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Date:   Mon, 25 May 2020 11:59:58 +0200
From:   Alban Crequy <alban.crequy@...il.com>
To:     Andrii Nakryiko <andriin@...com>
Cc:     bpf@...r.kernel.org, netdev@...r.kernel.org, ast@...com,
        Daniel Borkmann <daniel@...earbox.net>,
        andrii.nakryiko@...il.com, kernel-team@...com,
        "Paul E . McKenney" <paulmck@...nel.org>,
        Jonathan Lemon <jonathan.lemon@...il.com>,
        Stanislav Fomichev <sdf@...gle.com>,
        Alban Crequy <alban@...volk.io>, mauricio@...volk.io,
        kai@...volk.io
Subject: Re: [PATCH v2 bpf-next 7/7] docs/bpf: add BPF ring buffer design notes

Hi,

Thanks. Both motivators look very interesting to me:

On Sun, 17 May 2020 at 21:58, Andrii Nakryiko <andriin@...com> wrote:
[...]
> +Motivation
> +----------
> +There are two distinctive motivators for this work, which are not satisfied by
> +existing perf buffer, which prompted creation of a new ring buffer
> +implementation.
> +  - more efficient memory utilization by sharing ring buffer across CPUs;

I have a use case with traceloop
(https://github.com/kinvolk/traceloop) where I use one
BPF_MAP_TYPE_PERF_EVENT_ARRAY per container, so when the number of
containers times the number of CPU is high, it can use a lot of
memory.

> +  - preserving ordering of events that happen sequentially in time, even
> +  across multiple CPUs (e.g., fork/exec/exit events for a task).

I had the problem to keep track of TCP connections and when
tcp-connect and tcp-close events can be on different CPUs, it makes it
difficult to get the correct order.

[...]
> +There are a bunch of similarities between perf buffer
> +(BPF_MAP_TYPE_PERF_EVENT_ARRAY) and new BPF ring buffer semantics:
> +  - variable-length records;
> +  - if there is no more space left in ring buffer, reservation fails, no
> +    blocking;
[...]

BPF_MAP_TYPE_PERF_EVENT_ARRAY can be set as both 'overwriteable' and
'backward': if there is no more space left in ring buffer, it would
then overwrite the old events. For that, the buffer needs to be
prepared with mmap(...PROT_READ) instead of mmap(...PROT_READ |
PROT_WRITE), and set the write_backward flag. See details in commit
9ecda41acb97 ("perf/core: Add ::write_backward attribute to perf
event"):

struct perf_event_attr attr = {0,};
attr.write_backward = 1; /* backward */
fd = perf_event_open_map(&attr, ...);
base = mmap(fd, 0, size, PROT_READ /* overwriteable */, MAP_SHARED);

I use overwriteable and backward ring buffers in traceloop: buffers
are continuously overwritten and are usually not read, except when a
user explicitly asks for it (e.g. to inspect the last few events of an
application after a crash). If BPF_MAP_TYPE_RINGBUF implements the
same features, then I would be able to switch and use less memory.

Do you think it will be possible to implement that in BPF_MAP_TYPE_RINGBUF?

Cheers,
Alban

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