September 27-30, 2021
Seattle, Washington, USA + Virtual
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Monday, September 27 • 3:50pm - 4:40pm
(IN-PERSON) Icebreaker: Introducing Upstream Kernels to Google’s Data-centers - Andrew Delgadillo & Dylan Hatch, Google

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Google has traditionally employed a rebase model when updating our kernels -- periodically rebasing every internal patch to a new Linux base. This has resulted in a number of historical challenges in both tracking upstream development and sharing our own innovations:
  • Upstreaming our features is difficult as they are developed against and tested in our derivative kernel.  This testing is difficult to reproduce on an upstream kernel as the workloads are typically not compatible or have a different performance profile.
  • We operate complex workloads at a global scale that often reveal system bottlenecks, bugs, and deadlocks.  The periodic nature of our rebase delays the discovery, diagnosis, and sharing of these issues.
  • We frequently pay a backport cost to incorporate new features and hardware support, one that increases with the age of our internal tree.
“Icebreaker” (taking its name from the ships commonly used to clear ice from shipping lanes) is our effort to begin rethinking this challenge. By maintaining a small set of patches that focus only on binary and hardware compatibility, we are looking to a future where we can develop and test our most important workloads on a truly near-upstream kernel.  We’ll share how we’re starting to think about this problem, initial successes, and where we see challenges ahead.


Dylan Hatch

Software Engineer, Google
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dylan is passionate about Linux Kernel development. He currently works on the production kernel team at Google. Dylan also enjoys backpacking and traveling.

Andrew Delgadillo

Software Engineer, Google
Andrew is a software engineer currently working at Google. He works on the kernel team -- primarily on creating a close to upstream production kernel and Google CPU scheduling features. Outside of work he enjoys running and cycling.

Monday September 27, 2021 3:50pm - 4:40pm PDT
Elwha A
  Linux Systems, Linux in Industry