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SubjectRe: [PATCH RFC] mm/madvise: introduce MADV_POPULATE to prefault/prealloc memory
On 19.02.21 17:31, Peter Xu wrote:
> On Fri, Feb 19, 2021 at 09:20:16AM +0100, David Hildenbrand wrote:
>> On 18.02.21 23:59, Peter Xu wrote:
>>> Hi, David,
>>> On Wed, Feb 17, 2021 at 04:48:44PM +0100, David Hildenbrand wrote:
>>>> When we manage sparse memory mappings dynamically in user space - also
>>>> sometimes involving MADV_NORESERVE - we want to dynamically populate/
>>>> discard memory inside such a sparse memory region. Example users are
>>>> hypervisors (especially implementing memory ballooning or similar
>>>> technologies like virtio-mem) and memory allocators. In addition, we want
>>>> to fail in a nice way if populating does not succeed because we are out of
>>>> backend memory (which can happen easily with file-based mappings,
>>>> especially tmpfs and hugetlbfs).
>>> Could you explain a bit more on how do you plan to use this new interface for
>>> the virtio-balloon scenario?
>> Sure, that will bring up an interesting point to discuss
>> I'm planning on using it in virtio-mem: whenever the guests requests the
>> hypervisor (via a virtio-mem device) to make specific blocks available
>> ("plug"), I want to have a configurable option ("populate=on" /
>> "prealloc="on") to perform safety checks ("prealloc") and populate page
>> tables.
> As you mentioned in the commit message, the original goal for MADV_POPULATE
> should be for performance's sake, which I can understand. But for safety
> check, I'm curious whether we'd have better way to do that besides populating
> the whole memory.

Well, it's 100% what I want for "populate=on"/"prealloc=on" semantics.

There is no real memory overcommit for huge pages, so any lacy
allocation ("reserve only") only saves you boot time - which is not
really an issue for virtio-mem, as the memory gets added and initialized
asynchronously as the guest boots up.

"reserve=on,prealloc=off" is another future use case I have in mind -
possible only for some memory backends (esp. anonymous memory - below).

> E.g., can we simply ask the kernel "how much memory this process can still
> allocate", then get a number out of it? I'm not sure whether it can be done

Anything like that is completely racy and unreliable.

> already by either cgroup or any other facilities, or maybe it's still missing.
> But I'd raise this question up, since these two requirements seem to be two
> standalone issues to solve at least to me. It could be an overkill to populate
> all the memory just for a sanity check.

For anonymous memory I have something in the works to dynamically
reserve swap space per process for the memory reservation for not
accounted private writable MAP_DONTRESERVE memory.

However, it works because swap space is per-system, not per-node or
anything else. Doing that for file systems/hugetlbfs is a different beast.

And anonymous memory is right now less of my concern, as we're used to
overcommitting there - limited pool sizes are more of an issue.

>> --- Ways to populate/preallocate ---
>> I see the following ways to populate/preallocate:
>> a) MADV_POPULATE: write fault on writable MAP_PRIVATE, read fault on
>> b) Writing to MAP_PRIVATE | MAP_SHARED from user space.
>> c) (below) MADV_POPULATE_WRITE: write fault on writable MAP_PRIVATE |
>> Especially, 2) is kind of weird as implemented in QEMU
>> (util/oslib-posix.c:do_touch_pages):
>> "Read & write back the same value, so we don't corrupt existing user/app
>> data ... TODO: get a better solution from kernel so we don't need to write
>> at all so we don't cause wear on the storage backing the region..."
> It's interesting to know about commit 1e356fc14be ("mem-prealloc: reduce large
> guest start-up and migration time.", 2017-03-14). It seems for speeding up VM
> boot, but what I can't understand is why it would cause the delay of hugetlb
> accounting - I thought we'd fail even earlier at either fallocate() on the
> hugetlb file (when we use /dev/hugepages) or on mmap() of the memfd which
> contains the huge pages. See hugetlb_reserve_pages() and its callers. Or did
> I miss something?

We should fail on mmap() when the reservation happens (unless
MAP_NORESERVE is passed) I think.

> I think there's a special case if QEMU fork() with a MAP_PRIVATE hugetlbfs
> mapping, that could cause the memory accouting to be delayed until COW happens.

That would be kind of weird. I'd assume the reservation gets properly
done during fork() - just like for VM_ACCOUNT.

> However that's definitely not the case for QEMU since QEMU won't work at all as
> late as that point.
> IOW, for hugetlbfs I don't know why we need to populate the pages at all if we
> simply want to know "whether we do still have enough space".. And IIUC 2)
> above is the major issue you'd like to solve too.

To avoid page faults at runtime on access I think. Reservation <=


>> --- HOW MADV_POPULATE_WRITE might be useful ---
>> With 3) 4) 5) MADV_POPULATE does partially what I want: preallocate memory
>> and populate page tables. But as it's a read fault, I think we'll have
>> another minor fault on access. Not perfect, but better than failing with
>> SIGBUS. One way around that would be having an additional
>> MADV_POPULATE_WRITE, to use in cases where it makes sense (I think at least
>> 3) and 4), most probably not on actual files like 5) ).
> Right, it seems when populating memories we'll read-fault on file-backed.
> However that'll be another performance issue to think about. So I'd hope we
> can start with the current virtio-mem issue on memory accounting, then we can
> discuss them separately.

MADV_POPULATE is certainly something I want and what fits nicely into
the existing model of MAP_POPULATE. Doing reservation only is a
different topic - and is most probably only possible for anonymous
memory in a clean way.

> Btw, thanks for the long write-up, it definitely helps me to understand what
> you wanted to achieve.

Sure! Thanks!


David / dhildenb

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