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Subject[PATCH V4] mlx4_core: allocate ICM memory in page size chunks
When a system is under memory presure (high usage with fragments),
the original 256KB ICM chunk allocations will likely trigger kernel
memory management to enter slow path doing memory compact/migration
ops in order to complete high order memory allocations.

When that happens, user processes calling uverb APIs may get stuck
for more than 120s easily even though there are a lot of free pages
in smaller chunks available in the system.

Dec 10 09:04:51 slcc03db02 kernel: [397078.572732] INFO: task
oracle_205573_e:205573 blocked for more than 120 seconds.

With 4KB ICM chunk size on x86_64 arch, the above issue is fixed.

However in order to support smaller ICM chunk size, we need to fix
another issue in large size kcalloc allocations.

Setting log_num_mtt=30 requires 1G mtt entries. With the 4KB ICM chunk
size, each ICM chunk can only hold 512 mtt entries (8 bytes for each mtt
entry). So we need a 16MB allocation for a table->icm pointer array to
hold 2M pointers which can easily cause kcalloc to fail.

The solution is to use kvzalloc to replace kcalloc which will fall back
to vmalloc automatically if kmalloc fails.

Signed-off-by: Qing Huang <>
Acked-by: Daniel Jurgens <>
Reviewed-by: Zhu Yanjun <>
v4: use kvzalloc instead of vzalloc
add one err condition check
don't include vmalloc.h any more

v3: use PAGE_SIZE instead of PAGE_SHIFT
add comma to the end of enum variables
include vmalloc.h header file to avoid build issues on Sparc

v2: adjusted chunk size to reflect different architectures

drivers/net/ethernet/mellanox/mlx4/icm.c | 16 +++++++++-------
1 file changed, 9 insertions(+), 7 deletions(-)

diff --git a/drivers/net/ethernet/mellanox/mlx4/icm.c b/drivers/net/ethernet/mellanox/mlx4/icm.c
index a822f7a..685337d 100644
--- a/drivers/net/ethernet/mellanox/mlx4/icm.c
+++ b/drivers/net/ethernet/mellanox/mlx4/icm.c
@@ -43,12 +43,12 @@
#include "fw.h"

- * We allocate in as big chunks as we can, up to a maximum of 256 KB
- * per chunk.
+ * We allocate in page size (default 4KB on many archs) chunks to avoid high
+ * order memory allocations in fragmented/high usage memory situation.
enum {
- MLX4_ICM_ALLOC_SIZE = 1 << 18,

static void mlx4_free_icm_pages(struct mlx4_dev *dev, struct mlx4_icm_chunk *chunk)
@@ -398,9 +398,11 @@ int mlx4_init_icm_table(struct mlx4_dev *dev, struct mlx4_icm_table *table,
u64 size;

obj_per_chunk = MLX4_TABLE_CHUNK_SIZE / obj_size;
+ if (WARN_ON(!obj_per_chunk))
+ return -EINVAL;
num_icm = (nobj + obj_per_chunk - 1) / obj_per_chunk;

- table->icm = kcalloc(num_icm, sizeof(*table->icm), GFP_KERNEL);
+ table->icm = kvzalloc(num_icm * sizeof(*table->icm), GFP_KERNEL);
if (!table->icm)
return -ENOMEM;
table->virt = virt;
@@ -446,7 +448,7 @@ int mlx4_init_icm_table(struct mlx4_dev *dev, struct mlx4_icm_table *table,
mlx4_free_icm(dev, table->icm[i], use_coherent);

- kfree(table->icm);
+ kvfree(table->icm);

return -ENOMEM;
@@ -462,5 +464,5 @@ void mlx4_cleanup_icm_table(struct mlx4_dev *dev, struct mlx4_icm_table *table)
mlx4_free_icm(dev, table->icm[i], table->coherent);

- kfree(table->icm);
+ kvfree(table->icm);
 \ /
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