Re: [Xen-devel] "tcp: refine TSO autosizing" causes performance regression on Xen

From: George Dunlap
Date: Wed Apr 15 2015 - 13:24:11 EST

On 04/15/2015 05:38 PM, Eric Dumazet wrote:
> My thoughts that instead of these long talks you should guys read the
> code :
> /* TCP Small Queues :
> * Control number of packets in qdisc/devices to two packets / or ~1 ms.
> * This allows for :
> * - better RTT estimation and ACK scheduling
> * - faster recovery
> * - high rates
> * Alas, some drivers / subsystems require a fair amount
> * of queued bytes to ensure line rate.
> * One example is wifi aggregation (802.11 AMPDU)
> */
> limit = max(2 * skb->truesize, sk->sk_pacing_rate >> 10);
> limit = min_t(u32, limit, sysctl_tcp_limit_output_bytes);
> Then you'll see that most of your questions are already answered.
> Feel free to try to improve the behavior, if it does not hurt critical workloads
> like TCP_RR, where we we send very small messages, millions times per second.

First of all, with regard to critical workloads, once this patch gets
into distros, *normal TCP streams* on every VM running on Amazon,
Rackspace, Linode, &c will get a 30% hit in performance *by default*.
Normal TCP streams on xennet *are* a critical workload, and deserve the
same kind of accommodation as TCP_RR (if not more). The same goes for

Secondly, according to Stefano's and Jonathan's tests,
tcp_limit_output_bytes completely fixes the problem for Xen.

Which means that max(2*skb->truesize, sk->sk_pacing_rate >>10) is
*already* larger for Xen; that calculation mentioned in the comment is
*already* doing the right thing.

As Jonathan pointed out, sysctl_tcp_limit_output_bytes is overriding an
automatic TSQ calculation which is actually choosing an effective value
for xennet.

It certainly makes sense for sysctl_tcp_limit_output_bytes to be an
actual maximum limit. I went back and looked at the original patch
which introduced it (46d3ceabd), and it looks to me like it was designed
to be a rough, quick estimate of "two packets outstanding" (by choosing
the maximum size of the packet, 64k, and multiplying it by two).

Now that you have a better algorithm -- the size of 2 actual packets or
the amount transmitted in 1ms -- it seems like the default
sysctl_tcp_limit_output_bytes should be higher, and let the automatic
TSQ you have on the first line throttle things down when necessary.

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