Re: [RFC][Patch v9 0/6] KVM: Guest Free Page Hinting

From: David Hildenbrand
Date: Thu Mar 07 2019 - 16:28:29 EST

On 07.03.19 22:14, Alexander Duyck wrote:
> On Thu, Mar 7, 2019 at 10:53 AM Michael S. Tsirkin <mst@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> On Thu, Mar 07, 2019 at 10:45:58AM -0800, Alexander Duyck wrote:
>>> To that end what I think w may want to do is instead just walk the LRU
>>> list for a given zone/order in reverse order so that we can try to
>>> identify the pages that are most likely to be cold and unused and
>>> those are the first ones we want to be hinting on rather than the ones
>>> that were just freed. If we can look at doing something like adding a
>>> jiffies value to the page indicating when it was last freed we could
>>> even have a good point for determining when we should stop processing
>>> pages in a given zone/order list.
>>> In reality the approach wouldn't be too different from what you are
>>> doing now, the only real difference would be that we would just want
>>> to walk the LRU list for the given zone/order rather then pulling
>>> hints on what to free from the calls to free_one_page. In addition we
>>> would need to add a couple bits to indicate if the page has been
>>> hinted on, is in the middle of getting hinted on, and something such
>>> as the jiffies value I mentioned which we could use to determine how
>>> old the page is.
>> Do we really need bits in the page?
>> Would it be bad to just have a separate hint list?
> The issue is lists are expensive to search. If we have a single bit in
> the page we can check it as soon as we have the page.
>> If you run out of free memory you can check the hint
>> list, if you find stuff there you can spin
>> or kick the hypervisor to hurry up.
> This implies you are keeping a separate list of pages for what has
> been hinted on. If we are pulling pages out of the LRU list for that
> it will require the zone lock to move the pages back and forth and for
> higher core counts that isn't going to scale very well, and if you are
> trying to pull out a page that is currently being hinted on you will
> run into the same issue of having to wait for the hint to be completed
> before proceeding.
>> Core mm/ changes, so nothing's easy, I know.
> We might be able to reuse some existing page flags. For example, there
> is the PG_young and PG_idle flags that would actually be a pretty good
> fit in terms of what we are looking for in behavior. We could set
> PG_young when the page is initially freed, then clear it when we start
> to perform the hint, and set PG_idle once the hint has been completed.

Just noting that when hinting, we have to set all affected sub-page bits
as far as I see.

> The check for if we could use a page would be pretty fast as a result
> as well since if PG_young or PG_idle are set it means the page is free
> to use so the check in arch_alloc_page would be pretty cheap since we
> could probably test for both bits in one read.

I still dislike spinning on ordinary allocation paths. If we want to go
that way, core mm has to consider these bits and try other pages first.



David / dhildenb