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SubjectRe: [patch] mm/vmalloc: remove block allocation bitmap
On Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 01:39:05AM +0200, Johannes Weiner wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 10:31:18AM +0100, Mel Gorman wrote:
> > On Thu, Apr 14, 2011 at 05:16:56PM -0400, Johannes Weiner wrote:
> > > Space in a vmap block that was once allocated is considered dirty and
> > > not made available for allocation again before the whole block is
> > > recycled.
> > >
> > > The result is that free space within a vmap block is always contiguous
> > > and the allocation bitmap can be replaced by remembering the offset of
> > > free space in the block.
> > >
> > > The fragmented block purging was never invoked from vb_alloc() either,
> > > as it skips blocks that do not have enough free space for the
> > > allocation in the first place. According to the above, it is
> > > impossible for a block to have enough free space and still fail the
> > > allocation. Thus, this dead code is removed. Partially consumed
> > > blocks will be reclaimed anyway when an attempt is made to allocate a
> > > new vmap block altogether and no free space is found.
> > >
> > > Signed-off-by: Johannes Weiner <hannes@cmpxchg.org>
> > > Cc: Nick Piggin <npiggin@kernel.dk>
> > > Cc: Mel Gorman <mel@csn.ul.ie>
> > > Cc: Hugh Dickins <hughd@google.com>
> >
> > I didn't see a problem with the patch per-se but I wonder if your patch
> > is the intended behaviour. It looks like the intention was that dirty
> > blocks could be flushed from the TLB and made available for allocations
> > leading to the possibility of fragmented vmap blocks.
> >
> > It's this check that is skipping over blocks without taking dirty into
> > account.
> >
> > spin_lock(&vb->lock);
> > if (vb->free < 1UL << order)
> > goto next;
> >
> > It was introduced by [02b709d: mm: purge fragmented percpu vmap blocks]
> > but is there any possibility that this is what should be fixed instead?
>
> I would like to emphasize that the quoted check only made it clear
> that the allocation bitmap is superfluous. There is no partial
> recycling of a block with live allocations, not even before this
> commit.
>

You're right in that the allocation bitmap does look superfluous. I was
wondering if it was meant to be doing something useful.

> > Do we know what the consequences of blocks only getting flushed when
> > they have been fully allocated are?
>
> Note that it can get recycled earlier if there is no outstanding
> allocation on it, even if only a small amount of it is dirty (the
> purge_fragmented_blocks code does this).
>

Yep.

> A single outstanding allocation prevents the block from being
> recycled, blocking the reuse of the dirty area.
>

Yes although your patch doesn't appear to make the current situation
better or worse. It's tricky to know exactly when a full flush
will take place and what the conseqeuences are. For example, look
at vb_alloc(). If all the blocks have a single allocation preventing
recycling, we call new_vmap_block() which in itself is not too bad,
but it may mean we are using more memory than necessary in the name
of avoiding flushes. This is avoided if a lot of freeing is going on
at the same time but it's unpredictable.

> Theoretically, we could end up with all possible vmap blocks being
> pinned by single allocations with most of their area being dirty and
> not reusable. But I believe this is unlikely to happen.
>
> Would you be okay with printing out block usage statistics on
> allocation errors for the time being, so we can identify this case if
> problems show up?
>

It'd be interesting but for the purposes of this patch I think it
would be more useful to see the results of some benchmark that is vmap
intensive. Something directory intensive running on XFS should do the
job just to confirm no regression, right? A profile might indicate
how often we end up scanning the full list, finding it dirty and
calling new_vmap_block but even if something odd showed up there,
it would be a new patch.

> And consider this patch an optimization/simplification of a status quo
> that does not appear problematic? We can still revert it and
> implement live block recycling when it turns out to be necessary.
>

I see no problem with your patch so;

Acked-by: Mel Gorman <mel@csn.ul.ie>

--
Mel Gorman
SUSE Labs


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