[PATCH 00/05] robust per_cpu allocation for modules

Nick Piggin nickpiggin at yahoo.com.au
Sun Apr 16 17:06:14 EST 2006

Steven Rostedt wrote:
> On Sun, 16 Apr 2006, Nick Piggin wrote:

>>Why is your module using so much per-cpu memory, anyway?
> Wasn't my module anyway. The problem appeared in the -rt patch set, when
> tracing was turned on.  Some module was affected, and grew it's per_cpu
> size by quite a bit. In fact we had to increase PERCPU_ENOUGH_ROOM by up
> to something like 300K.

Well that's easy then, just configure PERCPU_ENOUGH_ROOM to be larger
when tracing is on in the -rt patchset? Or use alloc_percpu for the
tracing data?

>>I don't think it would have been hard for the original author to make
>>it robust... just not both fast and robust. PERCPU_ENOUGH_ROOM seems
>>like an ugly hack at first glance, but I'm fairly sure it was a result
>>of design choices.
> Yeah, and I discovered the reasons for those choices as I worked on this.
> I've put a little more thought into this and still think there's a
> solution to not slow things down.
> Since the per_cpu_offset section is still smaller than the
> PERCPU_ENOUGH_ROOM and robust, I could still copy it into a per cpu memory
> field, and even add the __per_cpu_offset to it.  This would still save
> quite a bit of space.

Well I don't think making it per-cpu would help much (presumably it
is not going to be written to very frequently) -- I guess it would
be a small advantage on NUMA. The main problem is the extra load in
the fastpath.

You can't start the next load until the results of the first come

> So now I'm asking for advice on some ideas that can be a work around to
> keep the robustness and speed.
> Is there a way (for archs that support it) to allocate memory in a per cpu
> manner. So each CPU would have its own variable table in the memory that
> is best of it.  Then have a field (like the pda in x86_64) to point to
> this section, and use the linker offsets to index and find the per_cpu
> variables.
> So this solution still has one more redirection than the current solution
> (per_cpu_offset__##var -> __per_cpu_offset -> actual_var where as the
> current solution is __per_cpu_offset -> actual_var), but all the loads
> would be done from memory that would only be specified for a particular
> CPU.
> The generic case would still be the same as the patches I already sent,
> but the archs that can support it, can have something like the above.
> Would something like that be acceptible?

I still don't understand what the justification is for slowing down
this critical bit of infrastructure for something that is only a
problem in the -rt patchset, and even then only a problem when tracing
is enabled.

SUSE Labs, Novell Inc.
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