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Date:   Wed, 9 Sep 2020 16:00:12 +0200
From:   Mauro Carvalho Chehab <mchehab+huawei@...nel.org>
To:     Andrii Nakryiko <andriin@...com>, <andrii.nakryiko@...il.com>
Cc:     <bpf@...r.kernel.org>, <netdev@...r.kernel.org>, <ast@...com>,
        <daniel@...earbox.net>, <kernel-team@...com>,
        "Paul E . McKenney" <paulmck@...nel.org>,
        Jonathan Lemon <jonathan.lemon@...il.com>,
        Stanislav Fomichev <sdf@...gle.com>,
        Jonathan Corbet <corbet@....net>, linux-kernel@...r.kernel.org
Subject: Re: [PATCH v4 bpf-next 5/5] docs/bpf: add BPF ring buffer design
 notes

Em Wed, 9 Sep 2020 15:53:05 +0200
Mauro Carvalho Chehab <mchehab+huawei@...nel.org> escreveu:

> Em Fri, 29 May 2020 00:54:24 -0700
> Andrii Nakryiko <andriin@...com> escreveu:
> 
> > Add commit description from patch #1 as a stand-alone documentation under
> > Documentation/bpf, as it might be more convenient format, in long term
> > perspective.
> > 
> > Suggested-by: Stanislav Fomichev <sdf@...gle.com>
> > Signed-off-by: Andrii Nakryiko <andriin@...com>
> > ---
> >  Documentation/bpf/ringbuf.rst | 209 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> >  1 file changed, 209 insertions(+)
> >  create mode 100644 Documentation/bpf/ringbuf.rst
> > 
> > diff --git a/Documentation/bpf/ringbuf.rst b/Documentation/bpf/ringbuf.rst
> > new file mode 100644
> > index 000000000000..75f943f0009d
> > --- /dev/null
> > +++ b/Documentation/bpf/ringbuf.rst
> > @@ -0,0 +1,209 @@
> > +===============
> > +BPF ring buffer
> > +===============
> > +
> > +This document describes BPF ring buffer design, API, and implementation details.
> > +
> > +.. contents::
> > +    :local:
> > +    :depth: 2
> > +
> > +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;
> > +- preserving ordering of events that happen sequentially in time, even across
> > +  multiple CPUs (e.g., fork/exec/exit events for a task).
> > +
> > +These two problems are independent, but perf buffer fails to satisfy both.
> > +Both are a result of a choice to have per-CPU perf ring buffer.  Both can be
> > +also solved by having an MPSC implementation of ring buffer. The ordering
> > +problem could technically be solved for perf buffer with some in-kernel
> > +counting, but given the first one requires an MPSC buffer, the same solution
> > +would solve the second problem automatically.
> > +
> > +Semantics and APIs
> > +------------------
> > +
> > +Single ring buffer is presented to BPF programs as an instance of BPF map of
> > +type ``BPF_MAP_TYPE_RINGBUF``. Two other alternatives considered, but
> > +ultimately rejected.
> > +
> > +One way would be to, similar to ``BPF_MAP_TYPE_PERF_EVENT_ARRAY``, make
> > +``BPF_MAP_TYPE_RINGBUF`` could represent an array of ring buffers, but not
> > +enforce "same CPU only" rule. This would be more familiar interface compatible
> > +with existing perf buffer use in BPF, but would fail if application needed more
> > +advanced logic to lookup ring buffer by arbitrary key.
> > +``BPF_MAP_TYPE_HASH_OF_MAPS`` addresses this with current approach.
> > +Additionally, given the performance of BPF ringbuf, many use cases would just
> > +opt into a simple single ring buffer shared among all CPUs, for which current
> > +approach would be an overkill.
> > +
> > +Another approach could introduce a new concept, alongside BPF map, to represent
> > +generic "container" object, which doesn't necessarily have key/value interface
> > +with lookup/update/delete operations. This approach would add a lot of extra
> > +infrastructure that has to be built for observability and verifier support. It
> > +would also add another concept that BPF developers would have to familiarize
> > +themselves with, new syntax in libbpf, etc. But then would really provide no
> > +additional benefits over the approach of using a map.  ``BPF_MAP_TYPE_RINGBUF``
> > +doesn't support lookup/update/delete operations, but so doesn't few other map
> > +types (e.g., queue and stack; array doesn't support delete, etc).
> > +
> > +The approach chosen has an advantage of re-using existing BPF map
> > +infrastructure (introspection APIs in kernel, libbpf support, etc), being
> > +familiar concept (no need to teach users a new type of object in BPF program),
> > +and utilizing existing tooling (bpftool). For common scenario of using a single
> > +ring buffer for all CPUs, it's as simple and straightforward, as would be with
> > +a dedicated "container" object. On the other hand, by being a map, it can be
> > +combined with ``ARRAY_OF_MAPS`` and ``HASH_OF_MAPS`` map-in-maps to implement
> > +a wide variety of topologies, from one ring buffer for each CPU (e.g., as
> > +a replacement for perf buffer use cases), to a complicated application
> > +hashing/sharding of ring buffers (e.g., having a small pool of ring buffers
> > +with hashed task's tgid being a look up key to preserve order, but reduce
> > +contention).
> > +
> > +Key and value sizes are enforced to be zero. ``max_entries`` is used to specify
> > +the size of ring buffer and has to be a power of 2 value.
> > +
> > +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;
> > +- memory-mappable data area for user-space applications for ease of
> > +  consumption and high performance;
> > +- epoll notifications for new incoming data;
> > +- but still the ability to do busy polling for new data to achieve the
> > +  lowest latency, if necessary.
> > +
> > +BPF ringbuf provides two sets of APIs to BPF programs:
> > +
> > +- ``bpf_ringbuf_output()`` allows to *copy* data from one place to a ring
> > +  buffer, similarly to ``bpf_perf_event_output()``;
> > +- ``bpf_ringbuf_reserve()``/``bpf_ringbuf_commit()``/``bpf_ringbuf_discard()``
> > +  APIs split the whole process into two steps. First, a fixed amount of space
> > +  is reserved. If successful, a pointer to a data inside ring buffer data
> > +  area is returned, which BPF programs can use similarly to a data inside
> > +  array/hash maps. Once ready, this piece of memory is either committed or
> > +  discarded. Discard is similar to commit, but makes consumer ignore the
> > +  record.
> > +
> > +``bpf_ringbuf_output()`` has disadvantage of incurring extra memory copy,
> > +because record has to be prepared in some other place first. But it allows to
> > +submit records of the length that's not known to verifier beforehand. It also
> > +closely matches ``bpf_perf_event_output()``, so will simplify migration
> > +significantly.
> > +
> > +``bpf_ringbuf_reserve()`` avoids the extra copy of memory by providing a memory
> > +pointer directly to ring buffer memory. In a lot of cases records are larger
> > +than BPF stack space allows, so many programs have use extra per-CPU array as
> > +a temporary heap for preparing sample. bpf_ringbuf_reserve() avoid this needs
> > +completely. But in exchange, it only allows a known constant size of memory to
> > +be reserved, such that verifier can verify that BPF program can't access memory
> > +outside its reserved record space. bpf_ringbuf_output(), while slightly slower
> > +due to extra memory copy, covers some use cases that are not suitable for
> > +``bpf_ringbuf_reserve()``.
> > +
> > +The difference between commit and discard is very small. Discard just marks
> > +a record as discarded, and such records are supposed to be ignored by consumer
> > +code. Discard is useful for some advanced use-cases, such as ensuring
> > +all-or-nothing multi-record submission, or emulating temporary
> > +``malloc()``/``free()`` within single BPF program invocation.
> > +
> > +Each reserved record is tracked by verifier through existing
> > +reference-tracking logic, similar to socket ref-tracking. It is thus
> > +impossible to reserve a record, but forget to submit (or discard) it.
> > +
> > +``bpf_ringbuf_query()`` helper allows to query various properties of ring
> > +buffer.  Currently 4 are supported:
> > +
> > +- ``BPF_RB_AVAIL_DATA`` returns amount of unconsumed data in ring buffer;
> > +- ``BPF_RB_RING_SIZE`` returns the size of ring buffer;
> > +- ``BPF_RB_CONS_POS``/``BPF_RB_PROD_POS`` returns current logical possition
> > +  of consumer/producer, respectively.
> > +
> > +Returned values are momentarily snapshots of ring buffer state and could be
> > +off by the time helper returns, so this should be used only for
> > +debugging/reporting reasons or for implementing various heuristics, that take
> > +into account highly-changeable nature of some of those characteristics.
> > +
> > +One such heuristic might involve more fine-grained control over poll/epoll
> > +notifications about new data availability in ring buffer. Together with
> > +``BPF_RB_NO_WAKEUP``/``BPF_RB_FORCE_WAKEUP`` flags for output/commit/discard
> > +helpers, it allows BPF program a high degree of control and, e.g., more
> > +efficient batched notifications. Default self-balancing strategy, though,
> > +should be adequate for most applications and will work reliable and efficiently
> > +already.
> > +
> > +Design and Implementation
> > +-------------------------
> > +
> > +This reserve/commit schema allows a natural way for multiple producers, either
> > +on different CPUs or even on the same CPU/in the same BPF program, to reserve
> > +independent records and work with them without blocking other producers. This
> > +means that if BPF program was interruped by another BPF program sharing the
> > +same ring buffer, they will both get a record reserved (provided there is
> > +enough space left) and can work with it and submit it independently. This
> > +applies to NMI context as well, except that due to using a spinlock during
> > +reservation, in NMI context, ``bpf_ringbuf_reserve()`` might fail to get
> > +a lock, in which case reservation will fail even if ring buffer is not full.
> > +
> > +The ring buffer itself internally is implemented as a power-of-2 sized
> > +circular buffer, with two logical and ever-increasing counters (which might
> > +wrap around on 32-bit architectures, that's not a problem):
> > +
> > +- consumer counter shows up to which logical position consumer consumed the
> > +  data;
> > +- producer counter denotes amount of data reserved by all producers.
> > +
> > +Each time a record is reserved, producer that "owns" the record will
> > +successfully advance producer counter. At that point, data is still not yet
> > +ready to be consumed, though. Each record has 8 byte header, which contains the
> > +length of reserved record, as well as two extra bits: busy bit to denote that
> > +record is still being worked on, and discard bit, which might be set at commit
> > +time if record is discarded. In the latter case, consumer is supposed to skip
> > +the record and move on to the next one. Record header also encodes record's
> > +relative offset from the beginning of ring buffer data area (in pages). This
> > +allows ``bpf_ringbuf_commit()``/``bpf_ringbuf_discard()`` to accept only the
> > +pointer to the record itself, without requiring also the pointer to ring buffer
> > +itself. Ring buffer memory location will be restored from record metadata
> > +header. This significantly simplifies verifier, as well as improving API
> > +usability.
> > +
> > +Producer counter increments are serialized under spinlock, so there is
> > +a strict ordering between reservations. Commits, on the other hand, are
> > +completely lockless and independent. All records become available to consumer
> > +in the order of reservations, but only after all previous records where
> > +already committed. It is thus possible for slow producers to temporarily hold
> > +off submitted records, that were reserved later.
> > +
> > +Reservation/commit/consumer protocol is verified by litmus tests in
> > +Documentation/litmus_tests/bpf-rb/_.
> 
> Are there any missing patch that were supposed to be merged before this
> one:
> 
> There's no Documentation/litmus_tests/bpf-rb/_. This currently
> causes a warning at the Kernel's building system:
> 
> 	$ ./scripts/documentation-file-ref-check 
> 	Documentation/bpf/ringbuf.rst: Documentation/litmus_tests/bpf-rb/_
> 
> (This is reported when someone calls "make htmldocs")
> 
> Could you please fix this?

Btw, make htmldocs also complains with:

	Documentation/bpf/ringbuf.rst:197: WARNING: Unknown target name: "bench_ringbuf.c".

(this one is reported by Sphinx)


> 
> Thanks,
> Mauro



Thanks,
Mauro

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