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

Mario Smarduch m.smarduch at samsung.com
Mon Mar 9 08:33:13 PDT 2015

On 03/09/2015 07:26 AM, Andrew Jones wrote:
> 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 would work on this but I'm tied up for next 3 weeks.
If anyone is interested I can provide base code, I used
it for memory passthrough although testing may be time consuming.
I think the hurdle here is the kernel doesn't map these
for any reason like page migration, locking pages should
tell kernel don't touch. madvise() is the  desired solution
but I suspect it might take a while to get in.
> I'm still thinking about experimenting with the ARM private syscalls
> next though.

Hope it succeeds.
> drew
> [*] http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/qemu-devel/2015-03/msg01254.html

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