[dpdk-dev] [RFC 0/8] mbuf: structure reorganization

Olivier MATZ olivier.matz at 6wind.com
Tue Jan 24 17:16:40 CET 2017

On Tue, 24 Jan 2017 15:59:08 +0000, Bruce Richardson
<bruce.richardson at intel.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 24, 2017 at 04:19:25PM +0100, Olivier Matz wrote:
> > Based on discussion done in [1], this patchset reorganizes the mbuf.
> >   
> Hi Olivier,
> thanks for all the work on this. From a quick scan of the patches, and
> the description below, it looks like a good set of changes. Comments
> below to see about kick-starting some further discussion about some of
> the other changes you propose.
> > The main changes are:
> > - reorder structure to increase vector performance on some non-ia
> >   platforms.
> > - add a 64bits timestamp field in the 1st cache line
> > - m->next, m->nb_segs, and m->refcnt are always initialized for
> > mbufs in the pool, avoiding the need of setting m->next (located in
> > the 2nd cache line) in the Rx path for mono-segment packets.
> > - change port and nb_segs to 16 bits
> > - move seqn in the 2nd cache line
> > 
> > Things discussed but not done in the patchset:
> > - move refcnt and nb_segs to the 2nd cache line: many drivers sets
> >   them in the Rx path, so it could introduce a performance
> > regression, or it would require to change all the drivers, which is
> > not an easy task.  
> But if we do make this change and update the drivers, some of them
> should perform a little better, since they do fewer writes. I don't
> think the fastest vector drivers will be affected, since they already
> coalesce the writes to these fields with other writes, but others
> drivers may well be improved by the change.

Yes, that's something I forgot to say in the cover letter: after this
patchset, the Rx path of drivers could be optimized a bit by removing
writes to m->next, m->nb_segs and m->refcnt. The patch 4/8 gives an
idea of what could be done.

Once most drivers are updated, we could reconsider moving nb_segs and
refcnt in the second cache line.

> > - remove the m->port field: too much impact on many examples and
> > libraries, and some people highlighted they are using it.
> > - moving m->next in the 1st cache line: there is not enough room,
> > and having it set to NULL for unused mbuf should remove the need
> > for it.  
> I agree.
> > - merge seqn and timestamp together in a union: we could imagine
> > use cases were both are activated. There is no flag indicating the
> > presence of seqn, so it looks preferable to keep them separated for
> > now.  
> What were the use-cases? If we have a timestamp, surely sequence can
> be determined from that? Even if you use the TSC as a timestamp per
> burst, you can still sequence the packets cheaply by just adding 1 to
> each subsequent value.

Assuming the timestamp is in nanosecond, it is not a sequence number,
so I'm not sure it should be hijacked for this purpose. A timestamp can
be used to reorder packets, but having a sequence number is better
because you can be sure that when you get packets 1, 3, 2, 0 that no
packet is missing between 0 and 3.

For that reason, I guess both features could be used at the same time.


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