[dpdk-dev] [PATCH] eal: decrease the memory init time with many hugepages setup

Gonzalez Monroy, Sergio sergio.gonzalez.monroy at intel.com
Fri Apr 3 11:04:38 CEST 2015

On 02/04/2015 14:41, Jay Rolette wrote:
> On Thu, Apr 2, 2015 at 7:55 AM, Thomas Monjalon <thomas.monjalon at 6wind.com>
> wrote:
>> 2015-04-02 19:30, jerry.lilijun at huawei.com:
>>> From: Lilijun <jerry.lilijun at huawei.com>
>>> In the function map_all_hugepages(), hugepage memory is truly allocated
>> by
>>> memset(virtaddr, 0, hugepage_sz). Then it costs about 40s to finish the
>>> dpdk memory initialization when 40000 2M hugepages are setup in host os.
>> Yes it's something we should try to reduce.
> I have a patch in my tree that does the same opto, but it is commented out
> right now. In our case, 2/3's of the startup time for our entire app was
> due to that particular call - memset(virtaddr, 0, hugepage_sz). Just
> zeroing 1 byte per huge page reduces that by 30% in my tests.
> The only reason I have it commented out is that I didn't have time to make
> sure there weren't side-effects for DPDK or my app. For normal shared
> memory on Linux, pages are initialized to zero automatically once they are
> touched, so the memset isn't required but I wasn't sure whether that
> applied to huge pages. Also wasn't sure how hugetlbfs factored into the
> equation.
> Hopefully someone can chime in on that. Would love to uncomment the opto :)
I think the opto/patch is good ;)

I had a look at the Linux kernel sources (mm/hugetlb.c)and at least 
since 2.6.32 (minimum
Linux kernel version supported by DPDK) the kernel clears the hugepage 
when it faults (hugetlb_no_page).

Primary DPDK apps do clear_hugedir, clearing previously allocated 
hugepages, thus triggering
hugepage faults (hugetlb_no_page) during map_all_hugepages.

Note that even when we exit a primary DPDK app, hugepages remain 
allocated, reason why
apps such as dump_cfg are able to retrieve config/memory information.

>> In fact we can only write one byte to finish  the allocation.
>> Isn't it a security hole?
> Not necessarily. If the kernel pre-zeros the huge pages via CoW like normal
> pages, then definitely not.
> Even if the kernel doesn't pre-zero the pages, if DPDK takes care of
> properly initializing memory structures on startup as they are carved out
> of the huge pages, then it isn't a security hole. However, that approach is
> susceptible to bit rot... You can audit the code and make sure everything
> is kosher at first, but you have to worry about new code making assumptions
> about how memory is initialized.
>> This article speaks about "prezeroing optimizations" in Linux kernel:
>>          http://landley.net/writing/memory-faq.txt
> I read through that when I was trying to figure out what whether huge pages
> were pre-zeroed or not. It doesn't talk about huge pages much beyond why
> they are useful for reducing TLB swaps.
> Jay

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