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SubjectRe: [TuxOnIce-devel] [RFC] TuxOnIce
Date
[Restored CCs.]

On Monday 25 May 2009, Nigel Cunningham wrote:
> Hi.
>
> On Mon, 2009-05-25 at 23:43 +0200, Rafael J. Wysocki wrote:
> > On Monday 25 May 2009, Nigel Cunningham wrote:
> > > On Sat, 2009-05-09 at 01:43 +0200, Rafael J. Wysocki wrote:
> > > > > On Sat, 2009-05-09 at 00:46 +0200, Rafael J. Wysocki wrote:
> > > > > > On Friday 08 May 2009, Nigel Cunningham wrote:
> > > > > > > On Fri, 2009-05-08 at 16:11 +0200, Rafael J. Wysocki wrote:
> > > > > > > > On Friday 08 May 2009, Nigel Cunningham wrote:
> > > > > > > And the code includes some fundamental differences. I freeze processes
> > > > > > > and prepare the whole image before saving anything or doing an atomic
> > > > > > > copy whereas you just free memory before doing the atomic copy. You save
> > > > > > > everything in one part whereas I save the image in two parts.
> > > > > >
> > > > > > IMO the differences are not that fundamental. The whole problem boils down
> > > > > > to using the same data structures for memory management and I think we can
> > > > > > reach an agreement here.
> > > > >
> > > > > I think we might be able to agree on using the same data structures, but
> > > > > I'm not so sure about algorithms - I think you're underestimating the
> > > > > differences here.
> > > >
> > > > Well, which algorithms do you have in mind in particular?
> > >
> > > Sorry for the slow reply - just starting to catch up after time away.
> >
> > NP
> >
> > > The main difference is the order of doing things. TuxOnIce prepares the
> > > image after freezing processes and before the atomic copy. It doesn't
> > > just do that so that it can store a complete image of memory. It also
> > > does it because once processes are frozen, the only thing that's going
> > > to allocate storage is TuxOnIce,
> >
> > This is quite strong statement. Is it provable?
>
> Yes - just account for memory carefully. Check that everything that gets
> allocated by hibernation code (or code it calls) gets freed and compare
> the amount of memory free at the start of a cycle with the amount at the
> end. I haven't done it for a while, but it was perfectly doable.

Well, this really doesn't answer my question.

What you're saying is basically "we can verify experimentally that in the
majority of cases the statement holds", but I doesn't really mean "it always
holds", which I'd like to be sure of.

So, in fact, we'll need to think about safeguards that may be necessary in case
it doesn't hold in some strange, presumably very rare and very improbable
situation.

Assume for a while that there is a situation in which something other than
us is allocating storage during hibernation. How can we protect ourselves from
that?

> > > and the only things that are going to allocate RAM are TuxOnIce and the
> > > drivers' suspend routines.
> >
> > Hmm. What about kernel threads that are not frozen?
>
> As I said above, I haven't done it for a while, but when I did, they did
> not seem to allocate any memory - at least not for any significant
> period of time. Even if they do, small amounts can also be covered by
> the allowance for memory for drivers' suspend routines.

I don't think experimental verification is really sufficient in this case too.

Either we're sure that something is impossible, in which case we need to know
exactly why it is impossible, or we aren't, in which case we should do
something to protect ourselves in case it _does_ happen after all.

> > > The drivers' routines are pretty consistent - once you've seen how much is
> > > used for one invocation, you can add a small margin and call that the
> > > allowance to use for all future invocations. The amount of memory used
> > > by the hibernation code is also entirely predictable - once you know the
> > > characteristics of the system as it stands (ie with processes frozen),
> > > you know how much you're going to need for the atomic copy and for doing
> > > I/O. If you find that something is too big, all you need to do is thaw
> > > kernel threads and free some memory until you fit within constraints or
> > > (heaven forbid!) find that you're not getting anyway and so want to give
> > > up on hibernating all together.
> > >
> > > If, on the other hand, you do the drivers suspend etc and then look to
> > > see what state you're in, well you might need to thaw drivers etc in
> > > order to free memory before trying again. It's more expensive. Right now
> > > you're just giving up in that case - yes, you could retry too instead of
> > > giving up completely, but it's better IMHO to seek to get things right
> > > before suspending drivers.
> > >
> > > Oh, before I forget to mention and you ask - how to know what allowance
> > > for the drivers? I use a sysfs entry - the user then just needs to see
> > > what's needed on their first attempt, set up a means of putting that
> > > value in the sysfs file in future (eg /etc/hibernate/tuxonice.conf) and
> > > then forget about it.
> >
> > OK, this is reasonable.
> >
> > Still, I think your approach is based on some assumptions that need to be
> > verified, so that either we are 100% sure they are satisfied, or we have some
> > safeguards in place in case they aren't.
>
> Well, the 'extra pages allowance' as I call the memory for drivers'
> suspend routines is the safeguard. I'll see if I can find some time to
> get some real-life numbers to prove my argument.

I don't really think it's a good idea to focus on testing in this case, because
our testing will only cover several specific configurations.

Instead, I'd like to design things so that the assumptions are verified as we
progress and something special is done if they happen to be not satisfied.
If you think they are almost surely satisfied in all practically relevant
situations, that "something" may be to fail hibernation and roll back to the
working state. If it never happens in practice, that's just fine. Still, IMO
we can't just say "this never happens" without saying why _exactly_ this is the
case.

Thanks,
Rafael


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