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Re: [libvirt] [RFC] Support for CPUID masking

On 10/09/2009 12:58 PM, Mukesh G wrote:
Speaking from an x86 angle,providing an ability to enable or disable
high level constructs like SSE instead of low level constructs, will
make it easy to understand.

ain't SSE a low level construct too?

What about another approach for the cpuid issue:
I think that dealing with specific flags is pretty error prone on all levels - virt-mgr, libvirt, qemu, migration, and even the guest. We can't just 'invent' new cpu modules that will be a combination of flags we have on the host. It might work for some kernels/apps but it might break others. In addition to cpuid we have the stepping and more MSRs that needed to be hidden/exposed.

The offer:
Libvirt, virt-mgr, qemu will not deal with lowlevel bits of the cpuid.
We'll use predefined cpu modules to be emulated.
These predefined modules will represent a real module that was once shipped by Intel/AMD.

We'll write an additional tool, not under libvirt, that will be able to calculate all the virtual cpus that can run over the physical cpu. This tool will be the one messing with /proc/cpuinfo, etc.

Example (theoretical): Physical cpu is "Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU T9600 @ 2.80GHz" the output of the tool will be:
core solo

Libvirt will only expose the real physical cpu and all of the outputs above. Higher level mgmt will compute the best -cpu to pick for the VM, and it will take account the user needs for performance or for migration flexibility.

The cons:
 - Simple for all levels
 - Fast implementation
 - Accurate representative of real cpus

The pros:
 - none - we should write the tool anyway
 - Maybe we hide some of the possibilities, but as said above, it is
   safer and friendlier.
   I also recommend of adding a field to be added next to the cpu for
   flexibility and possible future changes + dealing with problematic
   bios with NX bit disabled.




On Thu, Sep 3, 2009 at 3:09 PM, Daniel P. Berrange<berrange redhat com>  wrote:
On Thu, Sep 03, 2009 at 11:19:47AM +0300, Dor Laor wrote:
On 09/02/2009 07:09 PM, Daniel P. Berrange wrote:
On Wed, Sep 02, 2009 at 11:59:39AM -0400, Jim Paris wrote:
Jiri Denemark wrote:

We need to provide support for CPU ID masking. Xen and VMware ESX are
of current hypervisors which support such masking.

My proposal is to define new 'cpuid' feature advertised in guest
<domain type='xen' id='42'>
             <mask level='1' register='ebx'>
What are your opinions about this?

I think it's too low-level, and the structure is x86-specific.  QEMU
and KVM compute their CPUID response based on arguments to the -cpu
argument, e.g.:

    -cpu core2duo,model=23,+ssse3,+lahf_lm

I think a similar structure makes more sense for libvirt, where the
configuration generally avoids big blocks of binary data, and the
XML format should suit other architectures as well.

I'm going back&    forth on this too. We essentially have 3 options

  - Named CPU + flags/features
  - CPUID masks
  - Allow either

If we do either of the first two, we have to translate between the
two formats for one or more of the hypervisors. For the last one we
are just punting the problem off to applications.

If we choose CPUID, and made QEMU driver convert to named CPU + flags
we'd be stuck for non-x86 as you say.

Why is that? cpu model + flags may apply for other arch too.

If we have CPUID in the XML, there is no meaningful CPUID register
representation for sparc/ppc/arm/etc. It is an x86 concept, which
is almost certainly why QEMU uses named CPU models + named flags
instead of CPUID as is public facing config.

Xen/VMWare of course don't have this limitation since they only
really care about x86.

So really QEMU's  CPU model + flags approach is more generic albeit
being much more verbose to achieve the same level of expressivity.

If we chose named CPU + flags,  and made VMWare/Xen convert to raw
CPUID we'd potentially loose information if user had defined a config
with a raw CPUID mask outside context of libvirt.

The other thing to remember is that CPUID also encodes sockets/cores/
threads  topology data, and it'd be very desirable to expose that in
a sensible fashion (ie not a bitmask).

On balance i'm currently leaning to named CPU + flags + expliciti
topology data because although its harder to implement for Xen/VMWare
I think its much nicer to applications&    users. We might loose a tiny
bit of data in the CPU ->    named/flags conversion for Xen/VMWare but
I reckon we can get it good enough that most people won't really care
about that.


There are 2 more issues to consider:
1. The VMW approach with all the cpuid bits might be ok, the problem is
    to map it into qemu model, will libvirt to that?

THe problem is that CPUID is not viable for non-x86 archs so can't
really be used as our master representation

2. If we use the qemu approach, the host information (cpuids) need to
    travel to higher mgmt level in order to allow computation of
    greatest common denominator.

Yes, whatever we decide for exposing guest CPU model/flags/etc should
be equally applied to the libvirt capabilities XML so that apps can
query physical host data

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