problems in kdump kernel if 'maxcpus=1' not specified?

Neil Horman nhorman at
Wed Jul 16 11:25:44 EDT 2008

On Wed, Jul 16, 2008 at 11:12:40AM -0400, Vivek Goyal wrote:
> On Tue, Jul 15, 2008 at 06:07:40PM -0700, Jay Lan wrote:
> > Are there known problems if you boot up kdump kernel with
> > multipl cpus?
> > 
> I had run into one issue and that was some system would get reset and 
> jump to BIOS.
> The reason was that kdump kernel can boot on a non-boot cpu. When it
> tries to bring up other cpus it sends INIT and a non-boot cpu sending
> INIT to "boot" cpu was not acceptable (as per intel documentation) and 
> it re-initialized the system.
> I am not sure how many systems are affected with this behavior. Hence
> the reason for using maxcpus=1.
+1, there are a number of multi-cpu issues with kdump.  I've seen some systems
where you simply can't re-inialize a halted cpu from software, which causes

> > It takes unacceptably long time to run makedumpfile in
> > saving dump at a huge memory system. In my testing it
> > took 16hr25min to run create_dump_bitmap() on a 1TB system.
> > Pfn's are processed sequentially with single cpu. We
> > certainly can use multipl cpus here ;)
> This is certainly very long time. How much memory have you reserved for
> kdump kernel?
> I had run some tests on a x86_64 128GB RAM system and it took me 4 minutes
> to filter and save the core (maximum filtering level of 31). I had
> reserved 128MB of memory for kdump kernel.
> I think something else is seriously wrong here. 1 TB is almost 10 times of
> 128GM and even if time scales linearly it should not take more than
> 40mins.
> You need to dive deeper to find out what is taking so much of time.
> CCing kenichi.
You know, we might be able to get speedup's in makedumpfile without the use of
additional cpu's.  One of the things that concerned me when I read this was the
use of dump targets that need to be sequential.  i.e. multiple processes writing
to a local disk make good sense, but not so much if you're dumping over an scp
connection (don't want to re-order those writes).  The makedumpfile work cycle
goes something from 30000 feet like:

1) Inspect a page
2) Decide to filter the page
3) if (2) goto 1
4) else compress page
5) write page to target

I'm sure 4 is going to be the most cpu intensive task, but I bet we spend a lot
of idle time waiting for I/O to complete (since I'm sure we'll fill up pagecache
quickly).  What if makedumpfile used AIO to write out prepared pages to the dump
target?  That way we could at least free up some cpu cycles to work more quickly
on steps 2,3, and 4 



 *Neil Horman
 *Senior Software Engineer
 *Red Hat, Inc.
 *nhorman at
 *gpg keyid: 1024D / 0x92A74FA1

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