to another cgroup. Migration of a process doesn't affect already
0095 existing descendant processes.
0097 Following certain structural constraints, controllers may be enabled or
0098 disabled selectively on a cgroup. All controller behaviors are
0099 hierarchical - if a controller is enabled on a cgroup, it affects all
0100 processes which belong to the cgroups consisting the inclusive
0101 sub-hierarchy of the cgroup. When a controller is enabled on a nested
0102 cgroup, it always restricts the resource distribution further. The
0103 restrictions set closer to the root in the hierarchy can not be
0104 overridden from further away.
0107 2. Basic Operations
0109 2-1. Mounting
0111 Unlike v1, cgroup v2 has only single hierarchy. The cgroup v2
0112 hierarchy can be mounted with the following mount command.
0114 # mount -t cgroup2 none $MOUNT_POINT
0116 cgroup2 filesystem has the magic number 0x63677270 ("cgrp"). All
0117 controllers which support v2 and are not bound to a v1 hierarchy are
0118 automatically bound to the v2 hierarchy and show up at the root.
0119 Controllers which are not in active use in the v2 hierarchy can be
0120 bound to other hierarchies. This allows mixing v2 hierarchy with the
0121 legacy v1 multiple hierarchies in a fully backward compatible way.
0123 A controller can be moved across hierarchies only after the controller
0124 is no longer referenced in its current hierarchy. Because per-cgroup
0125 controller states are destroyed asynchronously and controllers may
0126 have lingering references, a controller may not show up immediately on
0127 the v2 hierarchy after the final umount of the previous hierarchy.
0128 Similarly, a controller should be fully disabled to be moved out of
0129 the unified hierarchy and it may take some time for the disabled
0130 controller to become available for other hierarchies; furthermore, due
0131 to inter-controller dependencies, other controllers may need to be
0132 disabled too.
0134 While useful for development and manual configurations, moving
0135 controllers dynamically between the v2 and other hierarchies is
0136 strongly discouraged for production use. It is recommended to decide
0137 the hierarchies and controller associations before starting using the
0138 controllers after system boot.
0140 During transition to v2, system management software might still
0141 automount the v1 cgroup filesystem and so hijack all controllers
0142 during boot, before manual intervention is possible. To make testing
0143 and experimenting easier, the kernel parameter cgroup_no_v1= allows
0144 disabling controllers in v1 and make them always available in v2.
0147 2-2. Organizing Processes
0149 Initially, only the root cgroup exists to which all processes belong.
0150 A child cgroup can be created by creating a sub-directory.
0152 # mkdir $CGROUP_NAME
0154 A given cgroup may have multiple child cgroups forming a tree
0155 structure. Each cgroup has a read-writable interface file
0156 "cgroup.procs". When read, it lists the PIDs of all processes which
0157 belong to the cgroup one-per-line. The PIDs are not ordered and the
0158 same PID may show up more than once if the process got moved to
0159 another cgroup and then back or the PID got recycled while reading.
0161 A process can be migrated into a cgroup by writing its PID to the
0162 target cgroup's "cgroup.procs" file. Only one process can be migrated
0163 on a single write(2) call. If a process is composed of multiple
0164 threads, writing the PID of any thread migrates all threads of the
0167 When a process forks a child process, the new process is born into the
0168 cgroup that the forking process belongs to at the time of the
0169 operation. After exit, a process stays associated with the cgroup
0170 that it belonged to at the time of exit until it's reaped; however, a
0171 zombie process does not appear in "cgroup.procs" and thus can't be
0172 moved to another cgroup.
0174 A cgroup which doesn't have any children or live processes can be
0175 destroyed by removing the directory. Note that a cgroup which doesn't
0176 have any children and is associated only with zombie processes is
0177 considered empty and can be removed.
0179 # rmdir $CGROUP_NAME
0181 "/proc/$PID/cgroup" lists a process's cgroup membership. If legacy
0182 cgroup is in use in the system, this file may contain multiple lines,
0183 one for each hierarchy. The entry for cgroup v2 is always in the
0184 format "0::$PATH".
0186 # cat /proc/842/cgroup
0190 If the process becomes a zombie and the cgroup it was associated with
0191 is removed subsequently, " (deleted)" is appended to the path.
0193 # cat /proc/842/cgroup
0195 0::/test-cgroup/test-cgroup-nested (deleted)
0198 2-3. [Un]populated Notification
0200 Each non-root cgroup has a "cgroup.events" file which contains
0201 "populated" field indicating whether the cgroup's sub-hierarchy has
0202 live processes in it. Its value is 0 if there is no live process in
0203 the cgroup and its descendants; otherwise, 1. poll and [id]notify
0204 events are triggered when the value changes. This can be used, for
0205 example, to start a clean-up operation after all processes of a given
0206 sub-hierarchy have exited. The populated state updates and
0207 notifications are recursive. Consider the following sub-hierarchy
0208 where the numbers in the parentheses represent the numbers of processes
0209 in each cgroup.
0211 A(4) - B(0) - C(1)
0212 \ D(0)
0214 A, B and C's "populated" fields would be 1 while D's 0. After the one
0215 process in C exits, B and C's "populated" fields would flip to "0" and
0216 file modified events will be generated on the "cgroup.events" files of
0217 both cgroups.
0220 2-4. Controlling Controllers
0222 2-4-1. Enabling and Disabling
0224 Each cgroup has a "cgroup.controllers" file which lists all
0225 controllers available for the cgroup to enable.
0227 # cat cgroup.controllers
0228 cpu io memory
0230 No controller is enabled by default. Controllers can be enabled and
0231 disabled by writing to the "cgroup.subtree_control" file.
0233 # echo "+cpu +memory -io" > cgroup.subtree_control
0235 Only controllers which are listed in "cgroup.controllers" can be
0236 enabled. When multiple operations are specified as above, either they
0237 all succeed or fail. If multiple operations on the same controller
0238 are specified, the last one is effective.
0240 Enabling a controller in a cgroup indicates that the distribution of
0241 the target resource across its immediate children will be controlled.
0242 Consider the following sub-hierarchy. The enabled controllers are
0243 listed in parentheses.
0245 A(cpu,memory) - B(memory) - C()
0246 \ D()
0248 As A has "cpu" and "memory" enabled, A will control the distribution
0249 of CPU cycles and memory to its children, in this case, B. As B has
0250 "memory" enabled but not "CPU", C and D will compete freely on CPU
0251 cycles but their division of memory available to B will be controlled.
0253 As a controller regulates the distribution of the target resource to
0254 the cgroup's children, enabling it creates the controller's interface
0255 files in the child cgroups. In the above example, enabling "cpu" on B
0256 would create the "cpu." prefixed controller interface files in C and
0257 D. Likewise, disabling "memory" from B would remove the "memory."
0258 prefixed controller interface files from C and D. This means that the
0259 controller interface files - anything which doesn't start with
0260 "cgroup." are owned by the parent rather than the cgroup itself.
0263 2-4-2. Top-down Constraint
0265 Resources are distributed top-down and a cgroup can further distribute
0266 a resource only if the resource has been distributed to it from the
0267 parent. This means that all non-root "cgroup.subtree_control" files
0268 can only contain controllers which are enabled in the parent's
0269 "cgroup.subtree_control" file. A controller can be enabled only if
0270 the parent has the controller enabled and a controller can't be
0271 disabled if one or more children have it enabled.
0274 2-4-3. No Internal Process Constraint
0276 Non-root cgroups can only distribute resources to their children when
0277 they don't have any processes of their own. In other words, only
0278 cgroups which don't contain any processes can have controllers enabled
0279 in their "cgroup.subtree_control" files.
0281 This guarantees that, when a controller is looking at the part of the
0282 hierarchy which has it enabled, processes are always only on the
0283 leaves. This rules out situations where child cgroups compete against
0284 internal processes of the parent.
0286 The root cgroup is exempt from this restriction. Root contains
0287 processes and anonymous resource consumption which can't be associated
0288 with any other cgroups and requires special treatment from most
0289 controllers. How resource consumption in the root cgroup is governed
0290 is up to each controller.
0292 Note that the restriction doesn't get in the way if there is no
0293 enabled controller in the cgroup's "cgroup.subtree_control". This is
0294 important as otherwise it wouldn't be possible to create children of a
0295 populated cgroup. To control resource distribution of a cgroup, the
0296 cgroup must create children and transfer all its processes to the
0297 children before enabling controllers in its "cgroup.subtree_control"
0301 2-5. Delegation
0303 2-5-1. Model of Delegation
0305 A cgroup can be delegated to a less privileged user by granting write
0306 access of the directory and its "cgroup.procs" file to the user. Note
0307 that resource control interface files in a given directory control the
0308 distribution of the parent's resources and thus must not be delegated
0309 along with the directory.
0311 Once delegated, the user can build sub-hierarchy under the directory,
0312 organize processes as it sees fit and further distribute the resources
0313 it received from the parent. The limits and other settings of all
0314 resource controllers are hierarchical and regardless of what happens
0315 in the delegated sub-hierarchy, nothing can escape the resource
0316 restrictions imposed by the parent.
0318 Currently, cgroup doesn't impose any restrictions on the number of
0319 cgroups in or nesting depth of a delegated sub-hierarchy; however,
0320 this may be limited explicitly in the future.
0323 2-5-2. Delegation Containment
0325 A delegated sub-hierarchy is contained in the sense that processes
0326 can't be moved into or out of the sub-hierarchy by the delegatee. For
0327 a process with a non-root euid to migrate a target process into a
0328 cgroup by writing its PID to the "cgroup.procs" file, the following
0329 conditions must be met.
0331 - The writer's euid must match either uid or suid of the target process.
0333 - The writer must have write access to the "cgroup.procs" file.
0335 - The writer must have write access to the "cgroup.procs" file of the
0336 common ancestor of the source and destination cgroups.
0338 The above three constraints ensure that while a delegatee may migrate
0339 processes around freely in the delegated sub-hierarchy it can't pull
0340 in from or push out to outside the sub-hierarchy.
0342 For an example, let's assume cgroups C0 and C1 have been delegated to
0343 user U0 who created C00, C01 under C0 and C10 under C1 as follows and
0344 all processes under C0 and C1 belong to U0.
0346 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ - C0 - C00
0347 ~ cgroup ~ \ C01
0348 ~ hierarchy ~
0349 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ - C1 - C10
0351 Let's also say U0 wants to write the PID of a process which is
0352 currently in C10 into "C00/cgroup.procs". U0 has write access to the
0353 file and uid match on the process; however, the common ancestor of the
0354 source cgroup C10 and the destination cgroup C00 is above the points
0355 of delegation and U0 would not have write access to its "cgroup.procs"
0356 files and thus the write will be denied with -EACCES.
0359 2-6. Guidelines
0361 2-6-1. Organize Once and Control
0363 Migrating a process across cgroups is a relatively expensive operation
0364 and stateful resources such as memory are not moved together with the
0365 process. This is an explicit design decision as there often exist
0366 inherent trade-offs between migration and various hot paths in terms
0367 of synchronization cost.
0369 As such, migrating processes across cgroups frequently as a means to
0370 apply different resource restrictions is discouraged. A workload
0371 should be assigned to a cgroup according to the system's logical and
0372 resource structure once on start-up. Dynamic adjustments to resource
0373 distribution can be made by changing controller configuration through
0374 the interface files.
0377 2-6-2. Avoid Name Collisions
0379 Interface files for a cgroup and its children cgroups occupy the same
0380 directory and it is possible to create children cgroups which collide
0381 with interface files.
0383 All cgroup core interface files are prefixed with "cgroup." and each
0384 controller's interface files are prefixed with the controller name and
0385 a dot. A controller's name is composed of lower case alphabets and
0386 '_'s but never begins with an '_' so it can be used as the prefix
0387 character for collision avoidance. Also, interface file names won't
0388 start or end with terms which are often used in categorizing workloads
0389 such as job, service, slice, unit or workload.
0391 cgroup doesn't do anything to prevent name collisions and it's the
0392 user's responsibility to avoid them.
0395 3. Resource Distribution Models
0397 cgroup controllers implement several resource distribution schemes
0398 depending on the resource type and expected use cases. This section
0399 describes major schemes in use along with their expected behaviors.
0402 3-1. Weights
0404 A parent's resource is distributed by adding up the weights of all
0405 active children and giving each the fraction matching the ratio of its
0406 weight against the sum. As only children which can make use of the
0407 resource at the moment participate in the distribution, this is
0408 work-conserving. Due to the dynamic nature, this model is usually
0409 used for stateless resources.
0411 All weights are in the range [1, 10000] with the default at 100. This
0412 allows symmetric multiplicative biases in both directions at fine
0413 enough granularity while staying in the intuitive range.
0415 As long as the weight is in range, all configuration combinations are
0416 valid and there is no reason to reject configuration changes or
0417 process migrations.
0419 "cpu.weight" proportionally distributes CPU cycles to active children
0420 and is an example of this type.
0423 3-2. Limits
0425 A child can only consume upto the configured amount of the resource.
0426 Limits can be over-committed - the sum of the limits of children can
0427 exceed the amount of resource available to the parent.
0429 Limits are in the range [0, max] and defaults to "max", which is noop.
0431 As limits can be over-committed, all configuration combinations are
0432 valid and there is no reason to reject configuration changes or
0433 process migrations.
0435 "io.max" limits the maximum BPS and/or IOPS that a cgroup can consume
0436 on an IO device and is an example of this type.
0439 3-3. Protections
0441 A cgroup is protected to be allocated upto the configured amount of
0442 the resource if the usages of all its ancestors are under their
0443 protected levels. Protections can be hard guarantees or best effort
0444 soft boundaries. Protections can also be over-committed in which case
0445 only upto the amount available to the parent is protected among
0448 Protections are in the range [0, max] and defaults to 0, which is
0451 As protections can be over-committed, all configuration combinations
0452 are valid and there is no reason to reject configuration changes or
0453 process migrations.
0455 "memory.low" implements best-effort memory protection and is an
0456 example of this type.
0459 3-4. Allocations
0461 A cgroup is exclusively allocated a certain amount of a finite
0462 resource. Allocations can't be over-committed - the sum of the
0463 allocations of children can not exceed the amount of resource
0464 available to the parent.
0466 Allocations are in the range [0, max] and defaults to 0, which is no
0469 As allocations can't be over-committed, some configuration
0470 combinations are invalid and should be rejected. Also, if the
0471 resource is mandatory for execution of processes, process migrations
0472 may be rejected.
0474 "cpu.rt.max" hard-allocates realtime slices and is an example of this
0478 4. Interface Files
0480 4-1. Format
0482 All interface files should be in one of the following formats whenever
0485 New-line separated values
0486 (when only one value can be written at once)
0492 Space separated values
0493 (when read-only or multiple values can be written at once)
0495 VAL0 VAL1 ...\n
0497 Flat keyed
0499 KEY0 VAL0\n
0500 KEY1 VAL1\n
0503 Nested keyed
0505 KEY0 SUB_KEY0=VAL00 SUB_KEY1=VAL01...
0506 KEY1 SUB_KEY0=VAL10 SUB_KEY1=VAL11...
0509 For a writable file, the format for writing should generally match
0510 reading; however, controllers may allow omitting later fields or
0511 implement restricted shortcuts for most common use cases.
0513 For both flat and nested keyed files, only the values for a single key
0514 can be written at a time. For nested keyed files, the sub key pairs
0515 may be specified in any order and not all pairs have to be specified.
0518 4-2. Conventions
0520 - Settings for a single feature should be contained in a single file.
0522 - The root cgroup should be exempt from resource control and thus
0523 shouldn't have resource control interface files. Also,
0524 informational files on the root cgroup which end up showing global
0525 information available elsewhere shouldn't exist.
0527 - If a controller implements weight based resource distribution, its
0528 interface file should be named "weight" and have the range [1,
0529 10000] with 100 as the default. The values are chosen to allow
0530 enough and symmetric bias in both directions while keeping it
0531 intuitive (the default is 100%).
0533 - If a controller implements an absolute resource guarantee and/or
0534 limit, the interface files should be named "min" and "max"
0535 respectively. If a controller implements best effort resource
0536 guarantee and/or limit, the interface files should be named "low"
0537 and "high" respectively.
0539 In the above four control files, the special token "max" should be
0540 used to represent upward infinity for both reading and writing.
0542 - If a setting has a configurable default value and keyed specific
0543 overrides, the default entry should be keyed with "default" and
0544 appear as the first entry in the file.
0546 The default value can be updated by writing either "default $VAL" or
0549 When writing to update a specific override, "default" can be used as
0550 the value to indicate removal of the override. Override entries
0551 with "default" as the value must not appear when read.
0553 For example, a setting which is keyed by major:minor device numbers
0554 with integer values may look like the following.
0556 # cat cgroup-example-interface-file
0557 default 150
0558 8:0 300
0560 The default value can be updated by
0562 # echo 125 > cgroup-example-interface-file
0566 # echo "default 125" > cgroup-example-interface-file
0568 An override can be set by
0570 # echo "8:16 170" > cgroup-example-interface-file
0572 and cleared by
0574 # echo "8:0 default" > cgroup-example-interface-file
0575 # cat cgroup-example-interface-file
0576 default 125
0577 8:16 170
0579 - For events which are not very high frequency, an interface file
0580 "events" should be created which lists event key value pairs.
0581 Whenever a notifiable event happens, file modified event should be
0582 generated on the file.
0585 4-3. Core Interface Files
0587 All cgroup core files are prefixed with "cgroup."
0591 A read-write new-line separated values file which exists on
0592 all cgroups.
0594 When read, it lists the PIDs of all processes which belong to
0595 the cgroup one-per-line. The PIDs are not ordered and the
0596 same PID may show up more than once if the process got moved
0597 to another cgroup and then back or the PID got recycled while
0600 A PID can be written to migrate the process associated with
0601 the PID to the cgroup. The writer should match all of the
0602 following conditions.
0604 - Its euid is either root or must match either uid or suid of
0605 the target process.
0607 - It must have write access to the "cgroup.procs" file.
0609 - It must have write access to the "cgroup.procs" file of the
0610 common ancestor of the source and destination cgroups.
0612 When delegating a sub-hierarchy, write access to this file
0613 should be granted along with the containing directory.
0617 A read-only space separated values file which exists on all
0620 It shows space separated list of all controllers available to
0621 the cgroup. The controllers are not ordered.
0625 A read-write space separated values file which exists on all
0626 cgroups. Starts out empty.
0628 When read, it shows space separated list of the controllers
0629 which are enabled to control resource distribution from the
0630 cgroup to its children.
0632 Space separated list of controllers prefixed with '+' or '-'
0633 can be written to enable or disable controllers. A controller
0634 name prefixed with '+' enables the controller and '-'
0635 disables. If a controller appears more than once on the list,
0636 the last one is effective. When multiple enable and disable
0637 operations are specified, either all succeed or all fail.
0641 A read-only flat-keyed file which exists on non-root cgroups.
0642 The following entries are defined. Unless specified
0643 otherwise, a value change in this file generates a file
0644 modified event.
0648 1 if the cgroup or its descendants contains any live
0649 processes; otherwise, 0.
0652 5. Controllers
0654 5-1. CPU
0656 [NOTE: The interface for the cpu controller hasn't been merged yet]
0658 The "cpu" controllers regulates distribution of CPU cycles. This
0659 controller implements weight and absolute bandwidth limit models for
0660 normal scheduling policy and absolute bandwidth allocation model for
0661 realtime scheduling policy.
0664 5-1-1. CPU Interface Files
0666 All time durations are in microseconds.
0670 A read-only flat-keyed file which exists on non-root cgroups.
0672 It reports the following six stats.
0683 A read-write single value file which exists on non-root
0684 cgroups. The default is "100".
0686 The weight in the range [1, 10000].
0690 A read-write two value file which exists on non-root cgroups.
0691 The default is "max 100000".
0693 The maximum bandwidth limit. It's in the following format.
0695 $MAX $PERIOD
0697 which indicates that the group may consume upto $MAX in each
0698 $PERIOD duration. "max" for $MAX indicates no limit. If only
0699 one number is written, $MAX is updated.
0703 [NOTE: The semantics of this file is still under discussion and the
0704 interface hasn't been merged yet]
0706 A read-write two value file which exists on all cgroups.
0707 The default is "0 100000".
0709 The maximum realtime runtime allocation. Over-committing
0710 configurations are disallowed and process migrations are
0711 rejected if not enough bandwidth is available. It's in the
0712 following format.
0714 $MAX $PERIOD
0716 which indicates that the group may consume upto $MAX in each
0717 $PERIOD duration. If only one number is written, $MAX is
0721 5-2. Memory
0723 The "memory" controller regulates distribution of memory. Memory is
0724 stateful and implements both limit and protection models. Due to the
0725 intertwining between memory usage and reclaim pressure and the
0726 stateful nature of memory, the distribution model is relatively
0729 While not completely water-tight, all major memory usages by a given
0730 cgroup are tracked so that the total memory consumption can be
0731 accounted and controlled to a reasonable extent. Currently, the
0732 following types of memory usages are tracked.
0734 - Userland memory - page cache and anonymous memory.
0736 - Kernel data structures such as dentries and inodes.
0738 - TCP socket buffers.
0740 The above list may expand in the future for better coverage.
0743 5-2-1. Memory Interface Files
0745 All memory amounts are in bytes. If a value which is not aligned to
0746 PAGE_SIZE is written, the value may be rounded up to the closest
0747 PAGE_SIZE multiple when read back.
0751 A read-only single value file which exists on non-root
0754 The total amount of memory currently being used by the cgroup
0755 and its descendants.
0759 A read-write single value file which exists on non-root
0760 cgroups. The default is "0".
0762 Best-effort memory protection. If the memory usages of a
0763 cgroup and all its ancestors are below their low boundaries,
0764 the cgroup's memory won't be reclaimed unless memory can be
0765 reclaimed from unprotected cgroups.
0767 Putting more memory than generally available under this
0768 protection is discouraged.
0772 A read-write single value file which exists on non-root
0773 cgroups. The default is "max".
0775 Memory usage throttle limit. This is the main mechanism to
0776 control memory usage of a cgroup. If a cgroup's usage goes
0777 over the high boundary, the processes of the cgroup are
0778 throttled and put under heavy reclaim pressure.
0780 Going over the high limit never invokes the OOM killer and
0781 under extreme conditions the limit may be breached.
0785 A read-write single value file which exists on non-root
0786 cgroups. The default is "max".
0788 Memory usage hard limit. This is the final protection
0789 mechanism. If a cgroup's memory usage reaches this limit and
0790 can't be reduced, the OOM killer is invoked in the cgroup.
0791 Under certain circumstances, the usage may go over the limit
0794 This is the ultimate protection mechanism. As long as the
0795 high limit is used and monitored properly, this limit's
0796 utility is limited to providing the final safety net.
0800 A read-only flat-keyed file which exists on non-root cgroups.
0801 The following entries are defined. Unless specified
0802 otherwise, a value change in this file generates a file
0803 modified event.
0807 The number of times the cgroup is reclaimed due to
0808 high memory pressure even though its usage is under
0809 the low boundary. This usually indicates that the low
0810 boundary is over-committed.
0814 The number of times processes of the cgroup are
0815 throttled and routed to perform direct memory reclaim
0816 because the high memory boundary was exceeded. For a
0817 cgroup whose memory usage is capped by the high limit
0818 rather than global memory pressure, this event's
0819 occurrences are expected.
0823 The number of times the cgroup's memory usage was
0824 about to go over the max boundary. If direct reclaim
0825 fails to bring it down, the OOM killer is invoked.
0829 The number of times the OOM killer has been invoked in
0830 the cgroup. This may not exactly match the number of
0831 processes killed but should generally be close.
0835 A read-only flat-keyed file which exists on non-root cgroups.
0837 This breaks down the cgroup's memory footprint into different
0838 types of memory, type-specific details, and other information
0839 on the state and past events of the memory management system.
0841 All memory amounts are in bytes.
0843 The entries are ordered to be human readable, and new entries
0844 can show up in the middle. Don't rely on items remaining in a
0845 fixed position; use the keys to look up specific values!
0849 Amount of memory used in anonymous mappings such as
0850 brk(), sbrk(), and mmap(MAP_ANONYMOUS)
0854 Amount of memory used to cache filesystem data,
0855 including tmpfs and shared memory.
0859 Amount of memory allocated to kernel stacks.
0863 Amount of memory used for storing in-kernel data
0868 Amount of memory used in network transmission buffers
0872 Amount of cached filesystem data mapped with mmap()
0876 Amount of cached filesystem data that was modified but
0877 not yet written back to disk
0881 Amount of cached filesystem data that was modified and
0882 is currently being written back to disk
0890 Amount of memory, swap-backed and filesystem-backed,
0891 on the internal memory management lists used by the
0892 page reclaim algorithm
0896 Part of "slab" that might be reclaimed, such as
0897 dentries and inodes.
0901 Part of "slab" that cannot be reclaimed on memory
0906 Total number of page faults incurred
0910 Number of major page faults incurred
0914 A read-only single value file which exists on non-root
0917 The total amount of swap currently being used by the cgroup
0918 and its descendants.
0922 A read-write single value file which exists on non-root
0923 cgroups. The default is "max".
0925 Swap usage hard limit. If a cgroup's swap usage reaches this
0926 limit, anonymous meomry of the cgroup will not be swapped out.
0929 5-2-2. Usage Guidelines
0931 "memory.high" is the main mechanism to control memory usage.
0932 Over-committing on high limit (sum of high limits > available memory)
0933 and letting global memory pressure to distribute memory according to
0934 usage is a viable strategy.
0936 Because breach of the high limit doesn't trigger the OOM killer but
0937 throttles the offending cgroup, a management agent has ample
0938 opportunities to monitor and take appropriate actions such as granting
0939 more memory or terminating the workload.
0941 Determining whether a cgroup has enough memory is not trivial as
0942 memory usage doesn't indicate whether the workload can benefit from
0943 more memory. For example, a workload which writes data received from
0944 network to a file can use all available memory but can also operate as
0945 performant with a small amount of memory. A measure of memory
0946 pressure - how much the workload is being impacted due to lack of
0947 memory - is necessary to determine whether a workload needs more
0948 memory; unfortunately, memory pressure monitoring mechanism isn't
0949 implemented yet.
0952 5-2-3. Memory Ownership
0954 A memory area is charged to the cgroup which instantiated it and stays
0955 charged to the cgroup until the area is released. Migrating a process
0956 to a different cgroup doesn't move the memory usages that it
0957 instantiated while in the previous cgroup to the new cgroup.
0959 A memory area may be used by processes belonging to different cgroups.
0960 To which cgroup the area will be charged is in-deterministic; however,
0961 over time, the memory area is likely to end up in a cgroup which has
0962 enough memory allowance to avoid high reclaim pressure.
0964 If a cgroup sweeps a considerable amount of memory which is expected
0965 to be accessed repeatedly by other cgroups, it may make sense to use
0966 POSIX_FADV_DONTNEED to relinquish the ownership of memory areas
0967 belonging to the affected files to ensure correct memory ownership.
0970 5-3. IO
0972 The "io" controller regulates the distribution of IO resources. This
0973 controller implements both weight based and absolute bandwidth or IOPS
0974 limit distribution; however, weight based distribution is available
0975 only if cfq-iosched is in use and neither scheme is available for
0976 blk-mq devices.
0979 5-3-1. IO Interface Files
0983 A read-only nested-keyed file which exists on non-root
0986 Lines are keyed by $MAJ:$MIN device numbers and not ordered.
0987 The following nested keys are defined.
0989 rbytes Bytes read
0990 wbytes Bytes written
0991 rios Number of read IOs
0992 wios Number of write IOs
0994 An example read output follows.
0996 8:16 rbytes=1459200 wbytes=314773504 rios=192 wios=353
0997 8:0 rbytes=90430464 wbytes=299008000 rios=8950 wios=1252
1001 A read-write flat-keyed file which exists on non-root cgroups.
1002 The default is "default 100".
1004 The first line is the default weight applied to devices
1005 without specific override. The rest are overrides keyed by
1006 $MAJ:$MIN device numbers and not ordered. The weights are in
1007 the range [1, 10000] and specifies the relative amount IO time
1008 the cgroup can use in relation to its siblings.
1010 The default weight can be updated by writing either "default
1011 $WEIGHT" or simply "$WEIGHT". Overrides can be set by writing
1012 "$MAJ:$MIN $WEIGHT" and unset by writing "$MAJ:$MIN default".
1014 An example read output follows.
1016 default 100
1017 8:16 200
1018 8:0 50
1022 A read-write nested-keyed file which exists on non-root
1025 BPS and IOPS based IO limit. Lines are keyed by $MAJ:$MIN
1026 device numbers and not ordered. The following nested keys are
1029 rbps Max read bytes per second
1030 wbps Max write bytes per second
1031 riops Max read IO operations per second
1032 wiops Max write IO operations per second
1034 When writing, any number of nested key-value pairs can be
1035 specified in any order. "max" can be specified as the value
1036 to remove a specific limit. If the same key is specified
1037 multiple times, the outcome is undefined.
1039 BPS and IOPS are measured in each IO direction and IOs are
1040 delayed if limit is reached. Temporary bursts are allowed.
1042 Setting read limit at 2M BPS and write at 120 IOPS for 8:16.
1044 echo "8:16 rbps=2097152 wiops=120" > io.max
1046 Reading returns the following.
1048 8:16 rbps=2097152 wbps=max riops=max wiops=120
1050 Write IOPS limit can be removed by writing the following.
1052 echo "8:16 wiops=max" > io.max
1054 Reading now returns the following.
1056 8:16 rbps=2097152 wbps=max riops=max wiops=max
1059 5-3-2. Writeback
1061 Page cache is dirtied through buffered writes and shared mmaps and
1062 written asynchronously to the backing filesystem by the writeback
1063 mechanism. Writeback sits between the memory and IO domains and
1064 regulates the proportion of dirty memory by balancing dirtying and
1065 write IOs.
1067 The io controller, in conjunction with the memory controller,
1068 implements control of page cache writeback IOs. The memory controller
1069 defines the memory domain that dirty memory ratio is calculated and
1070 maintained for and the io controller defines the io domain which
1071 writes out dirty pages for the memory domain. Both system-wide and
1072 per-cgroup dirty memory states are examined and the more restrictive
1073 of the two is enforced.
1075 cgroup writeback requires explicit support from the underlying
1076 filesystem. Currently, cgroup writeback is implemented on ext2, ext4
1077 and btrfs. On other filesystems, all writeback IOs are attributed to
1078 the root cgroup.
1080 There are inherent differences in memory and writeback management
1081 which affects how cgroup ownership is tracked. Memory is tracked per
1082 page while writeback per inode. For the purpose of writeback, an
1083 inode is assigned to a cgroup and all IO requests to write dirty pages
1084 from the inode are attributed to that cgroup.
1086 As cgroup ownership for memory is tracked per page, there can be pages
1087 which are associated with different cgroups than the one the inode is
1088 associated with. These are called foreign pages. The writeback
1089 constantly keeps track of foreign pages and, if a particular foreign
1090 cgroup becomes the majority over a certain period of time, switches
1091 the ownership of the inode to that cgroup.
1093 While this model is enough for most use cases where a given inode is
1094 mostly dirtied by a single cgroup even when the main writing cgroup
1095 changes over time, use cases where multiple cgroups write to a single
1096 inode simultaneously are not supported well. In such circumstances, a
1097 significant portion of IOs are likely to be attributed incorrectly.
1098 As memory controller assigns page ownership on the first use and
1099 doesn't update it until the page is released, even if writeback
1100 strictly follows page ownership, multiple cgroups dirtying overlapping
1101 areas wouldn't work as expected. It's recommended to avoid such usage
1104 The sysctl knobs which affect writeback behavior are applied to cgroup
1105 writeback as follows.
1110 These ratios apply the same to cgroup writeback with the
1111 amount of available memory capped by limits imposed by the
1112 memory controller and system-wide clean memory.
1117 For cgroup writeback, this is calculated into ratio against
1118 total available memory and applied the same way as
1122 6. Namespace
1124 6-1. Basics
1126 cgroup namespace provides a mechanism to virtualize the view of the
1127 "/proc/$PID/cgroup" file and cgroup mounts. The CLONE_NEWCGROUP clone
1128 flag can be used with clone(2) and unshare(2) to create a new cgroup
1129 namespace. The process running inside the cgroup namespace will have
1130 its "/proc/$PID/cgroup" output restricted to cgroupns root. The
1131 cgroupns root is the cgroup of the process at the time of creation of
1132 the cgroup namespace.
1134 Without cgroup namespace, the "/proc/$PID/cgroup" file shows the
1135 complete path of the cgroup of a process. In a container setup where
1136 a set of cgroups and namespaces are intended to isolate processes the
1137 "/proc/$PID/cgroup" file may leak potential system level information
1138 to the isolated processes. For Example:
1140 # cat /proc/self/cgroup
1143 The path '/batchjobs/container_id1' can be considered as system-data
1144 and undesirable to expose to the isolated processes. cgroup namespace
1145 can be used to restrict visibility of this path. For example, before
1146 creating a cgroup namespace, one would see:
1148 # ls -l /proc/self/ns/cgroup
1149 lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 0 2014-07-15 10:37 /proc/self/ns/cgroup -> cgroup:
1150 # cat /proc/self/cgroup
1153 After unsharing a new namespace, the view changes.
1155 # ls -l /proc/self/ns/cgroup
1156 lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 0 2014-07-15 10:35 /proc/self/ns/cgroup -> cgroup:
1157 # cat /proc/self/cgroup
1160 When some thread from a multi-threaded process unshares its cgroup
1161 namespace, the new cgroupns gets applied to the entire process (all
1162 the threads). This is natural for the v2 hierarchy; however, for the
1163 legacy hierarchies, this may be unexpected.
1165 A cgroup namespace is alive as long as there are processes inside or
1166 mounts pinning it. When the last usage goes away, the cgroup
1167 namespace is destroyed. The cgroupns root and the actual cgroups
1171 6-2. The Root and Views
1173 The 'cgroupns root' for a cgroup namespace is the cgroup in which the
1174 process calling unshare(2) is running. For example, if a process in
1175 /batchjobs/container_id1 cgroup calls unshare, cgroup
1176 /batchjobs/container_id1 becomes the cgroupns root. For the
1177 init_cgroup_ns, this is the real root ('/') cgroup.
1179 The cgroupns root cgroup does not change even if the namespace creator
1180 process later moves to a different cgroup.
1182 # ~/unshare -c # unshare cgroupns in some cgroup
1183 # cat /proc/self/cgroup
1185 # mkdir sub_cgrp_1
1186 # echo 0 > sub_cgrp_1/cgroup.procs
1187 # cat /proc/self/cgroup
1190 Each process gets its namespace-specific view of "/proc/$PID/cgroup"
1192 Processes running inside the cgroup namespace will be able to see
1193 cgroup paths (in /proc/self/cgroup) only inside their root cgroup.
1194 From within an unshared cgroupns:
1196 # sleep 100000 &
1197  7353
1198 # echo 7353 > sub_cgrp_1/cgroup.procs
1199 # cat /proc/7353/cgroup
1202 From the initial cgroup namespace, the real cgroup path will be
1205 $ cat /proc/7353/cgroup
1208 From a sibling cgroup namespace (that is, a namespace rooted at a
1209 different cgroup), the cgroup path relative to its own cgroup
1210 namespace root will be shown. For instance, if PID 7353's cgroup
1211 namespace root is at '/batchjobs/container_id2', then it will see
1213 # cat /proc/7353/cgroup
1216 Note that the relative path always starts with '/' to indicate that
1217 its relative to the cgroup namespace root of the caller.
1220 6-3. Migration and setns(2)
1222 Processes inside a cgroup namespace can move into and out of the
1223 namespace root if they have proper access to external cgroups. For
1224 example, from inside a namespace with cgroupns root at
1225 /batchjobs/container_id1, and assuming that the global hierarchy is
1226 still accessible inside cgroupns:
1228 # cat /proc/7353/cgroup
1230 # echo 7353 > batchjobs/container_id2/cgroup.procs
1231 # cat /proc/7353/cgroup
1234 Note that this kind of setup is not encouraged. A task inside cgroup
1235 namespace should only be exposed to its own cgroupns hierarchy.
1237 setns(2) to another cgroup namespace is allowed when:
1239 (a) the process has CAP_SYS_ADMIN against its current user namespace
1240 (b) the process has CAP_SYS_ADMIN against the target cgroup
1241 namespace's userns
1243 No implicit cgroup changes happen with attaching to another cgroup
1244 namespace. It is expected that the someone moves the attaching
1245 process under the target cgroup namespace root.
1248 6-4. Interaction with Other Namespaces
1250 Namespace specific cgroup hierarchy can be mounted by a process
1251 running inside a non-init cgroup namespace.
1253 # mount -t cgroup2 none $MOUNT_POINT
1255 This will mount the unified cgroup hierarchy with cgroupns root as the
1256 filesystem root. The process needs CAP_SYS_ADMIN against its user and
1257 mount namespaces.
1259 The virtualization of /proc/self/cgroup file combined with restricting
1260 the view of cgroup hierarchy by namespace-private cgroupfs mount
1261 provides a properly isolated cgroup view inside the container.
1264 P. Information on Kernel Programming
1266 This section contains kernel programming information in the areas
1267 where interacting with cgroup is necessary. cgroup core and
1268 controllers are not covered.
1271 P-1. Filesystem Support for Writeback
1273 A filesystem can support cgroup writeback by updating
1274 address_space_operations->writepage[s]() to annotate bio's using the
1275 following two functions.
1277 wbc_init_bio(@wbc, @bio)
1279 Should be called for each bio carrying writeback data and
1280 associates the bio with the inode's owner cgroup. Can be
1281 called anytime between bio allocation and submission.
1283 wbc_account_io(@wbc, @page, @bytes)
1285 Should be called for each data segment being written out.
1286 While this function doesn't care exactly when it's called
1287 during the writeback session, it's the easiest and most
1288 natural to call it as data segments are added to a bio.
1290 With writeback bio's annotated, cgroup support can be enabled per
1291 super_block by setting SB_I_CGROUPWB in ->s_iflags. This allows for
1292 selective disabling of cgroup writeback support which is helpful when
1293 certain filesystem features, e.g. journaled data mode, are
1296 wbc_init_bio() binds the specified bio to its cgroup. Depending on
1297 the configuration, the bio may be executed at a lower priority and if
1298 the writeback session is holding shared resources, e.g. a journal
1299 entry, may lead to priority inversion. There is no one easy solution
1300 for the problem. Filesystems can try to work around specific problem
1301 cases by skipping wbc_init_bio() or using bio_associate_blkcg()
1305 D. Deprecated v1 Core Features
1307 - Multiple hierarchies including named ones are not supported.
1309 - All mount options and remounting are not supported.
1311 - The "tasks" file is removed and "cgroup.procs" is not sorted.
1313 - "cgroup.clone_children" is removed.
1315 - /proc/cgroups is meaningless for v2. Use "cgroup.controllers" file
1316 at the root instead.
1319 R. Issues with v1 and Rationales for v2
1321 R-1. Multiple Hierarchies
1323 cgroup v1 allowed an arbitrary number of hierarchies and each
1324 hierarchy could host any number of controllers. While this seemed to
1325 provide a high level of flexibility, it wasn't useful in practice.
1327 For example, as there is only one instance of each controller, utility
1328 type controllers such as freezer which can be useful in all
1329 hierarchies could only be used in one. The issue is exacerbated by
1330 the fact that controllers couldn't be moved to another hierarchy once
1331 hierarchies were populated. Another issue was that all controllers
1332 bound to a hierarchy were forced to have exactly the same view of the
1333 hierarchy. It wasn't possible to vary the granularity depending on
1334 the specific controller.
1336 In practice, these issues heavily limited which controllers could be
1337 put on the same hierarchy and most configurations resorted to putting
1338 each controller on its own hierarchy. Only closely related ones, such
1339 as the cpu and cpuacct controllers, made sense to be put on the same
1340 hierarchy. This often meant that userland ended up managing multiple
1341 similar hierarchies repeating the same steps on each hierarchy
1342 whenever a hierarchy management operation was necessary.
1344 Furthermore, support for multiple hierarchies came at a steep cost.
1345 It greatly complicated cgroup core implementation but more importantly
1346 the support for multiple hierarchies restricted how cgroup could be
1347 used in general and what controllers was able to do.
1349 There was no limit on how many hierarchies there might be, which meant
1350 that a thread's cgroup membership couldn't be described in finite
1351 length. The key might contain any number of entries and was unlimited
1352 in length, which made it highly awkward to manipulate and led to
1353 addition of controllers which existed only to identify membership,
1354 which in turn exacerbated the original problem of proliferating number
1355 of hierarchies.
1357 Also, as a controller couldn't have any expectation regarding the
1358 topologies of hierarchies other controllers might be on, each
1359 controller had to assume that all other controllers were attached to
1360 completely orthogonal hierarchies. This made it impossible, or at
1361 least very cumbersome, for controllers to cooperate with each other.
1363 In most use cases, putting controllers on hierarchies which are
1364 completely orthogonal to each other isn't necessary. What usually is
1365 called for is the ability to have differing levels of granularity
1366 depending on the specific controller. In other words, hierarchy may
1367 be collapsed from leaf towards root when viewed from specific
1368 controllers. For example, a given configuration might not care about
1369 how memory is distributed beyond a certain level while still wanting
1370 to control how CPU cycles are distributed.
1373 R-2. Thread Granularity
1375 cgroup v1 allowed threads of a process to belong to different cgroups.
1376 This didn't make sense for some controllers and those controllers
1377 ended up implementing different ways to ignore such situations but
1378 much more importantly it blurred the line between API exposed to
1379 individual applications and system management interface.
1381 Generally, in-process knowledge is available only to the process
1382 itself; thus, unlike service-level organization of processes,
1383 categorizing threads of a process requires active participation from
1384 the application which owns the target process.
1386 cgroup v1 had an ambiguously defined delegation model which got abused
1387 in combination with thread granularity. cgroups were delegated to
1388 individual applications so that they can create and manage their own
1389 sub-hierarchies and control resource distributions along them. This
1390 effectively raised cgroup to the status of a syscall-like API exposed
1391 to lay programs.
1393 First of all, cgroup has a fundamentally inadequate interface to be
1394 exposed this way. For a process to access its own knobs, it has to
1395 extract the path on the target hierarchy from /proc/self/cgroup,
1396 construct the path by appending the name of the knob to the path, open
1397 and then read and/or write to it. This is not only extremely clunky
1398 and unusual but also inherently racy. There is no conventional way to
1399 define transaction across the required steps and nothing can guarantee
1400 that the process would actually be operating on its own sub-hierarchy.
1402 cgroup controllers implemented a number of knobs which would never be
1403 accepted as public APIs because they were just adding control knobs to
1404 system-management pseudo filesystem. cgroup ended up with interface
1405 knobs which were not properly abstracted or refined and directly
1406 revealed kernel internal details. These knobs got exposed to
1407 individual applications through the ill-defined delegation mechanism
1408 effectively abusing cgroup as a shortcut to implementing public APIs
1409 without going through the required scrutiny.
1411 This was painful for both userland and kernel. Userland ended up with
1412 misbehaving and poorly abstracted interfaces and kernel exposing and
1413 locked into constructs inadvertently.
1416 R-3. Competition Between Inner Nodes and Threads
1418 cgroup v1 allowed threads to be in any cgroups which created an
1419 interesting problem where threads belonging to a parent cgroup and its
1420 children cgroups competed for resources. This was nasty as two
1421 different types of entities competed and there was no obvious way to
1422 settle it. Different controllers did different things.
1424 The cpu controller considered threads and cgroups as equivalents and
1425 mapped nice levels to cgroup weights. This worked for some cases but
1426 fell flat when children wanted to be allocated specific ratios of CPU
1427 cycles and the number of internal threads fluctuated - the ratios
1428 constantly changed as the number of competing entities fluctuated.
1429 There also were other issues. The mapping from nice level to weight
1430 wasn't obvious or universal, and there were various other knobs which
1431 simply weren't available for threads.
1433 The io controller implicitly created a hidden leaf node for each
1434 cgroup to host the threads. The hidden leaf had its own copies of all
1435 the knobs with "leaf_" prefixed. While this allowed equivalent
1436 control over internal threads, it was with serious drawbacks. It
1437 always added an extra layer of nesting which wouldn't be necessary
1438 otherwise, made the interface messy and significantly complicated the
1441 The memory controller didn't have a way to control what happened
1442 between internal tasks and child cgroups and the behavior was not
1443 clearly defined. There were attempts to add ad-hoc behaviors and
1444 knobs to tailor the behavior to specific workloads which would have
1445 led to problems extremely difficult to resolve in the long term.
1447 Multiple controllers struggled with internal tasks and came up with
1448 different ways to deal with it; unfortunately, all the approaches were
1449 severely flawed and, furthermore, the widely different behaviors
1450 made cgroup as a whole highly inconsistent.
1452 This clearly is a problem which needs to be addressed from cgroup core
1453 in a uniform way.
1456 R-4. Other Interface Issues
1458 cgroup v1 grew without oversight and developed a large number of
1459 idiosyncrasies and inconsistencies. One issue on the cgroup core side
1460 was how an empty cgroup was notified - a userland helper binary was
1461 forked and executed for each event. The event delivery wasn't
1462 recursive or delegatable. The limitations of the mechanism also led
1463 to in-kernel event delivery filtering mechanism further complicating
1464 the interface.
1466 Controller interfaces were problematic too. An extreme example is
1467 controllers completely ignoring hierarchical organization and treating
1468 all cgroups as if they were all located directly under the root
1469 cgroup. Some controllers exposed a large amount of inconsistent
1470 implementation details to userland.
1472 There also was no consistency across controllers. When a new cgroup
1473 was created, some controllers defaulted to not imposing extra
1474 restrictions while others disallowed any resource usage until
1475 explicitly configured. Configuration knobs for the same type of
1476 control used widely differing naming schemes and formats. Statistics
1477 and information knobs were named arbitrarily and used different
1478 formats and units even in the same controller.
1480 cgroup v2 establishes common conventions where appropriate and updates
1481 controllers so that they expose minimal and consistent interfaces.
1484 R-5. Controller Issues and Remedies
1486 R-5-1. Memory
1488 The original lower boundary, the soft limit, is defined as a limit
1489 that is per default unset. As a result, the set of cgroups that
1490 global reclaim prefers is opt-in, rather than opt-out. The costs for
1491 optimizing these mostly negative lookups are so high that the
1492 implementation, despite its enormous size, does not even provide the
1493 basic desirable behavior. First off, the soft limit has no
1494 hierarchical meaning. All configured groups are organized in a global
1495 rbtree and treated like equal peers, regardless where they are located
1496 in the hierarchy. This makes subtree delegation impossible. Second,
1497 the soft limit reclaim pass is so aggressive that it not just
1498 introduces high allocation latencies into the system, but also impacts
1499 system performance due to overreclaim, to the point where the feature
1500 becomes self-defeating.
1502 The memory.low boundary on the other hand is a top-down allocated
1503 reserve. A cgroup enjoys reclaim protection when it and all its
1504 ancestors are below their low boundaries, which makes delegation of
1505 subtrees possible. Secondly, new cgroups have no reserve per default
1506 and in the common case most cgroups are eligible for the preferred
1507 reclaim pass. This allows the new low boundary to be efficiently
1508 implemented with just a minor addition to the generic reclaim code,
1509 without the need for out-of-band data structures and reclaim passes.
1510 Because the generic reclaim code considers all cgroups except for the
1511 ones running low in the preferred first reclaim pass, overreclaim of
1512 individual groups is eliminated as well, resulting in much better
1513 overall workload performance.
1515 The original high boundary, the hard limit, is defined as a strict
1516 limit that can not budge, even if the OOM killer has to be called.
1517 But this generally goes against the goal of making the most out of the
1518 available memory. The memory consumption of workloads varies during
1519 runtime, and that requires users to overcommit. But doing that with a
1520 strict upper limit requires either a fairly accurate prediction of the
1521 working set size or adding slack to the limit. Since working set size
1522 estimation is hard and error prone, and getting it wrong results in
1523 OOM kills, most users tend to err on the side of a looser limit and
1524 end up wasting precious resources.
1526 The memory.high boundary on the other hand can be set much more
1527 conservatively. When hit, it throttles allocations by forcing them
1528 into direct reclaim to work off the excess, but it never invokes the
1529 OOM killer. As a result, a high boundary that is chosen too
1530 aggressively will not terminate the processes, but instead it will
1531 lead to gradual performance degradation. The user can monitor this
1532 and make corrections until the minimal memory footprint that still
1533 gives acceptable performance is found.
1535 In extreme cases, with many concurrent allocations and a complete
1536 breakdown of reclaim progress within the group, the high boundary can
1537 be exceeded. But even then it's mostly better to satisfy the
1538 allocation from the slack available in other groups or the rest of the
1539 system than killing the group. Otherwise, memory.max is there to
1540 limit this type of spillover and ultimately contain buggy or even
1541 malicious applications.
1543 Setting the original memory.limit_in_bytes below the current usage was
1544 subject to a race condition, where concurrent charges could cause the
1545 limit setting to fail. memory.max on the other hand will first set the
1546 limit to prevent new charges, and then reclaim and OOM kill until the
1547 new limit is met - or the task writing to memory.max is killed.
1549 The combined memory+swap accounting and limiting is replaced by real
1550 control over swap space.
1552 The main argument for a combined memory+swap facility in the original
1553 cgroup design was that global or parental pressure would always be
1554 able to swap all anonymous memory of a child group, regardless of the
1555 child's own (possibly untrusted) configuration. However, untrusted
1556 groups can sabotage swapping by other means - such as referencing its
1557 anonymous memory in a tight loop - and an admin can not assume full
1558 swappability when overcommitting untrusted jobs.
1560 For trusted jobs, on the other hand, a combined counter is not an
1561 intuitive userspace interface, and it flies in the face of the idea
1562 that cgroup controllers should account and limit specific physical
1563 resources. Swap space is a resource like all others in the system,
1564 and that's why unified hierarchy allows distributing it separately.