Re: REGRESSION: Performance regressions from switching anon_vma->lockto mutex

From: Linus Torvalds
Date: Thu Jun 16 2011 - 17:04:21 EST

On Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 1:14 PM, Andi Kleen <ak@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> I haven't analyzed it in detail, but I suspect it's some cache line bounce,
> which
> can slow things down quite a lot.  Also the total number of invocations
> is quite high (hundreds of messages per core * 32 cores)

The fact is, glibc is just total crap.

I tried to send uli a patch to just add caching. No go. I sent
*another* patch to at least make glibc use a sane interface (and the
cache if it needs to fall back on /proc/stat for some legacy reason).
We'll see what happens.

Paul Eggbert suggested "caching for one second" - by just calling
"gettimtofday()" to see how old the cache is. That would work too.

The point I'm making is that it really is a glibc problem. Glibc is
doing stupid expensive things, and not trying to correct for the fact
that it's expensive.

> I did, but I gave up fully following that code path because it's so
> convoluted :-/

I do agree that glibc sources are incomprehensible, with multiple
layers of abstraction (sysdeps, "posix", helper functions etc etc).

In this case it was really trivial to find the culprit with a simple

git grep /proc/stat

though. The code is crap. It's insane. It's using
/sys/devices/system/cpu for _SC_NPROCESSORS_CONF, which is at least a
reasonable interface to use. But it does it in odd ways, and actually
counts the CPU's by doing a readdir call. And it doesn't cache the
result, even though that particular result had better be 100% stable -
it has nothing to do with "online" vs "offline" etc.

But then for _SC_NPROCESSORS_ONLN, it doesn't actually use
/sys/devices/system/cpu at all, but the /proc/stat interface. Which is
slow, mostly because it has all the crazy interrupt stuff in it, but
also because it has lots of legacy stuff.

I wrote a _much_ cleaner routine (loosely based on what we do in
tools/prof) to just parse /sys/devices/system/cpu/online. I didn't
even time it, but I can almost guarantee that it's an order of
magnitude faster than /proc/stat. And if that doesn't work, you can
fall back on a cached version of the /proc/stat parsing, since if
those files don't exist, you can forget about CPU hotplug.

> So you mean caching it at startup time? Otherwise the parent would
> need to do sysconf() at least , which it doesn't do (the exim source doesn't
> really know anything about libdb internals)

Even if you do it in the children, it will help. At least it would be
run just _once_ per fork.

But actually looking at glibc just shows that they are simply doing
stupid things. And I absolutely _refuse_ to add new interfaces to the
kernel only because glibc is being a moron.

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