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Subject[PATCH 2/2] docs/mm: Physical Memory: add structure, introduction and nodes description
From: "Mike Rapoport (IBM)" <>

Signed-off-by: Mike Rapoport (IBM) <>
Documentation/mm/physical_memory.rst | 322 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++
1 file changed, 322 insertions(+)

diff --git a/Documentation/mm/physical_memory.rst b/Documentation/mm/physical_memory.rst
index 2ab7b8c1c863..fcf52f1db16b 100644
--- a/Documentation/mm/physical_memory.rst
+++ b/Documentation/mm/physical_memory.rst
@@ -3,3 +3,325 @@
Physical Memory
+Linux is available for a wide range of architectures so there is a need for an
+architecture-independent abstraction to represent the physical memory. This
+chapter describes the structures used to manage physical memory in a running
+The first principal concept prevalent in the memory management is
+`Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA)
+With multi-core and multi-socket machines, memory may be arranged into banks
+that incur a different cost to access depending on the “distance” from the
+processor. For example, there might be a bank of memory assigned to each CPU or
+a bank of memory very suitable for DMA near peripheral devices.
+Each bank is called a node and the concept is represented under Linux by a
+``struct pglist_data`` even if the architecture is UMA. This structure is
+always referenced to by it's typedef ``pg_data_t``. A pg_data_t structure
+for a particular node can be referenced by ``NODE_DATA(nid)`` macro where
+``nid`` is the ID of that node.
+For NUMA architectures, the node structures are allocated by the architecture
+specific code early during boot. Usually, these structures are allocated
+locally on the memory bank they represent. For UMA architectures, only one
+static pg_data_t structure called ``contig_page_data`` is used. Nodes will
+be discussed further in Section :ref:`Nodes <nodes>`
+Each node may be divided up into a number of blocks called zones which
+represent ranges within memory. These ranges are usually determined by
+architectural constraints for accessing the physical memory. A zone is
+described by a ``struct zone_struct``, typedeffed to ``zone_t`` and each zone
+has one of the types described below.
+`ZONE_DMA` and `ZONE_DMA32`
+ represent memory suitable for DMA by peripheral devices that cannot
+ access all of the addressable memory. Depending on the architecture,
+ either of these zone types or even they both can be disabled at build
+ time using ``CONFIG_ZONE_DMA`` and ``CONFIG_ZONE_DMA32`` configuration
+ options. Some 64-bit platforms may need both zones as they support
+ peripherals with different DMA addressing limitations.
+ is for normal memory that can be accessed by the kernel all the time. DMA
+ operations can be performed on pages in this zone if the DMA devices support
+ transfers to all addressable memory. ZONE_NORMAL is always enabled.
+ is the part of the physical memory that is not covered by a permanent mapping
+ in the kernel page tables. The memory in this zone is only accessible to the
+ kernel using temporary mappings. This zone is available only some 32-bit
+ architectures and is enabled with ``CONFIG_HIGHMEM``.
+ is for normal accessible memory, just like ZONE_NORMAL. The difference is
+ that most pages in ZONE_MOVABLE are movable. That means that while virtual
+ addresses of these pages do not change, their content may move between
+ different physical pages. ZONE_MOVABLE is only enabled when one of
+ `kernelcore`, `movablecore` and `movable_node` parameters is present in the
+ kernel command line. See :ref:`Page migration <page_migration>` for
+ additional details.
+ represents memory residing on devices such as PMEM and GPU. It has different
+ characteristics than RAM zone types and it exists to provide :ref:`struct
+ page <Pages>` and memory map services for device driver identified physical
+ address ranges. ZONE_DEVICE is enabled with configuration option
+It is important to note that many kernel operations can only take place using
+ZONE_NORMAL so it is the most performance critical zone. Zones are discussed
+further in Section :ref:`Zones <zones>`.
+The relation between node and zone extents is determined by the physical memory
+map reported by the firmware, architectural constraints for memory addressing
+and certain parameters in the kernel command line.
+For example, with 32-bit kernel on an x86 UMA machine with 2 Gbytes of RAM the
+entire memory will be on node 0 and there will be three zones: ZONE_DMA,
+ 0 2G
+ +-------------------------------------------------------------+
+ | node 0 |
+ +-------------------------------------------------------------+
+ 0 16M 896M 2G
+ +----------+-----------------------+--------------------------+
+ +----------+-----------------------+--------------------------+
+With a kernel built with ZONE_DMA disabled and ZONE_DMA32 enabled and booted
+with `movablecore=80%` parameter on an arm64 machine with 16 Gbytes of RAM
+equally split between two nodes, there will be ZONE_DMA32, ZONE_NORMAL and
+ZONE_MOVABLE on node 0, and ZONE_NORMAL and ZONE_MOVABLE on node 1::
+ 1G 9G 17G
+ +--------------------------------+ +--------------------------+
+ | node 0 | | node 1 |
+ +--------------------------------+ +--------------------------+
+ 1G 4G 4200M 9G 9320M 17G
+ +---------+----------+-----------+ +------------+-------------+
+ +---------+----------+-----------+ +------------+-------------+
+.. _nodes:
+As we have mentioned, each node in memory is described by a ``pg_data_t`` which
+is a typedef for a ``struct pglist_data``. When allocating a page, by default
+Linux uses a node-local allocation policy to allocate memory from the node
+closest to the running CPU. As processes tend to run on the same CPU, it is
+likely the memory from the current node will be used. The allocation policy can
+be controlled by users as described in
+Most NUMA architectures maintain an array of pointers to the node
+structures. The actual structures are allocated early during boot when
+architecture specific code parses the physical memory map reported by the
+firmware. The bulk of the node initialization happens slightly later in the
+boot process by free_area_init() function, described later in Section
+:ref:`Initialization <initialization>`.
+Along with the node structures, kernel maintains an array of ``nodemask_t``
+bitmasks called `node_states`. Each bitmask in this array represents a set of
+nodes with particular properties as defined by `enum node_states`:
+ The node could become online at some point.
+ The node is online.
+ The node has regular memory.
+ The node has regular or high memory. When ``CONFIG_HIGHMEM`` is disabled
+ aliased to `N_NORMAL_MEMORY`.
+ The node has memory(regular, high, movable)
+ The node has one or more CPUs
+For each node that has a property described above, the bit corresponding to the
+node ID in the ``node_states[<property>]`` bitmask is set.
+For example, for node 2 with normal memory and CPUs, bit 2 will be set in ::
+ node_states[N_POSSIBLE]
+ node_states[N_ONLINE]
+ node_states[N_NORMAL_MEMORY]
+ node_states[N_MEMORY]
+ node_states[N_CPU]
+For various operations possible with nodemasks please refer to
+Among other things, nodemasks are used to provide macros for node traversal,
+namely `for_each_node()` and `for_each_online_node()`.
+For instance, to call a function foo() for each online node::
+ for_each_online_node(nid) {
+ pg_data_t *pgdat = NODE_DATA(nid);
+ foo(pgdat);
+ }
+Node structure
+The struct pglist_data is declared in `include/linux/mmzone.h
+Here we briefly describe fields of this structure:
+ The zones for this node. Not all of the zones may be populated, but it is
+ the full list. It is referenced by this node's node_zonelists as well as
+ other node's node_zonelists.
+`node_zonelists` The list of all zones in all nodes. This list defines the
+ order of zones that allocations are preferred from. The `node_zonelists` is
+ set up by build_zonelists() in mm/page_alloc.c during the initialization of
+ core memory management structures.
+ Number of populated zones in this node.
+ For UMA systems that use FLATMEM memory model the 0's node (and the only)
+ `node_mem_map` is array of struct pages representing each physical frame.
+ For UMA systems that use FLATMEM memory model the 0's (and the only) node
+ `node_mem_map` is array of extensions of struct pages. Available only in the
+ kernels built with ``CONFIG_PAGE_EXTENTION`` enabled.
+ The page frame number of the starting page frame in this node.
+ Total number of physical pages present in this node.
+ Total size of physical page range, including holes.
+ A lock that protects the fields defining the node extents. Only defined when
+ at least one of ``CONFIG_MEMORY_HOTPLUG`` or
+ ``CONFIG_DEFERRED_STRUCT_PAGE_INIT`` configuration options are enabled.
+ pgdat_resize_lock() and pgdat_resize_unlock() are provided to manipulate
+ node_size_lock without checking for CONFIG_MEMORY_HOTPLUG or
+ The Node ID (NID) of the node, starts at 0.
+ This is a per~node reserve of pages that are not available to userspace
+ allocations.
+ If memory initialization on large machines is deferred then this is the first
+ PFN that needs to be initialized. Defined only when
+ Per-node queue of huge pages that their split was deferred. Defined only when ``CONFIG_TRANSPARENT_HUGEPAGE`` is enabled.
+ Per-node lruvec holding LRU lists and related parameters. Used only when memory cgroups are disabled. Should not be accessed directly, use mem_cgroup_lruvec() to look up lruvecs instead.
+Reclaim control
+See also :ref:`Page Reclaim <page_reclaim>`.
+ Per-node instance of kswapd kernel thread.
+`kswapd_wait`, `pfmemalloc_wait`, `reclaim_wait`
+ Workqueues used to synchronize memory reclaim tasks
+ Number of tasks that are throttled waiting on dirty pages to clean.
+ Number of pages written while reclaim is throttled waiting for writeback.
+ Controls the order kswapd tries to reclaim
+ The highest zone index to be reclaimed by kswapd
+ Number of runs kswapd was unable to reclaim any pages
+ Minimal number of unmapped file backed pages that cannot be reclaimed. Determined by vm.min_unmapped_ratio sysctl.
+ Only defined when ``CONFIG_NUMA`` is enabled.
+ Minimal number of SLAB pages that cannot be reclaimed. Determined by vm.min_slab_ratio sysctl.
+ Only defined when ``CONFIG_NUMA`` is enabled
+ Flags controlling reclaim behavior.
+Compaction control
+ Page order that kcompactd should try to achieve.
+ The highest zone index to be compacted by kcompactd.
+ Workqueue used to synchronizes memory compaction tasks.
+ Per-node instance of kcompactd kernel thread.
+ Determines if proactive compaction is enabled. Controlled by vm.compaction_proactiveness sysctl.
+ Per-CPU VM statistics for the node
+ VM statistics for the node.
+.. _zones:
+.. _pages:
+.. _folios:
+.. _initialization:
 \ /
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