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Subjectzerocopy pipe, new version
Date
Attached is a new version of the zerocopy pipe code.

A few months ago, Hubertus Franke found a severe performance problem with my last
version. Now I figured out how I can solve it:
For good pipe performance, sys_read() must try to return as much data as possible with
one syscall, even if the writer writes small bits. The current code uses
PIPE_WAITING_WRITERS, but that doesn't work with nonblocking IO and is not that
efficient.

I added a sched_yield() into that path, and that fixed the performance degradation:
if pipe_read made progress and the user wants even more data, then call sched_yield() and
give the writers a chance to write additional data. After sched_yield() returns, try again until
there is either no more data, or the user request is completely fullfilled. Then return to userspace.

Now I got +50% on UP with pipeflex -c2 -r32 -w1 with 2.5.2-pre8+zerocopy, SMP kernel
over 2.4.2-UP.

Unfortunately the patch has virtually no effect on 4 kB write-4 kB read, and that's the most
common case. (number of context switches cut in half, but a slight performance loss on K6,
probably due to cache trashing)

The only solution I see for that problem are larger kernel buffers - more data must be queued
in kernel. Either on-demand (kmalloc() up to <sysctl-limit, around 512 kB> if a request for
<= 4096 bytes arrives and would block. If the allocation fails, then block), or at pipe creation
like in Hubertus' patch.

--
Manfred
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