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SubjectRe: [PATCH] i386 No-Idle-Hz aka Dynamic-Ticks 3
Tony Lindgren wrote:
> * Srivatsa Vaddagiri <> [050805 05:37]:
>>On Wed, Aug 03, 2005 at 06:05:28AM +0000, Con Kolivas wrote:
>>>This is the dynamic ticks patch for i386 as written by Tony Lindgen
>>><> and Tuukka Tikkanen <>.
>>>Patch for 2.6.13-rc5
>>>There were a couple of things that I wanted to change so here is an updated
>>>version. This code should have stabilised enough for general testing now.
>> I have been looking at some of the requirement of tickless idle CPUs in
>>core kernel areas like scheduler and RCU. Basically, both power management and
>>virtualization benefit if idle CPUs can cut off useless timer ticks. Especially
>>from a virtualization standpoint, I think it makes sense that we enable this
>>feature on a per-CPU basis i.e let individual CPUs cut off their ticks as and
>>when they become idle. The benefit of this is more visible in platforms that
>>host lot of (SMP) VMs on the same machine. Most of the time, these VMs may be
>>partially idle (some CPUs in it are idle, some not) and it is good that we
>>quiesce the timer ticks on the partial set of idle CPUs. Both S390 and Xen ports
>>of Linux kernel have this ability today (S390 has it in mainline already and
>>Xen has it out of tree).
> Good point, and it would be nice to have it resolved for systems that support
> idling individual CPUs. The current setup was done because when I was tinkering
> with the amd76x_pm patch a while a back, I noticed that idling the cpu
> disconnects all cpus from the bus. (As far as I remember)
> So this may need to be configured depending on the system.
>>From this viewpoint, I think the current implementation of dynamic tick
>>falls short of this requirement. It cuts of the timer ticks only when
>>all CPUs go idle.
>>Apart from this observation, I have some others about the current dynamic tick
>>- All CPUs seem to cut off the same number of ticks (dyn_tick->skip). Isn't
>> this wrong, considering that the timer list is per-CPU? This will cause
>> some timers to be serviced much later than usual.
> Yes if it's done on per-CPU basis. In the current setup the first interrupt
> will kick the system off the dyn-tick state and the timers get checked again.
>>- The fact that dyn_tick_state is global and accessed from all CPUs
>> is probably a scalability concern, especially if we allow the ticks
>> to be cut off on per-CPU basis.
>>From idling devices point of view, we still need some global variable I
> believe. How else would you be able to tell all devices that the whole
> system does not have any timers for next 2 seconds?
>>- Again, when we allow this on a per-CPU basis, subsystems like
>> RCU need to know the partial set of idle CPUs. RCU already does
>> that thr' nohz_cpu_mask (which will need to replace dyn_cpu_map).
> Sounds like that could work for dyn-tick too.
>>- Looking at dyn_tick_timer_interrupt, would it be nice if we avoid calling
>> do_timer_interrupt so many times and instead update jiffies to
>> (skipped_ticks - 1) and then call do_timer_interrupt once? I think
>> VST does it that way.
> In the long run we would do the calculations in usecs and just emulate
> jiffies from the hw timer. But yes, optimizing updating the time would be
> great.
>>- dyn_tick->max_skip = 0xffffff / apic_timer_val;
>> From my reading of Intel docs, APIC_TMICT is 32-bit. So why does the
>> above calculation take only 24-bits into account? What am I missing here?
> Hmm, could be a bug here, needs to be checked. Maybe 32-bit APIC timer is
> optional support, or maybe I accidentally pulled the optional 24-bit support
> from the ACPI PM timer.
> But in any case on P4 systems the APIC timer is not the bottleneck as
> stopping or reprogramming PIT also kills APIC. (This does not happen on P3
> systems). So the bottleneck most likely is the length of PIT.
>>I can take a shot at addressing these concerns in dynamic_tick patch, but it
>>seems to me that VST has already addressed all these to a big extent. Had you
>>considered VST before? The biggest bottleneck I see in VST going mainline is
>>its dependency on HRT patch but IMO it should be possible to write a small patch
>>to support VST w/o HRT.
>>George, what do you think?
> HRT + VST depend on APIC only, and does not use next_timer_interrupt().

I convinced my self that the next_timer... code in timer.c misses timers
(i.e. gives the wrong answer). I did this (after wondering due to
performance) by scanning the whole timer list after I had the
next_timer... answer and finding a better answer, not always, but some
times. That code does not address the cascade list correctly.

George Anzinger
HRT (High-res-timers):
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