[RFC/RFT PATCH 0/3] arm64: KVM: work around incoherency with uncached guest mappings

Alexander Graf agraf at suse.de
Thu Feb 19 07:27:17 PST 2015

On 19.02.15 15:56, Ard Biesheuvel wrote:
> On 19 February 2015 at 14:50, Alexander Graf <agraf at suse.de> wrote:
>> On 19.02.15 11:54, Ard Biesheuvel wrote:
>>> This is a 0th order approximation of how we could potentially force the guest
>>> to avoid uncached mappings, at least from the moment the MMU is on. (Before
>>> that, all of memory is implicitly classified as Device-nGnRnE)
>>> The idea (patch #2) is to trap writes to MAIR_EL1, and replace uncached mappings
>>> with cached ones. This way, there is no need to mangle any guest page tables.
>> Would you mind to give a brief explanation on what this does? What
>> happens to actually assigned devices that need to be mapped as uncached?
>> What happens to DMA from such devices when the guest assumes that it's
>> accessing RAM uncached and then triggers DMA?
> On ARM, stage 2 mappings that are more strict will supersede stage 1
> mappings, so the idea is to use cached mappings exclusively for stage
> 1 so that the host is fully in control of the actual memory attributes
> by setting the attributes at stage 2. This also makes sense because
> the host will ultimately know better whether some range that the guest
> thinks is a device is actually a device or just emulated (no stage 2
> mapping), backed by host memory (such as the NOR flash read case) or
> backed by a passthrough device.

Ok, so that means if the guest maps RAM as uncached, it will actually
end up as cached memory. Now if the guest triggers a DMA request to a
passed through device to that RAM, it will conflict with the cache.

I don't know whether it's a big deal, but it's the scenario that came up
with the approach above before when I talked to people about it.


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