Re: [PATCH 1/1] network memory allocator.

From: Evgeniy Polyakov
Date: Mon Aug 14 2006 - 08:33:27 EST

On Mon, Aug 14, 2006 at 02:25:13PM +0200, Peter Zijlstra (a.p.zijlstra@xxxxxxxxx) wrote:
> On Mon, 2006-08-14 at 15:04 +0400, Evgeniy Polyakov wrote:
> > Defragmentation is a part of freeing algorithm and initial fragmentation
> > avoidance is being done at allocation time by removing power-of-two
> > allocations. Rate of fragmentation can be found in some userspace
> > modlling tests being done for both power-of-two SLAB-like and NTA
> > allocators. (more details on project's homepage [4]).
> Only with a perfect allocation pattern. And then still only internal
> fragmentation; your allocator is still vulnerable to external
> fragmentation - you cannot move allocated chunks around because there
> are pointers into it, hence you will suffer from external fragmentation.

Nature of network dataflow does not obey to that requirements - all
chunks are "short-lives", i.e. sooner or later they will be put back and
thus initial region will be repaired.
With existing allocator it never happens by deisgn.

> > Benchmarks with trivial epoll based web server showed noticeble (more
> > than 40%) imrovements of the request rates (1600-1800 requests per
> > second vs. more than 2300 ones). It can be described by more
> > cache-friendly freeing algorithm, by tighter objects packing and thus
> > reduced cache line ping-pongs, reduced lookups into higher-layer caches
> > and so on.
> Nice :-)
> > Design of allocator allows to map all node's pages into userspace thus
> > allows to have true zero-copy support for both sending and receiving
> > dataflows.
> I'm still not clear on how you want to do this, only the trivial case of
> a sniffer was mentioned by you. To be able to do true zero-copy receive
> each packet will have to have its own page(s). Simply because you do not
> know the destination before you receive it, the packet could end up
> going to a whole different socket that the prev/next. As soon as you
> start packing multiple packets on 1 page, you've lost the zero-copy
> receive game.

Userspace can sak for next packet and pointer to the new location will
be removed.

> > As described in recent threads [3] it is also possible to eliminate any
> > kind of main system OOM influence on network dataflow processing, thus
> > it is possible to prevent deadlock for systems, which use network as
> > memory storage (swap over network, iSCSI, NBD and so on).
> How? You have never stated how you will avoid getting all packets stuck
> in blocked sockets.

Each socket has it's limit, so if allocator got enough memory, blocked
sockets will not affect it's behaviour.

> On another note, I think you misunderstand our SLAB allocator; we do not
> round up to nearest order page alloc per object; SLAB is build to avoid
> that and is designed to pack equal size objects into pages. The kmalloc
> allocator is build on top of several SLAB allocators; each with its
> specific size objects to serve.
> For example, the 64 byte SLAB will serve 64 byte objects, and packs
> about PAGE_SIZE/64 per page (about since there is some overhead).
> So the actual internal fragmentation of the current kmalloc/SLAB
> allocator is not as bad as you paint it. The biggest problem we have
> with the SLAB thing is getting pages back from it. (And the horrific
> complexity of the current implementation)

Ok, not SLAB, but kmaloc/SLAB.
That allocator uses power-of-two allocation, so there is extremely
large overhead for several (and in some cases for all) usage cases
(e1000 with jumbo frames and unix sockets).
SLAB allows to have chunks of memory from differenct CPU, so it is
impossible to create defragmentation, thus kmalloc/SLAB by design will
suffer from fragmentation.
Graphs of power-of-two vs. NTA overhead is shown on projects' homepage
- overhead is extremely large.

Evgeniy Polyakov
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