Bug#636075: boinc-client: Boinc is (too) disk intensive

franck franckr01 at online.de
Sat Jul 30 20:04:53 UTC 2011

Package: boinc-client
Version: 6.12.33+dfsg-1
Severity: important

Boinc is (too) disk intensive.

Hello Boinc users and maintainers,

I was shocked to see that boinc is a writing a lot on disk.
Several Gigabytes in a few hours seems usual !

This is simply too much.
As the default installation path is /var/lib/boinc-client this happens to be on /dev/sda in my case (and probably for most). This will just kill my SSD at the end.
But even by manually relocating it to a HDD, I think this is too much disk usage.

So I would suggest:

1. Short time countermeasure
- boinc users: check with 'iostat' you disk usage. Especially if you have SSD.  Move boinc somewhere else if your SSD suffers.
- boinc maintainer:
-- better to put a warning somewhere before user activates boinc "Warning: important disk writing can occur (several Gb/hr disk) => avoid installing on SSD"
-- install by default in /home/boinc (create a specific user). This will increase the chances to land on a HDD and not on a SDD.

2. Best
Investigate why the hell does boinc need to write so much.
As writing >> reading amount, I guess it is just to backup intermediate results that are not needed for further calculations.

- 'Task checkpoint to disk at most every' initially set to 60s. I tried 1000s but saw no change. In both cases several Mb are written before any 60s interval.
- I am not sure if this is dependant of the tasks or not.
- from my side I will deinstall boinc :-(

I do hope above will prevent others from beeing suprised of premature SSD failure (unfortunately SSD are silents & quick so I didn't notice anything before playing with iostat).

Thanks for the long reading.

-- Package-specific info:
-- Contents of /etc/default/boinc-client:
# This file is /etc/default/boinc-client, it is a configuration file for the
# /etc/init.d/boinc-client init script.

# Set this to 1 to enable and to 0 to disable the init script.

# Set this to 1 to enable advanced scheduling of the BOINC core client and
# all its sub-processes (reduces the impact of BOINC on the system's
# performance).

# The BOINC core client will be started with the permissions of this user.

# This is the data directory of the BOINC core client.

# This is the location of the BOINC core client, that the init script uses.
# If you do not want to use the client program provided by the boinc-client
# package, you can specify here an alternative client program.

# Here you can specify additional options to pass to the BOINC core client.
# Type 'boinc --help' or 'man boinc' for a full summary of allowed options.

-- System Information:
Debian Release: wheezy/sid
  APT prefers unstable
  APT policy: (500, 'unstable')
Architecture: amd64 (x86_64)

Kernel: Linux 3.0.0-1-amd64 (SMP w/2 CPU cores)
Locale: LANG=en_US.UTF-8, LC_CTYPE=en_US.UTF-8 (charmap=UTF-8)
Shell: /bin/sh linked to /bin/bash

Versions of packages boinc-client depends on:
ii  adduser                 3.113            add and remove users and groups
ii  ca-certificates         20110502         Common CA certificates
ii  debconf [debconf-2.0]   1.5.41           Debian configuration management sy
ii  libc6                   2.13-11          Embedded GNU C Library: Shared lib
ii  libcurl3                7.21.6-3         Multi-protocol file transfer libra
ii  libgcc1                 1:4.6.1-5        GCC support library
ii  libssl1.0.0             1.0.0d-3         SSL shared libraries
ii  libstdc++6              4.6.1-5          GNU Standard C++ Library v3
ii  python                  2.6.7-2          interactive high-level object-orie
ii  zlib1g                  1: compression library - runtime

Versions of packages boinc-client recommends:
ii  ia32-libs                     20110609   ia32 shared libraries for use on a

Versions of packages boinc-client suggests:
pn  boinc-app-seti            <none>         (no description available)
ii  boinc-manager             6.12.33+dfsg-1 GUI to control and monitor the BOI
ii  x11-xserver-utils         7.6+3          X server utilities

-- Configuration Files:
/etc/boinc-client/global_prefs_override.xml changed:

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