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Re: [PATCH v1] dir.c: don't flag the index as dirty for changes to the untracked cache

On Wed, Feb 7, 2018 at 9:13 PM, Ben Peart <peartben@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> On 2/6/2018 7:27 AM, Duy Nguyen wrote:
>> This is another thing that bugs me. I know you're talking about huge
>> index files, but at what size should we start this sort of
>> optimization? Writing down a few MBs on linux is cheap enough that I
>> won't bother optimizing (and I get my UNTR extension repaired all the
>> time, so reduced lstat calls and stuff). This "typically" only comes
>> at certain size, what size?
> It's important to identify what we're trading off here.  With the proposed
> optimization, we'll end up doing less writes of the index but potentially
> more lstat calls.  Even with a small index, writing the index is much more
> expensive than calling lstat on a file.  Exactly how much more expensive
> depends on a lot of variables but even with a SSD its still orders of
> magnitude difference.

Keep in mind it's not just about lstat() calls. Processing ignore
patterns also takes a big chunk of CPU, especially when you have more
than a couple ignore rules.

I'm not convinced that writing index files is that expensive for small
files. I don't know about Windows, with Linux it seems fast to me.
Actually, for small scale repos, performance probably does not differ
much either.

> That means we could potentially lstat hundreds or thousands of files and
> still come out ahead.  Given the untracked cache works at the directory
> level, the lstat cost actually scales with the number of directories that
> have had changes (ie changing a 2nd file in the same directory doesn't add
> any additional cost).  In "typical" workflows, developers don't often change
> hundreds of files across different directories so we'd "typically" still
> come out ahead.

I agree. But we must deal with the bad case when someone
"accidentally" does that. We should not wait until them yell up "it's
too slow now" and tell them to disable/enable untracked cache again.

Another case that could touches a lot of directories over time is
switch trees (e.g. "git checkout master" then "checkout next" or worse
"checkout v1.0").

> We have internal performance tests based on common developer sequences of
> commands (status, edit a file, status, add, status, commit, log, push, etc)
> that show that having the untracked cache turned on actually makes these
> sequences slower.  At the time, we didn't have time to investigate why so we
> just turned off the untracked cache.
> When writing the fsmonitor patch series which can utilize the untracked
> cache, I did some investigation into why the untracked cache was slowing
> things down in these tests and discovered the cause was the additional index
> writes.  That is what led to this patch.
> I've been sitting on it for months now because I didn't have the time to
> write some performance tests for the git perf framework to demonstrate the
> problem and how this helps solve it.  With the discussion about the
> fsmonitor extension, I thought this might be a good time to send it out
> there.

Hopefully you have time to get some of those numbers :) A patch is
more convincing when it's backed by numbers. And I'm still not
convinced that never ever letting untracked cache be written to the
index again is a right thing to do [1].

> If you have the cycles, time a typical series of commands with and without
> the untracked cache (ie don't just call status over and over in a loop) and
> you should see the same results.  Given my limited time right now, I'm OK
> putting this on the back burner again until a git perf test can be written
> to ensure it actually speeds things up as advertised.

[1] Another case that we must _sometimes_ let untracked cache be
written down is to correct its data. My last invalidation bug, for
example, could leave the untracked cache in a bad state, when you run
with new git then it should be able to correct the data and write
down. But if you don't allow writing down, the new 'git' will keep
seeing the old errors and keep complaining.