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Thread: Frequent disk sleep

  1. #1

    Default Frequent disk sleep

    Since around a week ago, I've been having a lot of cases where the programs go on disk sleep doing the most menial tasks (scrolling text or opening a different tab in the web browser, minimising and restoring applications, etc.). During those times even the mouse cursor gets stuck. It doesn't last long, but it gets very annoying very fast. It never happened before that time. The log doesn't seem to contain anything relevant to the issue.

    Has anyone else experienced anything similar recently? Any ideas on what I could try to solve the problem?

    I'm using openSUSE 13.1, KDE, Btrfs. One thing I could try is going back to an older snapshot of the system with snapper, but I wonder if there might be something else I could try before that...

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Frequent disk sleep

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatEmerald View Post
    Since around a week ago, I've been having a lot of cases where the programs go on disk sleep doing the most menial tasks (scrolling text or opening a different tab in the web browser, minimising and restoring applications, etc.). During those times even the mouse cursor gets stuck. It doesn't last long, but it gets very annoying very fast. It never happened before that time. The log doesn't seem to contain anything relevant to the issue.

    Has anyone else experienced anything similar recently? Any ideas on what I could try to solve the problem?

    I'm using openSUSE 13.1, KDE, Btrfs. One thing I could try is going back to an older snapshot of the system with snapper, but I wonder if there might be something else I could try before that...
    I'm running btrfs on 13.1 (upgrade from Tumbleweed). Yesterday evening I had the problem as described. Because I was running Amarok with tracks playing, browser open, and another app running it was difficult to intervene since the cursor kept freezing. Eventually I managed to display system Activity with "disk sleep" against several processes. Eventually it cleared, but the disk led on the notebook had been almost constantly "on" throughout the debacle.

    I thought it might have been hourly snapshot activity, but not so according to "# snapper list". Nor was the cleanup cron job due to run until much later. I don't know the cause and it hasn't happened since.

    When my HDD began to fail earlier this year (btrfs not involved then), the symptoms were as you described and occurring from time time, with increasing frequency. Error counts and messages could be seen in the "smartctl --all /dev/sda" report. So I ran smarctl this time (new HDD) but thankfully it was clean as new.

    I suggest you check your HDD just to be sure.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Frequent disk sleep

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatEmerald View Post
    Since around a week ago, I've been having a lot of cases where the programs go on disk sleep doing the most menial tasks (scrolling text or opening a different tab in the web browser, minimising and restoring applications, etc.). During those times even the mouse cursor gets stuck. It doesn't last long, but it gets very annoying very fast. It never happened before that time. The log doesn't seem to contain anything relevant to the issue.
    I've occasionally seen that when using "dd_rescue" to write an iso to a USB flash drive. I don't think I have seen it with my current computer, but I have with the previous one.

    I sometimes write an iso to an external hard drive, and I have never seen the problem there.
    openSUSE Leap 15.1; KDE Plasma 5;

  4. #4

    Default Re: Frequent disk sleep

    Yea, I'm carrying out a smartctl test as we speak (the short one didn't report anything out of the ordinary, so let's see if the long one will). Though the odd thing is that I get these disk sleep stutters when doing things that by far should not touch the HDD, like scrolling this very webpage.

    Looking at free, it reports that I have 200 MB of RAM swapped to disk. Though why that would be is beyond me, because it also reports that I have 6 GB of completely free space (this is with buffers already excluded). I have 8 GiB of RAM in total. Another interesting thing that I'm seeing right now in free is that during the stutters, the "cached" size increases a lot – from 1 GB to 4 GB, and sometimes that is followed by an increase in swap usage by around 70 MB. After that the cache size decreases rapidly back to around 1 GB. So it feels like something is causing spikes of buffered memory, which grows so large that it causes swapping to disk... Maybe I should check how an older kernel performs, and/or test my RAM as well.

    nrickert, yes, the symptoms are typical of high disk I/O (the Linux kernel by default doesn't deal well with high disk I/O like that). But in my case, no disk I/O at all is supposed to be happening...

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Frequent disk sleep

    On 2013-11-30 23:16, GreatEmerald wrote:

    > Looking at free, it reports that I have 200 MB of RAM swapped to disk.
    > Though why that would be is beyond me, because it also reports that I
    > have 6 GB of completely free space (this is with buffers already
    > excluded). I have 8 GiB of RAM in total.


    This is normal and good. If you hibernate it is typical.

    Another interesting thing that
    > I'm seeing right now in free is that during the stutters, the "cached"
    > size increases a lot – from 1 GB to 4 GB, and sometimes that is
    > followed by an increase in swap usage by around 70 MB. After that the
    > cache size decreases rapidly back to around 1 GB.


    It is reading big files. Like for indexing.

    --
    Cheers / Saludos,

    Carlos E. R.
    (from 12.3 x86_64 "Dartmouth" at Telcontar)

  6. #6

    Default Re: Frequent disk sleep

    I never hibernate (and sleeping doesn't even work, but that's another issue entirely). And I turned off Nepomuk to be sure, and it's not indexing anything. KSysGuard is only showing kwin, pidgin, kdeinit as the programs having I/O, and also not as much as that. Plus the cache size suddenly growing huge and then quickly going back down can't be normal...

  7. #7

    Default Re: Frequent disk sleep

    Another interesting observation: if I turn off swap, then use my scrollwheel a lot in a webpage, Firefox gets killed. Now that's not normal in the slightest.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Frequent disk sleep

    On 2013-12-01 22:16, GreatEmerald wrote:
    >
    > I never hibernate (and sleeping doesn't even work, but that's another
    > issue entirely). And I turned off Nepomuk to be sure, and it's not
    > indexing anything. KSysGuard is only showing kwin, pidgin, kdeinit as
    > the programs having I/O, and also not as much as that. Plus the cache
    > size suddenly growing huge and then quickly going back down can't be
    > normal...


    Cache growing 4 GB means that something is reading files, more than 4 GB
    in size. How to find out what, I don't know.


    --
    Cheers / Saludos,

    Carlos E. R.
    (from 12.3 x86_64 "Dartmouth" at Telcontar)

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Frequent disk sleep

    On 2013-12-01 22:36, GreatEmerald wrote:
    >
    > Another interesting observation: if I turn off swap, then use my
    > scrollwheel a lot in a webpage, Firefox gets killed. Now that's not
    > normal in the slightest.


    That would mean that you need more memory than the amount physically
    available.

    Mmm, I forgot. Cache growing could also mean, perhaps, that someone is
    telling the kernel that he is going to map-read a large file, so the
    space is allocated. The file is not actually read, or just a little,
    then the process ends and the space is deallocated. This is hunch, you
    need a programmer to put this in the right wording.

    --
    Cheers / Saludos,

    Carlos E. R.
    (from 12.3 x86_64 "Dartmouth" at Telcontar)

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Frequent disk sleep

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatEmerald View Post
    Since around a week ago, I've been having a lot of cases where the programs go on disk sleep doing the most menial tasks...

    I'm using openSUSE 13.1, KDE, Btrfs... ...snapper... ...
    Please post the output (between "code" tags) of following two commands (requires su -)

    Code:
    btrfs filesystem show
    
    btrfs filesystem df /
    Is your /home integral, or on a separate partition (btrfs?)?

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