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SubjectRe: Expense of read_iter
On Thu, Jan 07, 2021 at 01:59:01PM -0500, Mikulas Patocka wrote:
> On Thu, 7 Jan 2021, Matthew Wilcox wrote:
> > On Thu, Jan 07, 2021 at 08:15:41AM -0500, Mikulas Patocka wrote:
> > > I'd like to ask about this piece of code in __kernel_read:
> > > if (unlikely(!file->f_op->read_iter || file->f_op->read))
> > > return warn_unsupported...
> > > and __kernel_write:
> > > if (unlikely(!file->f_op->write_iter || file->f_op->write))
> > > return warn_unsupported...
> > >
> > > - It exits with an error if both read_iter and read or write_iter and
> > > write are present.
> > >
> > > I found out that on NVFS, reading a file with the read method has 10%
> > > better performance than the read_iter method. The benchmark just reads the
> > > same 4k page over and over again - and the cost of creating and parsing
> > > the kiocb and iov_iter structures is just that high.
> >
> > Which part of it is so expensive?
>
> The read_iter path is much bigger:
> vfs_read - 0x160 bytes
> new_sync_read - 0x160 bytes
> nvfs_rw_iter - 0x100 bytes
> nvfs_rw_iter_locked - 0x4a0 bytes
> iov_iter_advance - 0x300 bytes

Number of bytes in a function isn't really correlated with how expensive
a particular function is. That said, looking at new_sync_read() shows
one part that's particularly bad, init_sync_kiocb():

static inline int iocb_flags(struct file *file)
{
int res = 0;
if (file->f_flags & O_APPEND)
res |= IOCB_APPEND;
7ec: 8b 57 40 mov 0x40(%rdi),%edx
7ef: 48 89 75 80 mov %rsi,-0x80(%rbp)
if (file->f_flags & O_DIRECT)
7f3: 89 d0 mov %edx,%eax
7f5: c1 e8 06 shr $0x6,%eax
7f8: 83 e0 10 and $0x10,%eax
res |= IOCB_DIRECT;
if ((file->f_flags & O_DSYNC) || IS_SYNC(file->f_mapping->host))
7fb: 89 c1 mov %eax,%ecx
7fd: 81 c9 00 00 02 00 or $0x20000,%ecx
803: f6 c6 40 test $0x40,%dh
806: 0f 45 c1 cmovne %ecx,%eax
res |= IOCB_DSYNC;
809: f6 c6 10 test $0x10,%dh
80c: 75 18 jne 826 <new_sync_read+0x66>
80e: 48 8b 8f d8 00 00 00 mov 0xd8(%rdi),%rcx
815: 48 8b 09 mov (%rcx),%rcx
818: 48 8b 71 28 mov 0x28(%rcx),%rsi
81c: f6 46 50 10 testb $0x10,0x50(%rsi)
820: 0f 84 e2 00 00 00 je 908 <new_sync_read+0x148>
if (file->f_flags & __O_SYNC)
826: 83 c8 02 or $0x2,%eax
res |= IOCB_SYNC;
return res;
829: 89 c1 mov %eax,%ecx
82b: 83 c9 04 or $0x4,%ecx
82e: 81 e2 00 00 10 00 and $0x100000,%edx

We could optimise this by, eg, checking for (__O_SYNC | O_DIRECT |
O_APPEND) and returning 0 if none of them are set, since they're all
pretty rare. It might be better to maintain an f_iocb_flags in the
struct file and just copy that unconditionally. We'd need to remember
to update it in fcntl(F_SETFL), but I think that's the only place.


> If we go with the "read" method, there's just:
> vfs_read - 0x160 bytes
> nvfs_read - 0x200 bytes
>
> > Is it worth, eg adding an iov_iter
> > type that points to a single buffer instead of a single-member iov?

> 6.57% pread [nvfs] [k] nvfs_rw_iter_locked
> 2.31% pread [kernel.vmlinux] [k] new_sync_read
> 1.89% pread [kernel.vmlinux] [k] iov_iter_advance
> 1.24% pread [nvfs] [k] nvfs_rw_iter
> 0.29% pread [kernel.vmlinux] [k] iov_iter_init

> 2.71% pread [nvfs] [k] nvfs_read

> Note that if we sum the percentage of nvfs_iter_locked, new_sync_read,
> iov_iter_advance, nvfs_rw_iter, we get 12.01%. On the other hand, in the
> second trace, nvfs_read consumes just 2.71% - and it replaces
> functionality of all these functions.
>
> That is the reason for that 10% degradation with read_iter.

You seem to be focusing on your argument for "let's just permit
filesystems to implement both ->read and ->read_iter". My suggestion
is that we need to optimise the ->read_iter path, but to do that we need
to know what's expensive.

nvfs_rw_iter_locked() looks very complicated. I suspect it can
be simplified. Of course new_sync_read() needs to be improved too,
as do the other functions here, but fully a third of the difference
between read() and read_iter() is the difference between nvfs_read()
and nvfs_rw_iter_locked().

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