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SubjectRe: [PATCH -tip] introduce sys_membarrier(): process-wide memory barrier (v9)
* Nick Piggin (npiggin@suse.de) wrote:
[...]
> The library is librcu, which I suspect will become quite important for
> parallel programming in future (maybe I hope for too much).
>
> But maybe it's better to not merge _any_ librcu special case until
> we see results from programs using it. More general speedups or features
> (that also help librcu) is a different story.
>

Hi Nick,

So, about the current state of liburcu and its users:

It is currently packaged in Debian, Ubuntu, Gentoo, and it is also being
packaged for Fedora. It is already being used by a few programs/libraries, and
given it's wide availability, we can expect more in a near future.

The first user of this library is the UST (Userspace Tracing) library; a port of
LTTng to a userspace.

http://lttng.org/ust

Modulo a few changes to port it to userspace, the kernel and user-space LTTng
should be expected to have similar performance, because they use essentially the
same lockless buffering scheme, described in chapter 5 of my thesis:

http://www.lttng.org/pub/thesis/desnoyers-dissertation-2009-12.pdf

Here is the impact of two additional memory barriers on the LTTng tracer fast
path:

Intel Core Xeon 2.0 GHz
LTTng probe writing 16-byte worth of data to the trace (+4 byte event header)
(execution of 200000 loops, therefore trace buffers are cache-hot)
119 ns per event

adding 2 memory barriers, one before and one after the tracepoint:

155 ns per event

So we have a 25% slowdown on the tracer fast path, which is quite significant
when it comes to trace heavy workloads. The slowdown ratio may change slightly
for non cache-hot scenarios, but I expect it to stay in the same range. Section
8.4 of my thesis discusses the overhead of cache-cold buffers (around 333 ns per
event rather than 119 ns). I expect the cost of the memory barriers to increase
too in a cache-cold scenario.

If you want to have an insight on the class of applications that can be improved
with the userspace RCU library, you can have a look at Section 6.3 "User-Space
RCU Usage Scenarios" of my dissertation.

If you still wonder "who is using/contributing to LTTng ?", see section 9.2 of
my thesis. Or here is a quick list, taken from our website:

Google, IBM, Ericsson, Autodesk, Wind River, Fujitsu, Monta Vista, ST
Microelectronics, C2 Microsystems, Sony, Siemens, Nokia, Defence Research and
Development Canada.

Thanks,

Mathieu

--
Mathieu Desnoyers
Operating System Efficiency Consultant
EfficiOS Inc.
http://www.efficios.com


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