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MP-safe routing table


This is a proposal of changes for MP-safe routing table.
The details of the changes are appended to the end of
the mail (tl;tr).

Here is a patch:
The changes spread out over many files but the important
changes are in route.c.

Comments or suggestions?



We protect the routing table with a rwock and protect
rtcaches with another rwlock. Each rtentry is protected
from being freed or updated via reference counting and psref.

We changed the design since EuroBSDcon 2016; we don't
use rwlock for rtentry itself anymore to avoid locking
hell :-/

Global rwlocks

There are two rwlocks; one for the routing table (rt_lock) and
the other for rtcaches (rtcache_lock). rtcache_lock covers
all existing rtcaches; there may have room for optimizations
(future work).

The locking order is rtcache_lock first and rt_lock is next.

rtentry references

References to an rtentry is managed with reference counting
and psref. Either of the two mechanisms is used depending on
where a rtentry is obtained. Reference counting is used when
we obtain a rtentry from the routing table directly via
rtalloc1 and rtrequest{,1} while psref is used when we obtain
a rtentry from a rtcache via rtcache_* APIs. In both cases,
a caller can sleep/block with holding an obtained rtentry.

The reasons why we use two different mechanisms are (i) only
using reference counting hurts the performance due to atomic
instructions (rtcache case) (ii) ease of implementation;
applying psref to APIs such rtaloc1 and rtrequest{,1} requires
additional works (adding a local variable and an argument).

We will finally migrate to use only psref but we can do it
when we have a lockless routing table alternative.

Reference counting for rtentry

rt_refcnt now doesn't count permanent references such as for
rt_timers and rtcaches, instead it is used only for temporal
references when obtaining a rtentry via rtalloc1 and rtrequest{,1}.
We can do so because destroying a rtentry always involves
removing references of rt_timers and rtcaches to the rtentry
and we don't need to track such references. This also makes
it easy to wait for readers to release references on deleting
or updating a rtentry, i.e., we can simply wait until the
reference counter is 0 or 1. (If there are permanent references
the counter can be arbitrary.)

rt_ref increments a reference counter of a rtentry and rt_unref
decrements it. rt_ref is called inside APIs (rtalloc1 and
rtrequest{,1} so users don't need to care about it while
users must call rt_unref to an obtained rtentry after using it.

rtfree is removed and we use rt_unref and rt_free instead.
rt_unref now just decrements the counter of a given rtentry
and rt_free just tries to destroy a given rtentry.

See the next section for destructions of rtentries by rt_free.

Destructions of rtentries

We destroy a rtentry only when we call rtrequst{,1}(RTM_DELETE);
the original implementation can destroy in any rtfree where it's
the last reference. If we use reference counting or psref, it's
easy to understand if the place that a rtentry is destroyed is

rt_free waits for references to a given rtentry to be released
before actually destroying the rtentry. rt_free uses a condition
variable (cv_wait) (and psref_target_destroy for psref) to wait.

Unfortunately rtrequst{,1}(RTM_DELETE) can be called in softint
that we cannot use cv_wait. In that case, we have to defer the
destruction to a workqueue.

rtentry#rt_cv, rtentry#rt_psref and global variables
(see rt_free_global) are added to conduct the procedure.

Updates of rtentries

One difficulty to use refcnt/psref instead of rwlock for rtentry
is updates of rtentries. We need an additional mechanism to
prevent readers from seeing inconsistency of a rtentry being

We introduce RTF_UPDATING flag to rtentries that are updating.
While the flag is set to a rtentry, users cannot acquire the
rtentry. By doing so, we avoid users to see inconsistent

There are two options when a user tries to acquire a rtentry
with the RTF_UPDATING flag; if a user runs in softint context
the user fails to acquire a rtentry (NULL is returned).
Otherwise a user waits until the update completes by waiting
on cv.

The procedure of a updater is simpler to destruction of
a rtentry. Wait on cv (and psref) and after all readers left,
proceed with the update.

Global variables (see rt_update_global) are added to conduct
the procedure.

Currently we apply the mechanism to only RTM_CHANGE in
rtsock.c. We would have to apply other codes. See
"Known issues" section.

psref for rtentry

When we obtain a rtentry from a rtcache via rtcache_* APIs,
psref is used to reference to the rtentry.

rtcache_ref acquires a reference to a rtentry with psref
and rtcache_unref releases the reference after using it.
rtcache_ref is called inside rtcache_* APIs and users don't
need to take care of it while users must call rtcache_unref
to release the reference.

struct psref and int bound that is needed for psref is
embedded into struct route. By doing so we don't need to
add local variables and additional argument to APIs.

However this adds another constraint to psref other than
reference counting one's; holding a reference of an rtentry
via a rtcache is allowed by just one caller at the same time.
So we must not acquire a rtentry via a rtcache twice and
avoid a recursive use of a rtcache. And also a rtcache must
be arranged to be used by a LWP/softint at the same time
somehow. For IP forwarding case, we have per-CPU rtcaches
used in softint so the constraint is guaranteed. For a h
rtcache of a PCB case, the constraint is guaranteed by the
solock of each PCB. Any other cases (pf, ipf, stf and ipsec)
are currently guaranteed by only the existence of the global
locks (softnet_lock and/or KERNEL_LOCK). If we've found the
cases that we cannot guarantee the constraint, we would need
to introduce other rtcache APIs that use simple reference

psref of rtcache is created with IPL_SOFTNET and so rtcache
shouldn't used at an IPL higher than IPL_SOFTNET.

Note that rtcache_free is used to invalidate a given rtcache.
We don't need another care by my change; just keep them as
they are.

Performance impact

When NET_MPSAFE is disabled the performance drop is 3% while
when it's enabled the drop is increased to 11%. The difference
comes from that currently we don't take any global locks and
don't use psref if NET_MPSAFE is disabled.

We can optimize the performance of the case of NET_MPSAFE
on by reducing lookups of rtcache that uses psref;
currently we do two lookups but we should be able to trim
one of two. This is a future work.

Known issues

There are two known issues to be solved; one is that
a caller of rtrequest(RTM_ADD) may change rtentry (see rtinit).
We need to prevent new references during the update. Or
we may be able to remove the code (perhaps, need more

The other is rtredirect that updates a rtentry. We need
to apply our update mechanism, however it's not easy because
rtredirect is called in softint and we cannot apply our
mechanism simply. One solution is to defer rtredirect to
a workqueue but it requires some code restructuring.

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