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[PATCH v2 2/2] qemu-cpu-models.rst: Document -noTSX, mds-no, taa-no, and

From: Kashyap Chamarthy
Subject: [PATCH v2 2/2] qemu-cpu-models.rst: Document -noTSX, mds-no, taa-no, and tsx-ctrl
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 2020 12:46:07 +0100

- Add the '-noTSX' variants for CascadeLake and SkyLake.

- Document the three MSR bits: 'mds-no', 'taa-no', and 'tsx-ctrl'

  Two confusing things about 'mds-no' (and the first point applies to
  the other two MSRs too):

  (1) The 'mds-no' bit will _not_ show up in the guest's /proc/cpuinfo.
      Rather it is used to fill in the guest's sysfs:

        /sys/devices/system/cpu/vulnerabilities/mds:Not affected

      Paolo confirmed on IRC as such.

  (2) There are _three_ variants[+] of CascadeLake CPUs, with different
      stepping levels: 5, 6, and 7.  To quote wikichip.org[*]:

        "note that while steppings 6 & 7 are fully mitigated, earlier
        stepping 5 is not protected against MSBDS, MLPDS, nor MDSUM"

      The above is also indicated in the Intel's document[+], as
      indicated by "No" under the three columns of MFBDS, MSBDS, and

  I've expressed this in the docs without belabouring the details.


Signed-off-by: Kashyap Chamarthy <address@hidden>
[Retaining the change-log from the Texinfo-variant of this patch, which
is now no-longer needed:

 - Address feedback from Paolo
 - Add URL to the deep-dive on Intel's MDS
 - Address feedback from DanPB
 - Add sections on 'taa-no' and 'tsx-ctrl'
Signed-off-by: Kashyap Chamarthy <address@hidden>
 docs/system/qemu-cpu-models.rst | 61 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++---
 1 file changed, 56 insertions(+), 5 deletions(-)

diff --git a/docs/system/qemu-cpu-models.rst b/docs/system/qemu-cpu-models.rst
index 2332fba1f9..5030dbef64 100644
--- a/docs/system/qemu-cpu-models.rst
+++ b/docs/system/qemu-cpu-models.rst
@@ -51,15 +51,18 @@ mixture of host CPU models between machines, if live 
 compatibility is required, use the newest CPU model that is compatible
 across all desired hosts.
+* Intel Xeon Processor (Cascade Lake, 2019), with "stepping" levels 6 or
+  7 only.  (The Cascade Lake Xeon processor with *stepping 5 is
+  vulnerable to MDS variants*.)
+  * ``Cascadelake-Server``
+  * ``Cascadelake-Server-noTSX``
 * Intel Xeon Processor (Skylake, 2016)
   * ``Skylake-Server``
   * ``Skylake-Server-IBRS``
-* Intel Core Processor (Skylake, 2015)
-  * ``Skylake-Client``
-  * ``Skylake-Client-IBRS``
+  * ``Skylake-Server-IBRS-noTSX``
 * Intel Core Processor (Broadwell, 2014)
@@ -172,6 +175,54 @@ features are included if using "Host passthrough" or "Host 
   Requires the host CPU microcode to support this feature before it
   can be used for guest CPUs.
+  Recommended to inform the guest OS that the host is *not* vulnerable
+  to any of the MDS variants ([MFBDS] CVE-2018-12130, [MLPDS]
+  CVE-2018-12127, [MSBDS] CVE-2018-12126).
+  This is an MSR (Model-Specific Register) feature rather than a CPUID feature,
+  so it will not appear in the Linux ``/proc/cpuinfo`` in the host or
+  guest.  Instead, the host kernel uses it to populate the MDS
+  vulnerability file in ``sysfs``.
+  So it should only be enabled for VMs if the host reports @code{Not
+  affected} in the ``/sys/devices/system/cpu/vulnerabilities/mds`` file.
+  Recommended to inform that the guest that the host is ``not``
+  vulnerable to CVE-2019-11135, TSX Asynchronous Abort (TAA).
+  This too is an MSR feature, so it does not show up in the Linux
+  ``/proc/cpuinfo`` in the host or guest.
+  It should only be enabled for VMs if the host reports ``Not affected``
+  in the ``/sys/devices/system/cpu/vulnerabilities/tsx_async_abort``
+  file.
+  Recommended to inform the guest that it can disable the Intel TSX
+  (Transactional Synchronization Extensions) feature; or, if the
+  processor is vulnerable, use the Intel VERW instruction (a
+  processor-level instruction that performs checks on memory access) as
+  a mitigation for the TAA vulnerability.  (For details, refer to this
+  `Intel's deep-dive into
+  MDS 
+  Expose this to the guest OS if and only if: (a) the host has TSX
+  enabled; *and* (b) the guest has ``rtm`` CPU flag enabled.
+  By disabling TSX, KVM-based guests can avoid paying the price of
+  mitigting TSX-based attacks.
+  Note that ``tsx-ctrl`` too is an MSR feature, so it does not show
+  up in the Linux ``/proc/cpuinfo`` in the host or guest.
+  To validate that Intel TSX is indeed disabled for the guest, there are
+  two ways: (a) check for the *absence* of ``rtm`` in the guest's
+  ``/proc/cpuinfo``; or (b) the
+  ``/sys/devices/system/cpu/vulnerabilities/tsx_async_abort`` file in
+  the guest should report ``Mitigation: TSX disabled``.
 Preferred CPU models for AMD x86 hosts

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