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Date:	Thu, 29 Mar 2007 03:02:43 +0200
From:	Blaisorblade <>
Cc:	Jeff Dike <>, LKML <>
Subject: Re: [uml-devel] [PATCH] UML - fix I/O hang when multiple devices are in use

On giovedì 29 marzo 2007, Blaisorblade wrote:
> On mercoledì 28 marzo 2007, Jeff Dike wrote:
> > [ This patch needs to get into 2.6.21, as it fixes a serious bug
> > introduced soon after 2.6.20 ]
> >
> > Commit 62f96cb01e8de7a5daee472e540f726db2801499 introduced per-devices
> > queues and locks, which was fine as far as it went, but left in place
> > a global which controlled access to submitting requests to the host.
> > This should have been made per-device as well, since it causes I/O
> > hangs when multiple block devices are in use.
> >
> > This patch fixes that by replacing the global with an activity flag in
> > the device structure in order to tell whether the queue is currently
> > being run.
> Finally that variable has a understandable name. However in a mail from
> Jens Axboe, titled:
> "Re: [uml-devel] [PATCH 06/11] uml ubd driver: ubd_io_lock usage fixup" ,
> with Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2006 09:26:48 +0100, he suggested removing this flag
> altogether, so we may explore this for the future:
> > > Add some comments about requirements for ubd_io_lock and expand its
> > > use.
> > >
> > > When an irq signals that the "controller" (i.e. another thread on the
> > > host, which does the actual requests and is the only one blocked on I/O
> > > on the host) has done some work, we call again the request function
> > > ourselves (do_ubd_request).

> > > We now do that with ubd_io_lock held - that's useful to protect against
> > > concurrent calls to elv_next_request and so on.

> > Not only useful, required, as I think I complained about a year or more
> > ago :-)

> > > XXX: Maybe we shouldn't call at all the request function. Input needed
> > > on this. Are we supposed to plug and unplug the queue? That code
> > > "indirectly" does that by setting a flag, called do_ubd, which makes
> > > the request function return (it's a residual of 2.4 block layer
> > > interface).

> > Sometimes you need to. I'd probably just remove the do_ubd check and
> > always recall the request function when handling completions, it's
> > easier and safe.

> Anyway, the main speedups to do on the UBD driver are:
> * implement write barriers (so much less fsync) - this is performance
> killer n.1

> * possibly to use the new 2.6 request layout with scatter/gather I/O, and
> vectorized I/O on the host
> * while at vectorizing I/O using async I/O

> * to avoid passing requests on pipes (n.2) - on fast disk I/O becomes
> cpu-bound.
> To make a different but related example, with a SpeedScale laptop, it's
> interesting to double CPU frequency and observe tuntap speed double too.
> (with 1GHz I get on TCP numbers like 150 Mbit/s - 100 Mbit/s, depending
> whether UML trasmits or receives data; with 2GHz double rates).
> Update: I now get 150Mbit / 200Mbit (Uml receives/Uml sends) at 1GHz, and
> still the double at 2Ghz.
> This is a different UML though.

> * using futexes instead of pipes for synchronization (required for previous
> one).

I forgot one thing: remember ubd=mmap? Something like that could have been 
done using MAP_PRIVATE, so that write had still to be called explicitly but 
unchanged data was shared with the host.

Once a page gets dirty but is then cleaned, sharing it back is difficult - but 
even without that good savings could be achievable. That's to explore for the 
very future though.
Inform me of my mistakes, so I can add them to my list!
Paolo Giarrusso, aka Blaisorblade
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