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Subject[PATCH RFCv2 6/6] memory-hotplug.txt: Add some details about locking internals
Let's document the magic a bit, especially why device_hotplug_lock is
required when adding/removing memory and how it all play together with
requests to online/offline memory from user space.

Cc: Jonathan Corbet <>
Cc: Michal Hocko <>
Cc: Andrew Morton <>
Signed-off-by: David Hildenbrand <>
Documentation/memory-hotplug.txt | 39 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++-
1 file changed, 38 insertions(+), 1 deletion(-)

diff --git a/Documentation/memory-hotplug.txt b/Documentation/memory-hotplug.txt
index 7f49ebf3ddb2..03aaad7d7373 100644
--- a/Documentation/memory-hotplug.txt
+++ b/Documentation/memory-hotplug.txt
@@ -3,7 +3,7 @@ Memory Hotplug

:Created: Jul 28 2007
-:Updated: Add description of notifier of memory hotplug: Oct 11 2007
+:Updated: Add some details about locking internals: Aug 20 2018

This document is about memory hotplug including how-to-use and current status.
Because Memory Hotplug is still under development, contents of this text will
@@ -495,6 +495,43 @@ further processing of the notification queue.

NOTIFY_STOP stops further processing of the notification queue.

+Locking Internals
+When adding/removing memory that uses memory block devices (i.e. ordinary RAM),
+the device_hotplug_lock should be held to:
+- synchronize against online/offline requests (e.g. via sysfs). This way, memory
+ block devices can only be accessed (.online/.state attributes) by user
+ space once memory has been fully added. And when removing memory, we
+ know nobody is in critical sections.
+- synchronize against CPU hotplug and similar (e.g. relevant for ACPI and PPC)
+Especially, there is a possible lock inversion that is avoided using
+device_hotplug_lock when adding memory and user space tries to online that
+memory faster than expected:
+- device_online() will first take the device_lock(), followed by
+ mem_hotplug_lock
+- add_memory_resource() will first take the mem_hotplug_lock, followed by
+ the device_lock() (while creating the devices, during bus_add_device()).
+As the device is visible to user space before taking the device_lock(), this
+can result in a lock inversion.
+onlining/offlining of memory should be done via device_online()/
+device_offline() - to make sure it is properly synchronized to actions
+via sysfs. Holding device_hotplug_lock is advised (to e.g. protect online_type)
+When adding/removing/onlining/offlining memory or adding/removing
+heterogeneous/device memory, we should always hold the mem_hotplug_lock to
+serialise memory hotplug (e.g. access to global/zone variables).
+In addition, mem_hotplug_lock (in contrast to device_hotplug_lock) allows
+for a quite efficient get_online_mems/put_online_mems implementation.
Future Work

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