Memory allocation performance

Robert Watson rwatson at
Sat Feb 2 14:51:16 PST 2008

On Sat, 2 Feb 2008, Kris Kennaway wrote:

> Alexander Motin wrote:
>> Robert Watson wrote:
>>> Hence my request for drilling down a bit on profiling -- the question I'm 
>>> asking is whether profiling shows things running or taking time that 
>>> shouldn't be.
>> I have not yet understood why does it happend, but hwpmc shows huge amount 
>> of "p4-resource-stall"s in UMA functions:
>> For this moment I have invent two possible explanation. One is that due to 
>> UMA's cyclic block allocation order it does not fits CPU caches and another 
>> that it is somehow related to critical_exit(), which possibly can cause 
>> context switch. Does anybody have better explanation how such small and 
>> simple in this part function can cause such results?
> You can look at the raw output from pmcstat, which is a collection of 
> instruction pointers that you can feed to e.g. addr2line to find out exactly 
> where in those functions the events are occurring.  This will often help to 
> track down the precise causes.

There was, FYI, a report a few years ago that there was a measurable 
improvement from allocating off the free bucket rather than maintaining 
separate alloc and free buckets.  It sounded good at the time but I was never 
able to reproduce the benefits in my test environment.  Now might be a good 
time to try to revalidate that.  Basically, the goal would be to make the pcpu 
cache FIFO as much as possible as that maximizes the chances that the newly 
allocated object already has lines in the cache.  It's a fairly trivial tweak 
to the UMA allocation code.

Robert N M Watson
Computer Laboratory
University of Cambridge

More information about the freebsd-performance mailing list