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SubjectRe: [PATCH 2/3] xvmalloc memory allocator
Andrew Morton wrote:
> On Sat, 21 Mar 2009 17:42:52 +0530 Nitin Gupta <nitingupta910@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Andrew Morton wrote:
>>> On Sat, 21 Mar 2009 01:13:42 +0530 Nitin Gupta <ngupta@vflare.org> wrote:
>>> But what is regrettable is that xvmalloc appears to be tied to
>>> compressed-swap in some manner. Is it not possible to split these two
>>> initiatives apart so that neither is dependent upon the other? Or is
>>> compressed-swap hopelessly crippled without xvmalloc?
>> xvmalloc itself is completely independent of compressed-swap. Infact, its
>> loaded as separate kernel module (xvmalloc.ko)
>
> That sounds good.
>
>> However, this compression project is almost useless without this specialized
>> allocator.
>
> Why? Important information!!
>
> See, being told all this helps us understand why xvmalloc exists. Plus
> once we have a good description of _why_ xvmalloc is needed, perhaps we can
> come up with alternatives which are more palatable than merging a whole new
> allocator. Such as enhancing an existing one.
>

xvmalloc is needed by compressed swap since:
- Its O(1)
- It is very memory efficient
- It can use "high memory" for allocation

* space efficiency:

- comparison with SLUB:
http://code.google.com/p/compcache/wiki/AllocatorsComparison
shows that tlsf (allocator on which xvmalloc is based) uses ~40% less memory
than kmalloc() backed by SLUB. Christoph suggested creating multiple slabs of
different sizes for this test -- which will be a more fair comparison as kmalloc
just uses some predefined slabs. I hope to present this data soon.
Also, SLUB is limited to using "low memory" - this is blocker issue for compress
swap project (on 32-bit system with >1G RAM). xvmalloc can use high memory.

- comparison with SLOB:
In some previous mail in this thread, I explained all the issues that exist
with SLOB that make it unacceptable for use in this project.


>>> (compcache is a terrible name, btw - it isn't a "compressed cache" at all!)
>>>
>> I have now heard this many times and my conscious is beginning to hurt now :)
>> I will change it to match name of its block device: ramzswap sounds better?
>
> Is there anything swap-specific about it? It's a block device, yes? I
> should be able to run mkfs.ext2 on it and mount the thing?
>
No. It can handle page-aligned I/O only. Maybe its not too difficult to extend
it to handle arbitrary I/O. But as a swap device, handling just page-aligned
I/O is good enough.

>>>> Anyways, I will move it to drivers/block.
>>> This sounds like it might be a backward step.
>>
>> I'm bit confused here. Last thing I want to do is block mainline merge
>> because of such issues. Its real pain to maintain these things separately.
>
> This is why I tell myself to never use the word "it" in an email message.
>
> I assumed that you were referring to moving xvmalloc() down into
> drivers/block. That would be bad, because then xvmalloc() will _never_ be
> usable by anything other than ramzblock <new name!>?
>

I was also referring to moving xvmalloc to drivers/block. I meant that for
now maybe move it to drivers/block it that can help speed up the merge.
Maybe later if someone else find it useful too then we can work to move
it back to the real place: mm/ :)

Thanks,
Nitin



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