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    Subject[PATCH 2/2] Memory usage limit notification addition to memcg (v3)
    This patch updates the Memory Controller Control Group to add a
    configurable memory usage limit notification. The feature was
    presented at the April 2009 Embedded Linux Conference.

    Signed-off-by: Vladislav Buzov <>
    Signed-off-by: Dan Malek <>
    Documentation/cgroups/mem_notify.txt | 140 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    mm/memcontrol.c | 100 ++++++++++++++++++++++++-
    2 files changed, 239 insertions(+), 1 deletions(-)
    create mode 100644 Documentation/cgroups/mem_notify.txt

    diff --git a/Documentation/cgroups/mem_notify.txt b/Documentation/cgroups/mem_notify.txt
    new file mode 100644
    index 0000000..94be3f3
    --- /dev/null
    +++ b/Documentation/cgroups/mem_notify.txt
    @@ -0,0 +1,140 @@
    +Memory Limit Notification
    +Attempts have been made in the past to provide a mechanism for
    +the notification to processes (task, an address space) when memory
    +usage is approaching a high limit. The intention is that it gives
    +the application an opportunity to release some memory and continue
    +operation rather than be OOM killed. The CE Linux Forum requested
    +a more contemporary implementation, and this is the result.
    +The memory limit notification is an extension to the existing Memory
    +Resource Controller. Please read memory.txt in this directory to
    +understand its operation before continuing here.
    +1. Operation
    +When the Memory Controller cgroup file system is mounted, the following
    +files will appear:
    + memory.notify_threshold_in_bytes
    + memory.notify_threshold_lowait
    +The notification is based upon reaching a threshold below the Memory
    +Resource Controller limit (memory.limit_in_bytes). The threshold
    +represents the minimal number of bytes that should be available under
    +the limit. When the controller group is created, the threshold is set
    +to zero which triggers notification when the Memory Resource Controller
    +limit is reached.
    +The threshold may be set by writing to memory.notify_threshold_in_bytes,
    +such as:
    + echo 10M > memory.notify_threshold_in_bytes
    +The current number of available bytes may be computed at any time as a
    +difference between the memory.limit_in_bytes and memory.usage_in_bytes.
    +The memory.notify_threshold_lowait is a blocking read file. The read will
    +block until one of four conditions occurs:
    + - The amount of available memory is equal or less than the threshold
    + defined in memory.notify_threshold_in_bytes
    + - The memory.notify_threshold_lowait file is written with any value (debug)
    + - A thread is moved to another controller group
    + - The cgroup is destroyed or forced empty (memory.force_empty)
    +1.1 Example Usage
    +An application must be designed to properly take advantage of this
    +memory threshold notification feature. It is a powerful management component
    +of some operating systems and embedded devices that must provide
    +highly available and reliable computing services. The application works
    +in conjunction with information provided by the operating system to
    +control limited resource usage. Since many programmers still think
    +memory is infinite and never check the return value from malloc(), it
    +may come as a surprise that such mechanisms have been utilized long ago.
    +A typical application will be multithreaded, with one thread either
    +polling or waiting for the notification event. When the event occurs,
    +the thread will take whatever action is appropriate within the application
    +design. This could be actually running a garbage collection algorithm
    +or to simply signal other processing threads they must do something to
    +reduce their memory usage. The notification thread will then be required
    +to poll the actual usage until the low limit of its choosing is met,
    +at which time the reclaim of memory can stop and the notification thread
    +will wait for the next event.
    +Internally, the application only needs to
    +fopen("memory.notify_usage_in_bytes" ..) or
    +fopen("memory.notify_threshold_lowait" ...), then either poll the former
    +files or block read on the latter file using fread() or fscanf() as desired.
    +Subtracting the value returned from either of these read function from the
    +value obtained by reading memory.limit_in_bytes and further comparing it with
    +the threshold obtained by reading memory.notify_threshold_in_bytes will be an
    +indication of the amount of memory used over the threshold limit.
    +2. Configuration
    +Follow the instructions in memory.txt for the configuration and usage of
    +the Memory Resource Controller cgroup. Once this is created and tasks
    +assigned, use the memory threshold notification as described here.
    +The only action that is needed outside of the application waiting or polling
    +is to set the memory.notify_threshold_in_bytes. To set a notification to occur
    +when memory usage of the cgroup reaches or exceeds 1 MByte below the limit
    +can be simply done:
    + echo 1M > memory.notify_threshold_in_bytes
    +This value may be read or changed at any time. Writing a higher value once
    +the Memory Resource Controller is in operation may trigger immediate
    +notification if the usage is above the new threshold. Writing a value higher
    +than the Memory Controller limit will cause an error while setting the limit
    +lower than the threshold will cause setting the threshold to zero.
    +3. Debug and Testing
    +The design of cgroups makes it easier to perform some debugging or
    +monitoring tasks without modification to the application. For example,
    +a write of any value to memory.notify_threshold_lowait will wake up all
    +threads waiting for notifications regardless of current memory usage.
    +Collecting performance data about the cgroup is also simplified, as
    +no application modifications are necessary. A separate task can be
    +created that will open and monitor any necessary files of the cgroup
    +(such as current limits, usage and usage percentages and even when
    +notification occurs). This task can also operate outside of the cgroup,
    +so its memory usage is not charged to the cgroup.
    +4. Design
    +The Memory Resource Controller utilizes the Resource Counter to track and manage
    +the memory of the Control Group. The Resource Counter was extended to support
    +the resource usage threshold, which is the minimal difference between the
    +resource limit and usage causing the notification. For the Memory Controller
    +cgroup it means a number of bytes of the memory not in use so the cgroup
    +parameters may continue to be dynamically modified without the need to modify
    +the notification parameters. Otherwise, the notification threshold would have
    +to also be computed and modified on any Memory Resource Controller operating
    +parameter change.
    +The cgroup file semantics are not well suited for this type of notification
    +mechanism. While applications may choose to simply poll the current
    +usage at their convenience, it was also desired to have a notification
    +event that would trigger when the usage attained the threshold. The
    +blocking read() was chosen, as it is the only current useful method.
    +This presented the problems of "out of band" notification, when you want
    +to return some exceptional status other than reaching the notification
    +threshold. In the cases listed above, the read() on the
    +memory.notify_threshold_lowait file will not block and return "0" for
    +the remaining size. When this occurs, the thread must determine if the task
    +has moved to a new cgroup or if the cgroup has been destroyed. Due to
    +the usage model of this cgroup, neither is likely to happen during normal
    +operation of a product.
    +Dan Malek <>
    +Vladislav Buzov <>
    +Embedded Alley Solutions, Inc.
    +10 July 2009
    diff --git a/mm/memcontrol.c b/mm/memcontrol.c
    index e2fa20d..3b49fd4 100644
    --- a/mm/memcontrol.c
    +++ b/mm/memcontrol.c
    @@ -6,6 +6,11 @@
    * Copyright 2007 OpenVZ SWsoft Inc
    * Author: Pavel Emelianov <>
    + * Memory Limit Notification update
    + * Copyright 2009 CE Linux Forum and Embedded Alley Solutions, Inc.
    + * Author: Dan Malek <>
    + * Author: Vladislav Buzov <>
    + *
    * This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
    * it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
    * the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or
    @@ -180,6 +185,9 @@ struct mem_cgroup {
    /* set when res.limit == memsw.limit */
    bool memsw_is_minimum;

    + /* tasks waiting for memory usage threshold notification */
    + wait_queue_head_t notify_threshold_wait;
    * statistics. This must be placed at the end of memcg.
    @@ -2052,7 +2060,7 @@ static u64 mem_cgroup_read(struct cgroup *cont, struct cftype *cft)
    * The user of this function is...
    - * RES_LIMIT.
    static int mem_cgroup_write(struct cgroup *cont, struct cftype *cft,
    const char *buffer)
    @@ -2075,6 +2083,17 @@ static int mem_cgroup_write(struct cgroup *cont, struct cftype *cft,
    ret = mem_cgroup_resize_memsw_limit(memcg, val);
    + case RES_THRESHOLD:
    + /* This function does all necessary parse...reuse it */
    + ret = res_counter_memparse_write_strategy(buffer, &val);
    + if (ret)
    + break;
    + /* For memsw threshold is not implemented */
    + if (type == _MEM)
    + ret = res_counter_set_threshold(&memcg->res, val);
    + else
    + ret = -EINVAL;
    + break;
    ret = -EINVAL; /* should be BUG() ? */
    @@ -2308,6 +2327,68 @@ static int mem_cgroup_swappiness_write(struct cgroup *cgrp, struct cftype *cft,
    return 0;

    + * This is a blocking read operation forcing a reader to sleep unless
    + * a low memory condition occurs, someone intentionaly writes to
    + * "memory.notify_threshold_lowait" or cgroup state is changed. E.g.
    + * the cgroup is destroyed or task is moved to another cgroup.
    + */
    +static u64 mem_cgroup_notify_threshold_lowait(struct cgroup *cgrp,
    + struct cftype *cft)
    + struct mem_cgroup *mem = mem_cgroup_from_cont(cgrp);
    + DEFINE_WAIT(notify_lowait);
    + /*
    + * A memory resource usage of zero is a special case that
    + * causes us not to sleep. It normally happens when the
    + * cgroup is about to be destroyed, and we don't want someone
    + * trying to sleep on a queue that is about to go away. This
    + * condition can also be forced as part of testing.
    + */
    + if (likely(mem->res.usage != 0)) {
    + prepare_to_wait(&mem->notify_threshold_wait, &notify_lowait,
    + if (res_counter_check_under_threshold(&mem->res))
    + schedule();
    + finish_wait(&mem->notify_threshold_wait, &notify_lowait);
    + }
    + return res_counter_read_u64(&mem->res, RES_USAGE);
    + * Memory usage threshold notification callback. Called under disabled
    + * interrupts by the memory resource counter when low memory condition
    + * occurs.
    + */
    +static void mem_cgroup_res_threshold_notifier(struct res_counter *cnt)
    + struct mem_cgroup *memcg;
    + memcg = mem_cgroup_from_res_counter(cnt, res);
    + if (waitqueue_active(&memcg->notify_threshold_wait))
    + wake_up_locked(&memcg->notify_threshold_wait);
    + * This is used to wake up all threads that may be hanging
    + * out waiting for a low memory condition prior to that happening.
    + * Useful for triggering the event to assist with debug of applications.
    + */
    +static int mem_cgroup_notify_threshold_wake_em_up(struct cgroup *cgrp,
    + unsigned int event)
    + struct mem_cgroup *memcg;
    + memcg = mem_cgroup_from_cont(cgrp);
    + if (waitqueue_active(&memcg->notify_threshold_wait))
    + wake_up(&memcg->notify_threshold_wait);
    + return 0;

    static struct cftype mem_cgroup_files[] = {
    @@ -2351,6 +2432,17 @@ static struct cftype mem_cgroup_files[] = {
    .read_u64 = mem_cgroup_swappiness_read,
    .write_u64 = mem_cgroup_swappiness_write,
    + {
    + .name = "notify_threshold_in_bytes",
    + .write_string = mem_cgroup_write,
    + .read_u64 = mem_cgroup_read,
    + },
    + {
    + .name = "notify_threshold_lowait",
    + .trigger = mem_cgroup_notify_threshold_wake_em_up,
    + .read_u64 = mem_cgroup_notify_threshold_lowait,
    + },

    @@ -2554,6 +2646,9 @@ mem_cgroup_create(struct cgroup_subsys *ss, struct cgroup *cont)
    mem->last_scanned_child = 0;

    + init_waitqueue_head(&mem->notify_threshold_wait);
    + mem->res.threshold_notifier = mem_cgroup_res_threshold_notifier;
    if (parent)
    mem->swappiness = get_swappiness(parent);
    atomic_set(&mem->refcnt, 1);
    @@ -2568,6 +2663,7 @@ static int mem_cgroup_pre_destroy(struct cgroup_subsys *ss,
    struct mem_cgroup *mem = mem_cgroup_from_cont(cont);

    + mem_cgroup_notify_threshold_wake_em_up(cont, 0);
    return mem_cgroup_force_empty(mem, false);

    @@ -2597,6 +2693,8 @@ static void mem_cgroup_move_task(struct cgroup_subsys *ss,
    struct cgroup *old_cont,
    struct task_struct *p)
    + mem_cgroup_notify_threshold_wake_em_up(old_cont, 0);
    * FIXME: It's better to move charges of this process from old

     \ /
      Last update: 2009-07-14 02:19    [W:0.052 / U:4.520 seconds]
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