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

Andrew Jones drjones at redhat.com
Mon Mar 9 07:26:02 PDT 2015

On Fri, Mar 06, 2015 at 01:08:29PM -0800, Mario Smarduch wrote:
> On 03/05/2015 09:43 AM, Paolo Bonzini wrote:
> > 
> > 
> > On 05/03/2015 15:58, Catalin Marinas wrote:
> >>> It would especially suck if the user has a cluster with different
> >>> machines, some of them coherent and others non-coherent, and then has to
> >>> debug why the same configuration works on some machines and not on others.
> >>
> >> That's a problem indeed, especially with guest migration. But I don't
> >> think we have any sane solution here for the bus master DMA.
> > 
> > I do not oppose doing cache management in QEMU for bus master DMA
> > (though if the solution you outlined below works it would be great).
> > 
> >> ARM can override them as well but only making them stricter. Otherwise,
> >> on a weakly ordered architecture, it's not always safe (let's say the
> >> guest thinks it accesses Strongly Ordered memory and avoids barriers for
> >> flag updates but the host "upgrades" it to Cacheable which breaks the
> >> memory order).
> > 
> > The same can happen on x86 though, even if it's rarer.  You still need a
> > barrier between stores and loads.
> > 
> >> If we want the host to enforce guest memory mapping attributes via stage
> >> 2, we could do it the other way around: get the guests to always assume
> >> full cache coherency, generating Normal Cacheable mappings, but use the
> >> stage 2 attributes restriction in the host to make such mappings
> >> non-cacheable when needed (it works this way on ARM but not in the other
> >> direction to relax the attributes).
> > 
> > That sounds like a plan for device assignment.  But it still would not
> > solve the problem of the MMIO framebuffer, right?
> > 
> >>> The problem arises with MMIO areas that the guest can reasonably expect
> >>> to be uncacheable, but that are optimized by the host so that they end
> >>> up backed by cacheable RAM.  It's perfectly reasonable that the same
> >>> device needs cacheable mapping with one userspace, and works with
> >>> uncacheable mapping with another userspace that doesn't optimize the
> >>> MMIO area to RAM.
> >>
> >> Unless the guest allocates the framebuffer itself (e.g.
> >> dma_alloc_coherent), we can't control the cacheability via
> >> "dma-coherent" properties as it refers to bus master DMA.
> > 
> > Okay, it's good to rule that out.  One less thing to think about. :)
> > Same for _DSD.
> > 
> >> So for MMIO with the buffer allocated by the host (Qemu), the only
> >> solution I see on ARM is for the host to ensure coherency, either via
> >> explicit cache maintenance (new KVM API) or by changing the memory
> >> attributes used by Qemu to access such virtual MMIO.
> >>
> >> Basically Qemu is acting as a bus master when reading the framebuffer it
> >> allocated but the guest considers it a slave access and we don't have a
> >> way to tell the guest that such accesses should be cacheable, nor can we
> >> upgrade them via architecture features.
> > 
> > Yes, that's a way to put it.
> > 
> >>> In practice, the VGA framebuffer has an optimization that uses dirty
> >>> page tracking, so we could piggyback on the ioctls that return which
> >>> pages are dirty.  It turns out that piggybacking on those ioctls also
> >>> should fix the case of migrating a guest while the MMU is disabled.
> >>
> >> Yes, Qemu would need to invalidate the cache before reading a dirty
> >> framebuffer page.
> >>
> >> As I said above, an API that allows non-cacheable mappings for the VGA
> >> framebuffer in Qemu would also solve the problem. I'm not sure what KVM
> >> provides here (or whether we can add such API).
> > 
> > Nothing for now; other architectures simply do not have the issue.
> > 
> > As long as it's just VGA, we can quirk it.  There's just a couple
> > vendor/device IDs to catch, and the guest can then use a cacheable mapping.
> > 
> > For a more generic solution, the API would be madvise(MADV_DONTCACHE).
> > It would be easy for QEMU to use it, but I am not too optimistic about
> > convincing the mm folks about it.  We can try.

I forgot to list this one in my summary of approaches[*]. This is a
nice, clean approach. Avoids getting cache maintenance into everything.
However, besides the difficulty to get it past mm people, it reduces
performance for any userspace-userspace uses/sharing of the memory.
userspace-guest requires cache maintenance, but nothing else. Maybe
that's not an important concern for the few emulated devices that need
it though.

> Interested to see the outcome.
> I was thinking of a very basic memory driver that can provide
> an uncached memslot to QEMU - in mmap() file operation
> apply pgprot_uncached to allocated pages, lock them, flush TLB
> call remap_pfn_range().

I guess this is the same as the madvise approach, but with a driver.
KVM could take this approach itself when memslots are added/updated
with the INCOHERENT flag. Maybe worth some experimental patches to
find out?

I'm still thinking about experimenting with the ARM private syscalls
next though.


[*] http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/qemu-devel/2015-03/msg01254.html

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