Containers: Challenges with the memory resource controller and its performance

Containers in Linux are under active development and have different uses like security, isolation and resource guarantees. In order to provide a resource guarantee for containers, resource controllers are used as basic building blocks to monitor and control utilization of system resources like CPU time, resident memory and I/O bandwidth, among others. While CPU time and I/O bandwidth are renewable resources, memory is a non-renewable resource in the system. Infrastructure to monitor and control resident memory used by a container adds a new dimension to the existing page allocation and reclaim logic.

In order to assess the impact of any change in memory management implementation, we propose adding parameters to modify VM behavior and instrument code paths and collect data against common workloads like file-server, web-server, database-server and developer desktop. Data of interest would be reclaim rate, page scan density, LRU quantum, page container affinity and page generation.

This paper discusses, in detail, the design and performance issues of RSS controller and pagecache controller within the container framework. Some of the modifications to the current page reclaim logic that could help containers are also evaluated.


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