Re: [RFC][Patch v8 0/7] KVM: Guest Free Page Hinting

From: David Hildenbrand
Date: Wed Feb 13 2019 - 12:59:32 EST

>>>> Nitesh uses MADV_FREE here (as far as I recall :) ), to only mark pages as
>>>> candidates for removal and if the host is low on memory, only scanning the
>>>> guest page tables is sufficient to free up memory.
>>>> But both points might just be an implementation detail in the example you
>>>> describe.
>>> Yes, it is an implementation detail. I think DONTNEED would be easier
>>> for the first step.
>>>>> In above 2), get_free_page_hints clears the bits which indicates that those
>>>> pages are not ready to be used by the guest yet. Why?
>>>>> This is because 3) will unmap the underlying physical pages from EPT.
>>>> Normally, when guest re-visits those pages, EPT violations and QEMU page
>>>> faults will get a new host page to set up the related EPT entry. If guest uses
>>>> that page before the page gets unmapped (i.e. right before step 3), no EPT
>>>> violation happens and the guest will use the same physical page that will be
>>>> unmapped and given to other host threads. So we need to make sure that
>>>> the guest free page is usable only after step 3 finishes.
>>>>> Back to arch_alloc_page(), it needs to check if the allocated pages
>>>>> have "1" set in the bitmap, if that's true, just clear the bits. Otherwise, it
>>>> means step 2) above has happened and step 4) hasn't been reached. In this
>>>> case, we can either have arch_alloc_page() busywaiting a bit till 4) is done
>>>> for that page Or better to have a balloon callback which prioritize 3) and 4)
>>>> to make this page usable by the guest.
>>>> Regarding the latter, the VCPU allocating a page cannot do anything if the
>>>> page (along with other pages) is just being freed by the hypervisor.
>>>> It has to busy-wait, no chance to prioritize.
>>> I meant this:
>>> With this approach, essentially the free pages have 2 states:
>>> ready free page: the page is on the free list and it has "1" in the bitmap
>>> non-ready free page: the page is on the free list and it has "0" in the bitmap
>>> Ready free pages are those who can be allocated to use.
>>> Non-ready free pages are those who are in progress of being reported to
>>> host and the related EPT mapping is about to be zapped.
>>> The non-ready pages are inserted into the report_vq and waiting for the
>>> host to zap the mappings one by one. After the mapping gets zapped
>>> (which means the backing host page has been taken away), host acks to
>>> the guest to mark the free page as ready free page (set the bit to 1 in the bitmap).
>> Yes, that's how I understood your approach. The interesting part is
>> where somebody finds a buddy page and wants to allocate it.
>>> So the non-ready free page may happen to be used when they are waiting in
>>> the report_vq to be handled by the host to zap the mapping, balloon could
>>> have a fast path to notify the host:
>>> "page 0x1000 is about to be used, donât zap the mapping when you get
>>> 0x1000 from the report_vq" /*option [1] */
>> This requires coordination and in any case there will be a scenario
>> where you have to wait for the hypervisor to eventually finish a madv
>> call. You can just try to make that scenario less likely.
>> What you propose is synchronous in the worst case. Getting pages of the
>> buddy makes it possible to have it done completely asynchronous. Nobody
>> allocating a page has to wait.
>>> Or
>>> "page 0x1000 is about to be used, please zap the mapping NOW, i.e. do 3) and 4) above,
>>> so that the free page will be marked as ready free page and the guest can use it".
>>> This option will generate an extra EPT violation and QEMU page fault to get a new host
>>> page to back the guest ready free page.
>> Again, coordination with the hypervisor while allocating a page. That is
>> to be avoided in any case.
>>>>> Using bitmaps to record free page hints don't need to take the free pages
>>>> off the buddy list and return them later, which needs to go through the long
>>>> allocation/free code path.
>>>> Yes, but it means that any process is able to get stuck on such a page for as
>>>> long as it takes to report the free pages to the hypervisor and for it to call
>>>> madvise(pfn_start, DONTNEED) on any such page.
>>> This only happens when the guest thread happens to get allocated on a page which is
>>> being reported to the host. Using option [1] above will avoid this.
>> I think getting pages out of the buddy system temporarily is the only
>> way we can avoid somebody else stumbling over a page currently getting
>> reported by the hypervisor. Otherwise, as I said, there are scenarios
>> where a allocating VCPU has to wait for the hypervisor to finish the
>> "freeing" task. While you can try to "speedup" that scenario -
>> "hypervisor please prioritize" you cannot avoid it. There will be busy
>> waiting.
> Right - there has to be waiting. But it does not have to be busy -
> if you can defer page use until interrupt, that's one option.
> Further if you are ready to exit to hypervisor it does not have to be
> busy waiting. In particular right now virtio does not have a capability
> to stop queue processing by device. We could add that if necessary. In
> that case, you would stop queue and detach buffers. It is already
> possible by reseting the balloon. Naturally there is no magic - you
> exit to hypervisor and block there. It's not all that great
> in that VCPU does not run at all. But it is not busy waiting.

Of course, you can always yield to the hypervisor and not call it busy
waiting. From the guest point of view, it is busy waiting. The VCPU is
to making progress. If I am not wrong, one can easily construct examples
where all VCPUs in the guest are waiting for the hypervisor to
madv(dontneed) pages. I don't like that approach

Especially if temporarily getting pages out of the buddy resolves these
issues and seems to work.



David / dhildenb