Commit 2fc04524 authored by Vladimir Davydov's avatar Vladimir Davydov Committed by Linus Torvalds
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memcg: add page_cgroup_ino helper

This patchset introduces a new user API for tracking user memory pages
that have not been used for a given period of time.  The purpose of this
is to provide the userspace with the means of tracking a workload's
working set, i.e.  the set of pages that are actively used by the
workload.  Knowing the working set size can be useful for partitioning the
system more efficiently, e.g.  by tuning memory cgroup limits
appropriately, or for job placement within a compute cluster.

==== USE CASES ====

The unified cgroup hierarchy has memory.low and memory.high knobs, which
are defined as the low and high boundaries for the workload working set
size.  However, the working set size of a workload may be unknown or
change in time.  With this patch set, one can periodically estimate the
amount of memory unused by each cgroup and tune their memory.low and
memory.high parameters accordingly, therefore optimizing the overall
memory utilization.

Another use case is balancing workloads within a compute cluster.  Knowing
how much memory is not really used by a workload unit may help take a more
optimal decision when considering migrating the unit to another node
within the cluster.

Also, as noted by Minchan, this would be useful for per-process reclaim
( With idle tracking, we could reclaim idle
pages only by smart user memory manager.

==== USER API ====

The user API consists of two new files:

 * /sys/kernel/mm/page_idle/bitmap.  This file implements a bitmap where each
   bit corresponds to a page, indexed by PFN. When the bit is set, the
   corresponding page is idle. A page is considered idle if it has not been
   accessed since it was marked idle. To mark a page idle one should set the
   bit corresponding to the page by writing to the file. A value written to the
   file is OR-ed with the current bitmap value. Only user memory pages can be
   marked idle, for other page types input is silently ignored. Writing to this
   file beyond max PFN results in the ENXIO error. Only available when

   This file can be used to estimate the amount of pages that are not
   used by a particular workload as follows:

   1. mark all pages of interest idle by setting corresponding bits in the
   2. wait until the workload accesses its working set
   3. read /sys/kernel/mm/page_idle/bitmap and count the number of bits set

 * /proc/kpagecgroup.  This file contains a 64-bit inode number of the
   memory cgroup each page is charged to, indexed by PFN. Only available when
   CONFIG_MEMCG is set.

   This file can be used to find all pages (including unmapped file pages)
   accounted to a particular cgroup. Using /sys/kernel/mm/page_idle/bitmap, one
   can then estimate the cgroup working set size.

For an example of using these files for estimating the amount of unused
memory pages per each memory cgroup, please see the script attached

==== REASONING ====

The reason to introduce the new user API instead of using
/proc/PID/{clear_refs,smaps} is that the latter has two serious

 - it does not count unmapped file pages
 - it affects the reclaimer logic

The new API attempts to overcome them both. For more details on how it
is achieved, please see the comment to patch 6.


The patch set is organized as follows:

 - patch 1 adds page_cgroup_ino() helper for the sake of
   /proc/kpagecgroup and patches 2-3 do related cleanup
 - patch 4 adds /proc/kpagecgroup, which reports cgroup ino each page is
   charged to
 - patch 5 introduces a new mmu notifier callback, clear_young, which is
   a lightweight version of clear_flush_young; it is used in patch 6
 - patch 6 implements the idle page tracking feature, including the
   userspace API, /sys/kernel/mm/page_idle/bitmap
 - patch 7 exports idle flag via /proc/kpageflags


Originally, the patch for tracking idle memory was proposed back in 2011
by Michel Lespinasse (see  The main
difference between Michel's patch and this one is that Michel implemented
a kernel space daemon for estimating idle memory size per cgroup while
this patch only provides the userspace with the minimal API for doing the
job, leaving the rest up to the userspace.  However, they both share the
same idea of Idle/Young page flags to avoid affecting the reclaimer logic.


SPECjvm2008 ( was used to evaluate the
performance impact introduced by this patch set.  Three runs were carried

 - base: kernel without the patch
 - patched: patched kernel, the feature is not used
 - patched-active: patched kernel, 1 minute-period daemon is used for
   tracking idle memory

For tracking idle memory, idlememstat utility was used:

testcase            base            patched        patched-active

compiler       537.40 ( 0.00)%   532.26 (-0.96)%   538.31 ( 0.17)%
compress       305.47 ( 0.00)%   301.08 (-1.44)%   300.71 (-1.56)%
crypto         284.32 ( 0.00)%   282.21 (-0.74)%   284.87 ( 0.19)%
derby          411.05 ( 0.00)%   413.44 ( 0.58)%   412.07 ( 0.25)%
mpegaudio      189.96 ( 0.00)%   190.87 ( 0.48)%   189.42 (-0.28)%
scimark.large   46.85 ( 0.00)%    46.41 (-0.94)%    47.83 ( 2.09)%
scimark.small  412.91 ( 0.00)%   415.41 ( 0.61)%   421.17 ( 2.00)%
serial         204.23 ( 0.00)%   213.46 ( 4.52)%   203.17 (-0.52)%
startup         36.76 ( 0.00)%    35.49 (-3.45)%    35.64 (-3.05)%
sunflow        115.34 ( 0.00)%   115.08 (-0.23)%   117.37 ( 1.76)%
xml            620.55 ( 0.00)%   619.95 (-0.10)%   620.39 (-0.03)%

composite      211.50 ( 0.00)%   211.15 (-0.17)%   211.67 ( 0.08)%

time idlememstat:

17.20user 65.16system 2:15:23elapsed 1%CPU (0avgtext+0avgdata 8476maxresident)k
448inputs+40outputs (1major+36052minor)pagefaults 0swaps

#! /usr/bin/python

import os
import stat
import errno
import struct

CGROUP_MOUNT = "/sys/fs/cgroup/memory"
BUFSIZE = 8 * 1024  # must be multiple of 8

def get_hugepage_size():
    with open("/proc/meminfo", "r") as f:
        for s in f:
            k, v = s.split(":")
            if k == "Hugepagesize":
                return int(v.split()[0]) * 1024

PAGE_SIZE = os.sysconf("SC_PAGE_SIZE")
HUGEPAGE_SIZE = get_hugepage_size()

def set_idle():
    f = open("/sys/kernel/mm/page_idle/bitmap", "wb", BUFSIZE)
    while True:
            f.write(struct.pack("Q", pow(2, 64) - 1))
        except IOError as err:
            if err.errno == errno.ENXIO:

def count_idle():
    f_flags = open("/proc/kpageflags", "rb", BUFSIZE)
    f_cgroup = open("/proc/kpagecgroup", "rb", BUFSIZE)

    with open("/sys/kernel/mm/page_idle/bitmap", "rb", BUFSIZE) as f:
        while pass  # update idle flag

    idlememsz = {}
    while True:
        s1, s2 =,
        if not s1 or not s2:

        flags, = struct.unpack('Q', s1)
        cgino, = struct.unpack('Q', s2)

        unevictable = (flags >> 18) & 1
        huge = (flags >> 22) & 1
        idle = (flags >> 25) & 1

        if idle and not unevictable:
            idlememsz[cgino] = idlememsz.get(cgino, 0) + \
                (HUGEPAGE_SIZE if huge else PAGE_SIZE)

    return idlememsz

if __name__ == "__main__":
    print "Setting the idle flag for each page..."

    raw_input("Wait until the workload accesses its working set, "
              "then press Enter")

    print "Counting idle pages..."
    idlememsz = count_idle()

    for dir, subdirs, files in os.walk(CGROUP_MOUNT):
        ino = os.stat(dir)[stat.ST_INO]
        print dir + ": " + str(idlememsz.get(ino, 0) / 1024) + " kB"
==== END SCRIPT ====

This patch (of 8):

Add page_cgroup_ino() helper to memcg.

This function returns the inode number of the closest online ancestor of
the memory cgroup a page is charged to.  It is required for exporting
information about which page is charged to which cgroup to userspace,
which will be introduced by a following patch.
Signed-off-by: default avatarVladimir Davydov <>
Reviewed-by: default avatarAndres Lagar-Cavilla <>
Cc: Minchan Kim <>
Cc: Raghavendra K T <>
Cc: Johannes Weiner <>
Cc: Michal Hocko <>
Cc: Greg Thelen <>
Cc: Michel Lespinasse <>
Cc: David Rientjes <>
Cc: Pavel Emelyanov <>
Cc: Cyrill Gorcunov <>
Cc: Jonathan Corbet <>
Signed-off-by: default avatarAndrew Morton <>
Signed-off-by: default avatarLinus Torvalds <>
parent 9c4c5ef3
......@@ -345,6 +345,7 @@ static inline bool mm_match_cgroup(struct mm_struct *mm,
struct cgroup_subsys_state *mem_cgroup_css_from_page(struct page *page);
ino_t page_cgroup_ino(struct page *page);
static inline bool mem_cgroup_disabled(void)
......@@ -441,6 +441,34 @@ struct cgroup_subsys_state *mem_cgroup_css_from_page(struct page *page)
return &memcg->css;
* page_cgroup_ino - return inode number of the memcg a page is charged to
* @page: the page
* Look up the closest online ancestor of the memory cgroup @page is charged to
* and return its inode number or 0 if @page is not charged to any cgroup. It
* is safe to call this function without holding a reference to @page.
* Note, this function is inherently racy, because there is nothing to prevent
* the cgroup inode from getting torn down and potentially reallocated a moment
* after page_cgroup_ino() returns, so it only should be used by callers that
* do not care (such as procfs interfaces).
ino_t page_cgroup_ino(struct page *page)
struct mem_cgroup *memcg;
unsigned long ino = 0;
memcg = READ_ONCE(page->mem_cgroup);
while (memcg && !(memcg->css.flags & CSS_ONLINE))
memcg = parent_mem_cgroup(memcg);
if (memcg)
ino = cgroup_ino(memcg->css.cgroup);
return ino;
static struct mem_cgroup_per_zone *
mem_cgroup_page_zoneinfo(struct mem_cgroup *memcg, struct page *page)
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