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File system performance benchmarking

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File system performance has a big impact on overall GitLab performance, especially for actions that read or write to Git repositories. This information helps benchmark file system performance against known good and bad real-world systems.

When talking about file system performance the biggest concern is with Network File Systems (NFS). However, even some local disks can have slow I/O. The information on this page can be used for either scenario.

Executing benchmarks

Benchmarking with fio

You should use Fio to test I/O performance. This test should be run both on the NFS server and on the application nodes that talk to the NFS server.

To install:

  • On Ubuntu: apt install fio.
  • On yum-managed environments: yum install fio.

Then run the following:

fio --randrepeat=1 --ioengine=libaio --direct=1 --gtod_reduce=1 --name=test --bs=4k --iodepth=64 --readwrite=randrw --rwmixread=75 --size=4G --filename=/path/to/git-data/testfile

This creates a 4 GB file in /path/to/git-data/testfile. It performs 4 KB reads and writes using a 75%/25% split in the file, with 64 operations running at a time. Be sure to delete the file after the test completes.

The output varies depending on what version of fio installed. The following is an example output from fio v2.2.10 on a networked solid-state drive (SSD):

test: (g=0): rw=randrw, bs=4K-4K/4K-4K/4K-4K, ioengine=libaio, iodepth=64
    Starting 1 process
    test: Laying out IO file(s) (1 file(s) / 1024MB)
    Jobs: 1 (f=1): [m(1)] [100.0% done] [131.4MB/44868KB/0KB /s] [33.7K/11.3K/0 iops] [eta 00m:00s]
    test: (groupid=0, jobs=1): err= 0: pid=10287: Sat Feb  2 17:40:10 2019
      read : io=784996KB, bw=133662KB/s, iops=33415, runt=  5873msec
      write: io=263580KB, bw=44880KB/s, iops=11219, runt=  5873msec
      cpu          : usr=6.56%, sys=23.11%, ctx=266267, majf=0, minf=8
      IO depths    : 1=0.1%, 2=0.1%, 4=0.1%, 8=0.1%, 16=0.1%, 32=0.1%, >=64=100.0%
         submit    : 0=0.0%, 4=100.0%, 8=0.0%, 16=0.0%, 32=0.0%, 64=0.0%, >=64=0.0%
         complete  : 0=0.0%, 4=100.0%, 8=0.0%, 16=0.0%, 32=0.0%, 64=0.1%, >=64=0.0%
         issued    : total=r=196249/w=65895/d=0, short=r=0/w=0/d=0, drop=r=0/w=0/d=0
         latency   : target=0, window=0, percentile=100.00%, depth=64

    Run status group 0 (all jobs):
       READ: io=784996KB, aggrb=133661KB/s, minb=133661KB/s, maxb=133661KB/s, mint=5873msec, maxt=5873msec
      WRITE: io=263580KB, aggrb=44879KB/s, minb=44879KB/s, maxb=44879KB/s, mint=5873msec, maxt=5873msec

Notice the iops values in this output. In this example, the SSD performed 33,415 read operations per second and 11,219 write operations per second. A spinning disk might yield 2,000 and 700 read and write operations per second.

Simple benchmarking

NOTE: This test is naive but can be used if fio is not available on the system. It's possible to receive good results on this test but still have poor performance due to read speed and various other factors.

The following one-line commands provide a quick benchmark for file system write and read performance. This writes 1,000 small files to the directory in which it is executed, and then reads the same 1,000 files.

  1. Change into the root of the appropriate repository storage path.

  2. Create a temporary directory for the test so it can be removed later:

    mkdir test; cd test
  3. Run the command:

    time for i in {0..1000}; do echo 'test' > "test${i}.txt"; done
  4. To benchmark read performance, run the command:

    time for i in {0..1000}; do cat "test${i}.txt" > /dev/null; done
  5. Remove the test files:

cd ../; rm -rf test

The output of the time for ... commands resemble the following. The important metric is the real time.

$ time for i in {0..1000}; do echo 'test' > "test${i}.txt"; done

real    0m0.116s
user    0m0.025s
sys     0m0.091s

$ time for i in {0..1000}; do cat "test${i}.txt" > /dev/null; done

real    0m3.118s
user    0m1.267s
sys 0m1.663s

From experience with multiple customers, this task should take under 10 seconds to indicate good file system performance.