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[Qemu-devel] [PATCH 01/23] userfaultfd: linux/Documentation/vm/userfault

From: Andrea Arcangeli
Subject: [Qemu-devel] [PATCH 01/23] userfaultfd: linux/Documentation/vm/userfaultfd.txt
Date: Thu, 14 May 2015 19:30:58 +0200

Add documentation.

Signed-off-by: Andrea Arcangeli <address@hidden>
 Documentation/vm/userfaultfd.txt | 140 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 1 file changed, 140 insertions(+)
 create mode 100644 Documentation/vm/userfaultfd.txt

diff --git a/Documentation/vm/userfaultfd.txt b/Documentation/vm/userfaultfd.txt
new file mode 100644
index 0000000..c2f5145
--- /dev/null
+++ b/Documentation/vm/userfaultfd.txt
@@ -0,0 +1,140 @@
+= Userfaultfd =
+== Objective ==
+Userfaults allow the implementation of on-demand paging from userland
+and more generally they allow userland to take control various memory
+page faults, something otherwise only the kernel code could do.
+For example userfaults allows a proper and more optimal implementation
+of the PROT_NONE+SIGSEGV trick.
+== Design ==
+Userfaults are delivered and resolved through the userfaultfd syscall.
+The userfaultfd (aside from registering and unregistering virtual
+memory ranges) provides two primary functionalities:
+1) read/POLLIN protocol to notify a userland thread of the faults
+   happening
+2) various UFFDIO_* ioctls that can manage the virtual memory regions
+   registered in the userfaultfd that allows userland to efficiently
+   resolve the userfaults it receives via 1) or to manage the virtual
+   memory in the background
+The real advantage of userfaults if compared to regular virtual memory
+management of mremap/mprotect is that the userfaults in all their
+operations never involve heavyweight structures like vmas (in fact the
+userfaultfd runtime load never takes the mmap_sem for writing).
+Vmas are not suitable for page- (or hugepage) granular fault tracking
+when dealing with virtual address spaces that could span
+Terabytes. Too many vmas would be needed for that.
+The userfaultfd once opened by invoking the syscall, can also be
+passed using unix domain sockets to a manager process, so the same
+manager process could handle the userfaults of a multitude of
+different processes without them being aware about what is going on
+(well of course unless they later try to use the userfaultfd
+themselves on the same region the manager is already tracking, which
+is a corner case that would currently return -EBUSY).
+== API ==
+When first opened the userfaultfd must be enabled invoking the
+UFFDIO_API ioctl specifying a uffdio_api.api value set to UFFD_API (or
+a later API version) which will specify the read/POLLIN protocol
+userland intends to speak on the UFFD. The UFFDIO_API ioctl if
+successful (i.e. if the requested uffdio_api.api is spoken also by the
+running kernel), will return into uffdio_api.features and
+uffdio_api.ioctls two 64bit bitmasks of respectively the activated
+feature of the read(2) protocol and the generic ioctl available.
+Once the userfaultfd has been enabled the UFFDIO_REGISTER ioctl should
+be invoked (if present in the returned uffdio_api.ioctls bitmask) to
+register a memory range in the userfaultfd by setting the
+uffdio_register structure accordingly. The uffdio_register.mode
+bitmask will specify to the kernel which kind of faults to track for
+the range (UFFDIO_REGISTER_MODE_MISSING would track missing
+pages). The UFFDIO_REGISTER ioctl will return the
+uffdio_register.ioctls bitmask of ioctls that are suitable to resolve
+userfaults on the range registered. Not all ioctls will necessarily be
+supported for all memory types depending on the underlying virtual
+memory backend (anonymous memory vs tmpfs vs real filebacked
+Userland can use the uffdio_register.ioctls to manage the virtual
+address space in the background (to add or potentially also remove
+memory from the userfaultfd registered range). This means a userfault
+could be triggering just before userland maps in the background the
+user-faulted page.
+The primary ioctl to resolve userfaults is UFFDIO_COPY. That
+atomically copies a page into the userfault registered range and wakes
+up the blocked userfaults (unless uffdio_copy.mode &
+UFFDIO_COPY_MODE_DONTWAKE is set). Other ioctl works similarly to
+== QEMU/KVM ==
+QEMU/KVM is using the userfaultfd syscall to implement postcopy live
+migration. Postcopy live migration is one form of memory
+externalization consisting of a virtual machine running with part or
+all of its memory residing on a different node in the cloud. The
+userfaultfd abstraction is generic enough that not a single line of
+KVM kernel code had to be modified in order to add postcopy live
+migration to QEMU.
+Guest async page faults, FOLL_NOWAIT and all other GUP features work
+just fine in combination with userfaults. Userfaults trigger async
+page faults in the guest scheduler so those guest processes that
+aren't waiting for userfaults (i.e. network bound) can keep running in
+the guest vcpus.
+It is generally beneficial to run one pass of precopy live migration
+just before starting postcopy live migration, in order to avoid
+generating userfaults for readonly guest regions.
+The implementation of postcopy live migration currently uses one
+single bidirectional socket but in the future two different sockets
+will be used (to reduce the latency of the userfaults to the minimum
+possible without having to decrease /proc/sys/net/ipv4/tcp_wmem).
+The QEMU in the source node writes all pages that it knows are missing
+in the destination node, into the socket, and the migration thread of
+the QEMU running in the destination node runs UFFDIO_COPY|ZEROPAGE
+ioctls on the userfaultfd in order to map the received pages into the
+guest (UFFDIO_ZEROCOPY is used if the source page was a zero page).
+A different postcopy thread in the destination node listens with
+poll() to the userfaultfd in parallel. When a POLLIN event is
+generated after a userfault triggers, the postcopy thread read() from
+the userfaultfd and receives the fault address (or -EAGAIN in case the
+userfault was already resolved and waken by a UFFDIO_COPY|ZEROPAGE run
+by the parallel QEMU migration thread).
+After the QEMU postcopy thread (running in the destination node) gets
+the userfault address it writes the information about the missing page
+into the socket. The QEMU source node receives the information and
+roughly "seeks" to that page address and continues sending all
+remaining missing pages from that new page offset. Soon after that
+(just the time to flush the tcp_wmem queue through the network) the
+migration thread in the QEMU running in the destination node will
+receive the page that triggered the userfault and it'll map it as
+usual with the UFFDIO_COPY|ZEROPAGE (without actually knowing if it
+was spontaneously sent by the source or if it was an urgent page
+requested through an userfault).
+By the time the userfaults start, the QEMU in the destination node
+doesn't need to keep any per-page state bitmap relative to the live
+migration around and a single per-page bitmap has to be maintained in
+the QEMU running in the source node to know which pages are still
+missing in the destination node. The bitmap in the source node is
+checked to find which missing pages to send in round robin and we seek
+over it when receiving incoming userfaults. After sending each page of
+course the bitmap is updated accordingly. It's also useful to avoid
+sending the same page twice (in case the userfault is read by the
+postcopy thread just before UFFDIO_COPY|ZEROPAGE runs in the migration

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