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Subject: Re: [virtio-dev] Re: guest / host buffer sharing ...


> > This is not about host memory, buffers are in guest ram, everything else
> > would make sharing those buffers between drivers inside the guest (as
> > dma-buf) quite difficult.
> Given it's just guest memory, can the guest just have a virt queue on
> which it places pointers to the memory it wants to share as elements in
> the queue?

Well, good question.  I'm actually wondering what the best approach is
to handle long-living, large buffers in virtio ...

virtio-blk (and others) are using the approach you describe.  They put a
pointer to the io request header, followed by pointer(s) to the io
buffers directly into the virtqueue.  That works great with storage for
example.  The queue entries are tagged being "in" or "out" (driver to
device or visa-versa), so the virtio transport can set up dma mappings
accordingly or even transparently copy data if needed.

For long-living buffers where data can potentially flow both ways this
model doesn't fit very well though.  So what virtio-gpu does instead is
transferring the scatter list as virtio payload.  Does feel a bit
unclean as it doesn't really fit the virtio architecture.  It assumes
the host can directly access guest memory for example (which is usually
the case but explicitly not required by virtio).  It also requires
quirks in virtio-gpu to handle VIRTIO_F_IOMMU_PLATFORM properly, which
in theory should be handled fully transparently by the virtio-pci

We could instead have a "create-buffer" command which adds the buffer
pointers as elements to the virtqueue as you describe.  Then simply
continue using the buffer even after completing the "create-buffer"
command.  Which isn't exactly clean either.  It would likewise assume
direct access to guest memory, and it would likewise need quirks for
VIRTIO_F_IOMMU_PLATFORM as the virtio-pci transport tears down the dma
mappings for the virtqueue entries after command completion.

Comments, suggestions, ideas?


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