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SubjectRe: [RFC 0/7] introduce memory hinting API for external process
On Tue, May 21, 2019 at 10:42:00AM +0200, Christian Brauner wrote:
> On Mon, May 20, 2019 at 12:52:47PM +0900, Minchan Kim wrote:
> > - Background
> >
> > The Android terminology used for forking a new process and starting an app
> > from scratch is a cold start, while resuming an existing app is a hot start.
> > While we continually try to improve the performance of cold starts, hot
> > starts will always be significantly less power hungry as well as faster so
> > we are trying to make hot start more likely than cold start.
> >
> > To increase hot start, Android userspace manages the order that apps should
> > be killed in a process called ActivityManagerService. ActivityManagerService
> > tracks every Android app or service that the user could be interacting with
> > at any time and translates that into a ranked list for lmkd(low memory
> > killer daemon). They are likely to be killed by lmkd if the system has to
> > reclaim memory. In that sense they are similar to entries in any other cache.
> > Those apps are kept alive for opportunistic performance improvements but
> > those performance improvements will vary based on the memory requirements of
> > individual workloads.
> >
> > - Problem
> >
> > Naturally, cached apps were dominant consumers of memory on the system.
> > However, they were not significant consumers of swap even though they are
> > good candidate for swap. Under investigation, swapping out only begins
> > once the low zone watermark is hit and kswapd wakes up, but the overall
> > allocation rate in the system might trip lmkd thresholds and cause a cached
> > process to be killed(we measured performance swapping out vs. zapping the
> > memory by killing a process. Unsurprisingly, zapping is 10x times faster
> > even though we use zram which is much faster than real storage) so kill
> > from lmkd will often satisfy the high zone watermark, resulting in very
> > few pages actually being moved to swap.
> >
> > - Approach
> >
> > The approach we chose was to use a new interface to allow userspace to
> > proactively reclaim entire processes by leveraging platform information.
> > This allowed us to bypass the inaccuracy of the kernel’s LRUs for pages
> > that are known to be cold from userspace and to avoid races with lmkd
> > by reclaiming apps as soon as they entered the cached state. Additionally,
> > it could provide many chances for platform to use much information to
> > optimize memory efficiency.
> >
> > IMHO we should spell it out that this patchset complements MADV_WONTNEED
> > and MADV_FREE by adding non-destructive ways to gain some free memory
> > space. MADV_COLD is similar to MADV_WONTNEED in a way that it hints the
> > kernel that memory region is not currently needed and should be reclaimed
> > immediately; MADV_COOL is similar to MADV_FREE in a way that it hints the
> > kernel that memory region is not currently needed and should be reclaimed
> > when memory pressure rises.
> >
> > To achieve the goal, the patchset introduce two new options for madvise.
> > One is MADV_COOL which will deactive activated pages and the other is
> > MADV_COLD which will reclaim private pages instantly. These new options
> > complement MADV_DONTNEED and MADV_FREE by adding non-destructive ways to
> > gain some free memory space. MADV_COLD is similar to MADV_DONTNEED in a way
> > that it hints the kernel that memory region is not currently needed and
> > should be reclaimed immediately; MADV_COOL is similar to MADV_FREE in a way
> > that it hints the kernel that memory region is not currently needed and
> > should be reclaimed when memory pressure rises.
> >
> > This approach is similar in spirit to madvise(MADV_WONTNEED), but the
> > information required to make the reclaim decision is not known to the app.
> > Instead, it is known to a centralized userspace daemon, and that daemon
> > must be able to initiate reclaim on its own without any app involvement.
> > To solve the concern, this patch introduces new syscall -
> >
> > struct pr_madvise_param {
> > int size;
> > const struct iovec *vec;
> > }
> >
> > int process_madvise(int pidfd, ssize_t nr_elem, int *behavior,
> > struct pr_madvise_param *restuls,
> > struct pr_madvise_param *ranges,
> > unsigned long flags);
> >
> > The syscall get pidfd to give hints to external process and provides
> > pair of result/ranges vector arguments so that it could give several
> > hints to each address range all at once.
> >
> > I guess others have different ideas about the naming of syscall and options
> > so feel free to suggest better naming.
>
> Yes, all new syscalls making use of pidfds should be named
> pidfd_<action>. So please make this pidfd_madvise.

I don't have any particular preference but just wondering why pidfd is
so special to have it as prefix of system call name.

>
> Please make sure to Cc me on this in the future as I'm maintaining
> pidfds. Would be great to have Jann on this too since he's been touching
> both mm and parts of the pidfd stuff with me.

Sure!

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