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From: Song Bao Hua <>
To: Robin Murphy <>,
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Cc: ""
	Linuxarm <>,
Subject: RE: Constantly map and unmap of streaming DMA buffers with IOMMU backend might cause serious performance problem
Date: Fri, 15 May 2020 22:45:47 +0000	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

> Subject: Re: Constantly map and unmap of streaming DMA buffers with
> IOMMU backend might cause serious performance problem
> On 2020-05-15 09:19, Song Bao Hua wrote:
> [ snip... nice analysis, but ultimately it's still "doing stuff has more overhead
> than not doing stuff" ]
> > I am thinking several possible ways on decreasing or removing the latency of
> DMA map/unmap for every single DMA transfer. Meanwhile, "non-strict" as an
> existing option with possible safety issues, I won't discuss it in this mail.
> But passthrough and non-strict mode *specifically exist* for the cases where
> performance is the most important concern - streaming DMA with an IOMMU
> in the middle has an unavoidable tradeoff between performance and isolation,
> so dismissing that out of hand is not a good way to start making this
> argument.

I do understand there is a tradeoff between performance and isolation. However, users might ask for performance while supporting isolation. 
In passthrough mode, the whole memory might be accessible by DMA. In non-strict mode, a buffer could be still mapped in IOMMU when users have returned it to buddy and the buffer has even been allocated by another user. 

> > 1. provide bounce coherent buffers for streaming buffers.
> > As the coherent buffers keep the status of mapping, we can remove the
> overhead of map and unmap for each single DMA operations. However, this
> solution requires memory copy between stream buffers and bounce buffers.
> Thus it will work only if copy is faster than map/unmap. Meanwhile, it will
> consume much more memory bandwidth.
> I'm struggling to understand how that would work, can you explain it in more
> detail?

lower-layer drivers maintain some reusable coherent buffers.
For TX path, drivers copy streaming buffer to coherent buffer, then do DMA;
For RX path, drivers do DMA in coherent buffer, then copy to streaming buffer.

> > 2.make upper-layer kernel components aware of the pain of iommu
> > map/unmap upper-layer fs, mm, networks can somehow let the lower-layer
> drivers know the end of the life cycle of sg buffers. In zswap case, I have seen
> zswap always use the same 2 pages as the destination buffers to save
> compressed page, but the compressor driver still has to constantly map and
> unmap those same two pages for every single compression since zswap and zip
> drivers are working in two completely different software layers.
> >
> > I am thinking some way as below, upper-layer kernel code can call:
> > sg_init_table(&sg...);
> > sg_mark_reusable(&sg....);
> > .... /* use the buffer many times */
> > ....
> > sg_mark_stop_reuse(&sg);
> >
> > After that, if low level drivers see "reusable" flag, it will realize the buffer can
> be used multiple times and will not do map/unmap every time. it means
> upper-layer components will further use the buffers and the same buffers will
> probably be given to lower-layer drivers for new DMA transfer later. When
> upper-layer code sets " stop_reuse", lower-layer driver will unmap the sg
> buffers, possibly by providing a unmap-callback to upper-layer components.
> For zswap case, I have seen the same buffers are always re-used and zip driver
> maps and unmaps it again and again. Shortly after the buffer is unmapped, it
> will be mapped in the next transmission, almost without any time gap
> between unmap and map. In case zswap can set the "reusable" flag, zip driver
> will save a lot of time.
> > Meanwhile, for the safety of buffers, lower-layer drivers need to make certain
> the buffers have already been unmapped in iommu before those buffers go
> back to buddy for other users.
> That sounds like it would only have benefit in a very small set of specific
> circumstances, and would be very difficult to generalise to buffers that are
> mapped via dma_map_page() or dma_map_single().

Yes, indeed. Hopefully the small set of specific circumstances will encourage more upper-layer consumers to reuse buffers, then the "reusable" flag can extend to more common cases, such as page and single buffer.

> Furthermore, a high-level API that affects a low-level driver's interpretation of
> mid-layer API calls without the mid-layer's knowledge sounds like a hideous
> abomination of anti-design. If a mid-layer API lends itself to inefficiency at the
> lower level, it would seem a lot cleaner and more robust to extend *that* API
> for stateful buffer reuse.

Absolutely agree. I didn't say the method is elegant. For this moment, maybe "reuse" can get started from a small case like zswap. After some while, it is possible more users are encouraged to do some optimization for buffer reuse, understanding the suffering of lower-layer drivers. Then those performance problems might be solved case by case.
On the other hand, it is always the freedom of upper-layer code to indicate "reuse" or not. If they don't say anything about reuse, lower-layer drivers can simply do map and unmap.

> Failing that, it might possibly be appropriate to approach this at the driver
> level - many of the cleverer network drivers already implement buffer pools to
> recycle mapped SKBs internally, couldn't the "zip driver" simply try doing
> something like that for itself?

are the buffer pools for RX path? For TX path, buffers come from upper-layer so network drivers can't do anything for recycling SKBs?

> Robin.

iommu mailing list

      parent reply	other threads:[~2020-05-15 22:46 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 6+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2020-05-15  8:19 Constantly map and unmap of streaming DMA buffers with IOMMU backend might cause serious performance problem Song Bao Hua
2020-05-15 12:10 ` Robin Murphy
2020-05-15 14:45   ` hch
2020-05-15 21:33     ` Song Bao Hua
2020-05-15 22:12       ` Robin Murphy
2020-05-15 22:45   ` Song Bao Hua [this message]

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