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Re: [Qemu-devel] [PATCH 0/4] net-bridge: rootless bridge support for qem

From: Avi Kivity
Subject: Re: [Qemu-devel] [PATCH 0/4] net-bridge: rootless bridge support for qemu
Date: Fri, 06 Nov 2009 09:22:57 +0200
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On 11/05/2009 09:58 PM, Anthony Liguori wrote:
Avi Kivity wrote:
Helpers are really bad. On launch, I find the fragile and hard to do proper error handling with (but that's probably just me). But the real problem is at runtime, if you have a 16GB guest then you have to write-protect 4M ptes and then kvm has to tear down or write protect (not sure which mmu notifier is called) 4M shadow ptes. Once that's done, the guest will have to fault its way back; that's at least 4M exits, around 10 seconds worth of cpu time to execute a couple of syscalls.

If this is such an issue, then it's something that ought to be fixed in the kernel.

Now here you can say "tremendously difficult" without danger of exaggeration. I looked at write-protecting the top 512 pgd entries instead of the 4M pte entries; that's difficult enough. And then you fault write access back in, you have to figure out that no sharing is possibly going on underneath so you can grant write access at the pgd/pud/pmd level instead of the pte level. There's currently nothing in Linux that can help with this as sharing is tracked at the page level.

For kvm you have to extend this to mmu notifiers; without npt/ept there's simply no hope (no correspondence between shadow and host page tables); with them things are a little easier, though still pretty bad, as memory won't be aligned the same way.

It's only really applicable to hotplug anyway as you wouldn't have faulted in the memory when initially launching the guest.

If we're doing something for management system we have to consider hotplug. It would be pretty mean to offer libvirt an easy way to set up bridging only to have them track down bugs later where the guest freezes for tens of milliseconds and later slows down after a hotplug, then rewrite their code not to use the helper.

I know this has been discussed before, but isn't this why there are things like vfork()?

vfork() doesn't work with threads - it requires that the calling process be halted until exec() is called.

Instead of doing silly things into qemu, if there is concern about this, then it should be fixed in Linux properly.

Of course there is concern about it, and you don't have to do anything silly to qemu to avoid it. Just not call helpers while it's running.

I'd much prefer a small daemon serving taps on a unix-domain socket. Of course, management should talk to that daemon, not qemu.

I'd rather not have a program running with elevated privileges when it not needed.

suid helpers are dangerous whenever they are on disk; daemons are dangerous only when running.

Do not meddle in the internals of kernels, for they are subtle and quick to 

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