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SubjectRe: [RFC][Patch v8 0/7] KVM: Guest Free Page Hinting
On 19.02.19 00:47, Alexander Duyck wrote:
> On Mon, Feb 18, 2019 at 9:42 AM David Hildenbrand <> wrote:
>> On 18.02.19 18:31, Alexander Duyck wrote:
>>> On Mon, Feb 18, 2019 at 8:59 AM David Hildenbrand <> wrote:
>>>> On 18.02.19 17:49, Michael S. Tsirkin wrote:
>>>>> On Sat, Feb 16, 2019 at 10:40:15AM +0100, David Hildenbrand wrote:
>>>>>> It would be worth a try. My feeling is that a synchronous report after
>>>>>> e.g. 512 frees should be acceptable, as it seems to be acceptable on
>>>>>> s390x. (basically always enabled, nobody complains).
>>>>> What slips under the radar on an arch like s390 might
>>>>> raise issues for a popular arch like x86. My fear would be
>>>>> if it's only a problem e.g. for realtime. Then you get
>>>>> a condition that's very hard to trigger and affects
>>>>> worst case latencies.
>>>> Realtime should never use free page hinting. Just like it should never
>>>> use ballooning. Just like it should pin all pages in the hypervisor.
>>>>> But really what business has something that is supposedly
>>>>> an optimization blocking a VCPU? We are just freeing up
>>>>> lots of memory why is it a good idea to slow that
>>>>> process down?
>>>> I first want to know that it is a problem before we declare it a
>>>> problem. I provided an example (s390x) where it does not seem to be a
>>>> problem. One hypercall ~every 512 frees. As simple as it can get.
>>>> No trying to deny that it could be a problem on x86, but then I assume
>>>> it is only a problem in specific setups.
>>>> I would much rather prefer a simple solution that can eventually be
>>>> disabled in selected setup than a complicated solution that tries to fit
>>>> all possible setups. Realtime is one of the examples where such stuff is
>>>> to be disabled either way.
>>>> Optimization of space comes with a price (here: execution time).
>>> One thing to keep in mind though is that if you are already having to
>>> pull pages in and out of swap on the host in order be able to provide
>>> enough memory for the guests the free page hinting should be a
>>> significant win in terms of performance.
>> Indeed. And also we are in a virtualized environment already, we can
>> have any kind of sudden hickups. (again, realtime has special
>> requirements on the setup)
>> Side note: I like your approach because it is simple. I don't like your
>> approach because it cannot deal with fragmented memory. And that can
>> happen easily.
>> The idea I described here can be similarly be an extension of your
>> approach, merging in a "batched reporting" Nitesh proposed, so we can
>> report on something < MAX_ORDER, similar to s390x. In the end it boils
>> down to reporting via hypercall vs. reporting via virtio. The main point
>> is that it is synchronous and batched. (and that we properly take care
>> of the race between host freeing and guest allocation)
> I'd say the discussion is even simpler then that. My concern is more
> synchronous versus asynchronous. I honestly think the cost for a
> synchronous call is being overblown and we are likely to see the fault
> and zeroing of pages cost more than the hypercall or virtio
> transaction itself.

The overhead of page faults and zeroing should be mitigated by
MADV_FREE, as Andrea correctly stated (thanks!). Then, the call overhead
(context switch) becomes relevant.

We have various discussions now :) And I think they are related.

synchronous versus asynchronous
batched vs. non-batched
MAX_ORDER - 1 vs. other/none magic number

1. synchronous call without batching on every kfree is bad. The
interface is fixed to big magic numbers, otherwise we end up having a
hypercall on every kfree. This is your approach.

2. asynchronous calls without batching would most probably have similar
problems with small granularities as we had when ballooning without
batching. Just overhead we can avoid.

3. synchronous and batched is what s390x does. It can deal with page
granularity. It is what I initially described in this sub-thread.

4. asynchronous and batched. This is the other approach we discussed
yesterday. If we can get it implemented, I would be interested in
performance numbers.

As far as I understood, Michael seems to favor something like 4 (and I
assume eventually 2 if it is similarly fast). I am a friend of either 3
or 4.

> Also one reason why I am not a fan of working with anything less than
> PMD order is because there have been issues in the past with false
> memory leaks being created when hints were provided on THP pages that
> essentially fragmented them. I guess hugepaged went through and
> started trying to reassemble the huge pages and as a result there have
> been apps that ended up consuming more memory than they would have
> otherwise since they were using fragments of THP pages after doing an
> MADV_DONTNEED on sections of the page.

I understand your concerns, but we should not let bugs in the hypervisor
dictate the design. Bugs are there to be fixed. Interesting read,
though, thanks!



David / dhildenb

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