path: root/Documentation/RCU/rcubarrier.txt
diff options
authorPaul E. McKenney <paulmck@linux.vnet.ibm.com>2008-11-13 18:11:52 -0800
committerJonathan Corbet <corbet@lwn.net>2008-12-03 15:58:01 -0700
commit1c12757c56b4c9ab5aab1f6c1248ae4ea8af3a01 (patch)
tree1a501e8c8bea09ce85a080af6c28da42d021fd80 /Documentation/RCU/rcubarrier.txt
parent061e41fdb5047b1fb161e89664057835935ca1d2 (diff)
Document RCU and unloadable modules
Signed-off-by: Paul E. McKenney <paulmck@linux.vnet.ibm.com> Reviewed-by: Lai Jiangshan <laijs@cn.fujitsu.com> Signed-off-by: Jonathan Corbet <corbet@lwn.net>
Diffstat (limited to 'Documentation/RCU/rcubarrier.txt')
1 files changed, 304 insertions, 0 deletions
diff --git a/Documentation/RCU/rcubarrier.txt b/Documentation/RCU/rcubarrier.txt
new file mode 100644
index 000000000000..909602d409bb
--- /dev/null
+++ b/Documentation/RCU/rcubarrier.txt
@@ -0,0 +1,304 @@
+RCU and Unloadable Modules
+[Originally published in LWN Jan. 14, 2007: http://lwn.net/Articles/217484/]
+RCU (read-copy update) is a synchronization mechanism that can be thought
+of as a replacement for read-writer locking (among other things), but with
+very low-overhead readers that are immune to deadlock, priority inversion,
+and unbounded latency. RCU read-side critical sections are delimited
+by rcu_read_lock() and rcu_read_unlock(), which, in non-CONFIG_PREEMPT
+kernels, generate no code whatsoever.
+This means that RCU writers are unaware of the presence of concurrent
+readers, so that RCU updates to shared data must be undertaken quite
+carefully, leaving an old version of the data structure in place until all
+pre-existing readers have finished. These old versions are needed because
+such readers might hold a reference to them. RCU updates can therefore be
+rather expensive, and RCU is thus best suited for read-mostly situations.
+How can an RCU writer possibly determine when all readers are finished,
+given that readers might well leave absolutely no trace of their
+presence? There is a synchronize_rcu() primitive that blocks until all
+pre-existing readers have completed. An updater wishing to delete an
+element p from a linked list might do the following, while holding an
+appropriate lock, of course:
+ list_del_rcu(p);
+ synchronize_rcu();
+ kfree(p);
+But the above code cannot be used in IRQ context -- the call_rcu()
+primitive must be used instead. This primitive takes a pointer to an
+rcu_head struct placed within the RCU-protected data structure and
+another pointer to a function that may be invoked later to free that
+structure. Code to delete an element p from the linked list from IRQ
+context might then be as follows:
+ list_del_rcu(p);
+ call_rcu(&p->rcu, p_callback);
+Since call_rcu() never blocks, this code can safely be used from within
+IRQ context. The function p_callback() might be defined as follows:
+ static void p_callback(struct rcu_head *rp)
+ {
+ struct pstruct *p = container_of(rp, struct pstruct, rcu);
+ kfree(p);
+ }
+Unloading Modules That Use call_rcu()
+But what if p_callback is defined in an unloadable module?
+If we unload the module while some RCU callbacks are pending,
+the CPUs executing these callbacks are going to be severely
+disappointed when they are later invoked, as fancifully depicted at
+We could try placing a synchronize_rcu() in the module-exit code path,
+but this is not sufficient. Although synchronize_rcu() does wait for a
+grace period to elapse, it does not wait for the callbacks to complete.
+One might be tempted to try several back-to-back synchronize_rcu()
+calls, but this is still not guaranteed to work. If there is a very
+heavy RCU-callback load, then some of the callbacks might be deferred
+in order to allow other processing to proceed. Such deferral is required
+in realtime kernels in order to avoid excessive scheduling latencies.
+We instead need the rcu_barrier() primitive. This primitive is similar
+to synchronize_rcu(), but instead of waiting solely for a grace
+period to elapse, it also waits for all outstanding RCU callbacks to
+complete. Pseudo-code using rcu_barrier() is as follows:
+ 1. Prevent any new RCU callbacks from being posted.
+ 2. Execute rcu_barrier().
+ 3. Allow the module to be unloaded.
+Quick Quiz #1: Why is there no srcu_barrier()?
+The rcutorture module makes use of rcu_barrier in its exit function
+as follows:
+ 1 static void
+ 2 rcu_torture_cleanup(void)
+ 3 {
+ 4 int i;
+ 5
+ 6 fullstop = 1;
+ 7 if (shuffler_task != NULL) {
+ 8 VERBOSE_PRINTK_STRING("Stopping rcu_torture_shuffle task");
+ 9 kthread_stop(shuffler_task);
+10 }
+11 shuffler_task = NULL;
+13 if (writer_task != NULL) {
+14 VERBOSE_PRINTK_STRING("Stopping rcu_torture_writer task");
+15 kthread_stop(writer_task);
+16 }
+17 writer_task = NULL;
+19 if (reader_tasks != NULL) {
+20 for (i = 0; i < nrealreaders; i++) {
+21 if (reader_tasks[i] != NULL) {
+23 "Stopping rcu_torture_reader task");
+24 kthread_stop(reader_tasks[i]);
+25 }
+26 reader_tasks[i] = NULL;
+27 }
+28 kfree(reader_tasks);
+29 reader_tasks = NULL;
+30 }
+31 rcu_torture_current = NULL;
+33 if (fakewriter_tasks != NULL) {
+34 for (i = 0; i < nfakewriters; i++) {
+35 if (fakewriter_tasks[i] != NULL) {
+37 "Stopping rcu_torture_fakewriter task");
+38 kthread_stop(fakewriter_tasks[i]);
+39 }
+40 fakewriter_tasks[i] = NULL;
+41 }
+42 kfree(fakewriter_tasks);
+43 fakewriter_tasks = NULL;
+44 }
+46 if (stats_task != NULL) {
+47 VERBOSE_PRINTK_STRING("Stopping rcu_torture_stats task");
+48 kthread_stop(stats_task);
+49 }
+50 stats_task = NULL;
+52 /* Wait for all RCU callbacks to fire. */
+53 rcu_barrier();
+55 rcu_torture_stats_print(); /* -After- the stats thread is stopped! */
+57 if (cur_ops->cleanup != NULL)
+58 cur_ops->cleanup();
+59 if (atomic_read(&n_rcu_torture_error))
+60 rcu_torture_print_module_parms("End of test: FAILURE");
+61 else
+62 rcu_torture_print_module_parms("End of test: SUCCESS");
+63 }
+Line 6 sets a global variable that prevents any RCU callbacks from
+re-posting themselves. This will not be necessary in most cases, since
+RCU callbacks rarely include calls to call_rcu(). However, the rcutorture
+module is an exception to this rule, and therefore needs to set this
+global variable.
+Lines 7-50 stop all the kernel tasks associated with the rcutorture
+module. Therefore, once execution reaches line 53, no more rcutorture
+RCU callbacks will be posted. The rcu_barrier() call on line 53 waits
+for any pre-existing callbacks to complete.
+Then lines 55-62 print status and do operation-specific cleanup, and
+then return, permitting the module-unload operation to be completed.
+Quick Quiz #2: Is there any other situation where rcu_barrier() might
+ be required?
+Your module might have additional complications. For example, if your
+module invokes call_rcu() from timers, you will need to first cancel all
+the timers, and only then invoke rcu_barrier() to wait for any remaining
+RCU callbacks to complete.
+Implementing rcu_barrier()
+Dipankar Sarma's implementation of rcu_barrier() makes use of the fact
+that RCU callbacks are never reordered once queued on one of the per-CPU
+queues. His implementation queues an RCU callback on each of the per-CPU
+callback queues, and then waits until they have all started executing, at
+which point, all earlier RCU callbacks are guaranteed to have completed.
+The original code for rcu_barrier() was as follows:
+ 1 void rcu_barrier(void)
+ 2 {
+ 3 BUG_ON(in_interrupt());
+ 4 /* Take cpucontrol mutex to protect against CPU hotplug */
+ 5 mutex_lock(&rcu_barrier_mutex);
+ 6 init_completion(&rcu_barrier_completion);
+ 7 atomic_set(&rcu_barrier_cpu_count, 0);
+ 8 on_each_cpu(rcu_barrier_func, NULL, 0, 1);
+ 9 wait_for_completion(&rcu_barrier_completion);
+10 mutex_unlock(&rcu_barrier_mutex);
+11 }
+Line 3 verifies that the caller is in process context, and lines 5 and 10
+use rcu_barrier_mutex to ensure that only one rcu_barrier() is using the
+global completion and counters at a time, which are initialized on lines
+6 and 7. Line 8 causes each CPU to invoke rcu_barrier_func(), which is
+shown below. Note that the final "1" in on_each_cpu()'s argument list
+ensures that all the calls to rcu_barrier_func() will have completed
+before on_each_cpu() returns. Line 9 then waits for the completion.
+This code was rewritten in 2008 to support rcu_barrier_bh() and
+rcu_barrier_sched() in addition to the original rcu_barrier().
+The rcu_barrier_func() runs on each CPU, where it invokes call_rcu()
+to post an RCU callback, as follows:
+ 1 static void rcu_barrier_func(void *notused)
+ 2 {
+ 3 int cpu = smp_processor_id();
+ 4 struct rcu_data *rdp = &per_cpu(rcu_data, cpu);
+ 5 struct rcu_head *head;
+ 6
+ 7 head = &rdp->barrier;
+ 8 atomic_inc(&rcu_barrier_cpu_count);
+ 9 call_rcu(head, rcu_barrier_callback);
+10 }
+Lines 3 and 4 locate RCU's internal per-CPU rcu_data structure,
+which contains the struct rcu_head that needed for the later call to
+call_rcu(). Line 7 picks up a pointer to this struct rcu_head, and line
+8 increments a global counter. This counter will later be decremented
+by the callback. Line 9 then registers the rcu_barrier_callback() on
+the current CPU's queue.
+The rcu_barrier_callback() function simply atomically decrements the
+rcu_barrier_cpu_count variable and finalizes the completion when it
+reaches zero, as follows:
+ 1 static void rcu_barrier_callback(struct rcu_head *notused)
+ 2 {
+ 3 if (atomic_dec_and_test(&rcu_barrier_cpu_count))
+ 4 complete(&rcu_barrier_completion);
+ 5 }
+Quick Quiz #3: What happens if CPU 0's rcu_barrier_func() executes
+ immediately (thus incrementing rcu_barrier_cpu_count to the
+ value one), but the other CPU's rcu_barrier_func() invocations
+ are delayed for a full grace period? Couldn't this result in
+ rcu_barrier() returning prematurely?
+rcu_barrier() Summary
+The rcu_barrier() primitive has seen relatively little use, since most
+code using RCU is in the core kernel rather than in modules. However, if
+you are using RCU from an unloadable module, you need to use rcu_barrier()
+so that your module may be safely unloaded.
+Answers to Quick Quizzes
+Quick Quiz #1: Why is there no srcu_barrier()?
+Answer: Since there is no call_srcu(), there can be no outstanding SRCU
+ callbacks. Therefore, there is no need to wait for them.
+Quick Quiz #2: Is there any other situation where rcu_barrier() might
+ be required?
+Answer: Interestingly enough, rcu_barrier() was not originally
+ implemented for module unloading. Nikita Danilov was using
+ RCU in a filesystem, which resulted in a similar situation at
+ filesystem-unmount time. Dipankar Sarma coded up rcu_barrier()
+ in response, so that Nikita could invoke it during the
+ filesystem-unmount process.
+ Much later, yours truly hit the RCU module-unload problem when
+ implementing rcutorture, and found that rcu_barrier() solves
+ this problem as well.
+Quick Quiz #3: What happens if CPU 0's rcu_barrier_func() executes
+ immediately (thus incrementing rcu_barrier_cpu_count to the
+ value one), but the other CPU's rcu_barrier_func() invocations
+ are delayed for a full grace period? Couldn't this result in
+ rcu_barrier() returning prematurely?
+Answer: This cannot happen. The reason is that on_each_cpu() has its last
+ argument, the wait flag, set to "1". This flag is passed through
+ to smp_call_function() and further to smp_call_function_on_cpu(),
+ causing this latter to spin until the cross-CPU invocation of
+ rcu_barrier_func() has completed. This by itself would prevent
+ a grace period from completing on non-CONFIG_PREEMPT kernels,
+ since each CPU must undergo a context switch (or other quiescent
+ state) before the grace period can complete. However, this is
+ of no use in CONFIG_PREEMPT kernels.
+ Therefore, on_each_cpu() disables preemption across its call
+ to smp_call_function() and also across the local call to
+ rcu_barrier_func(). This prevents the local CPU from context
+ switching, again preventing grace periods from completing. This
+ means that all CPUs have executed rcu_barrier_func() before
+ the first rcu_barrier_callback() can possibly execute, in turn
+ preventing rcu_barrier_cpu_count from prematurely reaching zero.
+ Currently, -rt implementations of RCU keep but a single global
+ queue for RCU callbacks, and thus do not suffer from this
+ problem. However, when the -rt RCU eventually does have per-CPU
+ callback queues, things will have to change. One simple change
+ is to add an rcu_read_lock() before line 8 of rcu_barrier()
+ and an rcu_read_unlock() after line 8 of this same function. If
+ you can think of a better change, please let me know!