DigitalOcean Continues Working On Linux Core Scheduling To Make HT/SMT Safer
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 13 September 2019 at 07:59 AM EDT. 13 Comments
LINUX KERNEL --
With Hyper Threading continuing to look increasingly unsafe in data centers / shared computing environments in light of all the speculative execution vulnerabilities exposed thus far particularly with L1TF and MDS having no SMT-secure mitigation, DigitalOcean continues working on their Linux kernel "core scheduling" patches so they can still make use of HT/SMT in a sane and safe manner.

DigitalOcean's core scheduling work is their way to make Hyper Threading safe by ensuring that only trusted applications run concurrently on siblings of a core. Their scheduler also tries to be smart about not using SMT/HT in areas where it could degrade performance.

DigitalOcean engineers were at this week's Linux Plumbers Conference 2019 in Portugal talking about this ongoing work. DigitalOcean's preliminary tests have been encouraging that their core scheduling work can perform similar to the baseline in CPU results and better than just disabling Hyper Threading. But for I/O results like running a MySQL database server the performance has been worse than turning SMT off.

Those wanting to learn more about Core Scheduling can see this PDF slide deck from LPC 2019.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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