Pls review 7091418: FX priority class from Solaris should be available to JVM )

Paul Hohensee paul.hohensee at
Mon Jan 23 11:11:23 PST 2012

Thanks for the review.


On 1/22/12 7:39 PM, David Holmes wrote:
> Hi Paul,
> The meta-comment here is that there needs to be a clear description of 
> what "critical priority" means and what constraints there are on 
> setting it to some OS specific value. For example the current changes 
> uses the FX scheduling class, but what if someone used the RT 
> scheduling class instead? Would that work? Probably not, in which case 
> we should document that this selection of the "critical priority" is 
> not an arbitrary choice that can be made.
> Even for FX/60 I'm not certain that using this for Java threads might 
> not prevent safepoints from being reached or induce some other form of 
> livelock.

I added material to the Comments field of the CR.

I don't think there's a livelock problem with Java threads, because 
Solaris takes
FX60 as advisory, not as a command.  All that should happen is that a 
priority Java thread will get to the safepoint earlier than non-critical 
I suppose it's possible for critical priority CMS or compiler threads to 
non-critical Java threads, but they run at NearMaxPriority by default now,
which can do the same thing.  This is definitely an "expert-only" feature
though, which is why it's experimental for the time being.
> On 21/01/2012 3:13 AM, Paul Hohensee wrote:
>> Webrev here
>> This change defines a new Java pseudo-priority called
>> CriticalPriority, just above MaxPriority. Compiler threads, the CMS
>> background thread, and Java threads can have the os equivalent of
>> this priority. On Solaris, this is the FX/60 scheduling
>> class/priority. On other platforms, it's the same as MaxPriority's os
>> priority.
> For reference this is why the mapping to FX/60 has been proposed:
> I still don't fully grok what this optimization does in a general 
> sense and it seems to be geared to providing better single-threaded 
> performance on near-idle systems - which doesn't make any sense to me 
> in a JVM context. But FX/60 also gives you true priority over TS/IA 
> threads so that may be where the gain comes from. I wonder if any 
> experiments were actually done using FX/59 rather than the "magical" 
> FX/60?

It's meant to be Solaris-Sparc-specific, but it was easier to implement as a
general feature than to specialize it.  Given enough cores, FX60 does indeed
give you true priority over TS/IA threads.  If there aren't enough cores
to run both critical threads in single-thread mode and non-critical threads
at the same time, Solaris will allow non-critical threads to run on the
same core(s) as critical ones.

I don't know of any FX59 experiments, but given the amount of work it's 
for the Solaris folks to get FX60 working, I doubt using it would have 
any positive
>> There are 3 new command line switches, all gated by
>> UseExperimentalVMOptions.
>> -XX:+UseCriticalJavaThreadPriority
>> Maps Java MAX_PRIORITY to critical priority.
> I found what you have done here to be very confusing. The only place 
> UseCriticalJavaThreadPriority is used is on Solaris. There you re-map 
> the priority mapping for priority 10 to the "critical priority" as 
> described.

It's actually used on the other OSs.  It just maps to MaxPriority on those.

> On all platforms you added an entry to the priority mapping table(s) 
> for a non-existent Java priority 11. This provides a way to lookup the 
> "critical priority" for the CMS/Compiler threads - in essence use of 
> critical priority for those threads says "pretend these have Java 
> priority 11" and then you've added a mapping for a priority 11 that is 
> the same as for priority 10 except on Solaris. On Solaris you had to 
> use a sentinel value to say "this really means use the "critical 
> priority" because there is no way to convey a change of scheduling class.
> It seems to me that we are pretending to have "critical priority" 
> support on all platforms when in reality we don't. If we want to go 
> that way then we should extend it to the UseCriticalJavaThreadPriority 
> case as well. It should be all or nothing.

Extend it beyond making CriticalPriority == MaxPriority on non-Solaris 
I.e., we can now change the compiler and CMS thread priority to 
MaxPriority on
non-Solaris platforms.  I don't know how to make CriticalPriority higher 
than that
on non-Solaris platforms.

> Further it needs to be made clear that these may still be dependent on 
> the value of ThreadPriorityPolicy.

I added a comment to the CR to that effect.

>> -XX:+UseCriticalCompilerThreadPriority
>> All compiler threads run at critical priority.
> It should be more clear that UseCriticalCompilerThreadPriority only 
> applies if CompilerThreadPriority is not set. Perhaps there should 
> also be a startup check for both being used?

I could, but making CompilerThreadPriority rule is what I intended.  I'll
add a comment to globals.hpp and the CR.

> Thinking more though we really shouldn't need both flags. The basic 
> problem is that the current "api" only supports setting a simple 
> number and to use FX/60 also requires a change of scheduling class. 
> You could add a hack that CompilerThreadPriority=60 means FX/60. Or, 
> as I've suggested in past email we could generalize the format of the 
> option to allow both a scheduling class designator and priority to be 
> passed - that would be a more general mechanism.

I didn't want to remove CompilerThreadPriority or change it's effect.  I 
can file a CR
to do that though.  Current uses of CompilerThreadPriority=60 should 
work like
they always have.

I wanted to confine the change as much as possible to Solaris _and_ to 
limit it
to just scheduling classes where we know we're not likely to provoke thread
starvation.  I can file a CR to add the ability to specify a scheduling 
class for
Java threads.  It would probably add 10 switches for scheduling class 
to the existing 10 Java priority switches.  I don't have any ideas on how to
designate particular threads for particular class/priorities.

> Adding a psuedo-priority 11 is just means to work within the current 
> limitations of the priority scheme.


>> -XX:+UseCriticalCMSThreadPriority
>> The CMS background thread runs at critical priority.
> This doesn't make a lot of sense when you consider the comments in
> src/share/vm/gc_implementation/concurrentMarkSweep/concurrentMarkSweepThread.cpp 
> which still states:
> "Priority should be just less than that of VMThread"
> This seems to indicate that we don't really understand what the 
> priority relationship between GC threads and the VMThread should be.

No, we don't.  That's why this is experimental.

> Should we be able to run the VMThread at FX/60?

Perhaps.  It only matters for things like serial gc, which isn't used on 
big iron.

>> On Solaris, one must in addition use -XX:+UseThreadPriorities to use 
>> native
>> priorities at all. Otherwise, Hotspot just accepts whatever Solaris
>> decides.
> Is it also dependent on the value of ThreadPriorityPolicy? Should it 
> be? Does it make sense to use it with either policy value?

No, it's not dependent on ThreadPriorityPolicy.  Critical priority is 
the same
no matter what the default MaxPriority java_to_os_priority is.  I think 
the right thing to do.

>> Before this change, the Solaris implementation could only change 
>> priorities
>> within the process scheduling class. It didn't change scheduling 
>> classes on
>> a per-thread basis. I added that capability and used it for the critical
>> thread
>> work. I also fixed a bug where we were using thr_setprio() to save the
>> original native priority during thread creation and reading it back when
>> the thread started via thr_getprio(). Since thr_setprio() can change the
>> user-supplied priority, this resulted in an unintended (lower) priority
>> being used.
> I don't quite follow this. We used thr_setprio to set the native OS 
> priority, and we then read it back using thr_getprio and then used 
> that to pass to thr_setprio again (and also set_lwp_priority). If 
> thr_setprio can change the user-supplied priority then it can make 
> that change on the second call too can't it? Does the fact we now have 
> a lwp affect this? I'm curious about the fact we still both use 
> thr_setprio and set the LWP priority directly ???

Possibly someone like Dave Dice can answer that question.  We were 
already using
both thr_setprio and set_lwp_priority together.  Likely that was in case 
wasn't available.

thr_setprio takes a value between 0 and 127 and map that to "some 
priority" that
may not be the same as its argument.  You can, for example, pass it 127 and
get 60 back from thr_getprio.  So if we set it once with 127 and then 
set it again
with 60, we can ultimately get back 0.  Which is what actually used to 

> Cheers,
> David
>> Thanks,
>> Paul

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