path: root/Documentation/RCU
diff options
authorPaul E. McKenney <paulmck@us.ibm.com>2006-06-25 05:48:44 -0700
committerLinus Torvalds <torvalds@g5.osdl.org>2006-06-25 10:01:17 -0700
commit165d6c78ee24127dde5c750b2af0a239f9c11d1a (patch)
treea9329b5b24893588114441f43d576dfa310e5f43 /Documentation/RCU
parent76d42bd96984832c4ea8bc8cbd74e496ac31409e (diff)
[PATCH] RCU documentation: self-limiting updates and call_rcu()
An update to the RCU documentation calling out the self-limiting-update-rate advantages of synchronize_rcu(), and describing how to use call_rcu() in a way that results in self-limiting updates. Self-limiting updates are important to avoiding RCU-induced OOM in face of denial-of-service attacks. Signed-off-by: Paul E. McKenney <paulmck@us.ibm.com> Signed-off-by: Andrew Morton <akpm@osdl.org> Signed-off-by: Linus Torvalds <torvalds@osdl.org>
Diffstat (limited to 'Documentation/RCU')
2 files changed, 52 insertions, 4 deletions
diff --git a/Documentation/RCU/checklist.txt b/Documentation/RCU/checklist.txt
index 49e27cc19385..1d50cf0c905e 100644
--- a/Documentation/RCU/checklist.txt
+++ b/Documentation/RCU/checklist.txt
@@ -144,9 +144,47 @@ over a rather long period of time, but improvements are always welcome!
whether the increased speed is worth it.
8. Although synchronize_rcu() is a bit slower than is call_rcu(),
- it usually results in simpler code. So, unless update performance
- is important or the updaters cannot block, synchronize_rcu()
- should be used in preference to call_rcu().
+ it usually results in simpler code. So, unless update
+ performance is critically important or the updaters cannot block,
+ synchronize_rcu() should be used in preference to call_rcu().
+ An especially important property of the synchronize_rcu()
+ primitive is that it automatically self-limits: if grace periods
+ are delayed for whatever reason, then the synchronize_rcu()
+ primitive will correspondingly delay updates. In contrast,
+ code using call_rcu() should explicitly limit update rate in
+ cases where grace periods are delayed, as failing to do so can
+ result in excessive realtime latencies or even OOM conditions.
+ Ways of gaining this self-limiting property when using call_rcu()
+ include:
+ a. Keeping a count of the number of data-structure elements
+ used by the RCU-protected data structure, including those
+ waiting for a grace period to elapse. Enforce a limit
+ on this number, stalling updates as needed to allow
+ previously deferred frees to complete.
+ Alternatively, limit only the number awaiting deferred
+ free rather than the total number of elements.
+ b. Limiting update rate. For example, if updates occur only
+ once per hour, then no explicit rate limiting is required,
+ unless your system is already badly broken. The dcache
+ subsystem takes this approach -- updates are guarded
+ by a global lock, limiting their rate.
+ c. Trusted update -- if updates can only be done manually by
+ superuser or some other trusted user, then it might not
+ be necessary to automatically limit them. The theory
+ here is that superuser already has lots of ways to crash
+ the machine.
+ d. Use call_rcu_bh() rather than call_rcu(), in order to take
+ advantage of call_rcu_bh()'s faster grace periods.
+ e. Periodically invoke synchronize_rcu(), permitting a limited
+ number of updates per grace period.
9. All RCU list-traversal primitives, which include
list_for_each_rcu(), list_for_each_entry_rcu(),
diff --git a/Documentation/RCU/whatisRCU.txt b/Documentation/RCU/whatisRCU.txt
index 6e459420ee9f..4f41a60e5111 100644
--- a/Documentation/RCU/whatisRCU.txt
+++ b/Documentation/RCU/whatisRCU.txt
@@ -184,7 +184,17 @@ synchronize_rcu()
blocking, it registers a function and argument which are invoked
after all ongoing RCU read-side critical sections have completed.
This callback variant is particularly useful in situations where
- it is illegal to block.
+ it is illegal to block or where update-side performance is
+ critically important.
+ However, the call_rcu() API should not be used lightly, as use
+ of the synchronize_rcu() API generally results in simpler code.
+ In addition, the synchronize_rcu() API has the nice property
+ of automatically limiting update rate should grace periods
+ be delayed. This property results in system resilience in face
+ of denial-of-service attacks. Code using call_rcu() should limit
+ update rate in order to gain this same sort of resilience. See
+ checklist.txt for some approaches to limiting the update rate.