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Subject[PATCH v3 1/1] page_frag: Recover from memory pressure
The ethernet driver may allocate skb (and skb->data) via napi_alloc_skb().
This ends up to page_frag_alloc() to allocate skb->data from

During the memory pressure, page_frag_cache->va may be allocated as
pfmemalloc page. As a result, the skb->pfmemalloc is always true as
skb->data is from page_frag_cache->va. The skb will be dropped if the
sock (receiver) does not have SOCK_MEMALLOC. This is expected behaviour
under memory pressure.

However, once kernel is not under memory pressure any longer (suppose large
amount of memory pages are just reclaimed), the page_frag_alloc() may still
re-use the prior pfmemalloc page_frag_cache->va to allocate skb->data. As a
result, the skb->pfmemalloc is always true unless page_frag_cache->va is
re-allocated, even if the kernel is not under memory pressure any longer.

Here is how kernel runs into issue.

1. The kernel is under memory pressure and allocation of
PAGE_FRAG_CACHE_MAX_ORDER in __page_frag_cache_refill() will fail. Instead,
the pfmemalloc page is allocated for page_frag_cache->va.

2: All skb->data from page_frag_cache->va (pfmemalloc) will have
skb->pfmemalloc=true. The skb will always be dropped by sock without
SOCK_MEMALLOC. This is an expected behaviour.

3. Suppose a large amount of pages are reclaimed and kernel is not under
memory pressure any longer. We expect skb->pfmemalloc drop will not happen.

4. Unfortunately, page_frag_alloc() does not proactively re-allocate
page_frag_alloc->va and will always re-use the prior pfmemalloc page. The
skb->pfmemalloc is always true even kernel is not under memory pressure any

Fix this by freeing and re-allocating the page instead of recycling it.

Suggested-by: Matthew Wilcox (Oracle) <>
Cc: Aruna Ramakrishna <>
Cc: Bert Barbe <>
Cc: Rama Nichanamatlu <>
Cc: Venkat Venkatsubra <>
Cc: Manjunath Patil <>
Cc: Joe Jin <>
Fixes: 79930f5892e ("net: do not deplete pfmemalloc reserve")
Signed-off-by: Dongli Zhang <>
Acked-by: Vlastimil Babka <>
Changed since v1:
- change author from Matthew to Dongli
- Add references to all prior discussions
- Add more details to commit message
Changed since v2:
- add unlikely (suggested by Eric Dumazet)

mm/page_alloc.c | 5 +++++
1 file changed, 5 insertions(+)

diff --git a/mm/page_alloc.c b/mm/page_alloc.c
index 23f5066bd4a5..91129ce75ed4 100644
--- a/mm/page_alloc.c
+++ b/mm/page_alloc.c
@@ -5103,6 +5103,11 @@ void *page_frag_alloc(struct page_frag_cache *nc,
if (!page_ref_sub_and_test(page, nc->pagecnt_bias))
goto refill;

+ if (unlikely(nc->pfmemalloc)) {
+ free_the_page(page, compound_order(page));
+ goto refill;
+ }
/* if size can vary use size else just use PAGE_SIZE */
size = nc->size;
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