[Qemu-devel] uniquely identifying KDUMP files that originate from QEMU

Laszlo Ersek lersek at redhat.com
Wed Nov 12 06:40:00 PST 2014

On 11/12/14 14:28, Christopher Covington wrote:
> On 11/12/2014 08:26 AM, Petr Tesarik wrote:
>> On Wed, 12 Nov 2014 08:18:04 -0500
>> Christopher Covington <cov at codeaurora.org> wrote:
>>> On 11/12/2014 03:05 AM, Petr Tesarik wrote:
>>>> On Tue, 11 Nov 2014 12:27:44 -0500
>>>> Christopher Covington <cov at codeaurora.org> wrote:
>>>>> On 11/11/2014 06:22 AM, Laszlo Ersek wrote:
>>>>>> (Note: I'm not subscribed to either qemu-devel or the kexec list; please
>>>>>> keep me CC'd.)
>>>>>> QEMU is able to dump the guest's memory in KDUMP format (kdump-zlib,
>>>>>> kdump-lzo, kdump-snappy) with the "dump-guest-memory" QMP command.
>>>>>> The resultant vmcore is usually analyzed with the "crash" utility.
>>>>>> The original tool producing such files is kdump. Unlike the procedure
>>>>>> performed by QEMU, kdump runs from *within* the guest (under a kexec'd
>>>>>> kdump kernel), and has more information about the original guest kernel
>>>>>> state (which is being dumped) than QEMU. To QEMU, the guest kernel state
>>>>>> is opaque.
>>>>>> For this reason, the kdump preparation logic in QEMU hardcodes a number
>>>>>> of fields in the kdump header. The direct issue is the "phys_base"
>>>>>> field. Refer to dump.c, functions create_header32(), create_header64(),
>>>>>> and "include/sysemu/dump.h", macro PHYS_BASE (with the replacement text
>>>>>> "0").
>>>>>> http://git.qemu.org/?p=qemu.git;a=blob;f=dump.c;h=9c7dad8f865af3b778589dd0847e450ba9a75b9d;hb=HEAD
>>>>>> http://git.qemu.org/?p=qemu.git;a=blob;f=include/sysemu/dump.h;h=7e4ec5c7d96fb39c943d970d1683aa2dc171c933;hb=HEAD
>>>>>> This works in most cases, because the guest Linux kernel indeed tends to
>>>>>> be loaded at guest-phys address 0. However, when the guest Linux kernel
>>>>>> is booted on top of OVMF (which has a somewhat unusual UEFI memory map),
>>>>>> then the guest Linux kernel is loaded at 16MB, thereby getting out of
>>>>>> sync with the phys_base=0 setting visible in the KDUMP header.
>>>>>> This trips up the "crash" utility.
>>>>>> Dave worked around the issue in "crash" for ELF format dumps -- "crash"
>>>>>> can identify QEMU as the originator of the vmcore by finding the QEMU
>>>>>> notes in the ELF vmcore. If those are present, then "crash" employs a
>>>>>> heuristic, probing for a phys_base up to 32MB, in 1MB steps.
>>>>> What advantages does KDUMP have over ELF?
>>>> It's smaller (data is compressed), and it contains a header with some
>>>> useful information (e.g. the crashed kernel's version and release).
>>> What if the ELF dumper used SHF_COMPRESSED or could dump an ELF.xz?
>> Not the same thing. With KDUMP, each page is compressed separately, so
>> if a utility like crash needs a page from the middle, it can find it
>> and unpack it immediately. If we had an ELF.xz, then the whole file
>> must be unpacked before it can be used. And unpacking a few terabytes
>> takes ... a while. ;-)
> Understood on the ELF.xz approach, but why couldn't each page (or maybe a
> configurable size) be a SHF_COMPRESSED section?

Perhaps it could, technically -- it's just not how Qiao Nuohan
implemented the feature. I didn't research the background for this.


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