mm/vmalloc.c: keep track of free blocks for vmap allocation

Patch series "improve vmap allocation", v3.


Please have a look for the description at:

but let me also summarize it a bit here as well.

The current implementation has O(N) complexity. Requests with different
permissive parameters can lead to long allocation time. When i say
"long" i mean milliseconds.


This approach organizes the KVA memory layout into free areas of the
1-ULONG_MAX range, i.e.  an allocation is done over free areas lookups,
instead of finding a hole between two busy blocks.  It allows to have
lower number of objects which represent the free space, therefore to have
less fragmented memory allocator.  Because free blocks are always as large
as possible.

It uses the augment tree where all free areas are sorted in ascending
order of va->va_start address in pair with linked list that provides
O(1) access to prev/next elements.

Since the tree is augment, we also maintain the "subtree_max_size" of VA
that reflects a maximum available free block in its left or right
sub-tree.  Knowing that, we can easily traversal toward the lowest (left
most path) free area.

Allocation: ~O(log(N)) complexity.  It is sequential allocation method
therefore tends to maximize locality.  The search is done until a first
suitable block is large enough to encompass the requested parameters.
Bigger areas are split.

I copy paste here the description of how the area is split, since i
described it in


A free block can be split by three different ways.  Their names are
correspond to how requested size and alignment fit to a free block.

FL_FIT_TYPE - in this case a free block is just removed from the free
list/tree because it fully fits.  Comparing with current design there is
an extra work with rb-tree updating.

LE_FIT_TYPE/RE_FIT_TYPE - left/right edges fit.  In this case what we do
is just cutting a free block.  It is as fast as a current design.  Most of
the vmalloc allocations just end up with this case, because the edge is
always aligned to 1.

NE_FIT_TYPE - Is much less common case.  Basically it happens when
requested size and alignment does not fit left nor right edges, i.e.  it
is between them.  In this case during splitting we have to build a
remaining left free area and place it back to the free list/tree.

Comparing with current design there are two extra steps.  First one is we
have to allocate a new vmap_area structure.  Second one we have to insert
that remaining free block to the address sorted list/tree.

In order to optimize a first case there is a cache with free_vmap objects.
Instead of allocating from slab we just take an object from the cache and
reuse it.

Second one is pretty optimized.  Since we know a start point in the tree
we do not do a search from the top.  Instead a traversal begins from a
rb-tree node we split.

De-allocation.  ~O(log(N)) complexity.  An area is not inserted straight
away to the tree/list, instead we identify the spot first, checking if it
can be merged around neighbors.  The list provides O(1) access to
prev/next, so it is pretty fast to check it.  Summarizing.  If merged then
large coalesced areas are created, if not the area is just linked making
more fragments.

There is one more thing that i should mention here.  After modification of
VA node, its subtree_max_size is updated if it was/is the biggest area in
its left or right sub-tree.  Apart of that it can also be populated back
to upper levels to fix the tree.  For more details please have a look at
the __augment_tree_propagate_from() function and the description.

Tests and stressing

I use the "" test driver available under
"tools/testing/selftests/vm/" since 5.1-rc1 kernel.  Just trigger "sudo
./" to find out how to deal with it.

Tested on different platforms including x86_64/i686/ARM64/x86_64_NUMA.
Regarding last one, i do not have any physical access to NUMA system,
therefore i emulated it.  The time of stressing is days.

If you run the test driver in "stress mode", you also need the patch that
is in Andrew's tree but not in Linux 5.1-rc1.  So, please apply it:

After massive testing, i have not identified any problems like memory
leaks, crashes or kernel panics.  I find it stable, but more testing would
be good.

Performance analysis

I have used two systems to test.  One is i5-3320M CPU @ 2.60GHz and
another is HiKey960(arm64) board.  i5-3320M runs on 4.20 kernel, whereas
Hikey960 uses 4.15 kernel.  I have both system which could run on 5.1-rc1
as well, but the results have not been ready by time i an writing this.

Currently it consist of 8 tests.  There are three of them which correspond
to different types of splitting(to compare with default).  We have 3
ones(see above).  Another 5 do allocations in different conditions.

a) sudo ./ performance

When the test driver is run in "performance" mode, it runs all available
tests pinned to first online CPU with sequential execution test order.  We
do it in order to get stable and repeatable results.  Take a look at time
difference in "long_busy_list_alloc_test".  It is not surprising because
the worst case is O(N).

# i5-3320M
How many cycles all tests took:
CPU0=646919905370(default) cycles vs CPU0=193290498550(patched) cycles

# See detailed table with results here:

# Hikey960 8x CPUs
How many cycles all tests took:
CPU0=3478683207 cycles vs CPU0=463767978 cycles

# See detailed table with results here:

b) time sudo ./ test_repeat_count=1

With this configuration, all tests are run on all available online CPUs.
Before running each CPU shuffles its tests execution order.  It gives
random allocation behaviour.  So it is rough comparison, but it puts in
the picture for sure.

# i5-3320M
<default>            vs            <patched>
real    101m22.813s                real    0m56.805s
user    0m0.011s                   user    0m0.015s
sys     0m5.076s                   sys     0m0.023s

# See detailed table with results here:

# Hikey960 8x CPUs
<default>            vs            <patched>
real    unknown                    real    4m25.214s
user    unknown                    user    0m0.011s
sys     unknown                    sys     0m0.670s

I did not manage to complete this test on "default Hikey960" kernel
version.  After 24 hours it was still running, therefore i had to cancel
it.  That is why real/user/sys are "unknown".

This patch (of 3):

Currently an allocation of the new vmap area is done over busy list
iteration(complexity O(n)) until a suitable hole is found between two busy
areas.  Therefore each new allocation causes the list being grown.  Due to
over fragmented list and different permissive parameters an allocation can
take a long time.  For example on embedded devices it is milliseconds.

This patch organizes the KVA memory layout into free areas of the
1-ULONG_MAX range.  It uses an augment red-black tree that keeps blocks
sorted by their offsets in pair with linked list keeping the free space in
order of increasing addresses.

Nodes are augmented with the size of the maximum available free block in
its left or right sub-tree.  Thus, that allows to take a decision and
traversal toward the block that will fit and will have the lowest start
address, i.e.  it is sequential allocation.

Allocation: to allocate a new block a search is done over the tree until a
suitable lowest(left most) block is large enough to encompass: the
requested size, alignment and vstart point.  If the block is bigger than
requested size - it is split.

De-allocation: when a busy vmap area is freed it can either be merged or
inserted to the tree.  Red-black tree allows efficiently find a spot
whereas a linked list provides a constant-time access to previous and next
blocks to check if merging can be done.  In case of merging of
de-allocated memory chunk a large coalesced area is created.

Complexity: ~O(log(N))

[ v3]
[ v4]
Signed-off-by: Uladzislau Rezki (Sony) <>
Reviewed-by: Roman Gushchin <>
Cc: Michal Hocko <>
Cc: Matthew Wilcox <>
Cc: Thomas Garnier <>
Cc: Oleksiy Avramchenko <>
Cc: Steven Rostedt <>
Cc: Joel Fernandes <>
Cc: Thomas Gleixner <>
Cc: Ingo Molnar <>
Cc: Tejun Heo <>
Signed-off-by: Andrew Morton <>
Signed-off-by: Linus Torvalds <>
2 files changed