async: use explicit memory barriers

When using C11 atomics, non-seqcst reads and writes do not participate
in the total order of seqcst operations.  In util/async.c and util/aio-posix.c,
in particular, the pattern that we use

          write ctx->notify_me                 write bh->scheduled
          read bh->scheduled                   read ctx->notify_me
          if !bh->scheduled, sleep             if ctx->notify_me, notify

needs to use seqcst operations for both the write and the read.  In
general this is something that we do not want, because there can be
many sources that are polled in addition to bottom halves.  The
alternative is to place a seqcst memory barrier between the write
and the read.  This also comes with a disadvantage, in that the
memory barrier is implicit on strongly-ordered architectures and
it wastes a few dozen clock cycles.

Fortunately, ctx->notify_me is never written concurrently by two
threads, so we can assert that and relax the writes to ctx->notify_me.
The resulting solution works and performs well on both aarch64 and x86.

Note that the atomic_set/atomic_read combination is not an atomic
read-modify-write, and therefore it is even weaker than C11 ATOMIC_RELAXED;
on x86, ATOMIC_RELAXED compiles to a locked operation.

Analyzed-by: Ying Fang <>
Signed-off-by: Paolo Bonzini <>
Tested-by: Ying Fang <>
Message-Id: <>
Signed-off-by: Stefan Hajnoczi <>
3 files changed