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Re: [Xen-devel] Proposed new "memory capacity claim" hypercall/feature

On 30/10/2012 00:03, "Dan Magenheimer" <dan.magenheimer@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

>> From: Keir Fraser [mailto:keir@xxxxxxx]
>> Subject: Re: Proposed new "memory capacity claim" hypercall/feature
>> On 29/10/2012 21:08, "Dan Magenheimer" <dan.magenheimer@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> Well it does depend how scalable domain creation actually is as an
>> operation. If it is spending most of its time allocating memory then it is
>> quite likely that parallel creations will spend a lot of time competing for
>> the heap spinlock, and actually there will be little/no speedup compared
>> with serialising the creations. Further, if domain creation can take
>> minutes, it may be that we simply need to go optimise that -- we already
>> found one stupid thing in the heap allocator recently that was burining
>> loads of time during large-memory domain creations, and fixed it for a
>> massive speedup in that particular case.
> I suppose ultimately it is a scalability question.  But Oracle's
> measure of success here is based on how long a human or a tool
> has to wait for confirmation to ensure that a domain will
> successfully launch.  If two domains are launched in parallel
> AND an indication is given that both will succeed, spinning on
> the heaplock a bit just makes for a longer "boot" time, which is
> just a cost of virtualization.  If they are launched in parallel
> and, minutes later (or maybe even 20 seconds later), one or
> both say "oops, I was wrong, there wasn't enough memory, so
> try again", that's not OK for data center operations, especially if
> there really was enough RAM for one, but not for both. Remember,
> in the Oracle environment, we are talking about an administrator/automation
> overseeing possibly hundreds of physical servers, not just a single
> user/server.
> Does that make more sense?

Yes, that makes sense.

> The "claim" approach immediately guarantees success or failure.
> Unless there are enough "stupid things/optimisations" found that
> you would be comfortable putting memory allocation for a domain
> creation in a hypervisor spinlock, there will be a race unless
> an atomic mechanism exists such as "claiming" where
> only simple arithmetic must be done within a hypervisor lock.
> Do you disagree?
>>> and (2) tmem and/or other dynamic
>>> memory mechanisms may be asynchronously absorbing small-but-significant
>>> portions of RAM for other purposes during an attempted domain launch.
>> This is an argument against allocate-rather-than-reserve? I don't think that
>> makes sense -- so is this instead an argument against
>> reservation-as-a-toolstack-only-mechanism? I'm not actually convinced yet we
>> need reservations *at all*, before we get down to where it should be
>> implemented.
> I'm not sure if we are defining terms the same, so that's hard
> to answer.  If you define "allocation" as "a physical RAM page frame
> number is selected (and possibly the physical page is zeroed)",
> then I'm not sure how your definition of "reservation" differs
> (because that's how increase/decrease_reservation are implemented
> in the hypervisor, right?).
> Or did you mean "allocate-rather-than-claim" (where "allocate" is
> select a specific physical pageframe and "claim" means do accounting
> only?  If so, see the atomicity argument above.
> I'm not just arguing against reservation-as-a-toolstack-mechanism,
> I'm stating I believe unequivocally that reservation-as-a-toolstack-
> only-mechanism and tmem are incompatible.  (Well, not _totally_
> incompatible... the existing workaround, tmem freeze/thaw, works
> but is also single-threaded and has fairly severe unnecessary
> performance repercussions.  So I'd like to solve both problems
> at the same time.)

Okay, so why is tmem incompatible with implementing claims in the toolstack?

 -- Keir

> Dan

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