Re: DAX mapping detection (was: Re: [PATCH] Fix region lost in /proc/self/smaps)

From: Ross Zwisler
Date: Thu Sep 08 2016 - 18:56:46 EST

On Wed, Sep 07, 2016 at 09:32:36PM -0700, Dan Williams wrote:
> [ adding linux-fsdevel and linux-nvdimm ]
> On Wed, Sep 7, 2016 at 8:36 PM, Xiao Guangrong
> <guangrong.xiao@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> [..]
> > However, it is not easy to handle the case that the new VMA overlays with
> > the old VMA
> > already got by userspace. I think we have some choices:
> > 1: One way is completely skipping the new VMA region as current kernel code
> > does but i
> > do not think this is good as the later VMAs will be dropped.
> >
> > 2: show the un-overlayed portion of new VMA. In your case, we just show the
> > region
> > (0x2000 -> 0x3000), however, it can not work well if the VMA is a new
> > created
> > region with different attributions.
> >
> > 3: completely show the new VMA as this patch does.
> >
> > Which one do you prefer?
> >
> I don't have a preference, but perhaps this breakage and uncertainty
> is a good opportunity to propose a more reliable interface for NVML to
> get the information it needs?
> My understanding is that it is looking for the VM_MIXEDMAP flag which
> is already ambiguous for determining if DAX is enabled even if this
> dynamic listing issue is fixed. XFS has arranged for DAX to be a
> per-inode capability and has an XFS-specific inode flag. We can make
> that a common inode flag, but it seems we should have a way to
> interrogate the mapping itself in the case where the inode is unknown
> or unavailable. I'm thinking extensions to mincore to have flags for
> DAX and possibly whether the page is part of a pte, pmd, or pud
> mapping. Just floating that idea before starting to look into the
> implementation, comments or other ideas welcome...

I think this goes back to our previous discussion about support for the PMEM
programming model. Really I think what NVML needs isn't a way to tell if it
is getting a DAX mapping, but whether it is getting a DAX mapping on a
filesystem that fully supports the PMEM programming model. This of course is
defined to be a filesystem where it can do all of its flushes from userspace
safely and never call fsync/msync, and that allocations that happen in page
faults will be synchronized to media before the page fault completes.

IIUC this is what NVML needs - a way to decide "do I use fsync/msync for
everything or can I rely fully on flushes from userspace?"

For all existing implementations, I think the answer is "you need to use
fsync/msync" because we don't yet have proper support for the PMEM programming

My best idea of how to support this was a per-inode flag similar to the one
supported by XFS that says "you have a PMEM capable DAX mapping", which NVML
would then interpret to mean "you can do flushes from userspace and be fully
safe". I think we really want this interface to be common over XFS and ext4.

If we can figure out a better way of doing this interface, say via mincore,
that's fine, but I don't think we can detangle this from the PMEM API