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SubjectRe: backing up ext4 fs, system unresponsive, thrashing like crazy even though swap is unused
On Mon, 3 Dec 2012, Eric Paris wrote:

> On Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 12:43 PM, Theodore Ts'o <> wrote:
>> If you are seeing a large number of inodes still in the ext4 inode
>> cache after using drop_caches, then I'd look to see whether you have
>> something like SELinux or auditing enabled which is pinning a bunch of
>> dentries or inodes
> You can safely ignore this suggestion as it does make sense. SELinux
> only grabs a references to dentries during its call to
> fs_ops->getxattr, which can't last a meaningful length of time (unless
> the filesystem is busted). It only grabs references to inodes during
> system initialization, when you couldn't have many in core.
> Audit, likewise, only grabs a reference to a dentry during execve()
> and only long enough to run getxattr and does not grab any reference
> directly to an inode at all.

AFAICT I use neither SELinux nor audit.

>> or whether your backup program (or some other
>> program running on your system) is keeping lots of directories or
>> inodes open for some reason.
> Certainly could be this suggestion though..

I've managed to reproduce the scenario with concurrent "du" commands
running on the filesystems. I'll try doing it once more, but it may take a
while to get the dmesg/slabinfo etc output, since even a realtime root
shell is non-responsive for many minutes.

What other debug output do you suggest to get, to find out why ext4
inodes are pinned?


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