[PATCH v2] cpufreq: governor: Be friendly towards latency-sensitive bursty workloads

From: Srivatsa S. Bhat
Date: Tue Jun 03 2014 - 17:48:36 EST

Cpufreq governors like the ondemand governor calculate the load on the CPU
periodically by employing deferrable timers. A deferrable timer won't fire
if the CPU is completely idle (and there are no other timers to be run), in
order to avoid unnecessary wakeups and thus save CPU power.

However, the load calculation logic is agnostic to all this, and this can
lead to the problem described below.

Time (ms) CPU 1

100 Task-A running

110 Governor's timer fires, finds load as 100% in the last
10ms interval and increases the CPU frequency.

110.5 Task-A running

120 Governor's timer fires, finds load as 100% in the last
10ms interval and increases the CPU frequency.

125 Task-A went to sleep. With nothing else to do, CPU 1
went completely idle.

200 Task-A woke up and started running again.

200.5 Governor's deferred timer (which was originally programmed
to fire at time 130) fires now. It calculates load for the
time period 120 to 200.5, and finds the load is almost zero.
Hence it decreases the CPU frequency to the minimum.

210 Governor's timer fires, finds load as 100% in the last
10ms interval and increases the CPU frequency.

So, after the workload woke up and started running, the frequency was suddenly
dropped to absolute minimum, and after that, there was an unnecessary delay of
10ms (sampling period) to increase the CPU frequency back to a reasonable value.
And this pattern repeats for every wake-up-from-cpu-idle for that workload.
This can be quite undesirable for latency- or response-time sensitive bursty
workloads. So we need to fix the governor's logic to detect such wake-up-from-
cpu-idle scenarios and start the workload at a reasonably high CPU frequency.

One extreme solution would be to fake a load of 100% in such scenarios. But
that might lead to undesirable side-effects such as frequency spikes (which
might also need voltage changes) especially if the previous frequency happened
to be very low.

We just want to avoid the stupidity of dropping down the frequency to a minimum
and then enduring a needless (and long) delay before ramping it up back again.
So, let us simply carry forward the previous load - that is, let us just pretend
that the 'load' for the current time-window is the same as the load for the
previous window. That way, the frequency and voltage will continue to be set
to whatever values they were set at previously. This means that bursty workloads
will get a chance to influence the CPU frequency at which they wake up from
cpu-idle, based on their past execution history. Thus, they might be able to
avoid suffering from slow wakeups and long response-times.

[ The right way to solve this problem is to teach the CPU frequency governors
to track load on a per-task basis, not a per-CPU basis, and set the appropriate
frequency on whichever CPU the task executes. But that involves redesigning
the cpufreq subsystem, so this patch should make the situation bearable until
then. ]

Experimental results:

I ran a modified version of ebizzy (called 'sleeping-ebizzy') that sleeps in
between its execution such that its total utilization can be a user-defined
value, say 10% or 20% (higher the utilization specified, lesser the amount of
sleeps injected). This ebizzy was run with a single-thread, tied to CPU 8.

Behavior observed with tracing (sample taken from 40% utilization runs):

Without patch:
kworker/8:2-12137 416.335742: cpu_frequency: state=2061000 cpu_id=8
kworker/8:2-12137 416.335744: sched_switch: prev_comm=kworker/8:2 ==> next_comm=ebizzy
<...>-40753 416.345741: sched_switch: prev_comm=ebizzy ==> next_comm=kworker/8:2
kworker/8:2-12137 416.345744: cpu_frequency: state=4123000 cpu_id=8
kworker/8:2-12137 416.345746: sched_switch: prev_comm=kworker/8:2 ==> next_comm=ebizzy
<...>-40753 416.355738: sched_switch: prev_comm=ebizzy ==> next_comm=kworker/8:2
<snip> --------------------------------------------------------------------- <snip>
<...>-40753 416.402202: sched_switch: prev_comm=ebizzy ==> next_comm=swapper/8
<idle>-0 416.502130: sched_switch: prev_comm=swapper/8 ==> next_comm=ebizzy
<...>-40753 416.505738: sched_switch: prev_comm=ebizzy ==> next_comm=kworker/8:2
kworker/8:2-12137 416.505739: cpu_frequency: state=2061000 cpu_id=8
kworker/8:2-12137 416.505741: sched_switch: prev_comm=kworker/8:2 ==> next_comm=ebizzy
<...>-40753 416.515739: sched_switch: prev_comm=ebizzy ==> next_comm=kworker/8:2
kworker/8:2-12137 416.515742: cpu_frequency: state=4123000 cpu_id=8
kworker/8:2-12137 416.515744: sched_switch: prev_comm=kworker/8:2 ==> next_comm=ebizzy

Observation: Ebizzy went idle at 416.402202, and started running again at
416.502130. But cpufreq noticed the long idle period, and dropped the frequency
at 416.505739, only to increase it back again at 416.515742, realizing that the
workload is in-fact CPU bound. Thus ebizzy needlessly ran at the lowest frequency
for almost 13 milliseconds (almost 1 full sample period), and this pattern
repeats on every sleep-wakeup. This could hurt latency-sensitive workloads quite
a lot.

With patch:

kworker/8:2-29802 464.832535: cpu_frequency: state=2061000 cpu_id=8
<snip> --------------------------------------------------------------------- <snip>
kworker/8:2-29802 464.962538: sched_switch: prev_comm=kworker/8:2 ==> next_comm=ebizzy
<...>-40738 464.972533: sched_switch: prev_comm=ebizzy ==> next_comm=kworker/8:2
kworker/8:2-29802 464.972536: cpu_frequency: state=4123000 cpu_id=8
kworker/8:2-29802 464.972538: sched_switch: prev_comm=kworker/8:2 ==> next_comm=ebizzy
<...>-40738 464.982531: sched_switch: prev_comm=ebizzy ==> next_comm=kworker/8:2
<snip> --------------------------------------------------------------------- <snip>
kworker/8:2-29802 465.022533: sched_switch: prev_comm=kworker/8:2 ==> next_comm=ebizzy
<...>-40738 465.032531: sched_switch: prev_comm=ebizzy ==> next_comm=kworker/8:2
kworker/8:2-29802 465.032532: sched_switch: prev_comm=kworker/8:2 ==> next_comm=ebizzy
<...>-40738 465.035797: sched_switch: prev_comm=ebizzy ==> next_comm=swapper/8
<idle>-0 465.240178: sched_switch: prev_comm=swapper/8 ==> next_comm=ebizzy
<...>-40738 465.242533: sched_switch: prev_comm=ebizzy ==> next_comm=kworker/8:2
kworker/8:2-29802 465.242535: sched_switch: prev_comm=kworker/8:2 ==> next_comm=ebizzy
<...>-40738 465.252531: sched_switch: prev_comm=ebizzy ==> next_comm=kworker/8:2

Observation: Ebizzy went idle at 465.035797, and started running again at
465.240178. Since ebizzy was the only real workload running on this CPU,
cpufreq retained the frequency at 4.1Ghz throughout the run of ebizzy, no
matter how many times ebizzy slept and woke-up in-between. Thus, ebizzy
got the 10ms worth of 4.1 Ghz benefit during every sleep-wakeup (as compared
to the run without the patch) and this boost gave a modest improvement in total
throughput, as shown below.

Sleeping-ebizzy records-per-second:

Utilization Without patch With patch Difference (Absolute and % values)
10% 274767 277046 + 2279 (+0.829%)
20% 543429 553484 + 10055 (+1.850%)
40% 1090744 1107959 + 17215 (+1.578%)
60% 1634908 1662018 + 27110 (+1.658%)

A rudimentary and somewhat approximately latency-sensitive workload such as
sleeping-ebizzy itself showed a consistent, noticeable performance improvement
with this patch. Hence, workloads that are truly latency-sensitive will benefit
quite a bit from this change. Moreover, this is an overall win-win since this
patch does not hurt power-savings at all (because, this patch does not reduce
the idle time or idle residency; and the high frequency of the CPU when it goes
to cpu-idle does not affect/hurt the power-savings of deep idle states).

Signed-off-by: Srivatsa S. Bhat <srivatsa.bhat@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Reviewed-by: Gautham R. Shenoy <ego@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Acked-by: Viresh Kumar <viresh.kumar@xxxxxxxxxx>

Changes in v2:
* Removed the 'sampling_rate' parameter to dbs_check_cpu() to make the code
cleaner, as suggested by Viresh.

drivers/cpufreq/cpufreq_governor.c | 47 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++--
drivers/cpufreq/cpufreq_governor.h | 1 +
2 files changed, 45 insertions(+), 3 deletions(-)

diff --git a/drivers/cpufreq/cpufreq_governor.c b/drivers/cpufreq/cpufreq_governor.c
index e1c6433..2597bbe 100644
--- a/drivers/cpufreq/cpufreq_governor.c
+++ b/drivers/cpufreq/cpufreq_governor.c
@@ -36,14 +36,29 @@ void dbs_check_cpu(struct dbs_data *dbs_data, int cpu)
struct od_dbs_tuners *od_tuners = dbs_data->tuners;
struct cs_dbs_tuners *cs_tuners = dbs_data->tuners;
struct cpufreq_policy *policy;
+ unsigned int sampling_rate;
unsigned int max_load = 0;
unsigned int ignore_nice;
unsigned int j;

- if (dbs_data->cdata->governor == GOV_ONDEMAND)
+ if (dbs_data->cdata->governor == GOV_ONDEMAND) {
+ struct od_cpu_dbs_info_s *od_dbs_info =
+ dbs_data->cdata->get_cpu_dbs_info_s(cpu);
+ /*
+ * Sometimes, the ondemand governor uses an additional
+ * multiplier to give long delays. So apply this multiplier to
+ * the 'sampling_rate', so as to keep the wake-up-from-idle
+ * detection logic a bit conservative.
+ */
+ sampling_rate = od_tuners->sampling_rate;
+ sampling_rate *= od_dbs_info->rate_mult;
ignore_nice = od_tuners->ignore_nice_load;
- else
+ } else {
+ sampling_rate = cs_tuners->sampling_rate;
ignore_nice = cs_tuners->ignore_nice_load;
+ }

policy = cdbs->cur_policy;

@@ -96,7 +111,29 @@ void dbs_check_cpu(struct dbs_data *dbs_data, int cpu)
if (unlikely(!wall_time || wall_time < idle_time))

- load = 100 * (wall_time - idle_time) / wall_time;
+ /*
+ * If the CPU had gone completely idle, and a task just woke up
+ * on this CPU now, it would be unfair to calculate 'load' the
+ * usual way for this elapsed time-window, because it will show
+ * near-zero load, irrespective of how CPU intensive the new
+ * task is. This is undesirable for latency-sensitive bursty
+ * workloads.
+ *
+ * To avoid this, we reuse the 'load' from the previous
+ * time-window and give this task a chance to start with a
+ * reasonably high CPU frequency.
+ *
+ * Detecting this situation is easy: the governor's deferrable
+ * timer would not have fired during CPU-idle periods. Hence
+ * an unusually large 'wall_time' (as compared to the sampling
+ * rate) indicates this scenario.
+ */
+ if (unlikely(wall_time > (2 * sampling_rate))) {
+ load = j_cdbs->prev_load;
+ } else {
+ load = 100 * (wall_time - idle_time) / wall_time;
+ j_cdbs->prev_load = load;
+ }

if (load > max_load)
max_load = load;
@@ -323,6 +360,10 @@ int cpufreq_governor_dbs(struct cpufreq_policy *policy,
j_cdbs->cur_policy = policy;
j_cdbs->prev_cpu_idle = get_cpu_idle_time(j,
&j_cdbs->prev_cpu_wall, io_busy);
+ j_cdbs->prev_load = 100 * (j_cdbs->prev_cpu_wall -
+ j_cdbs->prev_cpu_idle) /
+ j_cdbs->prev_cpu_wall;
if (ignore_nice)
j_cdbs->prev_cpu_nice =
diff --git a/drivers/cpufreq/cpufreq_governor.h b/drivers/cpufreq/cpufreq_governor.h
index bfb9ae1..b56552b 100644
--- a/drivers/cpufreq/cpufreq_governor.h
+++ b/drivers/cpufreq/cpufreq_governor.h
@@ -134,6 +134,7 @@ struct cpu_dbs_common_info {
u64 prev_cpu_idle;
u64 prev_cpu_wall;
u64 prev_cpu_nice;
+ unsigned int prev_load;
struct cpufreq_policy *cur_policy;
struct delayed_work work;

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