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Re: [Xen-devel] [RFC 0/5] xen/arm: support big.little SoC

On Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 08:28:32PM +0100, Julien Grall wrote:
>Hi Dario,
>On 21/09/2016 16:45, Dario Faggioli wrote:
>>On Wed, 2016-09-21 at 14:06 +0100, Julien Grall wrote:
>>>(CC a couple of ARM folks)
>>Yay, thanks for this! :-)
>>>I had few discussions and  more thought about big.LITTLE support in
>>>The main goal of big.LITTLE is power efficiency by moving task
>>>and been able to idle one cluster. All the solutions suggested
>>>(including mine) so far, can be replicated by hand (except the VPIDR)
>>>they are mostly an automatic way.
>>I'm sorry, how is this (going to be) handled in Linux? Is it that any
>>arbitrary task executing any arbitrary binary code can be run on both
>>big and LITTLE pcpus, depending on the scheduler's and energy
>>management's decisions?
>>This does not seem to match with what has been said at some point in
>>this thread... And if it's like that, how's that possible, if the
>>pcpus' ISAs are (even only slightly) different?
>Right, at some point I mentioned that the set of errata and features will be
>different between processor.
>However, it is possible to sanitize the feature registers to expose a common
>set to the guest. This is what is done in Linux at boot time, only the
>features common to all the CPUs will be enabled.
>This allows a task to migrate between big and LITTLE CPUs seamlessly.
>>>This will also remove the real
>>>benefits of big.LITTLE because Xen will not be able to migrate vCPU
>>>across cluster for power efficiency.
>>>If we care about power efficiency, we would have to handle
>>>big.LITTLE in Xen (i.e a guess would only see a kind of CPU).
>>Well, I'm a big fan of an approach that leaves the guests' scheduler
>>dumb about things like these (i.e., load balancing, energy efficiency,
>>etc), and hence puts Xen in charge. In fact, on a Xen system, it is
>>only Xen that has all the info necessary to make wise decisions (e.g.,
>>the load of the _whole_ host, the effect of any decisions on the
>>_whole_ host, etc).
>>But this case may be a LITTLE.bit ( :-PP ) different.
>>Anyway, I guess I'll way your reply to my question above before
>>commenting more.
>>>This arise
>>>quite few problem, nothing insurmountable, similar to migration
>>>two platforms with different micro-architecture (e.g processors):
>>>errata, features supported... The guest would have to know the union
>>>all the errata (this is done so far via the MIDR, so we would a PV
>>>to do it), and only the intersection of features would be exposed to
>>>guest. This also means the scheduler would have to be modified to
>>>power efficiency (not strictly necessary at the beginning).
>>>I agree that a such solution would require some work to implement,
>>>although Xen will have a better control of the energy consumption of
>>>So the question here, is what do we want to achieve with big.LITTLE?
>>Just thinking out loud here. So, instead of "just", as George
>> vcpuclass=["0-1:A35","2-5:A53", "6-7:A72"]
>>we can allow something like the following (note that I'm tossing out
>>random numbers next to the 'A's):
>> vcpuclass = ["0-1:A35", "2-5:A53,A17", "6-7:A72,A24,A31", "12-13:A8"]
>>with the following meaning:
>> - vcpus 0, 1 can only run on pcpus of class A35
>> - vcpus 2,3,4,5 can run on pcpus of class A53 _and_ on pcpus of class
>>   A17
>> - vcpus 6,7 can run on pcpus of class A72, A24, A31
>> - vcpus 8,9,10,11 --since they're not mentioned, can run on pcpus of
>>   any class
>> - vcpus 12,13 can only run on pcpus of class A8
>>This will set the "boundaries", for each vcpu. Then, within these
>>boundaries, once in the (Xen's) scheduler, we can implement whatever
>>complex/magic/silly logic we want, e.g.:
>> - only use a pcpu of class A53 for vcpus that have an average load
>>   above 50%
>> - only use a pcpu of class A31 if there are no idle pcpus of class A24
>> - only use a pcpu of class A17 for a vcpu if the total system load
>>   divided by the vcpu ID give 42 as result
>> - whatever
>>This allows us to achieve both the following goals:
>> - allow Xen to take smart decisions, considering the load and the
>>   efficiency of the host as a whole
>> - allow the guest to take smart decisions, like running lightweight
>>   tasks on low power vcpus (which then Xen will run on low
>>   power pcpus, at least on a properly configured system)
>>Of course this **requires** that, for instance, vcpu 6 must be able to
>>run on A72, A24 and A31 just fine, i.e., it must be possible for it to
>>block on I/O when executing on an A72 pcpu, and, later, after wakeup,
>>restart executing on an A24 pcpu.
>With a bit of work in Xen, it would be possible to do move the vCPU between
>big and LITTLE cpus. As mentioned above, we could sanitize the features to
>only enable a common set. You can view the big.LITTLE problem as a local live
>migration between two kind of CPUs.
>In your suggestion you don't mention what would happen if the guest
>configuration does not contain the affinity. Does it mean the vCPU will be
>scheduled anywhere? A pCPU/class will be chosen randomly?

From the doc I read, https://wiki.xen.org/wiki/Tuning_Xen_for_Performance
Default hard affinity is all set 1, so vcpus can be scheduled to all pcpus.
But scheduler will choose prefered pcpus according to soft affinity.

>To be honest, I quite like this idea. It could be used as soft/hard affinity
>for the moment. But can be extended in the future if/when the scheduler gain
>knowledge of power efficiency and vCPU can migrate between big and LITTLE.

To GUEST, vCPUs have the same vcpu type, but it can be scheduled on big and 
pcpu. I can not foresee how much efforts needed for this.
This is a different direction from we discussed earlier in the thread.

For power efficiency, such as cpufreq and etc, seems little was done for 
It is good that xen could take the advantage of big and LITTLE in future.
I am not sure that linux task high load means vCPU high load and
xen migrate the vCPU to big pcpu?


>Julien Grall


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