Patchwork [PATCHv6,10/10] doc/mm: New documentation for memory performance

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Submitter Keith Busch
Date Feb. 14, 2019, 5:10 p.m.
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Permalink /patch/726741/
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Keith Busch - Feb. 14, 2019, 5:10 p.m.
Platforms may provide system memory where some physical address ranges
perform differently than others, or is side cached by the system.

Add documentation describing a high level overview of such systems and the
perforamnce and caching attributes the kernel provides for applications
wishing to query this information.

Reviewed-by: Mike Rapoport <>
Signed-off-by: Keith Busch <>
 Documentation/admin-guide/mm/numaperf.rst | 164 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 1 file changed, 164 insertions(+)
 create mode 100644 Documentation/admin-guide/mm/numaperf.rst


diff --git a/Documentation/admin-guide/mm/numaperf.rst b/Documentation/admin-guide/mm/numaperf.rst
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+.. _numaperf:
+NUMA Locality
+Some platforms may have multiple types of memory attached to a compute
+node. These disparate memory ranges may share some characteristics, such
+as CPU cache coherence, but may have different performance. For example,
+different media types and buses affect bandwidth and latency.
+A system supports such heterogeneous memory by grouping each memory type
+under different domains, or "nodes", based on locality and performance
+characteristics.  Some memory may share the same node as a CPU, and others
+are provided as memory only nodes. While memory only nodes do not provide
+CPUs, they may still be local to one or more compute nodes relative to
+other nodes. The following diagram shows one such example of two compute
+nodes with local memory and a memory only node for each of compute node:
+ +------------------+     +------------------+
+ | Compute Node 0   +-----+ Compute Node 1   |
+ | Local Node0 Mem  |     | Local Node1 Mem  |
+ +--------+---------+     +--------+---------+
+          |                        |
+ +--------+---------+     +--------+---------+
+ | Slower Node2 Mem |     | Slower Node3 Mem |
+ +------------------+     +--------+---------+
+A "memory initiator" is a node containing one or more devices such as
+CPUs or separate memory I/O devices that can initiate memory requests.
+A "memory target" is a node containing one or more physical address
+ranges accessible from one or more memory initiators.
+When multiple memory initiators exist, they may not all have the same
+performance when accessing a given memory target. Each initiator-target
+pair may be organized into different ranked access classes to represent
+this relationship. The highest performing initiator to a given target
+is considered to be one of that target's local initiators, and given
+the highest access class, 0. Any given target may have one or more
+local initiators, and any given initiator may have multiple local
+memory targets.
+To aid applications matching memory targets with their initiators, the
+kernel provides symlinks to each other. The following example lists the
+relationship for the access class "0" memory initiators and targets, which is
+the of nodes with the highest performing access relationship::
+	# symlinks -v /sys/devices/system/node/nodeX/access0/targets/
+	relative: /sys/devices/system/node/nodeX/access0/targets/nodeY -> ../../nodeY
+	# symlinks -v /sys/devices/system/node/nodeY/access0/initiators/
+	relative: /sys/devices/system/node/nodeY/access0/initiators/nodeX -> ../../nodeX
+NUMA Performance
+Applications may wish to consider which node they want their memory to
+be allocated from based on the node's performance characteristics. If
+the system provides these attributes, the kernel exports them under the
+node sysfs hierarchy by appending the attributes directory under the
+memory node's access class 0 initiators as follows::
+	/sys/devices/system/node/nodeY/access0/initiators/
+These attributes apply only when accessed from nodes that have the
+are linked under the this access's inititiators.
+The performance characteristics the kernel provides for the local initiators
+are exported are as follows::
+	# tree -P "read*|write*" /sys/devices/system/node/nodeY/access0/initiators/
+	/sys/devices/system/node/nodeY/access0/initiators/
+	|-- read_bandwidth
+	|-- read_latency
+	|-- write_bandwidth
+	`-- write_latency
+The bandwidth attributes are provided in MiB/second.
+The latency attributes are provided in nanoseconds.
+The values reported here correspond to the rated latency and bandwidth
+for the platform.
+NUMA Cache
+System memory may be constructed in a hierarchy of elements with various
+performance characteristics in order to provide large address space of
+slower performing memory cached by a smaller higher performing memory. The
+system physical addresses memory  initiators are aware of are provided
+by the last memory level in the hierarchy. The system meanwhile uses
+higher performing memory to transparently cache access to progressively
+slower levels.
+The term "far memory" is used to denote the last level memory in the
+hierarchy. Each increasing cache level provides higher performing
+initiator access, and the term "near memory" represents the fastest
+cache provided by the system.
+This numbering is different than CPU caches where the cache level (ex:
+L1, L2, L3) uses a CPU-side view where each increased level is lower
+performing. In contrast, the memory cache level is centric to the last
+level memory, so the higher numbered cache level denotes memory nearer
+to the CPU, and further from far memory.
+The memory-side caches are not directly addressable by software. When
+software accesses a system address, the system will return it from the
+near memory cache if it is present. If it is not present, the system
+accesses the next level of memory until there is either a hit in that
+cache level, or it reaches far memory.
+An application does not need to know about caching attributes in order
+to use the system. Software may optionally query the memory cache
+attributes in order to maximize the performance out of such a setup.
+If the system provides a way for the kernel to discover this information,
+for example with ACPI HMAT (Heterogeneous Memory Attribute Table),
+the kernel will append these attributes to the NUMA node memory target.
+When the kernel first registers a memory cache with a node, the kernel
+will create the following directory::
+	/sys/devices/system/node/nodeX/memory_side_cache/
+If that directory is not present, the system either does not not provide
+a memory-side cache, or that information is not accessible to the kernel.
+The attributes for each level of cache is provided under its cache
+level index::
+	/sys/devices/system/node/nodeX/memory_side_cache/indexA/
+	/sys/devices/system/node/nodeX/memory_side_cache/indexB/
+	/sys/devices/system/node/nodeX/memory_side_cache/indexC/
+Each cache level's directory provides its attributes. For example, the
+following shows a single cache level and the attributes available for
+software to query::
+	# tree sys/devices/system/node/node0/memory_side_cache/
+	/sys/devices/system/node/node0/memory_side_cache/
+	|-- index1
+	|   |-- associativity
+	|   |-- line_size
+	|   |-- size
+	|   `-- write_policy
+The "associativity" will be 0 if it is a direct-mapped cache, and non-zero
+for any other indexed based, multi-way associativity.
+The "line_size" is the number of bytes accessed from the next cache
+level on a miss.
+The "size" is the number of bytes provided by this cache level.
+The "write_policy" will be 0 for write-back, and non-zero for
+write-through caching.
+See Also
+.. [1]
+       Section 5.2.27