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SubjectRe: [RFC PATCH v1 2/2] virtio_net: Don't disable napi on low memory.
On Wed, 04 Jan 2012 14:52:38 -0800, Mike Waychison <> wrote:
> Currently, the virtio_net driver deals with low memory memory by kicking
> off delayed work in process context to try and refill the rx queues.
> This process-context filling is synchronized against the receive
> bottom-half by serially:
> - disabling NAPI polling on the device,
> - allocating buffers,
> - enqueueing the buffers,
> - re-enabling napi.
> Disabling NAPI just to synchronize virtio_add_buf calls is a bit
> overkill, and there isn't any reason we shouldn't be able to continue
> processing received packets as they come in. In the simple case, this
> does not involve allocating any memory, and in fact allows memory to be
> released as the guest system receives and processes packets.

Adding a spinlock to the fastpath for a weird case in the slow path is
bad too.

I dislike several things about this patch:
1) You seem to leak memory if you allocate a batch then don't add it all.
2) You have a module parameter, which I guarantee noone else will ever use.
3) You've made three changes at once: allocating outside the lock,
batching, and replacing the napi lock with a spinlock.
4) You use the skb data for the linked list; use the skb head's list.

Instead, here's how I think it should be done:

1) Split alloc and add, but make alloc return the skb.
2) Make try_fill_recv() only called in the receive path, keep it
basically the same (no batching).
3) Add a new try_fill_recv_batch() for the workqueue and init paths.
This should try to allocate max - num, though in practice the
first alloc would probably kick off reclaim and take forever,
then by the time it's done, the problem is solved. Since it's
reading max and num outside the lock, write this loop carefully!
4) try_fill_recv_batch() should then stop napi and add as many as it
can, then restart it, then free any remainder.


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