Re: [PATCH v4] KVM: halt-polling: poll for the upcoming fire timers

From: Wanpeng Li
Date: Tue May 24 2016 - 19:11:38 EST

2016-05-25 6:38 GMT+08:00 David Matlack <dmatlack@xxxxxxxxxx>:
> On Tue, May 24, 2016 at 12:57 AM, Wanpeng Li <kernellwp@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> From: Wanpeng Li <>
>> If an emulated lapic timer will fire soon(in the scope of 10us the
>> base of dynamic halt-polling, lower-end of message passing workload
>> latency TCP_RR's poll time < 10us) we can treat it as a short halt,
>> and poll to wait it fire, the fire callback apic_timer_fn() will set
>> KVM_REQ_PENDING_TIMER, and this flag will be check during busy poll.
>> This can avoid context switch overhead and the latency which we wake
>> up vCPU.
>> This feature is slightly different from current advance expiration
>> way. Advance expiration rely on the vCPU is running(do polling before
>> vmentry). But in some cases, the timer interrupt may be blocked by
>> other thread(i.e., IF bit is clear) and vCPU cannot be scheduled to
>> run immediately. So even advance the timer early, vCPU may still see
>> the latency. But polling is different, it ensures the vCPU to aware
>> the timer expiration before schedule out.
>> echo HRTICK > /sys/kernel/debug/sched_features in dynticks guests.
>> Context switching - times in microseconds - smaller is better
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> Host OS 2p/0K 2p/16K 2p/64K 8p/16K 8p/64K 16p/16K 16p/64K
>> ctxsw ctxsw ctxsw ctxsw ctxsw ctxsw ctxsw
>> --------- ------------- ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------- -------
>> kernel Linux 4.6.0+ 7.9800 11.0 10.8 14.6 9.4300 13.0 10.2 vanilla
>> kernel Linux 4.6.0+ 15.3 13.6 10.7 12.5 9.0000 12.8 7.38000 poll
> These results aren't very compelling. Sometimes polling is faster,
> sometimes vanilla is faster, sometimes they are about the same.

More processes and bigger cache footprints can get benefit from the
result since I open the hrtimer for the precision preemption. Actually
I try to emulate Yang's workload,
And his real workload can get more benefit as he mentioned,

> I imagine there are hyper sensitive workloads which cannot tolerate a
> long tail in timer latency (e.g. realtime workloads). I would expect a
> patch like this to provide a "smoothing effect", reducing that tail.
> But for cloud/server workloads, I would not expect any sensitivity to
> jitter in timer latency (especially while the VCPU is halted).

Yang's is real cloud workload.

> Note that while halt-polling happens when the CPU is idle, it's still
> not free. It constricts the scheduler's cpu load balancer, because the
> CPU appears to be busy. In KVM's default configuration, I'd prefer to
> only add more polling when the gain is clear. If there are guest
> workloads that want this patch, I'd suggest polling for timers be
> default-off. At minimum, there should be a module parameter to control
> it (like Christian Borntraeger suggested).

Yeah, I will add the module parameter in order to enable/disable.

Wanpeng Li