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MEMORYALLOCATORS(9)        Kernel Developer's Manual       MEMORYALLOCATORS(9)

     memoryallocators - introduction to kernel memory allocators

     The NetBSD kernel provides several memory allocators, each with different
     characteristics and purpose.  This document summarizes the main
     differences between them.

   The Kmem Allocator
     The kmem allocator is modelled after an interface of similar name
     implemented in Solaris.  This is main general purpose allocator in the

     It is implemented on-top of the vmem(9) resource allocator (beyond the
     scope of this document), meaning it will be using pool_cache(9)
     internally to speed-up common (small) sized allocations.

     It requires no setup, but cannot be used from interrupt context.

     See kmem(9) for more details.

   The Pool Allocator
     The pool(9) allocator is a fixed-size memory allocator.  It requires
     setup (to initialize a memory pool) and is interrupt-safe.

     See pool(9) for more details.

   The Pool Cache Allocator
     The pool cache allocator works on-top of the pool(9) allocator, also
     allowing fixed-size allocation only, requires setup, and is interrupt-

     The pool cache allocator is expected to be faster than other allocators,
     including the "normal" pool allocator.

     In the future this allocator is expected to have a per-CPU cache.

     See pool_cache(9) for more details.

   The UVM Kernel Memory Allocator
     This is a low-level memory allocator interface.  It allows variable-sized
     allocations in multiples of PAGE_SIZE, and can be used to allocate both
     wired and pageable kernel memory.

     See uvm(9) for more details.

     intro(9), kmem(9), pool(9), pool_cache(9), uvm(9), vmem(9)

     Elad Efrat <elad@NetBSD.org>
     YAMAMOTO Takashi <yamt@NetBSD.org>

NetBSD 8.0                      August 3, 2009                      NetBSD 8.0