[RFC 0/2] Memoryless nodes and kworker

Nish Aravamudan nish.aravamudan at gmail.com
Sat Jul 19 04:12:01 EST 2014

Hi Tejun,

[I found the other thread where you made these points, thanks you for
expressing them so clearly again!]

On Fri, Jul 18, 2014 at 11:00 AM, Tejun Heo <tj at kernel.org> wrote:
> Hello,
> On Fri, Jul 18, 2014 at 10:42:29AM -0700, Nish Aravamudan wrote:
> > So, to be clear, this is not *necessarily* about memoryless nodes. It's
> > about the semantics intended. The workqueue code currently calls
> > cpu_to_node() in a few places, and passes that node into the core MM as
> > hint about where the memory should come from. However, when memoryless
> > nodes are present, that hint is guaranteed to be wrong, as it's the
> > NUMA node to the CPU (which happens to be the one its on), not the
> > NUMA node with memory. The hint is correctly specified as cpu_to_mem(),
> It's telling the allocator the node the CPU is on.  Choosing and
> falling back the actual allocation is the allocator's job.

Ok, I agree with you then, if that's all the semantic is supposed to be.

But looking at the comment for kthread_create_on_node:

 * If thread is going to be bound on a particular cpu, give its node
 * in @node, to get NUMA affinity for kthread stack, or else give -1.

so the API interprets it as a suggestion for the affinity itself, *not* the
node the kthread should be on. Piddly, yes, but actually I have another
thought altogether, and in reviewing Jiang's patches this seems like the
right approach:

why aren't these callers using kthread_create_on_cpu()? That API was
already change to use cpu_to_mem() [so one change, rather than of all over
the kernel source]. We could change it back to cpu_to_node and push down
the knowledge about the fallback.

> > which does the right thing in the presence or absence of memoryless
> > And I think encapsulates the hint's semantics correctly -- please give
> > memory from where I expect it, which is the closest NUMA node.
> I don't think it does.  It loses information at too high a layer.
> Workqueue here doesn't care how memory subsystem is structured, it's
> just telling the allocator where it's at and expecting it to do the
> right thing.  Please consider the following scenario.
>         A - B - C - D - E
> Let's say C is a memory-less node.  If we map from C to either B or D
> from individual users and that node can't serve that memory request,
> the allocator would fall back to A or E respectively when the right
> thing to do would be falling back to D or B respectively, right?

Yes, this is a good point. But honestly, we're not really even to the point
of talking about fallback here, at least in my testing, going off-node at
all causes SLUB-configured slabs to deactivate, which then leads to an
explosion in the unreclaimable slab.

> This isn't a huge issue but it shows that this is the wrong layer to
> deal with this issue.  Let the allocators express where they are.
> Choosing and falling back belong to the memory allocator.  That's the
> only place which has all the information that's necessary and those
> details must be contained there.  Please don't leak it to memory
> allocator users.

Ok, I will continue to work at that level of abstraction.

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