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Date:   Wed, 13 Jan 2021 04:52:58 -0500
From:   "Michael S. Tsirkin" <>
To:     Eric Dumazet <>
Cc:     "David S . Miller" <>,
        Jakub Kicinski <>,
        netdev <>,
        Eric Dumazet <>,
        Paolo Abeni <>,
        Greg Thelen <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH net] Revert "virtio_net: replace
 netdev_alloc_skb_ip_align() with napi_alloc_skb()"

On Tue, Jan 12, 2021 at 09:12:07PM -0800, Eric Dumazet wrote:
> From: Eric Dumazet <>
> This reverts commit c67f5db82027ba6d2ea4ac9176bc45996a03ae6a.
> While using page fragments instead of a kmalloc backed skb->head might give
> a small performance improvement in some cases, there is a huge risk of
> memory use under estimation.
> GOOD_COPY_LEN is 128 bytes. This means that we need a small amount
> of memory to hold the headers and struct skb_shared_info
> Yet, napi_alloc_skb() might use a whole 32KB page (or 64KB on PowerPc)
> for long lived incoming TCP packets.
> We have been tracking OOM issues on GKE hosts hitting tcp_mem limits
> but consuming far more memory for TCP buffers than instructed in tcp_mem[2]

Are you using virtio on the host then? Is this with a hardware virtio
device? These do exist, guest is just more common, so I wanted to
make sure this is not a mistake.

> Even if we force napi_alloc_skb() to only use order-0 pages, the issue
> would still be there on arches with PAGE_SIZE >= 32768
> Using alloc_skb() and thus standard kmallloc() for skb->head allocations
> will get the benefit of letting other objects in each page being independently
> used by other skbs, regardless of the lifetime.
> Note that a similar problem exists for skbs allocated from napi_get_frags(),
> this is handled in a separate patch.
> I would like to thank Greg Thelen for his precious help on this matter,
> analysing crash dumps is always a time consuming task.
> Signed-off-by: Eric Dumazet <>
> Cc: Paolo Abeni <>
> Cc: Michael S. Tsirkin <>
> Cc: Greg Thelen <>

Just curious - is the way virtio used napi_alloc_skb wrong somehow?

The idea was to benefit from better batching and less play with irq save

It would be helpful to improve the comments for napi_alloc_skb
to make it clearer how to use it correctly.

Are other uses of napi_alloc_skb ok?

> ---
>  drivers/net/virtio_net.c | 2 +-
>  1 file changed, 1 insertion(+), 1 deletion(-)
> diff --git a/drivers/net/virtio_net.c b/drivers/net/virtio_net.c
> index 508408fbe78fbd8658dc226834b5b1b334b8b011..5886504c1acacf3f6148127b5c1cc7f6a906b827 100644
> --- a/drivers/net/virtio_net.c
> +++ b/drivers/net/virtio_net.c
> @@ -386,7 +386,7 @@ static struct sk_buff *page_to_skb(struct virtnet_info *vi,
>  	p = page_address(page) + offset;
>  	/* copy small packet so we can reuse these pages for small data */
> -	skb = napi_alloc_skb(&rq->napi, GOOD_COPY_LEN);
> +	skb = netdev_alloc_skb_ip_align(vi->dev, GOOD_COPY_LEN);
>  	if (unlikely(!skb))
>  		return NULL;
> -- 

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