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[libvirt] Re: kernel summit topic - 'containers end-game'
- From: Daniel Lezcano <dlezcano fr ibm com>
- To: "Serge E. Hallyn" <serue us ibm com>
- Cc: Linux Containers <containers lists osdl org>, libvir-list redhat com, Cedric Le Goater <clg fr ibm com>
- Subject: [libvirt] Re: kernel summit topic - 'containers end-game'
- Date: Thu, 02 Jul 2009 18:43:18 +0200
Serge E. Hallyn wrote:
A topic on ksummit agenda is 'containers end-game and how do we
So for starters, looking just at application (and system) containers, what do
the libvirt and liblxc projects want to see in kernel support that is currently
missing? Are there specific things that should be done soon to make containers
more useful and usable?
More generally, the topic raises the question... what 'end-games' are there?
A few I can think of off-hand include:
1. resource control
2. lightweight virtual servers
here are a few suggestions for the containers in general and most of
these suggestions are pre-requisites for CR (may be not the higher
priority but just to keep in mind).
* time virtualization : for absolute timer CR, TCP socket timestamps, ...
* inode virtualization : without this you won't be able to migrate some
applications eg. samba which rely on the inode numbers.
* debugging tools for the containers: at present we are not able to
debug a multi-threaded application from outside of the container.
* poweroff / reboot from inside the container : at poweroff / reboot,
all the processes are killed expect the init process which will stay
there making the container blocked. Maybe we can send a SIGINFO signal
to the init's parent with some information, so it will be up the parent to:
- ignore the signal
- stop the container (poweroff/halt)
- stop and start again the container (reboot).
3. (or 2.5) unprivileged containers/jail-on-steroids
(lightweight virtual servers in which you might, just
maybe, almost, be able to give away a root account, at
least as much as you could do so with a kvm/qemu/xen
4. checkpoint, restart, and migration
For each end-game, what kernel pieces do we think are missing? For instance,
people seem agreed that resource control needs io control :) Containers imo
need a user namespace. I think there are quite a few network namespace
exploiters who require sysfs directory tagging (or some equivalent) to
allow us to migrate physical devices into network namespaces. And
checkpoint/restart needs... checkpoint/restart.
I know you are working hard on a CR patchset and most of the questions /
suggestions below were already addressed in the mailing list since some
month ago but IMO they were eluded :) If you can talk about these points
and clarify what approach would be preferable that would be nice.
IMHO the all-in-kernel-monolithic approach raise some problems:
* the tasks are checkpointed from an external process and most of the
kernel code is designed to run as current
* if a checkpoint or a restart fails, how do we debug that ? How
someone in the community using the CR can report an information about
the checkpoint has failed in a particular place ? The same for the
restart. And a much more harder case is if a restart succeeded but a
resource was badly restored making the application to continue its
execution but failing 1 hour later.
* how this can be maintained ? who will port the CR each time a
subsystem design changes ?
* the current patchset is full kernel but needs an external tool to
create the process tree by digging in the statefile, weird.
* the container and the checkpoint/restart are not clearly
decorrelated, that brings a dangerous heuristic in the kernel,
especially with nested namespace and partial resources checkpoint. IMHO,
the checkpoint / restart should succeed even if the resources are not
isolated, we should not CR some boundaries like the namespaces.
Regarding these points and the comments of Kerrighed and google guys,
maybe it would be interesting to discuss the following design of the CR:
1) create a synchronism barrier (not the freezer), where all the tasks
can set the checkpoint or restart status
That allows to have a task to abort the checkpoint at any time by
setting a status error in the synchronism barrier. The initiator of the
checkpoint / restart is blocked on this barrier until the checkpoint /
restart finishes or fails. If the initiator exits, that's cancel the
current operation making possible to do Ctrl+C at checkpoint or restart
2) make a vdso which is the entry point of the checkpoint and set this
entry as a signal handler for a new signal SIGCKPT, the same for
SIGRESTART (AFAIR this is defined in posix 1003.m).
This approach allows to checkpoint from the current context which is
less arch dependant and/or to override the handler with a specific
library making possible to do some work before calling the
sys_checkpoint itself. That will allows to build the CR step by step by
making in userspace a best-effort library to checkpoint/restart what is
not supported in the kernel.
3) a process gains the checkpointable property with a specific flag or
whatever. All the childs inherit this flag. That will allows to identify
all the tasks which are checkpointable without isolating anything and
than opens the door to the checkpoint/restart of a subset of a process tree.
4) dump everything in a core-file-like and improve the interpreter to
recreate the process tree from this file.
Dynamic behaviour would be:
- The initiator of the checkpoint initialize the barrier and send a
signal SIGCKPT to all the checkpointable tasks and these ones will jump
on the handler and block on the barrier.
- When all these tasks reach this barrier, the initiator of the
checkpoint dumps the system wide resources (memory, sysv ipc, struct
files, etc ...).
- When this is done, the tasks are released and they store their
process wide resources (semundo, file descriptor, etc ...) to a
current->ckpt_restart buffer and then set the status of the operation
and block on the barrier.
- The initiator of the checkpoint then collects all these informations
and dump them.
- Finally the initiator of the checkpoint release the tasks.
- The user executes the statefile, that spawns the process tree and all
the processes are blocked in the barrier.
- The initiator of the restart restore the system wide resources
and fill the restarted processes' current->ckpt_restart buffer.
- The initiator sends a SIGRESTART to all the tasks and unblock the tasks
- all the tasks restore their process wide resources regarding the
- all the tasks write their status and block on the barrier
- the initiator of the restart release the tasks which will return to
their execution context when they were checkpointed.
This approach is different of you are doing but I am pretty sure most of
the code is re-usable. I see different advantages of this approach:
- because the process resources are checkpointed / restarted from
current, it would be easy to reuse some syscalls code (from the kernel
POV) and that would reduce the code duplication and maintenance overhead.
- the approach is more fine grained as we can implement piece by piece
the checkpoint / restart.
- as the statefile is in the elf format, gdb could be used to debug a
statefile as a core file
- as each process checkpoint / restart themselves, most of the
execution context is stored in the stack which is CR with the memory, so
when returning from the signal handler, the process returns to the right
context. That is less complicated and more generic than externally
checkpoint the execution context of a frozen task which would be
potentially different for the restart.
I hope Serge you can present this approach as an alternative of the
current patchset __if__ this one is not acceptable.
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