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.. _memory_management_api_demand_paging:
Demand Paging
Demand paging provides a mechanism where data is only brought into physical
memory as required by current execution context. The physical memory is
conceptually divided in page-sized page frames as regions to hold data.
* When the processor tries to access data and the data page exists in
one of the page frames, the execution continues without any interruptions.
* When the processor tries to access the data page that does not exist
in any page frames, a page fault occurs. The paging code then brings in
the corresponding data page from backing store into physical memory if
there is a free page frame. If there is no more free page frames,
the eviction algorithm is invoked to select a data page to be paged out,
thus freeing up a page frame for new data to be paged in. If this data
page has been modified after it is first paged in, the data will be
written back into the backing store. If no modifications is done or
after written back into backing store, the data page is now considered
paged out and the corresponding page frame is now free. The paging code
then invokes the backing store to page in the data page corresponding to
the location of the requested data. The backing store copies that data
page into the free page frame. Now the data page is in physical memory
and execution can continue.
There are functions where paging in and out can be invoked manually
using :c:func:`k_mem_page_in()` and :c:func:`k_mem_page_out()`.
:c:func:`k_mem_page_in()` can be used to page in data pages
in anticipation that they are required in the near future. This is used to
minimize number of page faults as these data pages are already in physical
memory, and thus minimizing latency. :c:func:`k_mem_page_out()` can be
used to page out data pages where they are not going to be accessed for
a considerable amount of time. This frees up page frames so that the next
page in can be executed faster as the paging code does not need to invoke
the eviction algorithm.
Data Page
A data page is a page-sized region of data. It may exist in a page frame,
or be paged out to some backing store. Its location can always be looked
up in the CPU's page tables (or equivalent) by virtual address.
The data type will always be ``void *`` or in some cases ``uint8_t *``
when doing pointer arithmetic.
Page Frame
A page frame is a page-sized physical memory region in RAM. It is a
container where a data page may be placed. It is always referred to by
physical address. Zephyr has a convention of using ``uintptr_t`` for physical
addresses. For every page frame, a ``struct z_page_frame`` is instantiated to
store metadata. Flags for each page frame:
* ``Z_PAGE_FRAME_PINNED`` indicates a page frame is pinned in memory
and should never be paged out.
* ``Z_PAGE_FRAME_RESERVED`` indicates a physical page reserved by hardware
and should not be used at all.
* ``Z_PAGE_FRAME_MAPPED`` is set when a physical page is mapped to
virtual memory address.
* ``Z_PAGE_FRAME_BUSY`` indicates a page frame is currently involved in
a page-in/out operation.
* ``Z_PAGE_FRAME_BACKED`` indicates a page frame has a clean copy
in the backing store.
The virtual address of a special page provided to the backing store to:
* Copy a data page from ``Z_SCRATCH_PAGE`` to the specified location; or,
* Copy a data page from the provided location to ``Z_SCRATCH_PAGE``.
This is used as an intermediate page for page in/out operations. This
scratch needs to be mapped read/write for backing store code to access.
However the data page itself may only be mapped as read-only in virtual
address space. If this page is provided as-is to backing store,
the data page must be re-mapped as read/write which has security
implications as the data page is no longer read-only to other parts of
the application.
Paging Statistics
Paging statistics can be obtained via various function calls when
* Overall statistics via :c:func:`k_mem_paging_stats_get()`
* Per-thread statistics via :c:func:`k_mem_paging_thread_stats_get()`
if :kconfig:option:`CONFIG_DEMAND_PAGING_THREAD_STATS` is enabled
* Execution time histogram can be obtained when
:kconfig:option:`CONFIG_DEMAND_PAGING_TIMING_HISTOGRAM` is enabled, and
Note that the timing is highly dependent on the architecture,
SoC or board. It is highly recommended that
``k_mem_paging_eviction_histogram_bounds[]`` and
be defined for a particular application.
* Execution time histogram of eviction algorithm via
* Execution time histogram of backing store doing page-in via
* Execution time histogram of backing store doing page-out via
Eviction Algorithm
The eviction algorithm is used to determine which data page and its
corresponding page frame can be paged out to free up a page frame
for the next page in operation. There are two functions which are
called from the kernel paging code:
* :c:func:`k_mem_paging_eviction_init()` is called to initialize
the eviction algorithm. This is called at ``POST_KERNEL``.
* :c:func:`k_mem_paging_eviction_select()` is called to select
a data page to evict. A function argument ``dirty`` is written to
signal the caller whether the selected data page has been modified
since it is first paged in. If the ``dirty`` bit is returned
as set, the paging code signals to the backing store to write
the data page back into storage (thus updating its content).
The function returns a pointer to the page frame corresponding to
the selected data page.
Currently, a NRU (Not-Recently-Used) eviction algorithm has been
implemented as a sample. This is a very simple algorithm which
ranks each data page on whether they have been accessed and modified.
The selection is based on this ranking.
To implement a new eviction algorithm, the two functions mentioned
above must be implemented.
Backing Store
Backing store is responsible for paging in/out data page between
their corresponding page frames and storage. These are the functions
which must be implemented:
* :c:func:`k_mem_paging_backing_store_init()` is called to
initialized the backing store at ``POST_KERNEL``.
* :c:func:`k_mem_paging_backing_store_location_get()` is called to
reserve a backing store location so a data page can be paged out.
This ``location`` token is passed to
:c:func:`k_mem_paging_backing_store_page_out()` to perform actual
page out operation.
* :c:func:`k_mem_paging_backing_store_location_free()` is called to
free a backing store location (the ``location`` token) which can
then be used for subsequent page out operation.
* :c:func:`k_mem_paging_backing_store_page_in()` copies a data page
from the backing store location associated with the provided
``location`` token to the page pointed by ``Z_SCRATCH_PAGE``.
* :c:func:`k_mem_paging_backing_store_page_out()` copies a data page
from ``Z_SCRATCH_PAGE`` to the backing store location associated
with the provided ``location`` token.
* :c:func:`k_mem_paging_backing_store_page_finalize()` is invoked after
:c:func:`k_mem_paging_backing_store_page_in()` so that the page frame
struct may be updated for internal accounting. This can be
a no-op.
To implement a new backing store, the functions mentioned above
must be implemented.
:c:func:`k_mem_paging_backing_store_page_finalize()` can be an empty
function if so desired.
API Reference
.. doxygengroup:: mem-demand-paging
:project: Zephyr
Eviction Algorithm APIs
.. doxygengroup:: mem-demand-paging-eviction
:project: Zephyr
Backing Store APIs
.. doxygengroup:: mem-demand-paging-backing-store
:project: Zephyr