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Subject[RFC v7 PATCH 0/4] mm: zap pages with read mmap_sem in munmap for large mapping

Recently, when we ran some vm scalability tests on machines with large memory,
we ran into a couple of mmap_sem scalability issues when unmapping large memory
space, please refer to and

Then akpm suggested to unmap large mapping section by section and drop mmap_sem
at a time to mitigate it (see

V1 patch series was submitted to the mailing list per Andrew's suggestion
(see Then I received a lot great feedback
and suggestions.

Then this topic was discussed on LSFMM summit 2018. In the summit, Michal Hocko
suggested (also in the v1 patches review) to try "two phases" approach. Zapping
pages with read mmap_sem, then doing via cleanup with write mmap_sem (for
discussion detail, see

Zapping pages is the most time consuming part, according to the suggestion from
Michal Hocko [1], zapping pages can be done with holding read mmap_sem, like
what MADV_DONTNEED does. Then re-acquire write mmap_sem to cleanup vmas.

But, we can't call MADV_DONTNEED directly, since there are two major drawbacks:
* The unexpected state from PF if it wins the race in the middle of munmap.
It may return zero page, instead of the content or SIGSEGV.
* Can’t handle VM_LOCKED | VM_HUGETLB | VM_PFNMAP and uprobe mappings, which
is a showstopper from akpm

But, some part may need write mmap_sem, for example, vma splitting. So,
the design is as follows:
acquire write mmap_sem
lookup vmas (find and split vmas)
deal with special mappings
detach vmas

zap pages
free page tables
release mmap_sem

The vm events with read mmap_sem may come in during page zapping, but
since vmas have been detached before, they, i.e. page fault, gup, etc,
will not be able to find valid vma, then just return SIGSEGV or -EFAULT
as expected.

If the vma has VM_HUGETLB | VM_PFNMAP or uprobe, they are considered as
special mappings. For the safer and bisectable sake, they will be
handled by falling back to regular do_munmap() with exclusive mmap_sem
held in a separate patch. Since it may be not safe to update vm_flags
with read mmap_sem, although it sounds safe for this specific case hence
vmas have been detached.

With the "detach vmas first" approach we don't have to re-acquire
mmap_sem again to clean up vmas to avoid race window which might get the
address space changed since downgrade_write() doesn't release the lock
to lead regression, which simply downgrades to read lock.

And, since the lock acquire/release cost is managed to the minimum and
almost as same as before, the optimization could be extended to any size
of mapping without incurring significant penalty to small mappings.

For the time being, just do this in munmap syscall path. Other
vm_munmap() or do_munmap() call sites (i.e mmap, mremap, etc) remain
intact due to some implementation difficulties since they acquire write
mmap_sem from very beginning and hold it until the end, do_munmap()
might be called in the middle. But, the optimized do_munmap would like
to be called without mmap_sem held so that we can do the optimization.
So, if we want to do the similar optimization for mmap/mremap path, I'm
afraid we would have to redesign them. mremap might be called on very
large area depending on the usecases, the optimization to it will be
considered in the future.

v6 -> v7:
* Rename some helper functions per Michal and Vlastimil's comments.
* Refactor munmap_lookup_vma() to return the pointer of start vma per Michal's
* Rephrase some commit log for patch 2/4 per Michal's comments.
* Deal with special mappings (VM_HUGETLB | VM_PFNMAP | uprobes) with regular
do_munmap() in a separate patch per Michal's suggestion.
* Bring the patch which makes vma_has_uprobes() non-static back since it is
needed to check if a vma has uprobes or not.

v5 -> v6:
* Fixed the comments from Kirill and Laurent
* Added Laurent's reviewed-by to patch 1/2. Thanks.

v4 -> v5:
* Detach vmas before zapping pages so that we don't have to use VM_DEAD to mark
a being unmapping vma since they have been detached from rbtree when zapping
pages. Per Kirill
* Eliminate VM_DEAD stuff
* With this change we don't have to re-acquire write mmap_sem to do cleanup.
So, we could eliminate a potential race window
* Eliminate PUD_SIZE check, and extend this optimization to all size

v3 -> v4:
* Extend check_stable_address_space to check VM_DEAD as Michal suggested
* Deal with vm_flags update of VM_LOCKED | VM_HUGETLB | VM_PFNMAP and uprobe
mappings with exclusive lock held. The actual unmapping is still done with read
mmap_sem to solve akpm's concern
* Clean up vmas with calling do_munmap to prevent from race condition by not
carrying vmas as Kirill suggested
* Extracted more common code
* Solved some code cleanup comments from akpm
* Dropped uprobe and arch specific code, now all the changes are mm only
* Still keep PUD_SIZE threshold, if everyone thinks it is better to extend to all
sizes or smaller size, will remove it
* Make this optimization 64 bit only explicitly per akpm's suggestion

v2 -> v3:
* Refactor do_munmap code to extract the common part per Peter's sugestion
* Introduced VM_DEAD flag per Michal's suggestion. Just handled VM_DEAD in
x86's page fault handler for the time being. Other architectures will be covered
once the patch series is reviewed
* Now lookup vma (find and split) and set VM_DEAD flag with write mmap_sem, then
zap mapping with read mmap_sem, then clean up pgtables and vmas with write
mmap_sem per Peter's suggestion

v1 -> v2:
* Re-implemented the code per the discussion on LSFMM summit

Regression and performance data:
Did the below regression test with setting thresh to 4K manually in the code:
* Full LTP
* Trinity (munmap/all vm syscalls)
* Stress-ng: mmap/mmapfork/mmapfixed/mmapaddr/mmapmany/vm
* mm-tests: kernbench, phpbench, sysbench-mariadb, will-it-scale
* vm-scalability

With the patches, exclusive mmap_sem hold time when munmap a 80GB address
space on a machine with 32 cores of E5-2680 @ 2.70GHz dropped to us level
from second.

munmap_test-15002 [008] 594.380138: funcgraph_entry: | vm_munmap_zap_rlock() {
munmap_test-15002 [008] 594.380146: funcgraph_entry: !2485684 us | unmap_region();
munmap_test-15002 [008] 596.865836: funcgraph_exit: !2485692 us | }

Here the excution time of unmap_region() is used to evaluate the time of
holding read mmap_sem, then the remaining time is used with holding
exclusive lock.

Yang Shi (4):
mm: refactor do_munmap() to extract the common part
mm: mmap: zap pages with read mmap_sem in munmap
uprobes: make vma_has_uprobes non-static
mm: unmap special vmas with regular do_munmap()

include/linux/uprobes.h | 7 +++
kernel/events/uprobes.c | 2 +-
mm/mmap.c | 205 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++-----------
3 files changed, 182 insertions(+), 32 deletions(-)

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