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Re: [Xen-devel] Ongoing/future speculative mitigation work

On Thu, Oct 25, 2018 at 11:23 AM Dario Faggioli <dfaggioli@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
> On Thu, 2018-10-25 at 10:25 -0600, Tamas K Lengyel wrote:
> > On Thu, Oct 25, 2018 at 10:01 AM Dario Faggioli <dfaggioli@xxxxxxxx>
> > wrote:
> > >
> > > Which is indeed very interesting. But, as we're discussing in the
> > > other
> > > thread, I would, in your case, do some more measurements, varying
> > > the
> > > configuration of the system, in order to be absolutely sure you are
> > > not
> > > hitting some bug or anomaly.
> >
> > Sure, I would be happy to repeat tests that were done in the past to
> > see whether they are still holding. We have run this test with Xen
> > 4.10, 4.11 and 4.12-unstable on laptops and desktops, using credit1
> > and credit2, and it is consistent that hyperthreading yields the
> > worst
> > performance.
> >
> So, just to be clear, I'm not saying it's impossible to find a workload
> for which HT is detrimental. Quite the opposite. And these benchmarks
> you're running might well fall into that category.
> I'm just suggesting to double check that. :-)
> > It varies between platforms but it's around 10-40%
> > performance hit with hyperthread on. This test we do is a very CPU
> > intensive test where we heavily oversubscribe the system. But I don't
> > think it would be all that unusual to run into such a setup in the
> > real world from time-to-time.
> >
> Ah, ok, so you're _heavily_ oversubscribing...
> So, I don't think that an heavily oversubscribed host, where all vCPUs
> would want to run 100% CPU intensive activities --and this not being
> some transient situation-- is that common. And for the ones for which
> it is, there is not much we can do, hyperthreading or not.
> In any case, hyperthreading works best when the workload is mixed,
> where it helps making sure that IO-bound tasks have enough chances to
> file a lot of IO requests, without conflicting too much with the CPU-
> bound tasks doing their number/logic crunching.
> Having _everyone_ wanting to do actual stuff on the CPUs is, IMO, one
> of the worst workloads for hyperthreading, and it is in fact a workload
> where I've always seen it having the least beneficial effect on
> performance. I guess it's possible that, in your case, it's actually
> really doing more harm than good.
> It's an interesting data point, but I wouldn't use a workload like that
> to measure the benefit, or the impact, of an SMT related change.

Thanks, and indeed this test is the worst-case scenario for
hyperthreading, that's was our goal. While a typical work-load may not
be similar, it is a possible one for the system we are concerned
about. So if at any given time the benefit of hyperthreading ranges
between say +30% and -30% and we can't predict the workload or
optimize it, it is looking like a safe bet to just disable
hyperthreading. Would you agree?


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