Based on kernel version 3.9. Page generated on 2013-05-02 23:06 EST.
1 Path walking and name lookup locking 2 ==================================== 3 4 Path resolution is the finding a dentry corresponding to a path name string, by 5 performing a path walk. Typically, for every open(), stat() etc., the path name 6 will be resolved. Paths are resolved by walking the namespace tree, starting 7 with the first component of the pathname (eg. root or cwd) with a known dentry, 8 then finding the child of that dentry, which is named the next component in the 9 path string. Then repeating the lookup from the child dentry and finding its 10 child with the next element, and so on. 11 12 Since it is a frequent operation for workloads like multiuser environments and 13 web servers, it is important to optimize this code. 14 15 Path walking synchronisation history: 16 Prior to 2.5.10, dcache_lock was acquired in d_lookup (dcache hash lookup) and 17 thus in every component during path look-up. Since 2.5.10 onwards, fast-walk 18 algorithm changed this by holding the dcache_lock at the beginning and walking 19 as many cached path component dentries as possible. This significantly 20 decreases the number of acquisition of dcache_lock. However it also increases 21 the lock hold time significantly and affects performance in large SMP machines. 22 Since 2.5.62 kernel, dcache has been using a new locking model that uses RCU to 23 make dcache look-up lock-free. 24 25 All the above algorithms required taking a lock and reference count on the 26 dentry that was looked up, so that may be used as the basis for walking the 27 next path element. This is inefficient and unscalable. It is inefficient 28 because of the locks and atomic operations required for every dentry element 29 slows things down. It is not scalable because many parallel applications that 30 are path-walk intensive tend to do path lookups starting from a common dentry 31 (usually, the root "/" or current working directory). So contention on these 32 common path elements causes lock and cacheline queueing. 33 34 Since 2.6.38, RCU is used to make a significant part of the entire path walk 35 (including dcache look-up) completely "store-free" (so, no locks, atomics, or 36 even stores into cachelines of common dentries). This is known as "rcu-walk" 37 path walking. 38 39 Path walking overview 40 ===================== 41 42 A name string specifies a start (root directory, cwd, fd-relative) and a 43 sequence of elements (directory entry names), which together refer to a path in 44 the namespace. A path is represented as a (dentry, vfsmount) tuple. The name 45 elements are sub-strings, separated by '/'. 46 47 Name lookups will want to find a particular path that a name string refers to 48 (usually the final element, or parent of final element). This is done by taking 49 the path given by the name's starting point (which we know in advance -- eg. 50 current->fs->cwd or current->fs->root) as the first parent of the lookup. Then 51 iteratively for each subsequent name element, look up the child of the current 52 parent with the given name and if it is not the desired entry, make it the 53 parent for the next lookup. 54 55 A parent, of course, must be a directory, and we must have appropriate 56 permissions on the parent inode to be able to walk into it. 57 58 Turning the child into a parent for the next lookup requires more checks and 59 procedures. Symlinks essentially substitute the symlink name for the target 60 name in the name string, and require some recursive path walking. Mount points 61 must be followed into (thus changing the vfsmount that subsequent path elements 62 refer to), switching from the mount point path to the root of the particular 63 mounted vfsmount. These behaviours are variously modified depending on the 64 exact path walking flags. 65 66 Path walking then must, broadly, do several particular things: 67 - find the start point of the walk; 68 - perform permissions and validity checks on inodes; 69 - perform dcache hash name lookups on (parent, name element) tuples; 70 - traverse mount points; 71 - traverse symlinks; 72 - lookup and create missing parts of the path on demand. 73 74 Safe store-free look-up of dcache hash table 75 ============================================ 76 77 Dcache name lookup 78 ------------------ 79 In order to lookup a dcache (parent, name) tuple, we take a hash on the tuple 80 and use that to select a bucket in the dcache-hash table. The list of entries 81 in that bucket is then walked, and we do a full comparison of each entry 82 against our (parent, name) tuple. 83 84 The hash lists are RCU protected, so list walking is not serialised with 85 concurrent updates (insertion, deletion from the hash). This is a standard RCU 86 list application with the exception of renames, which will be covered below. 87 88 Parent and name members of a dentry, as well as its membership in the dcache 89 hash, and its inode are protected by the per-dentry d_lock spinlock. A 90 reference is taken on the dentry (while the fields are verified under d_lock), 91 and this stabilises its d_inode pointer and actual inode. This gives a stable 92 point to perform the next step of our path walk against. 93 94 These members are also protected by d_seq seqlock, although this offers 95 read-only protection and no durability of results, so care must be taken when 96 using d_seq for synchronisation (see seqcount based lookups, below). 97 98 Renames 99 ------- 100 Back to the rename case. In usual RCU protected lists, the only operations that 101 will happen to an object is insertion, and then eventually removal from the 102 list. The object will not be reused until an RCU grace period is complete. 103 This ensures the RCU list traversal primitives can run over the object without 104 problems (see RCU documentation for how this works). 105 106 However when a dentry is renamed, its hash value can change, requiring it to be 107 moved to a new hash list. Allocating and inserting a new alias would be 108 expensive and also problematic for directory dentries. Latency would be far to 109 high to wait for a grace period after removing the dentry and before inserting 110 it in the new hash bucket. So what is done is to insert the dentry into the 111 new list immediately. 112 113 However, when the dentry's list pointers are updated to point to objects in the 114 new list before waiting for a grace period, this can result in a concurrent RCU 115 lookup of the old list veering off into the new (incorrect) list and missing 116 the remaining dentries on the list. 117 118 There is no fundamental problem with walking down the wrong list, because the 119 dentry comparisons will never match. However it is fatal to miss a matching 120 dentry. So a seqlock is used to detect when a rename has occurred, and so the 121 lookup can be retried. 122 123 1 2 3 124 +---+ +---+ +---+ 125 hlist-->| N-+->| N-+->| N-+-> 126 head <--+-P |<-+-P |<-+-P | 127 +---+ +---+ +---+ 128 129 Rename of dentry 2 may require it deleted from the above list, and inserted 130 into a new list. Deleting 2 gives the following list. 131 132 1 3 133 +---+ +---+ (don't worry, the longer pointers do not 134 hlist-->| N-+-------->| N-+-> impose a measurable performance overhead 135 head <--+-P |<--------+-P | on modern CPUs) 136 +---+ +---+ 137 ^ 2 ^ 138 | +---+ | 139 | | N-+----+ 140 +----+-P | 141 +---+ 142 143 This is a standard RCU-list deletion, which leaves the deleted object's 144 pointers intact, so a concurrent list walker that is currently looking at 145 object 2 will correctly continue to object 3 when it is time to traverse the 146 next object. 147 148 However, when inserting object 2 onto a new list, we end up with this: 149 150 1 3 151 +---+ +---+ 152 hlist-->| N-+-------->| N-+-> 153 head <--+-P |<--------+-P | 154 +---+ +---+ 155 2 156 +---+ 157 | N-+----> 158 <----+-P | 159 +---+ 160 161 Because we didn't wait for a grace period, there may be a concurrent lookup 162 still at 2. Now when it follows 2's 'next' pointer, it will walk off into 163 another list without ever having checked object 3. 164 165 A related, but distinctly different, issue is that of rename atomicity versus 166 lookup operations. If a file is renamed from 'A' to 'B', a lookup must only 167 find either 'A' or 'B'. So if a lookup of 'A' returns NULL, a subsequent lookup 168 of 'B' must succeed (note the reverse is not true). 169 170 Between deleting the dentry from the old hash list, and inserting it on the new 171 hash list, a lookup may find neither 'A' nor 'B' matching the dentry. The same 172 rename seqlock is also used to cover this race in much the same way, by 173 retrying a negative lookup result if a rename was in progress. 174 175 Seqcount based lookups 176 ---------------------- 177 In refcount based dcache lookups, d_lock is used to serialise access to 178 the dentry, stabilising it while comparing its name and parent and then 179 taking a reference count (the reference count then gives a stable place to 180 start the next part of the path walk from). 181 182 As explained above, we would like to do path walking without taking locks or 183 reference counts on intermediate dentries along the path. To do this, a per 184 dentry seqlock (d_seq) is used to take a "coherent snapshot" of what the dentry 185 looks like (its name, parent, and inode). That snapshot is then used to start 186 the next part of the path walk. When loading the coherent snapshot under d_seq, 187 care must be taken to load the members up-front, and use those pointers rather 188 than reloading from the dentry later on (otherwise we'd have interesting things 189 like d_inode going NULL underneath us, if the name was unlinked). 190 191 Also important is to avoid performing any destructive operations (pretty much: 192 no non-atomic stores to shared data), and to recheck the seqcount when we are 193 "done" with the operation. Retry or abort if the seqcount does not match. 194 Avoiding destructive or changing operations means we can easily unwind from 195 failure. 196 197 What this means is that a caller, provided they are holding RCU lock to 198 protect the dentry object from disappearing, can perform a seqcount based 199 lookup which does not increment the refcount on the dentry or write to 200 it in any way. This returned dentry can be used for subsequent operations, 201 provided that d_seq is rechecked after that operation is complete. 202 203 Inodes are also rcu freed, so the seqcount lookup dentry's inode may also be 204 queried for permissions. 205 206 With this two parts of the puzzle, we can do path lookups without taking 207 locks or refcounts on dentry elements. 208 209 RCU-walk path walking design 210 ============================ 211 212 Path walking code now has two distinct modes, ref-walk and rcu-walk. ref-walk 213 is the traditional[*] way of performing dcache lookups using d_lock to 214 serialise concurrent modifications to the dentry and take a reference count on 215 it. ref-walk is simple and obvious, and may sleep, take locks, etc while path 216 walking is operating on each dentry. rcu-walk uses seqcount based dentry 217 lookups, and can perform lookup of intermediate elements without any stores to 218 shared data in the dentry or inode. rcu-walk can not be applied to all cases, 219 eg. if the filesystem must sleep or perform non trivial operations, rcu-walk 220 must be switched to ref-walk mode. 221 222 [*] RCU is still used for the dentry hash lookup in ref-walk, but not the full 223 path walk. 224 225 Where ref-walk uses a stable, refcounted ``parent'' to walk the remaining 226 path string, rcu-walk uses a d_seq protected snapshot. When looking up a 227 child of this parent snapshot, we open d_seq critical section on the child 228 before closing d_seq critical section on the parent. This gives an interlocking 229 ladder of snapshots to walk down. 230 231 232 proc 101 233 /----------------\ 234 / comm: "vi" \ 235 / fs.root: dentry0 \ 236 \ fs.cwd: dentry2 / 237 \ / 238 \----------------/ 239 240 So when vi wants to open("/home/npiggin/test.c", O_RDWR), then it will 241 start from current->fs->root, which is a pinned dentry. Alternatively, 242 "./test.c" would start from cwd; both names refer to the same path in 243 the context of proc101. 244 245 dentry 0 246 +---------------------+ rcu-walk begins here, we note d_seq, check the 247 | name: "/" | inode's permission, and then look up the next 248 | inode: 10 | path element which is "home"... 249 | children:"home", ...| 250 +---------------------+ 251 | 252 dentry 1 V 253 +---------------------+ ... which brings us here. We find dentry1 via 254 | name: "home" | hash lookup, then note d_seq and compare name 255 | inode: 678 | string and parent pointer. When we have a match, 256 | children:"npiggin" | we now recheck the d_seq of dentry0. Then we 257 +---------------------+ check inode and look up the next element. 258 | 259 dentry2 V 260 +---------------------+ Note: if dentry0 is now modified, lookup is 261 | name: "npiggin" | not necessarily invalid, so we need only keep a 262 | inode: 543 | parent for d_seq verification, and grandparents 263 | children:"a.c", ... | can be forgotten. 264 +---------------------+ 265 | 266 dentry3 V 267 +---------------------+ At this point we have our destination dentry. 268 | name: "a.c" | We now take its d_lock, verify d_seq of this 269 | inode: 14221 | dentry. If that checks out, we can increment 270 | children:NULL | its refcount because we're holding d_lock. 271 +---------------------+ 272 273 Taking a refcount on a dentry from rcu-walk mode, by taking its d_lock, 274 re-checking its d_seq, and then incrementing its refcount is called 275 "dropping rcu" or dropping from rcu-walk into ref-walk mode. 276 277 It is, in some sense, a bit of a house of cards. If the seqcount check of the 278 parent snapshot fails, the house comes down, because we had closed the d_seq 279 section on the grandparent, so we have nothing left to stand on. In that case, 280 the path walk must be fully restarted (which we do in ref-walk mode, to avoid 281 live locks). It is costly to have a full restart, but fortunately they are 282 quite rare. 283 284 When we reach a point where sleeping is required, or a filesystem callout 285 requires ref-walk, then instead of restarting the walk, we attempt to drop rcu 286 at the last known good dentry we have. Avoiding a full restart in ref-walk in 287 these cases is fundamental for performance and scalability because blocking 288 operations such as creates and unlinks are not uncommon. 289 290 The detailed design for rcu-walk is like this: 291 * LOOKUP_RCU is set in nd->flags, which distinguishes rcu-walk from ref-walk. 292 * Take the RCU lock for the entire path walk, starting with the acquiring 293 of the starting path (eg. root/cwd/fd-path). So now dentry refcounts are 294 not required for dentry persistence. 295 * synchronize_rcu is called when unregistering a filesystem, so we can 296 access d_ops and i_ops during rcu-walk. 297 * Similarly take the vfsmount lock for the entire path walk. So now mnt 298 refcounts are not required for persistence. Also we are free to perform mount 299 lookups, and to assume dentry mount points and mount roots are stable up and 300 down the path. 301 * Have a per-dentry seqlock to protect the dentry name, parent, and inode, 302 so we can load this tuple atomically, and also check whether any of its 303 members have changed. 304 * Dentry lookups (based on parent, candidate string tuple) recheck the parent 305 sequence after the child is found in case anything changed in the parent 306 during the path walk. 307 * inode is also RCU protected so we can load d_inode and use the inode for 308 limited things. 309 * i_mode, i_uid, i_gid can be tested for exec permissions during path walk. 310 * i_op can be loaded. 311 * When the destination dentry is reached, drop rcu there (ie. take d_lock, 312 verify d_seq, increment refcount). 313 * If seqlock verification fails anywhere along the path, do a full restart 314 of the path lookup in ref-walk mode. -ECHILD tends to be used (for want of 315 a better errno) to signal an rcu-walk failure. 316 317 The cases where rcu-walk cannot continue are: 318 * NULL dentry (ie. any uncached path element) 319 * Following links 320 321 It may be possible eventually to make following links rcu-walk aware. 322 323 Uncached path elements will always require dropping to ref-walk mode, at the 324 very least because i_mutex needs to be grabbed, and objects allocated. 325 326 Final note: 327 "store-free" path walking is not strictly store free. We take vfsmount lock 328 and refcounts (both of which can be made per-cpu), and we also store to the 329 stack (which is essentially CPU-local), and we also have to take locks and 330 refcount on final dentry. 331 332 The point is that shared data, where practically possible, is not locked 333 or stored into. The result is massive improvements in performance and 334 scalability of path resolution. 335 336 337 Interesting statistics 338 ====================== 339 340 The following table gives rcu lookup statistics for a few simple workloads 341 (2s12c24t Westmere, debian non-graphical system). Ungraceful are attempts to 342 drop rcu that fail due to d_seq failure and requiring the entire path lookup 343 again. Other cases are successful rcu-drops that are required before the final 344 element, nodentry for missing dentry, revalidate for filesystem revalidate 345 routine requiring rcu drop, permission for permission check requiring drop, 346 and link for symlink traversal requiring drop. 347 348 rcu-lookups restart nodentry link revalidate permission 349 bootup 47121 0 4624 1010 10283 7852 350 dbench 25386793 0 6778659(26.7%) 55 549 1156 351 kbuild 2696672 10 64442(2.3%) 108764(4.0%) 1 1590 352 git diff 39605 0 28 2 0 106 353 vfstest 24185492 4945 708725(2.9%) 1076136(4.4%) 0 2651 354 355 What this shows is that failed rcu-walk lookups, ie. ones that are restarted 356 entirely with ref-walk, are quite rare. Even the "vfstest" case which 357 specifically has concurrent renames/mkdir/rmdir/ creat/unlink/etc to exercise 358 such races is not showing a huge amount of restarts. 359 360 Dropping from rcu-walk to ref-walk mean that we have encountered a dentry where 361 the reference count needs to be taken for some reason. This is either because 362 we have reached the target of the path walk, or because we have encountered a 363 condition that can't be resolved in rcu-walk mode. Ideally, we drop rcu-walk 364 only when we have reached the target dentry, so the other statistics show where 365 this does not happen. 366 367 Note that a graceful drop from rcu-walk mode due to something such as the 368 dentry not existing (which can be common) is not necessarily a failure of 369 rcu-walk scheme, because some elements of the path may have been walked in 370 rcu-walk mode. The further we get from common path elements (such as cwd or 371 root), the less contended the dentry is likely to be. The closer we are to 372 common path elements, the more likely they will exist in dentry cache. 373 374 375 Papers and other documentation on dcache locking 376 ================================================ 377 378 1. Scaling dcache with RCU (http://linuxjournal.com/article.php?sid=7124). 379 380 2. http://lse.sourceforge.net/locking/dcache/dcache.html 381