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Re: [Xen-devel] schedulers and topology exposing questions

On Wed, Jan 27, 2016 at 03:10:01PM +0000, George Dunlap wrote:
> On 27/01/16 14:33, Konrad Rzeszutek Wilk wrote:
> > On Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 11:21:36AM +0000, George Dunlap wrote:
> >> On 22/01/16 16:54, Elena Ufimtseva wrote:
> >>> Hello all!
> >>>
> >>> Dario, Gerorge or anyone else,  your help will be appreciated.
> >>>
> >>> Let me put some intro to our findings. I may forget something or put 
> >>> something
> >>> not too explicit, please ask me.
> >>>
> >>> Customer filled a bug where some of the applications were running slow in 
> >>> their HVM DomU setups.
> >>> These running times were compared against baremetal running same kernel 
> >>> version as HVM DomU.
> >>>
> >>> After some investigation by different parties, the test case scenario was 
> >>> found
> >>> where the problem was easily seen. The test app is a udp server/client 
> >>> pair where
> >>> client passes some message n number of times.
> >>> The test case was executed on baremetal and Xen DomU with kernel version 
> >>> 2.6.39.
> >>> Bare metal showed 2x times better result that DomU.
> >>>
> >>> Konrad came up with a workaround that was setting the flag for domain 
> >>> scheduler in linux
> >>> As the guest is not aware of SMT-related topology, it has a flat topology 
> >>> initialized.
> >>> Kernel has domain scheduler flags for scheduling domain CPU set to 4143 
> >>> for 2.6.39.
> >>> Konrad discovered that changing the flag for CPU sched domain to 4655
> >>> works as a workaround and makes Linux think that the topology has SMT 
> >>> threads.
> >>> This workaround makes the test to complete almost in same time as on 
> >>> baremetal (or insignificantly worse).
> >>>
> >>> This workaround is not suitable for kernels of higher versions as we 
> >>> discovered.
> >>>
> >>> The hackish way of making domU linux think that it has SMT threads (along 
> >>> with matching cpuid)
> >>> made us thinks that the problem comes from the fact that cpu topology is 
> >>> not exposed to
> >>> guest and Linux scheduler cannot make intelligent decision on scheduling.
> >>>
> >>> Joao Martins from Oracle developed set of patches that fixed the 
> >>> smt/core/cashe
> >>> topology numbering and provided matching pinning of vcpus and enabling 
> >>> options,
> >>> allows to expose to guest correct topology.
> >>> I guess Joao will be posting it at some point.
> >>>
> >>> With this patches we decided to test the performance impact on different 
> >>> kernel versionand Xen versions.
> >>>
> >>> The test described above was labeled as IO-bound test.
> >>
> >> So just to clarify: The client sends a request (presumably not much more
> >> than a ping) to the server, and waits for the server to respond before
> >> sending another one; and the server does the reverse -- receives a
> >> request, responds, and then waits for the next request.  Is that right?
> > 
> > Yes.
> >>
> >> How much data is transferred?
> > 
> > 1 packet, UDP
> >>
> >> If the amount of data transferred is tiny, then the bottleneck for the
> >> test is probably the IPI time, and I'd call this a "ping-pong"
> >> benchmark[1].  I would only call this "io-bound" if you're actually
> >> copying large amounts of data.
> > 
> > What we found is that on baremetal the scheduler would put both apps
> > on the same CPU and schedule them right after each other. This would
> > have a high IPI as the scheduler would poke itself.
> > On Xen it would put the two applications on seperate CPUs - and there
> > would be hardly any IPI.
> Sorry -- why would the scheduler send itself an IPI if it's on the same
> logical cpu (which seems pretty pointless), but *not* send an IPI to the
> *other* processor when it was actually waking up another task?
> Or do you mean high context switch rate?

Yes, very high.
> > Digging deeper in the code I found out that if you do an UDP sendmsg
> > without any timeouts - it would put it in a queue and just call schedule.
> You mean, it would mark the other process as runnable somehow, but not
> actually send an IPI to wake it up?  Is that a new "feature" designed

Correct - because the other process was not on its vCPU runqueue.

> for large systems, to reduce the IPI traffic or something?

This is just a normal Linux scheduler. The only way it would do an IPI
to the other CPU was if the UDP message had an timeout. The default
timeout is infite so it didn't bother to send an IPI.

> > On baremetal the schedule would result in scheduler picking up the other
> > task, and starting it - which would dequeue immediately.
> > 
> > On Xen - the schedule() would go HLT.. and then later be woken up by the
> > VIRQ_TIMER. And since the two applications were on seperate CPUs - the
> > single packet would just stick in the queue until the VIRQ_TIMER arrived.
> I'm not sure I understand the situation right, but it sounds a bit like
> what you're seeing is just a quirk of the fact that Linux doesn't always
> send IPIs to wake other processes up (either by design or by accident),

It does and it does not :-)

> but relies on scheduling timers to check for work to do.  Presumably

It .. I am not explaining it well. The Linux kernel scheduler when
called for 'schedule' (from the UDP sendmsg) would either pick the next
appliction and do a context swap - of if there were none - go to sleep.
[Kind of - it also may do an IPI to the other CPU if requested ,but that 
some hints from underlaying layers]
Since there were only two apps on the runqueue - udp sender and udp receiver
it would run them back-to back (this is on baremetal)

However if SMT was not exposed - the Linux kernel scheduler would put those
on each CPU runqueue. Meaning each CPU only had one app on its runqueue.

Hence no need to do an context switch.
[unless you modified the UDP message to have a timeout, then it would
send an IPI]
> they knew that low performance on ping-pong workloads might be a
> possibility when they wrote the code that way; I don't see a reason why
> we should try to work around that in Xen.

Which is not what I am suggesting.

Our first ideas was that since this is a Linux kernel schduler characteristic
- let us give the guest all the information it needs to do this. That is
make it look as baremetal as possible - and that is where the vCPU
pinning and the exposing of SMT information came about. That (Elena
pls correct me if I am wrong) did indeed show that the guest was doing
what we expected.

But naturally that requires pinning and all that - and while it is a useful
case for those that have the vCPUs to spare and can do it - that is not
a general use-case.

So Elena started looking at the CPU bound and seeing how Xen behaves then
and if we can improve the floating situation as she saw some abnormal

I do not see any way to fix the udp single message mechanism except
by modifying the Linux kernel scheduler - and indeed it looks like later
kernels modified their behavior. Also doing the vCPU pinning and SMT exposing
did not hurt in those cases (Elena?).

>  -George

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