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Deferred Materialization

When using Remote Execution, Buck2 can optionally operate with Deferred Materialization, which means that Buck2 will avoid downloading outputs until they are required by a local action.

This can provide very substantial performance savings on builds that execute primarily on Remote Execution, since those builds become able to proceed without ever downloading any intermediary outputs.

At Meta, despite very fast networks being used internally, this was was observed to make real-world builds finish approximately 2.5 times faster.


Buck2's deferred materialization makes assumptions about your Remote Execution backend. In particular, it expects that the TTL returned from action cache entries by your Remote Execution backend always exceeds the TTL of all output artifacts it references.

Nonetheless, artifacts may also eventually expire from your Remote Execution backend. When that happens, builds using Deferred Materialization may fail if those artifacts are needed locally.

A kill is necessary to recover from those builds. However, the Restarter can be used to mitigate this issue by restarting Buck2 daemon when it encounters an expired artifact.

At Meta, artifacts get periodically refreshed, but open source RE backends do not expose the TTL of artifacts, so this feature does not work outside of Meta.

Enabling Deferred Materialization

To enable deferred materialization, add this to your Buckconfig:

materializations = deferred

On-disk state

Buck2 can also optionally track its state on disk in a SQLite database. This allows Buck2 to remember what files are on disk across restarts.

This can allow Buck2 to avoid re-downloading outputs from your Remote Execution backend if they are already on disk.

To enable, add this to your Buckconfig:

sqlite_materializer_state = true

Deferring Write Actions

To further speedup builds, Buck2 can also be instructed to not execute any writes on the critical path for a build.

To enable, add this to your Buckconfig:

defer_write_actions = true

This mechanism is recommended if you're using the On-disk State, since it means Buck can omit writes entirely if the same content is already on disk.

buck2 clean --stale

The deferred materializer can be configured to continuously delete stale artifacts, that haven't been recently accessed, or untracked artifacts, that exist in buck-out but not in the materalizer state.

Unlike buck2 clean this does not fully wipe buck-out but it should not negatively impact build performance if you are building and rebasing regularly.

Enabling this requires enabling on-disk state and deferred write actions, and adding this to your Buckconfig:

clean_stale_enabled = true

It can be further configured by changing these default values:

# one week
clean_stale_artifact_ttl_hours = 24 * 7
clean_stale_period_hours = 24
clean_stale_start_offset_hours = 12
  • clean_stale_start_offset_hours determines the time following daemon start up before the first clean will be scheduled.
  • clean_stale_period_hours determines how frequently to schedule recurring clean events.
  • clean_stale_artifact_ttl_hours determines how long artifacts should be kept in buck-out before cleaning them.

If clean stale is running in the background at the same time that a build begins to materialize artifacts, the clean will be interrupted and not run again until after the next scheduled period, but it should be able to make gradual progress and prevent long term accumulation of artifacts.

If needed, a clean can be manually triggered by calling buck2 clean --stale.