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SubjectRe: [PATCH] Add a page cache-backed balloon device driver.
Mike Waychison <> writes:
> On Mon, Sep 10, 2012 at 3:59 PM, Michael S. Tsirkin <> wrote:
>> On Mon, Sep 10, 2012 at 01:37:06PM -0400, Mike Waychison wrote:
>>> On Mon, Sep 10, 2012 at 5:05 AM, Michael S. Tsirkin <> wrote:
>>> > On Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 01:32:58PM -0700, Frank Swiderski wrote:
>>> >> This implementation of a virtio balloon driver uses the page cache to
>>> >> "store" pages that have been released to the host. The communication
>>> >> (outside of target counts) is one way--the guest notifies the host when
>>> >> it adds a page to the page cache, allowing the host to madvise(2) with
>>> >> MADV_DONTNEED. Reclaim in the guest is therefore automatic and implicit
>>> >> (via the regular page reclaim). This means that inflating the balloon
>>> >> is similar to the existing balloon mechanism, but the deflate is
>>> >> different--it re-uses existing Linux kernel functionality to
>>> >> automatically reclaim.
>>> >>
>>> >> Signed-off-by: Frank Swiderski <>
>>> Hi Michael,
>>> I'm very sorry that Frank and I have been silent on these threads.
>>> I've been out of the office and Frank has been been swamped :)
>>> I'll take a stab at answering some of your questions below, and
>>> hopefully we can end up on the same page.

Hi Mike, Frank, Michael,

Thanks for the explanation and discussion. I like that this
implementation is more dynamic: the guest can use more pages for a while
(and the balloon kthread will furiously start trying to grab more pages
to give back). This part is a completely reasonable implementation, and
more sophisticated that what we have.

It doesn't *quite* meet the spec, because we don't notify the host when
we pull a page from the balloon, but I think that is quite possible. If
this is a performance waster, we should add a "SILENT_DEFLATE" feature
to tell the driver that it doesn't need to, though we should stll
support the !SILENT_DEFLATE case.

And Michael: thanks again for doing the heavy lifting on this!


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