Re: [PATCH v9 0/8] stg mail -e --version=v9 \

From: Alexander Duyck
Date: Tue Sep 10 2019 - 10:42:56 EST

On Tue, Sep 10, 2019 at 5:42 AM Michal Hocko <mhocko@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> I wanted to review "mm: Introduce Reported pages" just realize that I
> have no clue on what is going on so returned to the cover and it didn't
> really help much. I am completely unfamiliar with virtio so please bear
> with me.
> On Sat 07-09-19 10:25:03, Alexander Duyck wrote:
> [...]
> > This series provides an asynchronous means of reporting to a hypervisor
> > that a guest page is no longer in use and can have the data associated
> > with it dropped. To do this I have implemented functionality that allows
> > for what I am referring to as unused page reporting
> >
> > The functionality for this is fairly simple. When enabled it will allocate
> > statistics to track the number of reported pages in a given free area.
> > When the number of free pages exceeds this value plus a high water value,
> > currently 32, it will begin performing page reporting which consists of
> > pulling pages off of free list and placing them into a scatter list. The
> > scatterlist is then given to the page reporting device and it will perform
> > the required action to make the pages "reported", in the case of
> > virtio-balloon this results in the pages being madvised as MADV_DONTNEED
> > and as such they are forced out of the guest. After this they are placed
> > back on the free list,
> And here I am reallly lost because "forced out of the guest" makes me
> feel that those pages are no longer usable by the guest. So how come you
> can add them back to the free list. I suspect understanding this part
> will allow me to understand why we have to mark those pages and prevent
> merging.

Basically as the paragraph above mentions "forced out of the guest"
really is just the hypervisor calling MADV_DONTNEED on the page in
question. So the behavior is the same as any userspace application
that calls MADV_DONTNEED where the contents are no longer accessible
from userspace and attempting to access them will result in a fault
and the page being populated with a zero fill on-demand page, or a
copy of the file contents if the memory is file backed.