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Subject: Re: [virtio-comment] Re: [Qemu-devel] [PATCH] *** Vhost-pci RFC v2 ***


On Thu, Sep 1, 2016 at 4:13 PM Wei Wang <wei.w.wang@intel.com> wrote:
On 09/01/2016 04:49 PM, Marc-André Lureau wrote:
> Hi
> On Thu, Sep 1, 2016 at 12:19 PM Wei Wang <wei.w.wang@intel.com
> <mailto:wei.w.wang@intel.com>> wrote:
>     On 08/31/2016 08:30 PM, Marc-André Lureau wrote:
>>     - If it could be made not pci-specific, a better name for the
>>     device could be simply "driver": the driver of a virtio device.
>>     Or the "slave" in vhost-user terminology - consumer of virtq. I
>>     think you prefer to call it "backend" in general, but I find it
>>     more confusing.
>     Not really. A virtio device has it own driver (e.g. a virtio-net
>     driver for a virtio-net device). A vhost-pci device plays the role
>     of a backend (just like vhost_net, vhost_user) for a virtio
>     device. If we use the "device/driver" naming convention, the
>     vhost-pci device is part of the "device". But I actually prefer to
>     use "frontend/backend" :) If we check the QEMU's
>     doc/specs/vhost-user.txt, it also uses "backend" to describe.
> Yes, but it uses "backend" freely without any definition and to name
> eventually different things. (at least "slave" is being defined as the
> consumer of virtq, but I think some people don't like to use that word).

I think most people know the concept of backend/frontend, that's
probably the reason why they usually don't explicitly explain it in a
doc. If you guys don't have an objection, I suggest to use it in the
discussion :)  The goal here is to get the design finalized first. When
it comes to the final spec wording phase, we can decide which
description is more proper.

"backend" is too broad for me. Instead I would stick to something closer to what we want to name and define. If it's the consumer of virtq, then why not call it that way.

> Have you thought about making the device not pci specific? I don't
> know much about mmio devices nor s/390, but if devices can hotplug
> their own memory (I believe mmio can), then it should be possible to
> define a device generic enough.

Not yet. I think the main difference would be the way to map the
frontend VM's memory (in our case, we use a BAR). Other things should be

I hope some more knowledgeable people will chime in.

>>     - Why is it required or beneficial to support multiple "frontend"
>>     devices over the same "vhost-pci" device? It could simplify
>>     things if it was a single device. If necessary, that could also
>>     be interesting as a vhost-user extension.
>     We call it "multiple backend functionalities" (e.g. vhost-pci-net,
>     vhost-pci-scsi..). A vhost-pci driver contains multiple such
>     backend functionalities, because in this way they can reuse
>     (share) the same memory mapping. To be more precise, a vhost-pci
>     device supplies the memory of a frontend VM, and all the backend
>     functionalities need to access the same frontend VM memory, so we
>     consolidate them into one vhost-pci driver to use one vhost-pci
>     device.
> That's what I imagined. Do you have a use case for that?

Currently, we only have the network use cases. I think we can design it
that way (multple backend functionalities), which is more generic (not
just limited to network usages). When implementing it, we can first have
the network backend functionality (i.e. vhost-pci-net) implemented. In
the future, if people are interested in other backend functionalities, I
think it should be easy to add them.

My question is not about the support of various kind of devices (that is clearly a worthy goal to me) but to have support simultaneously of several frontend/provider devices on the same vhost-pci device: is this required or necessary? I think it would simplify things if it was 1-1 instead, I would like to understand why you propose a different design.

> Given that it's in a VM (no caching issues?), how is it a problem to
> map the same memory multiple times? Is there a memory limit?

I need to explain this a little bit more :)  - the backend VM doesn't
need to map the same memory multiple times. It maps the entire memory of
a frontend VM using a vhost-pci device (it's a one-time mapping
happening at the setup phase). Those backend functionalities reside in
the same vhost-pci driver, so the bar is ioremap()-ed only once, by the
vhost-pci driver. The backend functionalities are not created together
in the driver probe() function. A backend functionality is created when
the vhost-pci driver receives a controlq message asking for creating one
(the message indicates the type - net, scsi, console etc.).

I haven't seen any caching issues so far.

IIRC, the memory mapping has a limit (512GB or 1T), but that should be
enough (a guest usually has a much smaller memory size).

>>     - no interrupt support, I suppose you mainly looked at poll-based
>>     net devices
>     Yes. But I think it's also possible to add the interrupt support.
>     For example, we can use ioeventfd (or hypercall) to inject
>     interrupts to the fontend VM after transmitting packets.
> I guess it would be a good idea to have this in the spec from the
> beginning, not as an afterthought

OK, will add it.

Marc-André Lureau

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