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Re: [Qemu-devel] [RFC PATCH 0/3] Balloon inhibit enhancements

From: Alex Williamson
Subject: Re: [Qemu-devel] [RFC PATCH 0/3] Balloon inhibit enhancements
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2018 09:01:46 -0600

On Thu, 19 Jul 2018 13:40:51 +0800
Peter Xu <address@hidden> wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 18, 2018 at 10:31:33AM -0600, Alex Williamson wrote:
> > On Wed, 18 Jul 2018 14:48:03 +0800
> > Peter Xu <address@hidden> wrote:
> > > I'm wondering what if want to do that somehow some day... Whether
> > > it'll work if we just let vfio-pci devices to register some guest
> > > memory invalidation hook (just like the iommu notifiers, but for guest
> > > memory address space instead), then we map/unmap the IOMMU pages there
> > > for vfio-pci device to make sure the inflated balloon pages are not
> > > mapped and also make sure new pages are remapped with correct HPA
> > > after deflated.  This is a pure question out of my curiosity, and for
> > > sure it makes little sense if the answer of the first question above
> > > is positive.  
> > 
> > This is why I mention the KVM MMU synchronization flag above.  KVM
> > essentially had this same problem and fixed it with with MMU notifiers
> > in the kernel.  They expose that KVM has the capability of handling
> > such a scenario via a feature flag.  We can do the same with vfio.  In
> > scenarios where we're able to fix this, we could expose a flag on the
> > container indicating support for the same sort of thing.  
> Sorry I didn't really caught that point when reply.  So that's why we
> have had the mmu notifiers... Hmm, glad to know that.
> But I would guess that if we want that notifier for vfio it should be
> in QEMU rather than the kernel one since kernel vfio driver should not
> have enough information on the GPA address space, hence it might not
> be able to rebuild the mapping when a new page is mapped?  While QEMU
> should be able to get both GPA and HVA easily when the balloon device
> wants to deflate a page. [1]

This is where the vfio IOMMU backend comes into play.  vfio devices
make use of MemoryListeners to register the HVA to GPA translations
within the AddressSpace of a device.  When we're using an IOMMU, we pin
those HVAs in order to make the HPA static and insert the GPA to HPA
mappings into the IOMMU.  When we don't have an IOMMU, the IOMMU
backend is storing those HVA to GPA translations so that the mediated
device vendor driver can make pinning requests.  The vendor driver
requests pinning of a given set of GPAs and the IOMMU backend pins the
matching HVA to provide an HPA.

When a page is ballooned, it's zapped from the process address space,
so we need to invalidate the HVA to HPA mapping.  When the page is
restored, we still have the correct HVA, but we need a notifier to tell
us to put it back into play, re-pinning and inserting the mapping into
the IOMMU if we have one.

In order for QEMU to do this, this ballooned page would need to be
reflected in the memory API.  This would be quite simple, inserting a
MemoryRegion overlapping the RAM page which is ballooned out and
removing it when the balloon is deflated.  But we run into the same
problems with mapping granularity.  In order to accommodate this new
overlap, the memory API would first remove the previous mapping, split
or truncate the region, then reinsert the result.  Just like if we tried
to do this in the IOMMU, it's not atomic with respect to device DMA.  In
order to achieve this model, the memory API would need to operate
entirely on page size regions.  Now imagine that every MiB of guest RAM
requires 256 ioctls to map (assuming 4KiB pages), 256K per GiB.  Clearly
we'd want to use a larger granularity for efficiency.  If we allow the
user to specify the granularity, perhaps abstracting that granularity
as the size of a DIMM, suddenly we've moved from memory ballooning to
memory hotplug, where the latter does make use of the memory API and
has none of these issues AIUI.

> > There are a few complications to this support though.  First ballooning
> > works at page size granularity, but IOMMU mapping can make use of
> > arbitrary superpage sizes and the IOMMU API only guarantees unmap
> > granularity equal to the original mapping.  Therefore we cannot unmap
> > individual pages unless we require that all mappings through the IOMMU
> > API are done with page granularity, precluding the use of superpages by
> > the IOMMU and thereby inflicting higher IOTLB overhead.  Unlike a CPU,
> > we can't invalidate the mappings and fault them back in or halt the
> > processor to make the page table updates appear atomic.  The device is
> > considered always running and interfering with that would likely lead
> > to functional issues.  
> Indeed.  Actually VT-d emulation bug was fixed just months ago where
> the QEMU shadow page code for the device quickly unmapped the pages
> and rebuilt the pages, but within the window we see DMA happened hence
> DMA error on missing page entries.  I wish I have had learnt that
> earlier from you!  Then the bug would be even more obvious to me.
> And I would guess that if we want to do that in the future, the
> easiest way as the first step would be that we just tell vfio to avoid
> using huge pages when we see balloon devices.  It might be an
> understandable cost at least to me to use both vfio-pci and the
> balloon device.

There are a couple problem there though, first if we decide to use
smaller pages for any case where we have a balloon device (a device
that libvirt adds by default and requires manually editing the XML to
remove), we introduce a performance regression for pretty much every
existing VM as we restrict the IOMMU from making use of superpages and
therefore depend far more on the IOTLB.  Second, QEMU doesn't have
control of the mapping page size.  The vfio MAP_DMA ioctl simply takes
a virtual address, IOVA (GPA) and size, the IOMMU gets to map this
however it finds most efficient and the API requires unmapping with a
minimum granularity matching the original mapping.  So again, the only
way QEMU can get page size unmapping granularity is to perform only
page sized mappings.  We could add a mapping flag to specify page size
mapping and therefore page granularity unmapping, but that's a new
contract (ie. API) between the user and vfio that comes with a
performance penalty.  There is currently a vfio_iommu_type1 module
option which disables IOMMU superpage support globally, but we don't
have per instance control with the current APIs.

> > Second MMU notifiers seem to provide invalidation, pte change notices,
> > and page aging interfaces, so if a page is consumed by the balloon
> > inflating, we can invalidate it (modulo the issues in the previous
> > paragraph), but how do we re-populate the mapping through the IOMMU
> > when the page is released as the balloon is deflated?  KVM seems to do
> > this by handling the page fault, but we don't really have that option
> > for devices.  If we try to solve this only for mdev devices, we can
> > request invalidation down the vendor driver with page granularity and
> > we could assume a vendor driver that's well synchronized with the
> > working set of the device would re-request a page if it was previously
> > invalidated and becomes part of the working set.  But if we have that
> > assumption, then we could also assume that such a vendor driver would
> > never have a ballooning victim page in its working set and therefore we
> > don't need to do anything.  Unfortunately without an audit, we can't
> > really know the behavior of the vendor driver.  vfio-ccw might be an
> > exception here since this entire class of devices doesn't really
> > perform DMA and page pinning is done on a per transaction basis, aiui.  
> Could we just provide the MMU notifier in QEMU instead of kernel, as I
> mentioned at [1] (no matter what we call it...)?  Basically when we
> deflate the balloon we trigger that notifier, then we pass another new
> VFIO_IOMMU_DMA_MAP down to vfio with correct GPA/HVA.  Would that
> work?

I've discussed the issues above.

> > The vIOMMU is yet another consideration as it can effectively define
> > the working set for a device via the device AddressSpace.  If a
> > ballooned request does not fall within the AddressSpace of any assigned
> > device, it would be safe to balloon the page.  So long as we're not
> > running in IOMMU passthrough mode, these should be distinctly separate
> > sets, active DMA pages should not be ballooning targets.  However, I
> > believe the current state of vIOMMU with assigned devices is that it's
> > functional, but not in any way performant for this scenario.  We see
> > massive performance degradation when trying to use vIOMMU for anything
> > other than mostly static mappings, such as when using passthrough mode
> > or using userspace drivers or nested guests with relatively static
> > mappings.  So I don't know that it's a worthwhile return on investment
> > if we were to test whether a balloon victim page falls within a
> > device's AddressSpace as a further level of granularity.  Thanks,  
> Yeah, vIOMMU will be another story.  Maybe that could be the last
> thing to consider.  AFAIU the only user of that (both vIOMMU and
> vfio-pci) are NFV, and I don't think they need balloon at all, so
> maybe we can just keep it disabled there.
> Thanks for the details (as always)!  FWIW I'd agree this is the only
> correct thing to do at least for me as a first step, no matter what's
> our possible next move is.



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