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Subject[RFC PATCH 2/3] CMA: aggressively allocate the pages on cma reserved memory when not used
CMA is introduced to provide physically contiguous pages at runtime.
For this purpose, it reserves memory at boot time. Although it reserve
memory, this reserved memory can be used for movable memory allocation
request. This usecase is beneficial to the system that needs this CMA
reserved memory infrequently and it is one of main purpose of
introducing CMA.

But, there is a problem in current implementation. The problem is that
it works like as just reserved memory approach. The pages on cma reserved
memory are hardly used for movable memory allocation. This is caused by
combination of allocation and reclaim policy.

The pages on cma reserved memory are allocated if there is no movable
memory, that is, as fallback allocation. So the time this fallback
allocation is started is under heavy memory pressure. Although it is under
memory pressure, movable allocation easily succeed, since there would be
many pages on cma reserved memory. But this is not the case for unmovable
and reclaimable allocation, because they can't use the pages on cma
reserved memory. These allocations regard system's free memory as
(free pages - free cma pages) on watermark checking, that is, free
unmovable pages + free reclaimable pages + free movable pages. Because
we already exhausted movable pages, only free pages we have are unmovable
and reclaimable types and this would be really small amount. So watermark
checking would be failed. It will wake up kswapd to make enough free
memory for unmovable and reclaimable allocation and kswapd will do.
So before we fully utilize pages on cma reserved memory, kswapd start to
reclaim memory and try to make free memory over the high watermark. This
watermark checking by kswapd doesn't take care free cma pages so many
movable pages would be reclaimed. After then, we have a lot of movable
pages again, so fallback allocation doesn't happen again. To conclude,
amount of free memory on meminfo which includes free CMA pages is moving
around 512 MB if I reserve 512 MB memory for CMA.

I found this problem on following experiment.

make -j24

CMA reserve: 0 MB 512 MB
Elapsed-time: 234.8 361.8
Average-MemFree: 283880 KB 530851 KB

To solve this problem, I can think following 2 possible solutions.
1. allocate the pages on cma reserved memory first, and if they are
exhausted, allocate movable pages.
2. interleaved allocation: try to allocate specific amounts of memory
from cma reserved memory and then allocate from free movable memory.

I tested #1 approach and found the problem. Although free memory on
meminfo can move around low watermark, there is large fluctuation on free
memory, because too many pages are reclaimed when kswapd is invoked.
Reason for this behaviour is that successive allocated CMA pages are
on the LRU list in that order and kswapd reclaim them in same order.
These memory doesn't help watermark checking from kwapd, so too many
pages are reclaimed, I guess.

So, I implement #2 approach.
One thing I should note is that we should not change allocation target
(movable list or cma) on each allocation attempt, since this prevent
allocated pages to be in physically succession, so some I/O devices can
be hurt their performance. To solve this, I keep allocation target
in at least pageblock_nr_pages attempts and make this number reflect
ratio, free pages without free cma pages to free cma pages. With this
approach, system works very smoothly and fully utilize the pages on
cma reserved memory.

Following is the experimental result of this patch.

make -j24

CMA reserve: 0 MB 512 MB
Elapsed-time: 234.8 361.8
Average-MemFree: 283880 KB 530851 KB
pswpin: 7 110064
pswpout: 452 767502

CMA reserve: 0 MB 512 MB
Elapsed-time: 234.2 235.6
Average-MemFree: 281651 KB 290227 KB
pswpin: 8 8
pswpout: 430 510

There is no difference if we don't have cma reserved memory (0 MB case).
But, with cma reserved memory (512 MB case), we fully utilize these
reserved memory through this patch and the system behaves like as
it doesn't reserve any memory.

With this patch, we aggressively allocate the pages on cma reserved memory
so latency of CMA can arise. Below is the experimental result about

CMA reserve: 512 MB
Backgound Workload: make -jN
Real Workload: 8 MB CMA allocation/free 20 times with 5 sec interval

N: 1 4 8 16
Elapsed-time(Before): 4309.75 9511.09 12276.1 77103.5
Elapsed-time(After): 5391.69 16114.1 19380.3 34879.2

So generally we can see latency increase. Ratio of this increase
is rather big - up to 70%. But, under the heavy workload, it shows
latency decrease - up to 55%. This may be worst-case scenario, but
reducing it would be important for some system, so, I can say that
this patch have advantages and disadvantages in terms of latency.

Signed-off-by: Joonsoo Kim <>

diff --git a/include/linux/mmzone.h b/include/linux/mmzone.h
index fac5509..3ff24d4 100644
--- a/include/linux/mmzone.h
+++ b/include/linux/mmzone.h
@@ -389,6 +389,12 @@ struct zone {
int compact_order_failed;

+#ifdef CONFIG_CMA
+ int has_cma;
+ int nr_try_cma;
+ int nr_try_movable;

/* Fields commonly accessed by the page reclaim scanner */
diff --git a/mm/page_alloc.c b/mm/page_alloc.c
index 674ade7..6f2b27b 100644
--- a/mm/page_alloc.c
+++ b/mm/page_alloc.c
@@ -788,6 +788,16 @@ void __init __free_pages_bootmem(struct page *page, unsigned int order)

+void __init init_alloc_ratio_counter(struct zone *zone)
+ if (zone->has_cma)
+ return;
+ zone->has_cma = 1;
+ zone->nr_try_movable = 0;
+ zone->nr_try_cma = 0;
/* Free whole pageblock and set its migration type to MIGRATE_CMA. */
void __init init_cma_reserved_pageblock(struct page *page)
@@ -803,6 +813,7 @@ void __init init_cma_reserved_pageblock(struct page *page)
set_pageblock_migratetype(page, MIGRATE_CMA);
__free_pages(page, pageblock_order);
adjust_managed_page_count(page, pageblock_nr_pages);
+ init_alloc_ratio_counter(page_zone(page));

@@ -1136,6 +1147,69 @@ __rmqueue_fallback(struct zone *zone, int order, int start_migratetype)
return NULL;

+#ifdef CONFIG_CMA
+static struct page *__rmqueue_cma(struct zone *zone, unsigned int order,
+ int migratetype)
+ long free, free_cma, free_wmark;
+ struct page *page;
+ if (migratetype != MIGRATE_MOVABLE || !zone->has_cma)
+ return NULL;
+ if (zone->nr_try_movable)
+ goto alloc_movable;
+ if (zone->nr_try_cma) {
+ /* Okay. Now, we can try to allocate the page from cma region */
+ zone->nr_try_cma--;
+ page = __rmqueue_smallest(zone, order, MIGRATE_CMA);
+ /* CMA pages can vanish through CMA allocation */
+ if (unlikely(!page && order == 0))
+ zone->nr_try_cma = 0;
+ return page;
+ }
+ /* Reset ratio counter */
+ free_cma = zone_page_state(zone, NR_FREE_CMA_PAGES);
+ /* No cma free pages, so recharge only movable allocation */
+ if (free_cma <= 0) {
+ zone->nr_try_movable = pageblock_nr_pages;
+ goto alloc_movable;
+ }
+ free = zone_page_state(zone, NR_FREE_PAGES);
+ free_wmark = free - free_cma - high_wmark_pages(zone);
+ /*
+ * free_wmark is below than 0, and it means that normal pages
+ * are under the pressure, so we recharge only cma allocation.
+ */
+ if (free_wmark <= 0) {
+ zone->nr_try_cma = pageblock_nr_pages;
+ goto alloc_cma;
+ }
+ if (free_wmark > free_cma) {
+ zone->nr_try_movable =
+ (free_wmark * pageblock_nr_pages) / free_cma;
+ zone->nr_try_cma = pageblock_nr_pages;
+ } else {
+ zone->nr_try_movable = pageblock_nr_pages;
+ zone->nr_try_cma = free_cma * pageblock_nr_pages / free_wmark;
+ }
+ /* Reset complete, start on movable first */
+ zone->nr_try_movable--;
+ return NULL;
* Do the hard work of removing an element from the buddy allocator.
* Call me with the zone->lock already held.
@@ -1143,10 +1217,14 @@ __rmqueue_fallback(struct zone *zone, int order, int start_migratetype)
static struct page *__rmqueue(struct zone *zone, unsigned int order,
int migratetype)
- struct page *page;
+ struct page *page = NULL;
+ page = __rmqueue_cma(zone, order, migratetype);

- page = __rmqueue_smallest(zone, order, migratetype);
+ if (!page)
+ page = __rmqueue_smallest(zone, order, migratetype);

if (unlikely(!page) && migratetype != MIGRATE_RESERVE) {
page = __rmqueue_fallback(zone, order, migratetype);
@@ -4849,6 +4927,8 @@ static void __paginginit free_area_init_core(struct pglist_data *pgdat,
zone->zone_pgdat = pgdat;
+ zone->has_cma = 0;

/* For bootup, initialized properly in watermark setup */
mod_zone_page_state(zone, NR_ALLOC_BATCH, zone->managed_pages);

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