path: root/kernel/Makefile
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authorMathieu Desnoyers <>2015-09-11 13:07:39 -0700
committerLinus Torvalds <>2015-09-11 15:21:34 -0700
commit5b25b13ab08f616efd566347d809b4ece54570d1 (patch)
tree14dc4e441a92c02f8e475306d1c838d0b4b38726 /kernel/Makefile
parent7c0d35a339db612aae5496424030307128f088a9 (diff)
sys_membarrier(): system-wide memory barrier (generic, x86)
Here is an implementation of a new system call, sys_membarrier(), which executes a memory barrier on all threads running on the system. It is implemented by calling synchronize_sched(). It can be used to distribute the cost of user-space memory barriers asymmetrically by transforming pairs of memory barriers into pairs consisting of sys_membarrier() and a compiler barrier. For synchronization primitives that distinguish between read-side and write-side (e.g. userspace RCU [1], rwlocks), the read-side can be accelerated significantly by moving the bulk of the memory barrier overhead to the write-side. The existing applications of which I am aware that would be improved by this system call are as follows: * Through Userspace RCU library ( - DNS server (Knot DNS) - Network sniffer ( - Distributed object storage ( - User-space tracing ( - Network storage system ( - Virtual routers ( - Financial software ( Those projects use RCU in userspace to increase read-side speed and scalability compared to locking. Especially in the case of RCU used by libraries, sys_membarrier can speed up the read-side by moving the bulk of the memory barrier cost to synchronize_rcu(). * Direct users of sys_membarrier - core dotnet garbage collector ( Microsoft core dotnet GC developers are planning to use the mprotect() side-effect of issuing memory barriers through IPIs as a way to implement Windows FlushProcessWriteBuffers() on Linux. They are referring to sys_membarrier in their github thread, specifically stating that sys_membarrier() is what they are looking for. To explain the benefit of this scheme, let's introduce two example threads: Thread A (non-frequent, e.g. executing liburcu synchronize_rcu()) Thread B (frequent, e.g. executing liburcu rcu_read_lock()/rcu_read_unlock()) In a scheme where all smp_mb() in thread A are ordering memory accesses with respect to smp_mb() present in Thread B, we can change each smp_mb() within Thread A into calls to sys_membarrier() and each smp_mb() within Thread B into compiler barriers "barrier()". Before the change, we had, for each smp_mb() pairs: Thread A Thread B previous mem accesses previous mem accesses smp_mb() smp_mb() following mem accesses following mem accesses After the change, these pairs become: Thread A Thread B prev mem accesses prev mem accesses sys_membarrier() barrier() follow mem accesses follow mem accesses As we can see, there are two possible scenarios: either Thread B memory accesses do not happen concurrently with Thread A accesses (1), or they do (2). 1) Non-concurrent Thread A vs Thread B accesses: Thread A Thread B prev mem accesses sys_membarrier() follow mem accesses prev mem accesses barrier() follow mem accesses In this case, thread B accesses will be weakly ordered. This is OK, because at that point, thread A is not particularly interested in ordering them with respect to its own accesses. 2) Concurrent Thread A vs Thread B accesses Thread A Thread B prev mem accesses prev mem accesses sys_membarrier() barrier() follow mem accesses follow mem accesses In this case, thread B accesses, which are ensured to be in program order thanks to the compiler barrier, will be "upgraded" to full smp_mb() by synchronize_sched(). * Benchmarks On Intel Xeon E5405 (8 cores) (one thread is calling sys_membarrier, the other 7 threads are busy looping) 1000 non-expedited sys_membarrier calls in 33s =3D 33 milliseconds/call. * User-space user of this system call: Userspace RCU library Both the signal-based and the sys_membarrier userspace RCU schemes permit us to remove the memory barrier from the userspace RCU rcu_read_lock() and rcu_read_unlock() primitives, thus significantly accelerating them. These memory barriers are replaced by compiler barriers on the read-side, and all matching memory barriers on the write-side are turned into an invocation of a memory barrier on all active threads in the process. By letting the kernel perform this synchronization rather than dumbly sending a signal to every process threads (as we currently do), we diminish the number of unnecessary wake ups and only issue the memory barriers on active threads. Non-running threads do not need to execute such barrier anyway, because these are implied by the scheduler context switches. Results in liburcu: Operations in 10s, 6 readers, 2 writers: memory barriers in reader: 1701557485 reads, 2202847 writes signal-based scheme: 9830061167 reads, 6700 writes sys_membarrier: 9952759104 reads, 425 writes sys_membarrier (dyn. check): 7970328887 reads, 425 writes The dynamic sys_membarrier availability check adds some overhead to the read-side compared to the signal-based scheme, but besides that, sys_membarrier slightly outperforms the signal-based scheme. However, this non-expedited sys_membarrier implementation has a much slower grace period than signal and memory barrier schemes. Besides diminishing the number of wake-ups, one major advantage of the membarrier system call over the signal-based scheme is that it does not need to reserve a signal. This plays much more nicely with libraries, and with processes injected into for tracing purposes, for which we cannot expect that signals will be unused by the application. An expedited version of this system call can be added later on to speed up the grace period. Its implementation will likely depend on reading the cpu_curr()->mm without holding each CPU's rq lock. This patch adds the system call to x86 and to asm-generic. [1] membarrier(2) man page: MEMBARRIER(2) Linux Programmer's Manual MEMBARRIER(2) NAME membarrier - issue memory barriers on a set of threads SYNOPSIS #include <linux/membarrier.h> int membarrier(int cmd, int flags); DESCRIPTION The cmd argument is one of the following: MEMBARRIER_CMD_QUERY Query the set of supported commands. It returns a bitmask of supported commands. MEMBARRIER_CMD_SHARED Execute a memory barrier on all threads running on the system. Upon return from system call, the caller thread is ensured that all running threads have passed through a state where all memory accesses to user-space addresses match program order between entry to and return from the system call (non-running threads are de facto in such a state). This covers threads from all pro=E2=80=90 cesses running on the system. This command returns 0. The flags argument needs to be 0. For future extensions. All memory accesses performed in program order from each targeted thread is guaranteed to be ordered with respect to sys_membarrier(). If we use the semantic "barrier()" to represent a compiler barrier forcing memory accesses to be performed in program order across the barrier, and smp_mb() to represent explicit memory barriers forcing full memory ordering across the barrier, we have the following ordering table for each pair of barrier(), sys_membarrier() and smp_mb(): The pair ordering is detailed as (O: ordered, X: not ordered): barrier() smp_mb() sys_membarrier() barrier() X X O smp_mb() X O O sys_membarrier() O O O RETURN VALUE On success, these system calls return zero. On error, -1 is returned, and errno is set appropriately. For a given command, with flags argument set to 0, this system call is guaranteed to always return the same value until reboot. ERRORS ENOSYS System call is not implemented. EINVAL Invalid arguments. Linux 2015-04-15 MEMBARRIER(2) Signed-off-by: Mathieu Desnoyers <> Reviewed-by: Paul E. McKenney <> Reviewed-by: Josh Triplett <> Cc: KOSAKI Motohiro <> Cc: Steven Rostedt <> Cc: Nicholas Miell <> Cc: Ingo Molnar <> Cc: Alan Cox <> Cc: Lai Jiangshan <> Cc: Stephen Hemminger <> Cc: Thomas Gleixner <> Cc: Peter Zijlstra <> Cc: David Howells <> Cc: Pranith Kumar <> Cc: Michael Kerrisk <> Cc: Shuah Khan <> Signed-off-by: Andrew Morton <> Signed-off-by: Linus Torvalds <>
Diffstat (limited to 'kernel/Makefile')
1 files changed, 1 insertions, 0 deletions
diff --git a/kernel/Makefile b/kernel/Makefile
index d4988410b410..53abf008ecb3 100644
--- a/kernel/Makefile
+++ b/kernel/Makefile
@@ -100,6 +100,7 @@ obj-$(CONFIG_CRASH_DUMP) += crash_dump.o
obj-$(CONFIG_JUMP_LABEL) += jump_label.o
obj-$(CONFIG_CONTEXT_TRACKING) += context_tracking.o
obj-$(CONFIG_TORTURE_TEST) += torture.o
+obj-$(CONFIG_MEMBARRIER) += membarrier.o
obj-$(CONFIG_HAS_IOMEM) += memremap.o