Issue #9607 has been updated by Koichi Sasada.


Eric Wong wrote:
>  Running this (on top of current trunk) to serve my (mostly static sites)
>  on yhbt.net.   Memory usage seems stable at ~31M (from ~49M)

Thanks!

>  I noticed vm1_gc_short_with_complex_long got very slow with this
>  patch: ~10s => ~118s
>  I ran this several times to be sure.  2.0.0 only took around ~13s

OMG.  Thank you for reporting.

Yes. It will do useless marking (minor marking) because of there are no empty spaces.

mmm.


----------------------------------------
Bug #9607: Change the full GC timing
https://bugs.ruby-lang.org/issues/9607#change-45834

* Author: Koichi Sasada
* Status: Open
* Priority: Normal
* Assignee: Koichi Sasada
* Category: core
* Target version: current: 2.2.0
* ruby -v: 2.2
* Backport: 1.9.3: UNKNOWN, 2.0.0: UNKNOWN, 2.1: UNKNOWN
----------------------------------------
Abstract
========

Generational GC (called RGenGC) was introduced from Ruby 2.1.0. RGenGC 
reduces marking time dramatically (about x10 faster). However, RGenGC 
introduce huge memory consumption. This problem has impact especially 
for small memory machines.

Ruby 2.1.1 introduced new environment variable 
RUBY_GC_HEAP_OLDOBJECT_LIMIT_FACTOR to control full GC timing. However, 
this solution is not solve problem completely.

To solve this issue, we modify **Full GC timing strategy**:
(1) Always invoke full GC before extending the heap.
(2) Increase the heap if not enough old-objects space.
This modification introduces a bit slow down, but reduce memory 
consumption.

Background and problem
======================

RGenGC algorithm
----------------

Ruby 2.0 and earlier versions uses simple mark and sweep. Long marking 
time had been an big issue. To solve this issue, Ruby 2.1.0 introduced
new generational GC called RGenGC (restricted generational GC).

RGenGC algorithm enables to introduce partial marking (called `minor GC'), 
which marks only newer created objects, and skips marking fof old 
objects (*1). Sometime, this marks all objects (called `major GC' or 
`full GC'). Many minor GC and small number of major GC makes GC faster.

(*1) RGenGC doesn't skip sweeping for old-objects. This is another issue.


Full GC timing
--------------

There is a question: "When should we invoke invoke full GC?".

Usually, generational GC uses the strategy that "when a space for old 
objects is full, then invoke full GC".

Ruby 2.1.0 defines the size of old space for old objects with 
`old_object_limit' and old_object_limit is doubled by the old objects 
number (`old_object_count') at the last full GC. 

Before the GC, we determine minor or major by comparing 
`old_object_limit' and current old objects number (`old_object_count') 
if  we compare current old object number and old_object_limit, and do 
full GC if old_object_count > old_object_limit.

Here is a pseudo code of RGenGC:

    def gc
      if old_object_count > old_object_limit
        major_gc = false
        minor_mark()
      else
        major_gc = true
        major_mark()
      end
      sweep() # Actually it is lazy sweep.
      
      # double `old_object_count' here when it is major GC
      old_object_limit = old_object_count * 2 if major_gc
    end
    
This strategy works fine for memory rich machines, because only a few 
full GCs are invoked.

However, this strategy causes more and more memory consumption.

Fig.1 is a result of (modified) discourse benchmark (Thanks Sam 
Saffron!!). X-axis is GC count and Y-axis represents a number of slots 
(objects). `total_slots' is avaialbe slots to use, `old_object' is 
old_object_count.

![Fig1. Usage of slots on Ruby 2.2 dev](ruby2_2.JPG)

As you can see, old_object_limit is too high and total_slots are 
expanded (x1.8, specified by GC_HEAP_GROWTH_FACTOR) before full GC.


Full GC timing tuning from Ruby 2.1.1
-------------------------------------

To solve this issue, Ruby 2.1.1 introduced an environment variable 
"RUBY_GC_HEAP_OLDOBJECT_LIMIT_FACTOR" (use `old_object_limit_factor' for 
short).

This variable control how to extend `old_object_limit'.

In pseudo code, we changed from

    # double `old_object_count' here when it is major GC
    old_object_limit = old_object_count * 2 if major_gc

to

    # double `old_object_count' here when it is major GC
    old_object_limit = old_object_count * old_object_limit_factor if major_gc

The default value of this environment variable is 2. So it is same 
behavior on default.

With RUBY_GC_HEAP_OLDOBJECT_LIMIT_FACTOR=1.3, the benchmark result is 
Fig.2.

![Fig2. Usage of slots on Ruby 2.2 dev w/ old_limit_factor=1.3](ruby_2_2_factor_1_3.JPG)

We can observe that the total slots doesn't grow than the default 
behavior.

Try this environment variable if you have trouble with memory usage.

Note that if you want to disable generational garbage collection, you 
can specify 0.9 (any number lesser than 1.0) for 
RUBY_GC_HEAP_OLDOBJECT_LIMIT_FACTOR.  With this technique, on every GC 
"old_object_count > old_object_limit" is true and do major GC.

BTW, this variable should be noted on NEWS file. I missed to add it.


More intelligent approach
-------------------------

"RUBY_GC_HEAP_OLDOBJECT_LIMIT_FACTOR" with small number can solve this 
issue, but we need to specify correct value for each application. It is 
tough work for us.


Proposal
========

With these graphes, we find two insights.

(1) We need to invoke full GC becore expanding heaps.  If we invoke full 
GC, it is possible to stop expanding heaps.
(2) Increasing speed of old objects is completely slow.

To invoke full GC before expanding, we set a upper bount for 
old_object_limit as "total_slots * 0.7". This value is same as the 
threshold to determin expanding heaps or not.

After full GC, it is possible that "old_object_count > old_object_limit" 
is true, but only a few differences. This situation causes many of full 
GC. To avoid such situation, we add a few slots if "old_object_limit * 
0.7 < old_object_count). In this case, "old_object_limit * 0.7" is a 
minimum space for old objects.

In pseudo code:

    def gc
      if old_object_count > old_object_limit
        major_gc = false
        minor_mark()
      else
        major_gc = true
        major_mark()
      end
      
      sweep() # Actually it is lazy sweep.
      
      if major_gc
        if total_slots * 0.7 < using_slots
          # not enough space
          extend_heap(total_slots * (1.8 - 1)) # 1.8 is growth_factor
        elsif old_object_limit * 0.7 < old_object_count
          # not enough old object count
          extend_heap(old_object_count - object_limit * 0.7)
        end
      else
        do_major_gc_at_next_gc = true
      end
      
      if major_gc
        a = old_object_count * old_object_limit_factor
        b = total_slots * 0.7
        old_object_limit = [a, b].min
      end
    end

With this proposal, we can reduce total_slots consumption (Fig3, Fig4).

![Fig3. Usage of slots on proposal strategy](proposed.JPG)

![Fig4. Usage of slots on proposal strategy w/ old_limit_factor=1.3](proposed_factor_1_3.JPG)

However, more and more GC invoking time. It is trade-off because 
reducing total_slots introduces more frequent GC.  We can solve this 
issue by making condition parameter 0.7 as tunable.


Future work
===========

(1) Promotion strategy

Current growing speed of old object number is too high. So we need to 
consider about promotion strategy. Current strategy is "promote young 
objects when young objects survive one garbage collection". We already 
implemented "RGENGC_THREEGEN" mode, which enable to filter unexpected 
promotion.

NOTE: THREEGEN = 3gen is strange name because generation is only two. We 
will change this mode name to AGE2PROMOTION and so on.

(2) Partial sweep

We successed to use partial marking on minor GC. However, everytime 
sweep all available slots. Sweeping time is not so big, but there is a 
space to optimize it.

(3) Incremental major GC

With this proposal, we increase major GC count. To avoid long major GC 
pausing time, we need to implement incremental marking on full GC.


---Files--------------------------------
ruby2_2.JPG (64.4 KB)
ruby_2_2_factor_1_3.JPG (72.4 KB)
proposed.JPG (69.7 KB)
proposed_factor_1_3.JPG (70.3 KB)
gc.patch (7.48 KB)


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