[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [PATCH] drivers/virt: vmgenid: add vm generation id driver

From: Catangiu, Adrian Costin
Subject: Re: [PATCH] drivers/virt: vmgenid: add vm generation id driver
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 2020 18:06:25 +0000

    After discussing this offline with Jann a bit, I have a few general
    comments on the design of this. 
    First, the UUID communicated by the hypervisor should be consumed by
    the kernel -- added as another input to the rng -- and then userspace
    should be notified that it should reseed any userspace RNGs that it
    may have, without actually communicating that UUID to userspace. IOW,
    I agree with Jann there. Then, it's the functioning of this
    notification mechanism to userspace that is interesting to me.

Agreed! The UUID/vmgenid is the glue to the hypervisor to be able to find 
out about VM snapshots/forks. The really interesting (and important) topic
here is finding the right notification mechanism to userspace.

...In retrospect, I should have posted this as RFC instead of PATCH.
    So, anyway, here are a few options with some pros and cons for the
    kernel notifying userspace that its RNG should reseed.
    1. SIGRND - a new signal. Lol.
    2. Userspace opens a file descriptor that it can epoll on. Pros are
    that many notification mechanisms already use this. Cons is that this
    requires syscall and might be more racy than we want. Another con is
    that this a new thing for userspace programs to do.
    3. We stick an atomic counter in the vDSO, Jann's suggestion. Pros are
    that this is extremely fast, and also simple to use and implement.
    There are enough sequence points in typical crypto programs that
    checking to see whether this counter has changed before doing whatever
    operation seems easy enough. Cons are that typically we've been
    conservative about adding things to the vDSO, and this is also a new
    thing for userspace programs to do.

For each 1, 2, and 3 options, userspace programs _have to do smth new_
anyway, so I wouldn't weigh that as a con.

An atomic counter in the vDSO looks like the most bang for the buck to me.
I'm really curious to hear more opinions on why we shouldn't do it.
    4. We already have a mechanism for this kind of thing, because the
    same issue comes up when fork()ing. The solution was MADV_WIPEONFORK,
    where userspace marks a page to be zeroed when forking, for the
    purposes of the RNG being notified when its world gets split in two.
    This is basically the same thing as we're discussing here with guest
    snapshots, except it's on the system level rather than the process
    level, and a system has many processes. But the problem space is still
    almost the same, and we could simply reuse that same mechanism. There
    are a few implementation strategies for that:

I don't think we can piggy back on MADV_WIPEONFORK. That madvise flag
has a clear contract of only wiping _on fork_. Overloading it with wiping
on VM-fork - while process doesn't fork - might break some of its users.
    4a. We mess with the PTEs of all processes' pages that are
    MADV_WIPEONFORK, like fork does now, when the hypervisor notifies us
    to do so. Then we wind up reusing the already existing logic for
    userspace RNGs. Cons might be that this usually requires semaphores,
    and we're in irq context, so we'd have to hoist to a workqueue, which
    means either more wake up latency, or a larger race window.
    4b. We just memzero all processes' pages that are MADV_WIPEONFORK,
    when the hypervisor notifies us to do so. Then we wind up reusing the
    already existing logic for userspace RNGs.
    4c. The guest kernel maintains an array of physical addresses that are
    MADV_WIPEONFORK. The hypervisor knows about this array and its
    location through whatever protocol, and before resuming a
    moved/snapshotted/duplicated VM, it takes the responsibility for
    memzeroing this memory. The huge pro here would be that this
    eliminates all races, and reduces complexity quite a bit, because the
    hypervisor can perfectly synchronize its bringup (and SMP bringup)
    with this, and it can even optimize things like on-disk memory
    snapshots to simply not write out those pages to disk.

I've previously proposed a path similar (in concept at least) with a combination
of 4 a,b and c - 
without reusing MADV_WIPEONFORK, but by adding a dedicated

That proposal was clunky however with many people raising concerns around
how the interface is too subtle and hard to work with.

A vmgenid driver offering a clean FS interface seemed cleaner, although, like
some of you observed, it still allows a window of time between actual VM fork
and userspace handling of the event.

One other direction that I would like to explore and I feel it’s similar to 
your 4c
proposal is to do smth like:
"mm: extend memfd with ability to create 'secret' memory"

Maybe we can combine ideas from the two patches in smth like: instead of libs
using anon mem with MADV_WIPEONSUSPEND, they can use a secret_mem_fd
with a (secretmem specific) WIPEONSUSPEND flag; then instead of crawling
PTEs in the core PM code looking for MADV_WIPEONSUSPEND mappings,
we can register this secretmem device to wipe its own secrets during a pm 

From a crypto safety pov, the ideal solution would be one where wiping happens
before or during VM forks, not after.
Having said that, I think a vDSO (updated by the guest kernel _after_ VM fork) 
closes that gap enough to be practically safe.


Amazon Development Center (Romania) S.R.L. registered office: 27A Sf. Lazar 
Street, UBC5, floor 2, Iasi, Iasi County, 700045, Romania. Registered in 
Romania. Registration number J22/2621/2005.

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]