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Documentation / vm / zswap.txt

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Based on kernel version 4.3. Page generated on 2015-11-02 12:51 EST.

1	Overview:
3	Zswap is a lightweight compressed cache for swap pages. It takes pages that are
4	in the process of being swapped out and attempts to compress them into a
5	dynamically allocated RAM-based memory pool.  zswap basically trades CPU cycles
6	for potentially reduced swap I/O.  This trade-off can also result in a
7	significant performance improvement if reads from the compressed cache are
8	faster than reads from a swap device.
10	NOTE: Zswap is a new feature as of v3.11 and interacts heavily with memory
11	reclaim.  This interaction has not been fully explored on the large set of
12	potential configurations and workloads that exist.  For this reason, zswap
13	is a work in progress and should be considered experimental.
15	Some potential benefits:
16	* Desktop/laptop users with limited RAM capacities can mitigate the
17	    performance impact of swapping.
18	* Overcommitted guests that share a common I/O resource can
19	    dramatically reduce their swap I/O pressure, avoiding heavy handed I/O
20	    throttling by the hypervisor. This allows more work to get done with less
21	    impact to the guest workload and guests sharing the I/O subsystem
22	* Users with SSDs as swap devices can extend the life of the device by
23	    drastically reducing life-shortening writes.
25	Zswap evicts pages from compressed cache on an LRU basis to the backing swap
26	device when the compressed pool reaches its size limit.  This requirement had
27	been identified in prior community discussions.
29	Zswap is disabled by default but can be enabled at boot time by setting
30	the "enabled" attribute to 1 at boot time. ie: zswap.enabled=1.  Zswap
31	can also be enabled and disabled at runtime using the sysfs interface.
32	An example command to enable zswap at runtime, assuming sysfs is mounted
33	at /sys, is:
35	echo 1 > /sys/module/zswap/parameters/enabled
37	When zswap is disabled at runtime it will stop storing pages that are
38	being swapped out.  However, it will _not_ immediately write out or fault
39	back into memory all of the pages stored in the compressed pool.  The
40	pages stored in zswap will remain in the compressed pool until they are
41	either invalidated or faulted back into memory.  In order to force all
42	pages out of the compressed pool, a swapoff on the swap device(s) will
43	fault back into memory all swapped out pages, including those in the
44	compressed pool.
46	Design:
48	Zswap receives pages for compression through the Frontswap API and is able to
49	evict pages from its own compressed pool on an LRU basis and write them back to
50	the backing swap device in the case that the compressed pool is full.
52	Zswap makes use of zpool for the managing the compressed memory pool.  Each
53	allocation in zpool is not directly accessible by address.  Rather, a handle is
54	returned by the allocation routine and that handle must be mapped before being
55	accessed.  The compressed memory pool grows on demand and shrinks as compressed
56	pages are freed.  The pool is not preallocated.  By default, a zpool of type
57	zbud is created, but it can be selected at boot time by setting the "zpool"
58	attribute, e.g. zswap.zpool=zbud.  It can also be changed at runtime using the
59	sysfs "zpool" attribute, e.g.
61	echo zbud > /sys/module/zswap/parameters/zpool
63	The zbud type zpool allocates exactly 1 page to store 2 compressed pages, which
64	means the compression ratio will always be 2:1 or worse (because of half-full
65	zbud pages).  The zsmalloc type zpool has a more complex compressed page
66	storage method, and it can achieve greater storage densities.  However,
67	zsmalloc does not implement compressed page eviction, so once zswap fills it
68	cannot evict the oldest page, it can only reject new pages.
70	When a swap page is passed from frontswap to zswap, zswap maintains a mapping
71	of the swap entry, a combination of the swap type and swap offset, to the zpool
72	handle that references that compressed swap page.  This mapping is achieved
73	with a red-black tree per swap type.  The swap offset is the search key for the
74	tree nodes.
76	During a page fault on a PTE that is a swap entry, frontswap calls the zswap
77	load function to decompress the page into the page allocated by the page fault
78	handler.
80	Once there are no PTEs referencing a swap page stored in zswap (i.e. the count
81	in the swap_map goes to 0) the swap code calls the zswap invalidate function,
82	via frontswap, to free the compressed entry.
84	Zswap seeks to be simple in its policies.  Sysfs attributes allow for one user
85	controlled policy:
86	* max_pool_percent - The maximum percentage of memory that the compressed
87	    pool can occupy.
89	The default compressor is lzo, but it can be selected at boot time by setting
90	the “compressor” attribute, e.g. zswap.compressor=lzo.  It can also be changed
91	at runtime using the sysfs "compressor" attribute, e.g.
93	echo lzo > /sys/module/zswap/parameters/compressor
95	When the zpool and/or compressor parameter is changed at runtime, any existing
96	compressed pages are not modified; they are left in their own zpool.  When a
97	request is made for a page in an old zpool, it is uncompressed using its
98	original compressor.  Once all pages are removed from an old zpool, the zpool
99	and its compressor are freed.
101	A debugfs interface is provided for various statistic about pool size, number
102	of pages stored, and various counters for the reasons pages are rejected.
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