[PATCH Yakkety SRU] x86/hpet: Reduce HPET counter read contention

Tim Gardner tim.gardner at canonical.com
Wed Nov 30 20:09:44 UTC 2016

From: Waiman Long <Waiman.Long at hpe.com>

BugLink: http://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/1645928

On a large system with many CPUs, using HPET as the clock source can
have a significant impact on the overall system performance because
of the following reasons:
 1) There is a single HPET counter shared by all the CPUs.
 2) HPET counter reading is a very slow operation.

Using HPET as the default clock source may happen when, for example,
the TSC clock calibration exceeds the allowable tolerance. Something
the performance slowdown can be so severe that the system may crash
because of a NMI watchdog soft lockup, for example.

During the TSC clock calibration process, the default clock source
will be set temporarily to HPET. For systems with many CPUs, it is
possible that NMI watchdog soft lockup may occur occasionally during
that short time period where HPET clocking is active as is shown in
the kernel log below:

[   71.646504] hpet0: 8 comparators, 64-bit 14.318180 MHz counter
[   71.655313] Switching to clocksource hpet
[   95.679135] BUG: soft lockup - CPU#144 stuck for 23s! [swapper/144:0]
[   95.693363] BUG: soft lockup - CPU#145 stuck for 23s! [swapper/145:0]
[   95.695580] BUG: soft lockup - CPU#582 stuck for 23s! [swapper/582:0]
[   95.698128] BUG: soft lockup - CPU#357 stuck for 23s! [swapper/357:0]

This patch addresses the above issues by reducing HPET read contention
using the fact that if more than one CPUs are trying to access HPET at
the same time, it will be more efficient when only one CPU in the group
reads the HPET counter and shares it with the rest of the group instead
of each group member trying to read the HPET counter individually.

This is done by using a combination quadword that contains a 32-bit
stored HPET value and a 32-bit spinlock.  The CPU that gets the lock
will be responsible for reading the HPET counter and storing it in
the quadword. The others will monitor the change in HPET value and
lock status and grab the latest stored HPET value accordingly. This
change is only enabled on 64-bit SMP configuration.

On a 4-socket Haswell-EX box with 144 threads (HT on), running the
AIM7 compute workload (1500 users) on a 4.8-rc1 kernel (HZ=1000)
with and without the patch has the following performance numbers
(with HPET or TSC as clock source):

TSC		= 1042431 jobs/min
HPET w/o patch	=  798068 jobs/min
HPET with patch	= 1029445 jobs/min

The perf profile showed a reduction of the %CPU time consumed by
read_hpet from 11.19% without patch to 1.24% with patch.

[ tglx: It's really sad that we need to have such hacks just to deal with
  	the fact that cpu vendors have not managed to fix the TSC wreckage
  	within 15+ years. Were They Forgetting? ]

Signed-off-by: Waiman Long <Waiman.Long at hpe.com>
Tested-by: Prarit Bhargava <prarit at redhat.com>
Cc: Scott J Norton <scott.norton at hpe.com>
Cc: Douglas Hatch <doug.hatch at hpe.com>
Cc: Randy Wright <rwright at hpe.com>
Cc: Dave Hansen <dave.hansen at intel.com>
Cc: Andy Lutomirski <luto at kernel.org>
Cc: Borislav Petkov <bp at suse.de>
Link: http://lkml.kernel.org/r/1473182530-29175-1-git-send-email-Waiman.Long@hpe.com
Signed-off-by: Thomas Gleixner <tglx at linutronix.de>
(cherry picked from commit f99fd22e4d4bc84880a8a3117311bbf0e3a6a9dc)
Signed-off-by: Tim Gardner <tim.gardner at canonical.com>
 arch/x86/kernel/hpet.c | 94 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 1 file changed, 94 insertions(+)

diff --git a/arch/x86/kernel/hpet.c b/arch/x86/kernel/hpet.c
index c6dfd80..274fab9 100644
--- a/arch/x86/kernel/hpet.c
+++ b/arch/x86/kernel/hpet.c
@@ -756,10 +756,104 @@ static void hpet_reserve_msi_timers(struct hpet_data *hd)
  * Clock source related code
+#if defined(CONFIG_SMP) && defined(CONFIG_64BIT)
+ * Reading the HPET counter is a very slow operation. If a large number of
+ * CPUs are trying to access the HPET counter simultaneously, it can cause
+ * massive delay and slow down system performance dramatically. This may
+ * happen when HPET is the default clock source instead of TSC. For a
+ * really large system with hundreds of CPUs, the slowdown may be so
+ * severe that it may actually crash the system because of a NMI watchdog
+ * soft lockup, for example.
+ *
+ * If multiple CPUs are trying to access the HPET counter at the same time,
+ * we don't actually need to read the counter multiple times. Instead, the
+ * other CPUs can use the counter value read by the first CPU in the group.
+ *
+ * This special feature is only enabled on x86-64 systems. It is unlikely
+ * that 32-bit x86 systems will have enough CPUs to require this feature
+ * with its associated locking overhead. And we also need 64-bit atomic
+ * read.
+ *
+ * The lock and the hpet value are stored together and can be read in a
+ * single atomic 64-bit read. It is explicitly assumed that arch_spinlock_t
+ * is 32 bits in size.
+ */
+union hpet_lock {
+	struct {
+		arch_spinlock_t lock;
+		u32 value;
+	};
+	u64 lockval;
+static union hpet_lock hpet __cacheline_aligned = {
+	{ .lock = __ARCH_SPIN_LOCK_UNLOCKED, },
+static cycle_t read_hpet(struct clocksource *cs)
+	unsigned long flags;
+	union hpet_lock old, new;
+	BUILD_BUG_ON(sizeof(union hpet_lock) != 8);
+	/*
+	 * Read HPET directly if in NMI.
+	 */
+	if (in_nmi())
+		return (cycle_t)hpet_readl(HPET_COUNTER);
+	/*
+	 * Read the current state of the lock and HPET value atomically.
+	 */
+	old.lockval = READ_ONCE(hpet.lockval);
+	if (arch_spin_is_locked(&old.lock))
+		goto contended;
+	local_irq_save(flags);
+	if (arch_spin_trylock(&hpet.lock)) {
+		new.value = hpet_readl(HPET_COUNTER);
+		/*
+		 * Use WRITE_ONCE() to prevent store tearing.
+		 */
+		WRITE_ONCE(hpet.value, new.value);
+		arch_spin_unlock(&hpet.lock);
+		local_irq_restore(flags);
+		return (cycle_t)new.value;
+	}
+	local_irq_restore(flags);
+	/*
+	 * Contended case
+	 * --------------
+	 * Wait until the HPET value change or the lock is free to indicate
+	 * its value is up-to-date.
+	 *
+	 * It is possible that old.value has already contained the latest
+	 * HPET value while the lock holder was in the process of releasing
+	 * the lock. Checking for lock state change will enable us to return
+	 * the value immediately instead of waiting for the next HPET reader
+	 * to come along.
+	 */
+	do {
+		cpu_relax();
+		new.lockval = READ_ONCE(hpet.lockval);
+	} while ((new.value == old.value) && arch_spin_is_locked(&new.lock));
+	return (cycle_t)new.value;
+ * For UP or 32-bit.
+ */
 static cycle_t read_hpet(struct clocksource *cs)
 	return (cycle_t)hpet_readl(HPET_COUNTER);
 static struct clocksource clocksource_hpet = {
 	.name		= "hpet",

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