arc shouldn't cache freed blocks
zfs - Zettabyte File System
From Matt Ahrens's bug report at Delphix:
ZFS should proactively evict freed blocks from the cache. On dcenter, we saw that we were caching ~256GB of metadata, while the pool only had <4GB of metadata on disk. We were wasting about half the system's RAM (252GB) on blocks that have been freed. Even though these freed blocks will never be used again, and thus will eventually be evicted, this causes us to use memory inefficiently for 2 reasons: 1. A block that is freed has no chance of being accessed again, but will be kept in memory preferentially to a block that was accessed before it (and is thus older) but has not been freed and thus has at least some chance of being accessed again. 2. We partition the ARC into several buckets: user data that has been accessed only once (MRU) metadata that has been accessed only once (MRU) user data that has been accessed more than once (MFU) metadata that has been accessed more than once (MFU) The user data vs metadata split is somewhat arbitrary, and the primary control on how much memory is used to cache data vs metadata is to simply try to keep the proportion the same as it has been in the past (each bucket "evicts against" itself). The secondary control is to evict data before evicting metadata. Because of this bucketing, we may end up with one bucket mostly containing freed blocks that are very old, while another bucket has more recently accessed, still-allocated blocks. Data in the useful bucket (with still-allocated blocks) may be evicted in preference to data in the useless bucket (with old, freed blocks). On dcenter, we saw that the MFU metadata bucket was 230MB, while the MFU data bucket was 27GB and the MRU metadata bucket was 256GB. However, the vast majority of data in the MRU metadata bucket (256GB) was freed blocks, and thus useless. Meanwhile, the MFU metadata bucket (230MB) was constantly evicting useful blocks that will be soon needed. The problem of cache segmentation is a larger problem that needs more investigation. However, if we stop caching freed blocks, it should reduce the impact of this more fundamental issue.