[PATCH 0/8] v2 De-Couple sysfs memory directories from memory sections

Robin Holt holt at sgi.com
Wed Sep 29 01:12:18 EST 2010

On Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 02:44:40PM +0200, Avi Kivity wrote:
>  On 09/27/2010 09:09 PM, Nathan Fontenot wrote:
> >This set of patches decouples the concept that a single memory
> >section corresponds to a single directory in
> >/sys/devices/system/memory/.  On systems
> >with large amounts of memory (1+ TB) there are perfomance issues
> >related to creating the large number of sysfs directories.  For
> >a powerpc machine with 1 TB of memory we are creating 63,000+
> >directories.  This is resulting in boot times of around 45-50
> >minutes for systems with 1 TB of memory and 8 hours for systems
> >with 2 TB of memory.  With this patch set applied I am now seeing
> >boot times of 5 minutes or less.
> >
> >The root of this issue is in sysfs directory creation. Every time
> >a directory is created a string compare is done against all sibling
> >directories to ensure we do not create duplicates.  The list of
> >directory nodes in sysfs is kept as an unsorted list which results
> >in this being an exponentially longer operation as the number of
> >directories are created.
> >
> >The solution solved by this patch set is to allow a single
> >directory in sysfs to span multiple memory sections.  This is
> >controlled by an optional architecturally defined function
> >memory_block_size_bytes().  The default definition of this
> >routine returns a memory block size equal to the memory section
> >size. This maintains the current layout of sysfs memory
> >directories as it appears to userspace to remain the same as it
> >is today.
> >
> Why not update sysfs directory creation to be fast, for example by
> using an rbtree instead of a linked list.  This fixes an
> implementation problem in the kernel instead of working around it
> and creating a new ABI.

Because the old ABI creates 129,000+ entries inside
/sys/devices/system/memory with their associated links from
/sys/devices/system/node/node*/ back to those directory entries.

Thankfully things like rpm, hald, and other miscellaneous commands scan
that information.  On our 8 TB test machine, hald runs continuously
following boot for nearly an hour mostly scanning useless information
from /sys/


> New ABIs mean old tools won't work, and new tools need to understand
> both ABIs.
> -- 
> error compiling committee.c: too many arguments to function
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