3. SWAP Layers

Private data pages are initially either copy-on-write or zero-fill pages. When a change, and therefore a copy, is made, the original backing object (usually a file) can no longer be used to save a copy of the page when the VM system needs to reuse it for other purposes. This is where SWAP comes in. SWAP is allocated to create backing store for memory that does not otherwise have it. FreeBSD allocates the swap management structure for a VM Object only when it is actually needed. However, the swap management structure has had problems historically:

It is evident from that list that there was plenty of room for improvement. For FreeBSD 4.X, I completely rewrote the swap subsystem:

I did not take the final step of having an allocating hint pointer that would trundle through a portion of swap as allocations were made in order to further guarantee contiguous allocations or at least locality of reference, but I ensured that such an addition could be made.

All FreeBSD documents are available for download at http://ftp.FreeBSD.org/pub/FreeBSD/doc/

Questions that are not answered by the documentation may be sent to <freebsd-questions@FreeBSD.org>.
Send questions about this document to <freebsd-doc@FreeBSD.org>.