Re: [Xen-devel] [PATCH] turn off writable page tables
On 31 Jul 2006, at 10:32, Zachary Amsden wrote:
It would allow set_pte() to switch between explicit queuing and
'direct' writing. We moved away from the former a few years back as
doing it everywhere made a mess of the generic Linux mm code and it
was hard to reason whether our patches were correct. I guess doing it
for the most important subset of mm routines is not so bad. It's a
shame that, although many set_pte() call sites could determine
statically whether or not they will batch, we'd end up with a dynamic
run-time test everywhere (unless I'm mistaken) -- I wonder if that
has a measurable cost?
We've actually seen a benefit for this, despite the cost of the
non-static parameters, for both VMI Linux with shadow pagetables on
ESX and VMI Linux with direct pagetables on Xen. Turns out that as
long as the call EIP is predictable, the parameters do not necessarily
need to be so, and modern processors are getting much better at branch
You mean that the benefit of batching outweighs the cost of an extra
test-and-branch in the middle of a loop, or that the extra
test-and-branch simply has unmeasurable overhead? The former is to be
expected, but I'd be worried about other call sites where batching does
not happen, and an effect on those.
Doing explicit batching exactly where it counts, under protection of
locks, so that SMP safety is guaranteed turns out to be really easy,
as well as a nice win.
If the run-time check cost really isn't an issue (I'd like to see
numbers), we'd likely use this new interface in preference to
implicitly batched writable pagetables and would support its inclusion
in the kernel.
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