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Re: RFC: NAPI packet weighting patch

To: Mitch Williams <mitch.a.williams@xxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: RFC: NAPI packet weighting patch
From: jamal <hadi@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 03 Jun 2005 15:59:31 -0400
Cc: "David S. Miller" <davem@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, john.ronciak@xxxxxxxxx, jdmason@xxxxxxxxxx, shemminger@xxxxxxxx, netdev@xxxxxxxxxxx, Robert.Olsson@xxxxxxxxxxx, ganesh.venkatesan@xxxxxxxxx, jesse.brandeburg@xxxxxxxxx
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On Fri, 2005-03-06 at 12:28 -0700, Mitch Williams wrote:
> On Fri, 3 Jun 2005, David S. Miller wrote:
> > From: jamal <hadi@xxxxxxxxxx>
> > Date: Fri, 03 Jun 2005 14:42:30 -0400
> >
> > > When you reduce the weight, the system is spending less time in the
> > > softirq processing packets before softirq yields. If this gives more
> > > opportunity to your app to run, then the performance will go up.
> > > Is this what you are seeing?
> >
> > Jamal, this is my current theory as well, we hit the jiffies
> > check.
> Well, I hate to mess up your guys' theories, but the real reason is
> simpler:  hardware receive resources, specifically descriptors and
> buffers.
> In a typical NAPI polling loop, the driver processes receive packets until
> it either hits the quota or runs out of packets.  Then, at the end of the
> loop, it returns all of those now-free receive resources back to the
> hardware.
> With a heavy receive load, the hardware will run out of receive
> descriptors in the time it takes the driver/NAPI/stack to process 64
> packets.  So it drops them on the floor.  And, as we know, dropped packets
> are A Bad Thing.
> By reducing the driver weight, we cause the driver to give receive
> resources back to the hardware more often, which prevents dropped packets.
> As Ben Greer noticed, increasing the number of descriptors can help with
> this issue.   But it really can't eliminate the problem -- once the ring
> is full, it doesn't matter how big it is, it's still full.
> In my testing (Dual 2.8GHz Xeon, PCI-X bus, Gigabit network, 10 clients),
> I was able to completely eliminate dropped packets in most cases by
> reducing the driver weight down to about 20.
> Now for some speculation:

What you said above is unfortunately also speculation ;->
But one that you could validate by putting proper hooks. As an example,
try to restore a descriptor every time you pick one - for an example of
this look at the sb1250 driver.


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