1Using RCU to Protect Read-Mostly Arrays
   4Although RCU is more commonly used to protect linked lists, it can
   5also be used to protect arrays.  Three situations are as follows:
   71.  Hash Tables
   92.  Static Arrays
  113.  Resizeable Arrays
  13Each of these situations are discussed below.
  16Situation 1: Hash Tables
  18Hash tables are often implemented as an array, where each array entry
  19has a linked-list hash chain.  Each hash chain can be protected by RCU
  20as described in the listRCU.txt document.  This approach also applies
  21to other array-of-list situations, such as radix trees.
  24Situation 2: Static Arrays
  26Static arrays, where the data (rather than a pointer to the data) is
  27located in each array element, and where the array is never resized,
  28have not been used with RCU.  Rik van Riel recommends using seqlock in
  29this situation, which would also have minimal read-side overhead as long
  30as updates are rare.
  32Quick Quiz:  Why is it so important that updates be rare when
  33             using seqlock?
  36Situation 3: Resizeable Arrays
  38Use of RCU for resizeable arrays is demonstrated by the grow_ary()
  39function used by the System V IPC code.  The array is used to map from
  40semaphore, message-queue, and shared-memory IDs to the data structure
  41that represents the corresponding IPC construct.  The grow_ary()
  42function does not acquire any locks; instead its caller must hold the
  43ids->sem semaphore.
  45The grow_ary() function, shown below, does some limit checks, allocates a
  46new ipc_id_ary, copies the old to the new portion of the new, initializes
  47the remainder of the new, updates the ids->entries pointer to point to
  48the new array, and invokes ipc_rcu_putref() to free up the old array.
  49Note that rcu_assign_pointer() is used to update the ids->entries pointer,
  50which includes any memory barriers required on whatever architecture
  51you are running on.
  53        static int grow_ary(struct ipc_ids* ids, int newsize)
  54        {
  55                struct ipc_id_ary* new;
  56                struct ipc_id_ary* old;
  57                int i;
  58                int size = ids->entries->size;
  60                if(newsize > IPCMNI)
  61                        newsize = IPCMNI;
  62                if(newsize <= size)
  63                        return newsize;
  65                new = ipc_rcu_alloc(sizeof(struct kern_ipc_perm *)*newsize +
  66                                    sizeof(struct ipc_id_ary));
  67                if(new == NULL)
  68                        return size;
  69                new->size = newsize;
  70                memcpy(new->p, ids->entries->p,
  71                       sizeof(struct kern_ipc_perm *)*size +
  72                       sizeof(struct ipc_id_ary));
  73                for(i=size;i<newsize;i++) {
  74                        new->p[i] = NULL;
  75                }
  76                old = ids->entries;
  78                /*
  79                 * Use rcu_assign_pointer() to make sure the memcpyed
  80                 * contents of the new array are visible before the new
  81                 * array becomes visible.
  82                 */
  83                rcu_assign_pointer(ids->entries, new);
  85                ipc_rcu_putref(old);
  86                return newsize;
  87        }
  89The ipc_rcu_putref() function decrements the array's reference count
  90and then, if the reference count has dropped to zero, uses call_rcu()
  91to free the array after a grace period has elapsed.
  93The array is traversed by the ipc_lock() function.  This function
  94indexes into the array under the protection of rcu_read_lock(),
  95using rcu_dereference() to pick up the pointer to the array so
  96that it may later safely be dereferenced -- memory barriers are
  97required on the Alpha CPU.  Since the size of the array is stored
  98with the array itself, there can be no array-size mismatches, so
  99a simple check suffices.  The pointer to the structure corresponding
 100to the desired IPC object is placed in "out", with NULL indicating
 101a non-existent entry.  After acquiring "out->lock", the "out->deleted"
 102flag indicates whether the IPC object is in the process of being
 103deleted, and, if not, the pointer is returned.
 105        struct kern_ipc_perm* ipc_lock(struct ipc_ids* ids, int id)
 106        {
 107                struct kern_ipc_perm* out;
 108                int lid = id % SEQ_MULTIPLIER;
 109                struct ipc_id_ary* entries;
 111                rcu_read_lock();
 112                entries = rcu_dereference(ids->entries);
 113                if(lid >= entries->size) {
 114                        rcu_read_unlock();
 115                        return NULL;
 116                }
 117                out = entries->p[lid];
 118                if(out == NULL) {
 119                        rcu_read_unlock();
 120                        return NULL;
 121                }
 122                spin_lock(&out->lock);
 124                /* ipc_rmid() may have already freed the ID while ipc_lock
 125                 * was spinning: here verify that the structure is still valid
 126                 */
 127                if (out->deleted) {
 128                        spin_unlock(&out->lock);
 129                        rcu_read_unlock();
 130                        return NULL;
 131                }
 132                return out;
 133        }
 136Answer to Quick Quiz:
 138        The reason that it is important that updates be rare when
 139        using seqlock is that frequent updates can livelock readers.
 140        One way to avoid this problem is to assign a seqlock for
 141        each array entry rather than to the entire array.
 142 kindly hosted by Redpill Linpro AS, provider of Linux consulting and operations services since 1995.