Re: [RFC PATCH 00/16] 1GB THP support on x86_64

From: David Hildenbrand
Date: Thu Sep 10 2020 - 04:27:57 EST

On 10.09.20 09:32, Michal Hocko wrote:
> [Cc Vlastimil and Mel - the whole email thread starts
> but this particular subthread has diverged a bit and you might find it
> interesting]
> On Wed 09-09-20 15:43:55, David Hildenbrand wrote:
>> On 09.09.20 15:19, Rik van Riel wrote:
>>> On Wed, 2020-09-09 at 09:04 +0200, Michal Hocko wrote:
>>>> On Tue 08-09-20 10:41:10, Rik van Riel wrote:
>>>>> On Tue, 2020-09-08 at 16:35 +0200, Michal Hocko wrote:
>>>>>> A global knob is insufficient. 1G pages will become a very
>>>>>> precious
>>>>>> resource as it requires a pre-allocation (reservation). So it
>>>>>> really
>>>>>> has
>>>>>> to be an opt-in and the question is whether there is also some
>>>>>> sort
>>>>>> of
>>>>>> access control needed.
>>>>> The 1GB pages do not require that much in the way of
>>>>> pre-allocation. The memory can be obtained through CMA,
>>>>> which means it can be used for movable 4kB and 2MB
>>>>> allocations when not
>>>>> being used for 1GB pages.
>>>> That CMA has to be pre-reserved, right? That requires a
>>>> configuration.
>>> To some extent, yes.
>>> However, because that pool can be used for movable
>>> 4kB and 2MB
>>> pages as well as for 1GB pages, it would be easy to just set
>>> the size of that pool to eg. 1/3 or even 1/2 of memory for every
>>> system.
>>> It isn't like the pool needs to be the exact right size. We
>>> just need to avoid the "highmem problem" of having too little
>>> memory for kernel allocations.
>> I am not sure I like the trend towards CMA that we are seeing, reserving
>> huge buffers for specific users (and eventually even doing it
>> automatically).
>> What we actually want is ZONE_MOVABLE with relaxed guarantees, such that
>> anybody who requires large, unmovable allocations can use it.
>> I once played with the idea of having ZONE_PREFER_MOVABLE, which
>> a) Is the primary choice for movable allocations
>> b) Is allowed to contain unmovable allocations (esp., gigantic pages)
>> c) Is the fallback for ZONE_NORMAL for unmovable allocations, instead of
>> running out of memory
> I might be missing something but how can this work longterm? Or put in
> another words why would this work any better than existing fragmentation
> avoidance techniques that page allocator implements already - movability
> grouping etc. Please note that I am not deeply familiar with those but
> my high level understanding is that we already try hard to not mix
> movable and unmovable objects in same page blocks as much as we can.

Note that we group in pageblock granularity, which avoids fragmentation
on a pageblock level, not on anything bigger than that. Especially
MAX_ORDER - 1 pages (e.g., on x86-64) and gigantic pages.

So once you run for some time on a system (especially thinking about
page shuffling *within* a zone), trying to allocate a gigantic page will
simply always fail - even if you always had plenty of free memory in
your single zone.

> My suspicion is that a separate zone would work in a similar fashion. As
> long as there is a lot of free memory then zone will be effectively
> MOVABLE. Similar applies to normal zone when unmovable allocations are

Note the difference to MOVABLE: if you really want, you *can* put
movable allocations into that zone. So you can happily allocate gigantic
pages from it. Or anything else you like. As the name suggests "prefer
movable allocations".

> in minority. As long as the Normal zone gets full of unmovable objects
> they start overflowing to ZONE_PREFER_MOVABLE and it will resemble page
> block stealing when unmovable objects start spreading over movable page
> blocks.

Right, the long-term goal would be
1. To limit the chance of that happening. (e.g., size it in a way that's
safe for 99.9% of all setups, resize dynamically on demand)
2. To limit the physical area where that is happening (e.g., find lowest
possible pageblock etc.). That's more tricky but I consider this a pure
optimization on top.

As long as we stay in safe zone boundaries you get a benefit in most
scenarios. As soon as we would have a (temporary) workload that would
require more unmovable allocations we would fallback to polluting some
pageblocks only.

> Again, my level of expertise to page allocator is quite low so all the
> above might be simply wrong...

Same over here. I had this idea in my mind for quite a while but
obviously didn't get to figure out the details/implement yet - that's
why I decided to share the basic idea just now.


David / dhildenb