DragonFly BSD
DragonFly kernel List (threaded) for 2003-07
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Re: You could do worse than Mach ports

From: dave <leimy2k@xxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2003 13:49:32 -0500

First off... thanks for answering all of these questions... you have been
getting the waterfall treatment the last few days :).

I have questions below :).
On Friday, July 18, 2003, at 01:12 PM, Matthew Dillon wrote:

: I am REALLY intersted in the user->user case... In fact I've had some
: ideas that have to do with Mach-like port permissions and exposed
: of memory based on the MPI-2 One Sided [RDMA] semantics. However I
: gotten very far with this idea on paper to even decide if its
: I want to expose a region of memory for outside access to a known
:group of
: processes or threads for a certain amount of time at which point
:that memory
: could be thought of as "don't touch" for the duration of the
:epoch... All
: accesses to that memory could be considered "remote" during the
:epoch using
: only "put" and "get" requests which I would be relying on the VM
:layer to do
: the writes and reads to the memory in the exposed buffer... even
:for the local
: process.
: Does this sound feasible? Like I said, I haven't gotten very far....
:but this
: API is present, more or less, on high-speed Infiniband hardware
:drivers as well
: as Myrinet GM where there is hardware to do the DMA accesses needed to
: interrupting the CPUs of remote nodes so they can continue crunching
:data while
: messages flow through a cluster. Its quite beautiful and elegant in
:that context.
: In user<->user messaging it would just be a natural extension, I
:think, of this
: idea. However I have not counted on context switches and other things
:that may
: need to occur in a BSD/Unix like kernel that may make this design

Well, anytime you have to play with VM mappings you incur a horrible
cost verses not having to and just making a direct call. I guess
it depends on how much data the user process winds up manipulating
outside of the don't-touch periods.

In an implementation of the above scheme it might be easier simply to
make the memory don't-touch all the time, rather then just during
the epoch, and rely on "put" and "get" to do the right thing.

I think I understand... this would be a special buffer that is allocated for the
purpose of exposure. I was thinking about having the option to expose a simple
array of bytes that may already exist... eliminating further copies.... perhaps
I should crawl before I walk though :).

If the user process is manipulating a *LOT* of data then a double-buffered
approach might be the way to go, where the user process always has access
to a kernel-providing writable buffer and when it stages it into the
kernel the kernel replaces the user VM page with a new buffer (making
the old one now in the sole domain of the kernel).

So the kernel would swap out the buffer that was previously owned in user space
to its own ownership and replace that buffer with something of equal size..

Are you saying that the puts and the gets would go the kernel buffer only...
until the process that caused the buffer-swap tells the kernel it wants its
buffer back.

I'm not sure whether these schemes would apply to DragonFly. There are
DMA issues in all UNIXes which I believe only NetBSD has solved with
UVM so far. In FreeBSD vfs_busy_pages() is responsible for preventing
user writes to pages undergoing write I/O. In DragonFly we will
eventually replace that with a COW scheme like UVM has.

Well I hadn't thought it out that deeply... but MPI doesn't say the user
"can't" write to the pages during an access epoch. The standard does say
that if you do you completely invalidate all guarantees for the consistency
of the buffer. I would be comfortable with that in an IPC system for local
processes as well.

: queueing occurs only in the synchronous case then? I need to see that
:AmigaOS :).

Queueing only occurs in the asynchronous case. In the synchronous case
the port agent completes processing of the message and returns a
synchronous error code (which is anything other then EASYNC).

That makes more sense :).

Of course, the port agent is free to do whatever it wants... it could
very well use queueing internally and spin on the result, then return
a synchronous result. It is 'opaque' though of course the intent is
for it to queue and return EASYNC instead of blocking in that case.

Sure... the exposed behavior to the end user is all that must be consistent.

I can see cases where a port agent might occassionally block.. under
exceptional circumstances that are outside the critical path, such as
in critical low memory situations.

But if a port agent blocks perhaps the whole process isn't active anymore...
to the user non-blocking appearance could be maintained. [as long as one doesn't
hang the kernel trying to achieve it]

Thanks again Matt,


-Matt Matthew Dillon <dillon@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>

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