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Re: [Qemu-devel] [RFC] Device isolation infrastructure v2

From: Alex Williamson
Subject: Re: [Qemu-devel] [RFC] Device isolation infrastructure v2
Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2011 21:30:37 -0700

On Wed, 2011-12-21 at 14:32 +1100, David Gibson wrote:
> On Mon, Dec 19, 2011 at 04:41:56PM +0100, Joerg Roedel wrote:
> > On Mon, Dec 19, 2011 at 11:11:25AM +1100, David Gibson wrote:
> > > Well.. that's not where it is in Alex's code either.  The iommu layer
> > > (to the extent that there is such a "layer") supplies the group info,
> > > but the group management is in vfio, not the iommu layer.  With mine
> > > it is in the driver core because the struct device seemed the logical
> > > place for the group id.
> > 
> > Okay, seems we have different ideas of what the 'grouping code' is. I
> > talked about the group enumeration code only. But group handling code is
> > certainly important to some degree too. But before we argue about the
> > right place of the code we should agree on the semantics such code
> > should provide.
> > 
> > For me it is fine when the code is in VFIO for now, since VFIO is the
> > only user at the moment. When more users pop up we can easily move it
> > out to somewhere else. But the semantics influence the interface to
> > user-space too, so it is more important now. It splits up into a number
> > of sub problems:
> > 
> >     1) How userspace detects the device<->group relationship?
> >     2) Do we want group-binding/unbinding to device drivers?
> >     3) Group attach/detach to iommu-domains?
> >     4) What to do with hot-added devices?
> > 
> > For 1) I think the current solution with the iommu_group file is fine.
> > It is somewhat expensive for user-space to figure out the per-group
> > device-sets, but that is a one-time effort so it doesn't really matter.
> > Probably we can rename 'iommu_group' to 'isolation_group' or
> > something.
> Hrm.  Alex's group code also provides no in-kernel way to enumerate a
> group, short of walking every device in the system.  And it provides
> no way to attach information to a group.  It just seems foolish to me
> to have this concept without some kind of in-kernel handle on it, and

Who else needs to enumerate groups right now?  Who else needs to attach
data to a group.  We seem to be caught in this loop of arguing that we
need driver core based group management, but we don't have any plans to
make use of it, so it just bloats the kernel for most of the users that
don't care about it.

> if you're managing the in-kernel representation you might as well
> expose it to userspace there as well.

Unfortunately this is just the start a peeling back layers of the onion.
We manage groups in the driver core, so the driver core should expose
them to userspace.  The driver core exposes them to userspace, so now it
needs to manage permissions for userspace.  Then we add permissions and
now we need to provide group access, then we need a channel to an actual
userspace device driver, zing! we add a whole API there, then we need
group driver binding, then we need group device driver binding, blam!
another API, then we need...  I don't see a clear end marker that
doesn't continue to bloat the core and add functionality that nobody
else needs and we don't even have plans of integrating more pervasively.
This appears to end with 80 to 90% of the vfio core code moving into the
driver core.

> > Regarding 2), I think providing user-space a way to unbind groups of
> > devices from their drivers is a horrible idea.
> Well, I'm not wed to unbinding all the drivers at once.  But what I
> *do* think is essential is that we can atomically switch off automatic
> driver matching for the whole group.  Without that nothing really
> stops a driver reattaching to the things you've unbound, so you end up
> bailing a leakey boat.

Huh?  There is no issue with removing a device from one driver and
attaching it to another.  This happens all the time.  If you're talking
about hotplug, all we have to do is sit on the bus notifier chain and we
get called when devices are added, before the driver has a chance to
attach.  We can then force a vfio driver to attach when needed.  Hell,
we can just set dev->driver to something to prevent standard driver

> > It makes it too easy for
> > the user to shoot himself in the foot. For example when the user wants
> > to assign a network card to a guest, but that card is in the same group
> > as the GPU and the screen wents blank when the guest is started.
> > Requiring devices to be unbound one-by-one is better because this way
> > the user always needs to know what he is doing.
> Ok, that's not the usage model I had in mind.  What I'm thinking here
> is that the admin removes groups that will be used in guests from the
> host kernel (probably via boot-time scripts).  The guests will pick
> them up later, so that when a guest quits then restarts, we don't have
> devices appearing transiently in the host.

I don't think that model is dynamic enough for our existing use cases.
A user shouldn't need to decide at boot time which devices are going to
be used for what purpose.  It's entirely valid for a user to start up a
VM, decide they want more network performance and reassign a NIC from
host use to guest use.  When they shutdown the VM or hot-unplug it, they
should be able to easily put it back to work on the host.

> > For the remaining two questions I think the concept of a default-domain
> > is helpful.  The default-domain is a per-group domain which is created
> > by the iommu-driver at initialization time. It is the domain each device
> > is assigned to when it is not assigned to any other domain (which means
> > that each device/group is always attached to a domain). The default
> > domain will be used by the DMA-API layer. This implicitly means, that a
> > device which is not in the default-domain can't be used with the
> > dma-api. The dma_supported() function will return false for those
> > devices.
> But.. by definition every device in the group must belong to the same
> domain.  So how is this "default domain" in any way different from
> "current domain".
> In addition making dma_supported() doesn't seem like a strong enough
> constraint.  With this a kernel driver which does not use DMA, or
> which is initializing and hasn't yet hit a dma_supported() check could
> be accessing a device which is in the same group as something a guest
> is simultaneously accessing.  Since there's no DMA (on the kernel
> side) we can't get DMA conflicts but there are other forms of
> isolation that the group could be enforcing which would make that
> unsafe. e.g. irqs from the two devices can't be reliably separated,
> debug registers on one device let config space be altered to move it
> on top of the other, one can cause a bus error which will mess up the
> other.

I agree, tapping into dma_supported() isn't a strong enough barrier.

> > So what does this mean for point 3? I think we can implement attaching
> > and detaching groups in the iommu-api. This interface is not exposed to
> > userspace and can help VFIO and possible future users. Semantic is, that
> > domain_attach_group() only works when all devices in the group are in
> > their default domain and domain_detach_group() puts them back into the
> > default domain.
> The domain_{attach,detach} functions absolutely should be group based
> not device based.  That's what it means to be a group.

Yet we have no plans to make that change...

> > Question 4) is also solved with the default-domain concept. A hot-added
> > device is put in the domain of its group automatically.
> Well, of course it is.  A group can only have one domain.  That's what
> being a group means.
> > If the group is
> > owned by VFIO and another driver attaches to the device dma_supported
> > will return false and initialization will fail.
> By the time dma_supported is checked the driver could have already
> touched the device.  That's way too late.

Very likely that the driver will have already interfered with config

> > > Right, so, the other problem is that a well boundaried "iommu-driver'
> > > is something that only exists on x86 at present, and the "iommu api"
> > > is riddled with x86-centric thinking.  Or more accurately, design
> > > based on how the current intel and amd iommus work.  On systems like
> > > POWER, use of the iommu is not optional - it's built into the PCI host
> > > bridge and must be initialized when the bridge is probed, much earlier
> > > than iommu driver initialization on x86.  They have no inbuilt concept
> > > of domains (though we could fake in software in some circumstances).
> > 
> > Well, the iommu-api was designed for amd-vi and vt-d. But its concepts
> > turn out to be more general and by no way x86-centric anymore.
> It's improving, but there are still plenty of x86isms there.

Having worked on ia64 for a while, it's interesting to see this x86
bashing from the other side.  Everyone is more than willing to make
architecture neutral interfaces (jeez, look at the extent of the vfio
reworks), but it's not fair to throw away interfaces as x86-centric if
you're not pushing your requirements and making use of the code.

It seems like we'd be better served today to start with the vfio code we
have and let that be the catalyst to drive an iommu api that better
serves non-x86.  I don't see how this group management tangent is really
getting us anywhere.  Thanks,


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