Containers and /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches

Balbir Singh balbir at
Wed Jan 5 06:16:17 PST 2011

On Wed, Jan 5, 2011 at 7:31 PM, Serge Hallyn <serge.hallyn at> wrote:
> Quoting Daniel Lezcano (daniel.lezcano at
>> On 01/05/2011 10:40 AM, Mike Hommey wrote:
>> >[Copy/pasted from a previous message to lkml, where it was suggested to
>> >  try containers@]
>> >
>> >Hi,
>> >
>> >I noticed that from within a lxc container, writing "3" to
>> >/proc/sys/vm/drop_caches would flush the host page cache. That sounds a
>> >little dangerous for VPS offerings that would be based on lxc, as in one
>> >VPS instance root user could impact the overall performance of the host.
>> >I don't know about other containers but I've been told openvz isn't
>> >subject to this problem.
>> >I only tested the current Debian Squeeze kernel, which is based on
>> >
>> There is definitively a big work to do with /proc.
>> Some files should be not accessible (/proc/sys/vm/drop_caches,
>> /proc/sys/kernel/sysrq, ...) and some other should be virtualized
>> (/proc/meminfo, /proc/cpuinfo, ...).
>> Serge suggested to create something similar to the cgroup device
>> whitelist but for /proc, maybe it is a good approach for denying
>> access a specific proc's file.
> Long-term, user namespaces should fix this - /proc will be owned
> by the user namespace which mounted it, but we can tell proc to
> always have some files (like drop_caches) be owned by init_user_ns.
> I'm hoping to push my final targeted capabilities prototype in the
> next few weeks, and after that I start seriously attacking VFS
> interaction.
> In the meantime, though, you can use SELinux/Smack, or a custom
> cgroup file does sound useful.  Can cgroups be modules nowadays?
> (I can't keep up)  If so, an out of tree proc-cgroup module seems
> like a good interim solution.

Ideally a drop_cache should drop page cache in that container, but
given container have a lot of shared page cache, what is suggested
might be a good way to work around the problem


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