mm, sl[aou]b: guarantee natural alignment for kmalloc(power-of-two)

In most configurations, kmalloc() happens to return naturally aligned
(i.e.  aligned to the block size itself) blocks for power of two sizes.

That means some kmalloc() users might unknowingly rely on that
alignment, until stuff breaks when the kernel is built with e.g.
CONFIG_SLUB_DEBUG or CONFIG_SLOB, and blocks stop being aligned.  Then
developers have to devise workaround such as own kmem caches with
specified alignment [1], which is not always practical, as recently
evidenced in [2].

The topic has been discussed at LSF/MM 2019 [3].  Adding a
'kmalloc_aligned()' variant would not help with code unknowingly relying
on the implicit alignment.  For slab implementations it would either
require creating more kmalloc caches, or allocate a larger size and only
give back part of it.  That would be wasteful, especially with a generic
alignment parameter (in contrast with a fixed alignment to size).

Ideally we should provide to mm users what they need without difficult
workarounds or own reimplementations, so let's make the kmalloc()
alignment to size explicitly guaranteed for power-of-two sizes under all
configurations.  What this means for the three available allocators?

* SLAB object layout happens to be mostly unchanged by the patch.  The
  implicitly provided alignment could be compromised with
  CONFIG_DEBUG_SLAB due to redzoning, however SLAB disables redzoning for
  caches with alignment larger than unsigned long long.  Practically on at
  least x86 this includes kmalloc caches as they use cache line alignment,
  which is larger than that.  Still, this patch ensures alignment on all
  arches and cache sizes.

* SLUB layout is also unchanged unless redzoning is enabled through
  CONFIG_SLUB_DEBUG and boot parameter for the particular kmalloc cache.
  With this patch, explicit alignment is guaranteed with redzoning as
  well.  This will result in more memory being wasted, but that should be
  acceptable in a debugging scenario.

* SLOB has no implicit alignment so this patch adds it explicitly for
  kmalloc().  The potential downside is increased fragmentation.  While
  pathological allocation scenarios are certainly possible, in my testing,
  after booting a x86_64 kernel+userspace with virtme, around 16MB memory
  was consumed by slab pages both before and after the patch, with
  difference in the noise.


[ documentation fixlet, per Matthew]
Signed-off-by: Vlastimil Babka <>
Reviewed-by: Matthew Wilcox (Oracle) <>
Acked-by: Michal Hocko <>
Acked-by: Kirill A. Shutemov <>
Acked-by: Christoph Hellwig <>
Cc: David Sterba <>
Cc: Christoph Lameter <>
Cc: Pekka Enberg <>
Cc: David Rientjes <>
Cc: Ming Lei <>
Cc: Dave Chinner <>
Cc: "Darrick J . Wong" <>
Cc: Christoph Hellwig <>
Cc: James Bottomley <>
Cc: Vlastimil Babka <>
Cc: Joonsoo Kim <>
Signed-off-by: Andrew Morton <>
Signed-off-by: Linus Torvalds <>
4 files changed