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Date:   Fri, 8 Feb 2019 07:43:57 +0530
From:   Anshuman Khandual <>
        "" <>,
        "" <>
Cc:     Andrew Morton <>,
        Michal Hocko <>,
        "Kirill A . Shutemov" <>,
        Vlastimil Babka <>
Subject: [LSF/MM TOPIC] Non standard size THP


THP is currently supported for

- PMD level pages (anon and file)
- PUD level pages (file - DAX file system)

THP is a single entry mapping at standard page table levels (either PMD or PUD)

But architectures like ARM64 supports non-standard page table level huge pages
with contiguous bits.

- These are created as multiple entries at either PTE or PMD level
- These multiple entries carry pages which are physically contiguous
- A special PTE bit (PTE_CONT) is set indicating single entry to be contiguous

These multiple contiguous entries create a huge page size which is different
than standard PMD/PUD level but they provide benefits of huge memory like
less number of faults, bigger TLB coverage, less TLB miss etc.

Currently they are used as HugeTLB pages because

	- HugeTLB page sizes is carried in the VMA
	- Page table walker can operate on multiple PTE or PMD entries given its size in VMA
	- Irrespective of HugeTLB page size its operated with set_huge_pte_at() at any level
	- set_huge_pte_at() is arch specific which knows how to encode multiple consecutive entries
But not as THP huge pages because

	- THP size is not encoded any where like VMA
	- Page table walker expects it to be either at PUD (HPAGE_PUD_SIZE) or at PMD (HPAGE_PMD_SIZE)
	- Page table operates directly with set_pmd_at() or set_pud_at()
	- Direct faulted or promoted huge pages is verified with [pmd|pud]_trans_huge()

How non-standard huge pages can be supported for THP

	- THP starts recognizing non standard huge page (exported by arch) like HPAGE_CONT_(PMD|PTE)_SIZE
	- THP starts operating for either on HPAGE_PMD_SIZE or HPAGE_CONT_PMD_SIZE or HPAGE_CONT_PTE_SIZE
	- set_pmd_at() only recognizes HPAGE_PMD_SIZE hence replace set_pmd_at() with set_huge_pmd_at()
	- set_huge_pmd_at() could differentiate between HPAGE_PMD_SIZE or HPAGE_CONT_PMD_SIZE
	- In case for HPAGE_CONT_PTE_SIZE extend page table walker till PTE level
	- Use set_huge_pte_at() which can operate on multiple contiguous PTE bits

Kirill Shutemov proposed re-working the page table traversal during last year's
LSFMM. A recursive page table walk just with level information would allow us to
introduce artificial or non-standard page table levels for contiguous bit huge
page support.

Here is the matrix for contiguous PTE and PMD sizes for various base page size
configurations on ARM64. Promoting or faulting pages at contiguous PTE level is
much more likely than PMD level which are more difficult to allocate at run time.
            CONT PTE    PMD    CONT PMD
            --------    ---    --------
    4K:        64K      2M        32M
    16K:        2M     32M         1G
    64K:        2M    512M        16G

Having support for contiguous PTE size based THP size will help many workloads utilize
THP benefits. I understand there would be much more fine grained details which need to
be sorted out and difficulties to be overcome but its worth starting a discussion on this
front which can really benefit workloads.

- Anshuman

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