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Subject: Re: [virtio-comment] [PATCH 1/3] shared memory: Define shared memory regions

• From: "Dr. David Alan Gilbert" <dgilbert@redhat.com>
• To: Cornelia Huck <cohuck@redhat.com>
• Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2019 11:23:03 +0000

* Cornelia Huck (cohuck@redhat.com) wrote:
> On Fri, 11 Jan 2019 12:26:54 +0000
> "Dr. David Alan Gilbert" <dgilbert@redhat.com> wrote:
>
> > * Cornelia Huck (cohuck@redhat.com) wrote:
> > > On Fri, 11 Jan 2019 11:41:58 +0000
> > > "Dr. David Alan Gilbert (git)" <dgilbert@redhat.com> wrote:
>
> > > > +\section{Shared Memory Regions}\label{sec:Basic Facilities of a Virtio Device / Shared Memory Regions}
> > > > +
> > > > +Shared memory regions are an additional facility
> > > > +available to devices that need a region of memory that's
> > > > +continuously shared between the host and the guest, rather
> > > > +than passed between them in the way virtqueue elements are.
>
> I think we probably need to clarify the expectations (consistency etc.)
> a bit more, see my remarks below.
>
> > > > +
> > > > +Example uses include shared caches and version pools for versioned
> > > > +data structures.
> > > > +
> > > > +Shared memory regions MUST NOT be used to control the operation
> > > > +of the device, nor to stream data; those should still be performed
> > > > +using virtqueues.
> > > > +
> > > > +A device may have multiple shared memory regions associated with
> > > > +it.  Each region has a \field{shmid} to identify it, the meaning
> > > > +of which is device specific.
> > > > +
> > > > +Enumeration and location of shared memory regions is performed
> > > > +using a transport-specific data structure.
> > >
> > > "data structure and mechanism"?
> >
> > Changed; thanks.
> >
> > > > +
> > > > +The guest physical address and the host virtual address MUST NOT
> > > > +be used to identify structures within the memory regions; all
> > > > +addressing MUST be relative to the start of a particular region.
> > > > +
> > >
> > > Is the intended implementation that the device provides a certain
> > > memory region (in host memory) and exposes it to the driver? Are there
> > > supposed to be any notifications of writes? Or do both simply write to
> > > the region and get whatever updates the other side has made when they
> > > read from the region again?
> >
> > There's no notification;  in our case we have two main uses:
> >   a) Direct mapping of host files into the guests memory
> >
> >   b) Mapping of a version table with quickly updated version numbers for
> >      data structures to do quick invalidation
>
> This sounds a lot like "we have a memory area, and both device and
> driver may write to or read from it at any time". Are there any
> expectations regarding consistency when reading data, or is there
> supposed to be a device-type specific mechanism to get certain
> consistent values?

It's device-type specific; and potentially different for different
shared memory regions associated with that device.
In the virtio-fs usecase we've really got two separate regions; one is
a direct mapping of files on the host, the other is a structure
containing flags/version numbers for data structures; the later
probably has much more strict ordering semantics.

> > > I'm a bit unsure how to implement this for the ccw transport. Maybe a
> > > new pair of ccws to read/write shared memory regions?
> >
> > Without knowing anything about CCW itself, I don't think you'd want
> > to do calls to perform the reads/writes - remember these are entirely
> > emulated devices, and the shared memory regions just correspond to
> > memory regions in the hypervisor; so in most ways they just behave
> > like a region of RAM.  If the drivers can't treat them like RAM there's
> > probably no point in using this feature in that environment.
>
> The main issue here is that s390 does not have memory mapped I/O --
> even PCI uses some specialized instructions. This means we need to
> figure out how to model some stuff that Just Works on other platforms.
>
> So, basically there are two options:
> - Have the device set aside a memory area; the host maps this into the
>   guest and the driver can access it. No notifications, only discovery
>   is needed.
> - Have the device set aside a memory area; the driver can only access
>   this via special operations, which the host can trap. This needs two
>   more commands to be set aside, and any driver accesses need to be
>   forced through these commands (that's a bit like config space).
>
> If I've understood the intended usage correctly, we can use the simpler
> first option. The drawback is that we can't add interception
> possibilities (that we get via the second option) should we need them
> later on.

Right, and it's the first option we need.

> >
> > > But we'd also
> > > need a mechanism to discover the ids of those shared memory regions, I
> > > think.
> >
> > Yes, I'm assuming you'll need a call to enumerate them.
>
> Agreed.

Dave

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