[PATCH v2] kernel/panic/kexec: fix "crash_kexec_post_notifiers" option issue in oops path

Masami Hiramatsu masami.hiramatsu.pt at hitachi.com
Mon Mar 23 20:58:02 PDT 2015

(2015/03/23 23:31), Vivek Goyal wrote:
>>>> Secondly, and more importantly, the whole premise of commit 
>>>> f06e5153f4ae is broken IMHO:
>>>>  "This can help rare situations where kdump fails because of unstable
>>>>   crashed kernel or hardware failure (memory corruption on critical
>>>>   data/code)"
>>>> wtf?
>>>> If the kernel crashed due to a kernel crash, then the kernel booting 
>>>> up in whatever hardware state should be able to do a clean bootup. The 
>>>> fix for those 'rare situations' should be to fix the real bug (for 
>>>> example by making hardware driver init (or deinit) sequences more 
>>>> robust), not to paper it over by ordering around crash-time sequences 
>>>> ...
>>>> If it crashed due to some hardware failure, there's literally an 
>>>> infinite amount of failure modes that may or may not be impacted by 
>>>> kexec crash-time handling ordering. We don't want to put a zillion 
>>>> such flags into the kernel proper just to allow the perturbation of 
>>>> the kernel.
>>> I think one of the motivations behind this patch was call to kmsg_dump().
>>> Some vendors have been wanting to have the capability to save kernel logs
>>> to some NVRAM before transition to second kernel happens. Their argument
>>> is that kdump does not succeed all the time and if kdump does not succeed
>>> then atleast they have something to work with (kernel logs retrieved
>>> from pstore interface).
>> Doesn't pstore attach itself to printk itself? AFAICS it does:
>>  fs/pstore/platform.c:   register_console(&pstore_console);
>> so the printk log leading up to and including the crash should be 
>> available, regardless of this patch. What am I missing?
> That's a good point. I was not aware of it. I am Ccing Don Zickus as
> he has spent some time on this in the past.
> Masami, would you have thougths on this? IIRC, one reason why kmsg_dump()
> was written so that one could dump kernel messages to an NVRAM. Of one
> could simple register pstore as console, then how kmsg_dump() will
> continue to be useful?

Yes, actually, kmsg_dump and pstore can help a lot to dump the last
message (even though kmsg_dump() is called only when setting

However, there are some machines which don't support pstore, but
only IPMI. pstore(kmsg) stores messages to a local NVRAM, and IPMI
stores messages to BMC(Board Management Controller)'s NVRAM (SEL:
System Event Log).
Some enterprise servers only have BMC, but no NVRAM. For such kind
of servers, we still need to call panic_notifier to store messages
via IPMI.
And also, using IPMI has another secondary feature, we can notice
machine failure from remote machine via IPMI over LAN by monitoring
SEL :)

You might want to integrate IPMI and pstore. But since IPMI SEL is
very limited and very slow, those are very different.

>>> Not that I agree fully with this as problem might happen while we 
>>> try to run panic_notifiers or kmsg_dump hooks and never transition 
>>> into kdump kernel.
>> btw., this is the big problem with 'notifiers' in general: they are 
>> opaque with barely any semantics defined, and a source of constant 
>> confusion.
> Agreed. That's the reason Eric never liked the idea of letting panic
> notifiers run before crash_kexec().

I see. thus I added a notice on documentation.

                        Note that this also increases risks of kdump failure,
                        because some panic notifiers can make the crashed
                        kernel more unstable.

I personally don't recommend to use this in usual situation. Only for
the machines which is very well configured and tested, this feature can
be enabled.

>>> And it has been literally years since some developers have been 
>>> pushing for allowing to run panic notifiers before crash_kexec(). 
>>> Eric Biederman has been pushing back saying it reduces the 
>>> reliability of kdump operation so this is not acceptable.
>> So what do those notifiers do?
> IIRC, two main reasons had come in the past.
> - In a cluster of nodes, people wanted to send some sort of notifications
>   to main server that a node has crashed and don't fence it off as it
>   might be saving dump.
> - And saving kernel logs to non volatile store.
> There might be more and I might not be aware about these. Hatayama and
> Masami, can you shed more light on this.

Yes, as I described above, we'd like to use IPMI to write the log to SEL
and that also allow us to monitor the machine remotely.

> BTW, first problem we faced in our clusters too and now it has been fixed.
> Basically we send notifications in second kernel in user space to master
> server that this node is still saving dump so don't fence it off.

Yeah, that's the usual way, I think. In some "mission-critical" use-cases,
we can't relay only on the kdump stability.

Thank you,

Software Platform Research Dept. Linux Technology Research Center
Hitachi, Ltd., Yokohama Research Laboratory
E-mail: masami.hiramatsu.pt at hitachi.com

More information about the kexec mailing list