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SubjectRe: [Xen-devel] "tcp: refine TSO autosizing" causes performance regression on Xen
On 13/04/15 11:56, George Dunlap wrote:
> On Thu, Apr 9, 2015 at 5:36 PM, Stefano Stabellini
> <> wrote:
>> On Thu, 9 Apr 2015, Eric Dumazet wrote:
>>> On Thu, 2015-04-09 at 16:46 +0100, Stefano Stabellini wrote:
>>>> Hi all,
>>>> I found a performance regression when running netperf -t TCP_MAERTS from
>>>> an external host to a Xen VM on ARM64: v3.19 and v4.0-rc4 running in the
>>>> virtual machine are 30% slower than v3.18.
>>>> Through bisection I found that the perf regression is caused by the
>>>> prensence of the following commit in the guest kernel:
>>>> commit 605ad7f184b60cfaacbc038aa6c55ee68dee3c89
>>>> Author: Eric Dumazet <>
>>>> Date: Sun Dec 7 12:22:18 2014 -0800
>>>> tcp: refine TSO autosizing
> [snip]

I recently discussed this issue on netdev in the following thread:

>>> This commit restored original TCP Small Queue behavior, which is the
>>> first step to fight bufferbloat.
>>> Some network drivers are known to be problematic because of a delayed TX
>>> completion.
> [snip]
>>> Try to tweak /proc/sys/net/ipv4/tcp_limit_output_bytes to see if it
>>> makes a difference ?
>> A very big difference:
>> echo 262144 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/tcp_limit_output_bytes
>> brings us much closer to the original performance, the slowdown is just
>> 8%
>> echo 1048576 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/tcp_limit_output_bytes
>> fills the gap entirely, same performance as before "refine TSO
>> autosizing"
>> What would be the next step for here? Should I just document this as an
>> important performance tweaking step for Xen, or is there something else
>> we can do?
> Is the problem perhaps that netback/netfront delays TX completion?
> Would it be better to see if that can be addressed properly, so that
> the original purpose of the patch (fighting bufferbloat) can be
> achieved while not degrading performance for Xen? Or at least, so
> that people get decent perfomance out of the box without having to
> tweak TCP parameters?

I agree; reducing the completion latency should be the ultimate goal.
However, that won't be easy, so we need a work-around in the short term.
I don't like the idea of relying on documenting the recommendation to
change tcp_limit_output_bytes; too many people won't read this advice
and will expect the out-of-the-box defaults to be reasonable.

Following Eric's pointers to where a similar problem had been
experienced in wifi drivers, I came up with two proof-of-concept patches
that gave a similar performance gain without any changes to sysctl
parameters or core tcp/ip code. See

I haven't yet received any feedback from the xen-netfront maintainers
about whether those ideas could be reasonably adopted.


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