[PATCH 0/2] Faster MMU lookups for Book3s v3

Alexander Graf agraf at suse.de
Thu Jul 1 22:52:56 EST 2010

Avi Kivity wrote:
> On 07/01/2010 03:28 PM, Alexander Graf wrote:
>>>>    Wouldn't it speed up dirty bitmap flushing
>>>> a lot if we'd just have a simple linked list of all sPTEs belonging to
>>>> that memslot?
>>> The complexity is O(pages_in_slot) + O(sptes_for_slot).
>>> Usually, every page is mapped at least once, so sptes_for_slot
>>> dominates.  Even when it isn't so, iterating the rmap base pointers is
>>> very fast since they are linear in memory, while sptes are scattered
>>> around, causing cache misses.
>> Why would pages be mapped often?
> It's not a question of how often they are mapped (shadow: very often;
> tdp: very rarely) but what percentage of pages are mapped.  It's
> usually 100%.
>> Don't you use lazy spte updates?
> We do, but given enough time, the guest will touch its entire memory.

Oh, so that's the major difference. On PPC we have the HTAB with a
fraction of all the mapped pages in it. We don't have a notion of a full
page table for a guest process. We always only have a snapshot of some
mappings and shadow those lazily.

So at worst, we have HPTEG_CACHE_NUM shadow pages mapped, which would be
(1 << 15) * 4k which again would be at most 128MB of guest memory. We
can't hold more mappings than that anyways, so chances are low we have a
mapping for each hva.

>>> Another consideration is that on x86, an spte occupies just 64 bits
>>> (for the hardware pte); if there are multiple sptes per page (rare on
>>> modern hardware), there is also extra memory for rmap chains;
>>> sometimes we also allocate 64 bits for the gfn.  Having an extra
>>> linked list would require more memory to be allocated and maintained.
>> Hrm. I was thinking of not having an rmap but only using the chain. The
>> only slots that would require such a chain would be the ones with dirty
>> bitmapping enabled, so no penalty for normal RAM (unless you use kemari
>> or live migration of course).
> You could also only chain writeable ptes.

Very true. Probably even more useful :).

>> But then again I probably do need an rmap for the mmu_notifier magic,
>> right? But I'd rather prefer to have that code path be slow and the
>> dirty bitmap invalidation fast than the other way around. Swapping is
>> slow either way.
> It's not just swapping, it's also page ageing.  That needs to be
> fast.  Does ppc have a hardware-set referenced bit?  If so, you need a
> fast rmap for mmu notifiers.

Page ageing is difficult. The HTAB has a hardware set referenced bit,
but we don't have a guarantee that the entry is still there when we look
for it. Something else could have overwritten it by then, but the entry
could still be lingering around in the TLB.

So I think the only reasonable way to implement page ageing is to unmap
pages. And that's slow, because it means we have to map them again on
access. Bleks. Or we could look for the HTAB entry and only unmap them
if the entry is moot.


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