Re: [PATCH RCFv2 0/7] mm: online/offline 4MB chunks controlled by device driver

From: David Hildenbrand
Date: Wed May 09 2018 - 10:14:56 EST

On 30.04.2018 11:42, David Hildenbrand wrote:
> I am right now working on a paravirtualized memory device ("virtio-mem").
> These devices control a memory region and the amount of memory available
> via it. Memory will not be indicated/added/onlined via ACPI and friends,
> the device driver is responsible for it.
> When the device driver starts up, it will add and online the requested
> amount of memory from its assigned physical memory region. On request, it can
> add (online) either more memory or try to remove (offline) memory. As it
> will be a virtio module, we also want to be able to have it as a loadable
> kernel module.
> Such a device can be thought of like a "resizable DIMM" or a "huge
> number of 4MB DIMMS" that can be automatically managed.
> As we want to be able to add/remove small chunks of memory to a VM without
> fragmenting guest memory ("it's not what the guest pays for" and "what if
> the hypervisor wants to sue huge pages"), it looks like we can do that
> under Linux in a 4MB granularity by using online_pages()/offline_pages()
> We add a segment and online only 4MB blocks of it on demand. So the other
> memory might not be accessible. For kdump and offlining code, we have to
> mark pages as offline before a new segment is visible to the system (e.g.
> as these pages might not be backed by real memory in the hypervisor).
> This is not a balloon driver. Main differences:
> - We can add more memory to a VM without having to use mixture of
> technologies - e.g. ACPI for plugging, balloon for unplugging (in contrast
> to virtio-balloon).
> - The device is responsible for its own memory only - will not inflate on
> any system memory. (in contrast to all balloons)
> - Works on a coarser granularity (e.g. 4MB because that's what we can
> online/offline in Linux). We are not using the buddy allocator when unplugging
> but really search for chunks of memory we can offline. We actually
> can support arbitrary block sizes. (in contrast to all balloons)
> - That's why we don't fragment guest memory.
> - A device can belong to exactly one NUMA node. This way we can online/offline
> memory in a fine granularity NUMA aware. Even if the guest does not even
> know how to spell NUMA. (in contrast to all balloons)
> - Architectures that don't have proper memory hotplug interfaces (e.g. s390x)
> get memory hotplug support. I have a prototype for s390x.
> - Once all 4MB chunks of a memory block are offline, we can remove the
> memory block and therefore the struct pages. (in contrast to all balloons)
> This essentially allows us to add/remove 4MB chunks to/from a VM. Especially
> without caring about the future when adding memory ("If I add a 128GB DIMM
> I can only unplug 128GB again") or running into limits ("If I want my VM to
> grow to 4TB, I have to plug at least 16GB per DIMM").
> Future work:
> - Performance improvements
> - Be smarter about which blocks to offline first (e.g. free ones)
> - Automatically manage assignemnt to NORMAL/MOVABLE zone to make
> unplug more likely to succeed.
> I will post the next prototype of virtio-mem shortly.

If there are no further comments, I'll send a v1 (!RFC) version, along
with the virtio-mem prototype after rebasing (assuming that nothing
breaks :) ).



David / dhildenb