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Re: [Xen-devel] [PATCH] xen-netback: count number required slots for an skb more carefully

On Wed, Sep 04, 2013 at 03:02:01PM +0100, David Vrabel wrote:
> >>
> >> I think I prefer fixing the counting for backporting to stable kernels.
> > 
> > The original patch has coding style change. Sans that contextual change
> > it's not a very long patch.
> The size of the patch isn't the main concern for backport-ability.  It's
> the frontend visible changes and thus any (unexpected) impacts on
> frontends -- this is especially important as only a small fraction of
> frontends in use will be tested with these changes.
> >>  Xi's approach of packing the ring differently is a change in frontend
> >> visible behaviour and seems more risky. e.g., possible performance
> >> impact so I would like to see some performance analysis of that approach.
> >>
> > 
> > With Xi's approach it is more efficient for backend to process. As we
> > now use one less grant copy operation which means we copy the same
> > amount of data with less grant ops.
> It think it uses more grant ops because the copies of the linear
> portion are in chunks that do not cross source page boundaries.
> i.e., in netbk_gop_skb():
>       data = skb->data;
>       while (data < skb_tail_pointer(skb)) {
>               unsigned int offset = offset_in_page(data);
>               unsigned int len = PAGE_SIZE - offset;
>                 [...]
> It wasn't clear from the patch that this had been considered and that
> any extra space needed in the grant op array was made available.

If I'm not mistaken the grant op array is already enormous. See the
comment in struct xen_netbk for grant_copy_op. The case that a buffer
straddles two slots was taken into consideration long ago -- that's
why you don't see any comment or code change WRT that...

> > From frontend's PoV I think the impact is minimal. Frontend is involved
> > in assembling the packets. It only takes what's in the ring and chain
> > them together. The operation involves copying so far is the
> > __pskb_pull_tail which happens a) in rare case when there's more frags
> > than frontend's MAX_SKB_FRAGS, b) when pull_to > skb_headlen which
> > happens. With Xi's change the rare case a) will even be rarer than
> > before as we use less slots. b) happens the same as it happens before
> > Xi's change, because the pull is guarded by "if (pull_to >
> > skb_headlen(skb))" and Xi's change doesn't affect skb_headlen.
> > 
> > So overall I don't see obvious downside.
> The obvious downside is it doesn't exist (in a form that can be applied
> now), it hasn't been tested and I think there may well be a subtle bug
> that would need a careful review or testing to confirm/deny.

It does exist and apply cleanly on top of net tree. I haven't posted
it yet because we haven't reached concensus which path to take. :-)

The only reason that last version didn't get upstreamed is that the
commit message wasn't clear enough. From the technical PoV it's quite
sound and I believe Amazon has been using it for a long time -- the
older reference dates back to Aug 2012 IIRC. It's just never properly

> You are free to work on this as a future improvements but I really don't
> see why this critical bug fix needs to be delayed any further.

True. I don't mean to hold off critical fix. Just want to make sure that
every option is presented and considered.


> David

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