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Re: [Qemu-devel] [PATCH] virtio: Make memory barriers be memory barriers

From: Michael S. Tsirkin
Subject: Re: [Qemu-devel] [PATCH] virtio: Make memory barriers be memory barriers
Date: Mon, 5 Sep 2011 11:06:09 +0300
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.21 (2010-09-15)

On Mon, Sep 05, 2011 at 09:41:19AM +0200, Paolo Bonzini wrote:
> On 09/04/2011 11:16 AM, Michael S. Tsirkin wrote:
> >>>  I mean argue for a richer set of barriers, with per-arch minimal
> >>>  implementations instead of the large but portable hammer of
> >>>  sync_synchronize, if you will.
> >
> >That's what I'm saying really. On x86 the richer set of barriers
> >need not insert code at all for both wmb and rmb macros. All we
> >might need is an 'optimization barrier'- e.g. linux does
> >  __asm__ __volatile__("": : :"memory")
> >ppc needs something like sync_synchronize there.
> No, rmb and wmb need to generate code.

If they do we'll have to surround each their use with
ifndef x86 as you suggest later. Which is just messy.
Maybe we should rename the barriers to smp_rmb/smp_wmb/smp_mb -
this is what linux guests do.

> You are right that in some
> places there will be some extra barriers.
> If you want a richer set of barriers, that must be something like
> {rr,rw,wr,ww}_mb{_acq,_rel,} (again not counting the Alpha).  On
> x86, then, all the rr/rw/ww barriers will be compiler barriers
> because the hardware already enforces ordering.  The other three map
> to lfence/sfence/mfence:
>    barrier     assembly  why?
>    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
>    wr_mb_acq   lfence    prevents the read from moving up -> acquire
>    wr_mb_rel   sfence    prevents the write from moving down -> release
>    wr_mb       mfence    (full barrier)
> But if you stick to rmb/wmb/mb, then the correct definition of rmb
> is "the least strict barrier that provides all three of rr_mb(),
> rw_mb_rel() and wr_mb_acq()".  This is, as expected, an lfence.
> Similarly, wmb must provide all three of ww_mb(), wr_mb_rel() and
> rw_mb_acq(), and this is an sfence.
> So the right place to put an #ifdef is not "wmb()", but the _uses_
> of wmb() where you know you need a barrier that is less strict.
> That's why I say David patch is correct; on top of that you may
> change the particular uses of wmb() in virtio.c to compiler
> barriers, for example when you only care about ordering writes after
> writes.
> Likewise, there may even be places in which you could #ifdef out a
> full memory barrier.  For example, if you only care about ordering
> writes with respect to reads, x86 hardware is already providing that
> and you could omit the mb().
> I think in general it is premature optimization, though.
> Regarding specific examples in virtio where lfence and sfence could
> be used, there may be one when using event signaling.  In the
> backend you write first the index of your response, then you check
> whether to generate an event.  (I think) the following requirements
> hold:
> * if you read the event-index too early, you might skip an event and
> deadlock.  So you need at least a read barrier.
> * you can write the response-index after reading the event-index, as
> long as you write it before waking up the guest.
> So, in that case an x86 lfence should be enough, though again
> without more consideration I would use a full barrier just to be
> sure.
> Paolo

lfence in this place will not affect the relative order of read versus


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