On x86_64 this cuts allocation overhead for page table pages down to a
fraction (kernel compile / editing load. TSC based measurement of times spend
in each function):
pte_alloc 1569048 4.3s(401ns/2.7us/179.7us)
pmd_alloc 780988 2.1s(337ns/2.7us/86.1us)
pud_alloc 780072 2.2s(424ns/2.8us/300.6us)
pgd_alloc 260022 1s(920ns/4us/263.1us)
pte_alloc 452436 573.4ms(8ns/1.3us/121.1us)
pmd_alloc 196204 174.5ms(7ns/889ns/46.1us)
pud_alloc 195688 172.4ms(7ns/881ns/151.3us)
pgd_alloc 65228 9.8ms(8ns/150ns/6.1us)
pgd allocations are the most complex and there we see the most dramatic
improvement (may be we can cut down the amount of pgds cached somewhat?). But
even the pte allocations still see a doubling of performance.
1. Proven code from the IA64 arch.
The method used here has been fine tuned for years and
is NUMA aware. It is based on the knowledge that accesses
to page table pages are sparse in nature. Taking a page
off the freelists instead of allocating a zeroed pages
allows a reduction of number of cachelines touched
in addition to getting rid of the slab overhead. So
performance improves. This is particularly useful if pgds
contain standard mappings. We can save on the teardown
and setup of such a page if we have some on the quicklists.
This includes avoiding lists operations that are otherwise
necessary on alloc and free to track pgds.
2. Light weight alternative to use slab to manage page size pages
Slab overhead is significant and even page allocator use
is pretty heavy weight. The use of a per cpu quicklist
means that we touch only two cachelines for an allocation.
There is no need to access the page_struct (unless arch code
needs to fiddle around with it). So the fast past just
means bringing in one cacheline at the beginning of the
page. That same cacheline may then be used to store the
page table entry. Or a second cacheline may be used
if the page table entry is not in the first cacheline of
the page. The current code will zero the page which means
touching 32 cachelines (assuming 128 byte). We get down
from 32 to 2 cachelines in the fast path.
3. x86_64 gets lightweight page table page management.
This will allow x86_64 arch code to faster repopulate pgds
and other page table entries. The list operations for pgds
are reduced in the same way as for i386 to the point where
a pgd is allocated from the page allocator and when it is
freed back to the page allocator. A pgd can pass through
the quicklists without having to be reinitialized.
64 Consolidation of code from multiple arches
So far arches have their own implementation of quicklist
management. This patch moves that feature into the core allowing
an easier maintenance and consistent management of quicklists.
Page table pages have the characteristics that they are typically zero or in a
known state when they are freed. This is usually the exactly same state as
needed after allocation. So it makes sense to build a list of freed page
table pages and then consume the pages already in use first. Those pages have
already been initialized correctly (thus no need to zero them) and are likely
already cached in such a way that the MMU can use them most effectively. Page
table pages are used in a sparse way so zeroing them on allocation is not too
Such an implementation already exits for ia64. Howver, that implementation
did not support constructors and destructors as needed by i386 / x86_64. It
also only supported a single quicklist. The implementation here has
constructor and destructor support as well as the ability for an arch to
specify how many quicklists are needed.
Quicklists are defined by an arch defining CONFIG_QUICKLIST. If more than one
quicklist is necessary then we can define NR_QUICK for additional lists. F.e.
i386 needs two and thus has
If an arch has requested quicklist support then pages can be allocated
from the quicklist (or from the page allocator if the quicklist is
quicklist_alloc(<quicklist-nr>, <gfpflags>, <constructor>)
Page table pages can be freed using:
quicklist_free(<quicklist-nr>, <destructor>, <page>)
Pages must have a definite state after allocation and before
they are freed. If no constructor is specified then pages
will be zeroed on allocation and must be zeroed before they are
If a constructor is used then the constructor will establish
a definite page state. F.e. the i386 and x86_64 pgd constructors
establish certain mappings.
Constructors and destructors can also be used to track the pages.
i386 and x86_64 use a list of pgds in order to be able to dynamically
update standard mappings.
Signed-off-by: Christoph Lameter <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: "David S. Miller" <email@example.com>
Cc: Andi Kleen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: "Luck, Tony" <email@example.com>
Cc: William Lee Irwin III <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Signed-off-by: Andrew Morton <email@example.com>
Signed-off-by: Linus Torvalds <firstname.lastname@example.org>