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From: Bart Van Assche <>
To: ""
	"" <>
Cc: "" <>,
	"" <>,
	"" <>
Subject: Re: [LSF/MM TOPIC] A high-performance userspace block driver
Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:41:46 +0000	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

On Tue, 2018-01-16 at 06:52 -0800, Matthew Wilcox wrote:
> I see the improvements that Facebook have been making to the nbd driver,
> and I think that's a wonderful thing.  Maybe the outcome of this topic
> is simply: "Shut up, Matthew, this is good enough".
> It's clear that there's an appetite for userspace block devices; not for
> swap devices or the root device, but for accessing data that's stored
> in that silo over there, and I really don't want to bring that entire
> mess of CORBA / Go / Rust / whatever into the kernel to get to it,
> but it would be really handy to present it as a block device.
> I've looked at a few block-driver-in-userspace projects that exist, and
> they all seem pretty bad.  For example, one API maps a few gigabytes of
> address space and plays games with vm_insert_page() to put page cache
> pages into the address space of the client process.  Of course, the TLB
> flush overhead of that solution is criminal.
> I've looked at pipes, and they're not an awful solution.  We've almost
> got enough syscalls to treat other objects as pipes.  The problem is
> that they're not seekable.  So essentially you're looking at having one
> pipe per outstanding command.  If yu want to make good use of a modern
> NAND device, you want a few hundred outstanding commands, and that's a
> bit of a shoddy interface.
> Right now, I'm leaning towards combining these two approaches; adding
> a VM_NOTLB flag so the mmaped bits of the page cache never make it into
> the process's address space, so the TLB shootdown can be safely skipped.
> Then check it in follow_page_mask() and return the appropriate struct
> page.  As long as the userspace process does everything using O_DIRECT,
> I think this will work.
> It's either that or make pipes seekable ...

How about using the RDMA API and the rdma_rxe driver over loopback? The RDMA
API supports zero-copy communication which is something the BSD socket API
does not support. The RDMA API also supports byte-level granularity and the
hot path (ib_post_send(), ib_post_recv(), ib_poll_cq()) does not require any
system calls for PCIe RDMA adapters. The rdma_rxe driver however uses a system
call to trigger the send doorbell.


  parent reply	other threads:[~2018-01-17  0:41 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 11+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2018-01-16 14:52 Matthew Wilcox
2018-01-16 23:04 ` Viacheslav Dubeyko
2018-01-16 23:23 ` Theodore Ts'o
2018-01-16 23:28   ` [Lsf-pc] " James Bottomley
2018-01-16 23:57     ` Bart Van Assche
2018-01-17  0:41 ` Bart Van Assche [this message]
2018-01-17  2:49 ` Ming Lei
2018-01-17 21:21   ` Matthew Wilcox
2018-01-22 12:02     ` Mike Rapoport
2018-01-22 12:18     ` Ming Lei
2018-01-18  5:27 ` Figo.zhang

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