[all] Gate resources and performance

Dan Smith dms at danplanet.com
Thu Feb 4 17:28:47 UTC 2021

Hi all,

I have become increasingly concerned with CI performance lately, and
have been raising those concerns with various people. Most specifically,
I'm worried about our turnaround time or "time to get a result", which
has been creeping up lately. Right after the beginning of the year, we
had a really bad week where the turnaround time was well over 24
hours. That means if you submit a patch on Tuesday afternoon, you might
not get a test result until Thursday. That is, IMHO, a real problem and
massively hurts our ability to quickly merge priority fixes as well as
just general velocity and morale. If people won't review my code until
they see a +1 from Zuul, and that is two days after I submitted it,
that's bad.

Things have gotten a little better since that week, due in part to
getting past a rush of new year submissions (we think) and also due to
some job trimming in various places (thanks Neutron!). However, things
are still not great. Being in almost the last timezone of the day, the
queue is usually so full when I wake up that it's quite often I don't
get to see a result before I stop working that day.

I would like to ask that projects review their jobs for places where
they can cut out redundancy, as well as turn their eyes towards
optimizations that can be made. I've been looking at both Nova and
Glance jobs and have found some things I think we can do less of. I also
wanted to get an idea of who is "using too much" in the way of
resources, so I've been working on trying to characterize the weight of
the jobs we run for a project, based on the number of worker nodes
required to run all the jobs, as well as the wall clock time of how long
we tie those up. The results are interesting, I think, and may help us
to identify where we see some gains.

The idea here is to figure out[1] how many "node hours" it takes to run
all the normal jobs on a Nova patch compared to, say, a Neutron one. If
the jobs were totally serialized, this is the number of hours a single
computer (of the size of a CI worker) would take to do all that work. If
the number is 24 hours, that means a single computer could only check
*one* patch in a day, running around the clock. I chose the top five
projects in terms of usage[2] to report here, as they represent 70% of
the total amount of resources consumed. The next five only add up to
13%, so the "top five" seems like a good target group. Here are the
results, in order of total consumption:

    Project     % of total  Node Hours  Nodes
    1. TripleO    38%       31 hours     20
    2. Neutron    13%       38 hours     32
    3. Nova       9%        21 hours     25
    4. Kolla      5%        12 hours     18
    5. OSA        5%        22 hours     17

What that means is that a single computer (of the size of a CI worker)
couldn't even process the jobs required to run on a single patch for
Neutron or TripleO in a 24-hour period. Now, we have lots of workers in
the gate, of course, but there is also other potential overhead involved
in that parallelism, like waiting for nodes to be available for
dependent jobs. And of course, we'd like to be able to check more than
patch per day. Most projects have smaller gate job sets than check, but
assuming they are equivalent, a Neutron patch from submission to commit
would undergo 76 hours of testing, not including revisions and not
including rechecks. That's an enormous amount of time and resource for a
single patch!

Now, obviously nobody wants to run fewer tests on patches before they
land, and I'm not really suggesting that we take that approach
necessarily. However, I think there are probably a lot of places that we
can cut down the amount of *work* we do. Some ways to do this are:

1. Evaluate whether or not you need to run all of tempest on two
   configurations of a devstack on each patch. Maybe having a
   stripped-down tempest (like just smoke) to run on unique configs, or
   even specific tests.
2. Revisit your "irrelevant_files" lists to see where you might be able
   to avoid running heavy jobs on patches that only touch something
3. Consider moving some jobs to the experimental queue and run them
   on-demand for patches that touch particular subsystems or affect
   particular configurations.
4. Consider some periodic testing for things that maybe don't need to
   run on every single patch.
5. Re-examine tests that take a long time to run to see if something can
   be done to make them more efficient.
6. Consider performance improvements in the actual server projects,
   which also benefits the users.

If you're a project that is not in the top ten then your job
configuration probably doesn't matter that much, since your usage is
dwarfed by the heavy projects. If the heavy projects would consider
making changes to decrease their workload, even small gains have the
ability to multiply into noticeable improvement. The higher you are on
the above list, the more impact a small change will have on the overall

Also, thanks to Neutron and TripleO, both of which have already
addressed this in some respect, and have other changes on the horizon.

Thanks for listening!


1: https://gist.github.com/kk7ds/5edbfacb2a341bb18df8f8f32d01b37c
2; http://paste.openstack.org/show/C4pwUpdgwUDrpW6V6vnC/

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