[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Xen-devel] Re: SKB paged fragment lifecycle on receive

On 06/24/2011 08:43 AM, Ian Campbell wrote:
> We've previously looked into solutions using the skb destructor callback
> but that falls over if the skb is cloned since you also need to know
> when the clone is destroyed. Jeremy Fitzhardinge and I subsequently
> looked at the possibility of a no-clone skb flag (i.e. always forcing a
> copy instead of a clone) but IIRC honouring it universally turned into a
> very twisty maze with a number of nasty corner cases etc. It also seemed
> that the proportion of SKBs which get cloned at least once appeared as
> if it could be quite high which would presumably make the performance
> impact unacceptable when using the flag. Another issue with using the
> skb destructor is that functions such as __pskb_pull_tail will eat (and
> free) pages from the start of the frag array such that by the time the
> skb destructor is called they are no longer there.
> AIUI Rusty Russell had previously looked into a per-page destructor in
> the shinfo but found that it couldn't be made to work (I don't remember
> why, or if I even knew at the time). Could that be an approach worth
> reinvestigating?
> I can't really think of any other solution which doesn't involve some
> sort of driver callback at the time a page is free()d.

One simple approach would be to simply make sure that we retain a page
reference on any granted pages so that the network stack's put pages
will never result in them being released back to the kernel.  We can
also install an skb destructor.  If it sees a page being released with a
refcount of 1, then we know its our own reference and can free the page
immediately.  If the refcount is > 1 then we can add it to a queue of
pending pages, which can be periodically polled to free pages whose
other references have been dropped.

However, the question is how large will this queue get?  If it remains
small then this scheme could be entirely practical.  But if almost every
page ends up having transient stray references, it could become very

So it comes down to "how useful is an skb destructor callback as a
heuristic for page free"?

That said, I think an event-based rather than polling based mechanism
would be much more preferable.

> I expect that wrapping the uses of get/put_page in a network specific
> wrapper (e.g. skb_{get,frag}_frag(skb, nr) would be a useful first step
> in any solution. That's a pretty big task/patch in itself but could be
> done. Might it be worthwhile in for its own sake?

Is there some way to do it so that you'd get compiler warnings/errors in
missed cases?  I guess wrap "struct page" in some other type would go
some way to helping.

> Does anyone have any ideas or advice for other approaches I could try
> (either on the driver or stack side)?
> FWIW I proposed a session on the subject for LPC this year. The proposal
> was for the virtualisation track although as I say I think the class of
> problem reaches a bit wider than that. Whether the session will be a
> discussion around ways of solving the issue or a presentation on the
> solution remains to be seen ;-)
> Ian.
> [0] at least with a mainline kernel, in the older out-of-tree Xen stuff
> we had a PageForeign page-flag and a destructor function in a spare
> struct page field which was called from the mm free routines
> (free_pages_prepare and free_hot_cold_page). I'm under no illusions
> about the upstreamability of this approach...

When I last asked AKPM about this - a long time ago - the problem was
that we'd simply run out of page flags (at least on 32-bit x86), so it
simply wasn't implementable.  But since then the page flags have been
rearranged and I think there's less pressure on them - but they're still
a valuable resource, so the justification would need to be strong (ie,
multiple convincing users).


Xen-devel mailing list



Lists.xenproject.org is hosted with RackSpace, monitoring our
servers 24x7x365 and backed by RackSpace's Fanatical Support®.