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[libvirt] QEMU interfaces for image streaming and post-copy block migration


We've got copy-on-read and image streaming working in QED and before going much further, I wanted to bounce some interfaces off of the libvirt folks to make sure our final interface makes sense.

Here's the basic idea:

Today, you can create images based on base images that are copy on write. With QED, we also support copy on read which forces a copy from the backing image on read requests and write requests.

In additional to copy on read, we introduce a notion of streaming a block device which means that we search for an unallocated region of the leaf image and force a copy-on-read operation.

The combination of copy-on-read and streaming means that you can start a guest based on slow storage (like over the network) and bring in blocks on demand while also having a deterministic mechanism to complete the transfer.

The interface for copy-on-read is just an option within qemu-img create. Streaming, on the other hand, requires a bit more thought. Today, I have a monitor command that does the following:

stream <device> <sector offset>

Which will try to stream the minimal amount of data for a single I/O operation and then return how many sectors were successfully streamed.

The idea about how to drive this interface is a loop like:

offset = 0;
while offset < image_size:
   count = stream(device, offset)
   offset += count

Obviously, the "wait_for_idle_time()" requires wide system awareness. The thing I'm not sure about is 1) would libvirt want to expose a similar stream interface and let management software determine idle time 2) attempt to detect idle time on it's own and provide a higher level interface. If (2), the question then becomes whether we should try to do this within qemu and provide libvirt a higher level interface.

A related topic is block migration. Today we support pre-copy migration which means we transfer the block device and then do a live migration. Another approach is to do a live migration, and on the source, run a block server using image streaming on the destination to move the device.

With QED, to implement this one would:

1) launch qemu-nbd on the source while the guest is running
2) create a qed file on the destination with copy-on-read enabled and a backing file using nbd: to point to the source qemu-nbd
3) run qemu -incoming on the destination with the qed file
4) execute the migration
5) when migration completes, begin streaming on the destination to complete the copy 6) when the streaming is complete, shut down the qemu-nbd instance on the source

This is a bit involved and we could potentially automate some of this in qemu by launching qemu-nbd and providing commands to do some of this. Again though, I think the question is what type of interfaces would libvirt prefer? Low level interfaces + recipes on how to do high level things or higher level interfaces?


Anthony Liguori

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