[dpdk-dev] [RFC 0/8] mbuf: structure reorganization

Bruce Richardson bruce.richardson at intel.com
Tue Jan 24 16:59:08 CET 2017

On Tue, Jan 24, 2017 at 04:19:25PM +0100, Olivier Matz wrote:
> Based on discussion done in [1], this patchset reorganizes the mbuf.

Hi Olivier,

thanks for all the work on this. From a quick scan of the patches, and
the description below, it looks like a good set of changes. Comments
below to see about kick-starting some further discussion about some of
the other changes you propose.

> The main changes are:
> - reorder structure to increase vector performance on some non-ia
>   platforms.
> - add a 64bits timestamp field in the 1st cache line
> - m->next, m->nb_segs, and m->refcnt are always initialized for mbufs
>   in the pool, avoiding the need of setting m->next (located in the
>   2nd cache line) in the Rx path for mono-segment packets.
> - change port and nb_segs to 16 bits
> - move seqn in the 2nd cache line
> Things discussed but not done in the patchset:
> - move refcnt and nb_segs to the 2nd cache line: many drivers sets
>   them in the Rx path, so it could introduce a performance regression, or
>   it would require to change all the drivers, which is not an easy task.

But if we do make this change and update the drivers, some of them
should perform a little better, since they do fewer writes. I don't
think the fastest vector drivers will be affected, since they already
coalesce the writes to these fields with other writes, but others drivers
may well be improved by the change.

> - remove the m->port field: too much impact on many examples and libraries,
>   and some people highlighted they are using it.
> - moving m->next in the 1st cache line: there is not enough room, and having
>   it set to NULL for unused mbuf should remove the need for it.

I agree.

> - merge seqn and timestamp together in a union: we could imagine use cases
>   were both are activated. There is no flag indicating the presence of seqn,
>   so it looks preferable to keep them separated for now.

What were the use-cases? If we have a timestamp, surely sequence can be
determined from that? Even if you use the TSC as a timestamp per burst,
you can still sequence the packets cheaply by just adding 1 to each 
subsequent value.


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