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Re: [Qemu-block] [Qemu-devel] [PATCH] pflash: Only read non-zero parts o

From: Markus Armbruster
Subject: Re: [Qemu-block] [Qemu-devel] [PATCH] pflash: Only read non-zero parts of backend image
Date: Wed, 08 May 2019 15:20:10 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/26.1 (gnu/linux)

Laszlo Ersek <address@hidden> writes:

> Hi Markus,
> On 05/07/19 20:01, Markus Armbruster wrote:
>> The subject is slightly misleading.  Holes read as zero.  So do
>> non-holes full of zeroes.  The patch avoids reading the former, but
>> still reads the latter.
>> Xiang Zheng <address@hidden> writes:
>>> Currently we fill the memory space with two 64MB NOR images when
>>> using persistent UEFI variables on virt board. Actually we only use
>>> a very small(non-zero) part of the memory while the rest significant
>>> large(zero) part of memory is wasted.
>> Neglects to mention that the "virt board" is ARM.
>>> So this patch checks the block status and only writes the non-zero part
>>> into memory. This requires pflash devices to use sparse files for
>>> backends.
>> I started to draft an improved commit message, but then I realized this
>> patch can't work.
>> The pflash_cfi01 device allocates its device memory like this:
>>     memory_region_init_rom_device(
>>         &pfl->mem, OBJECT(dev),
>>         &pflash_cfi01_ops,
>>         pfl,
>>         pfl->name, total_len, &local_err);
>> pflash_cfi02 is similar.
>> memory_region_init_rom_device() calls
>> memory_region_init_rom_device_nomigrate() calls qemu_ram_alloc() calls
>> qemu_ram_alloc_internal() calls g_malloc0().  Thus, all the device
>> memory gets written to even with this patch.
> As far as I can see, qemu_ram_alloc_internal() calls g_malloc0() only to
> allocate the the new RAMBlock object called "new_block". The actual
> guest RAM allocation occurs inside ram_block_add(), which is also called
> by qemu_ram_alloc_internal().

You're right.  I should've read more attentively.

> One frame outwards the stack, qemu_ram_alloc() passes NULL to
> qemu_ram_alloc_internal(), for the 4th ("host") parameter. Therefore, in
> qemu_ram_alloc_internal(), we set "new_block->host" to NULL as well.
> Then in ram_block_add(), we take the (!new_block->host) branch, and call
> phys_mem_alloc().
> Unfortunately, "phys_mem_alloc" is a function pointer, set with
> phys_mem_set_alloc(). The phys_mem_set_alloc() function is called from
> "target/s390x/kvm.c" (setting the function pointer to
> legacy_s390_alloc()), so it doesn't apply in this case. Therefore we end
> up calling the default qemu_anon_ram_alloc() function, through the
> funcptr. (I think anyway.)
> And qemu_anon_ram_alloc() boils down to mmap() + MAP_ANONYMOUS, in
> qemu_ram_mmap(). (Even on PPC64 hosts, because qemu_anon_ram_alloc()
> passes (-1) for "fd".)
> I may have missed something, of course -- I obviously didn't test it,
> just speculated from the source.

Thanks for your sleuthing!

>> I'm afraid you neglected to test.

Accusation actually unsupported.  I apologize, and replace it by a
question: have you observed the improvement you're trying to achieve,
and if yes, how?


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