Re: [PATCH v4 10/10] thp: implement refcounting for huge zero page

From: Andrew Morton
Date: Thu Oct 18 2012 - 19:44:56 EST

On Mon, 15 Oct 2012 09:00:59 +0300
"Kirill A. Shutemov" <kirill.shutemov@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> H. Peter Anvin doesn't like huge zero page which sticks in memory forever
> after the first allocation. Here's implementation of lockless refcounting
> for huge zero page.
> We have two basic primitives: {get,put}_huge_zero_page(). They
> manipulate reference counter.
> If counter is 0, get_huge_zero_page() allocates a new huge page and
> takes two references: one for caller and one for shrinker. We free the
> page only in shrinker callback if counter is 1 (only shrinker has the
> reference).
> put_huge_zero_page() only decrements counter. Counter is never zero
> in put_huge_zero_page() since shrinker holds on reference.
> Freeing huge zero page in shrinker callback helps to avoid frequent
> allocate-free.

I'd like more details on this please. The cost of freeing then
reinstantiating that page is tremendous, because it has to be zeroed
out again. If there is any way at all in which the kernel can be made
to enter a high-frequency free/reinstantiate pattern then I expect the
effects would be quite bad.

Do we have sufficient mechanisms in there to prevent this from
happening in all cases? If so, what are they, because I'm not seeing

> Refcounting has cost. On 4 socket machine I observe ~1% slowdown on
> parallel (40 processes) read page faulting comparing to lazy huge page
> allocation. I think it's pretty reasonable for synthetic benchmark.
To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in
the body of a message to majordomo@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
More majordomo info at
Please read the FAQ at