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Re: [libvirt] [RFC 0/5]: QMP: add balloon-get-memory-stats command

On Thu, 19 Jan 2012 10:15:55 -0700
Eric Blake <eblake redhat com> wrote:

> On 01/19/2012 08:56 AM, Luiz Capitulino wrote:
> > Long ago, commit 625a5be added the guest provided memory statistics to
> > the query-balloon command. Unfortunately, it also introduced a severe
> > bug: query-balloon would hang if the guest didn't respond. This, in turn,
> > would also cause a hang in libvirt.
> > 
> > Because of that, we decided to disable the guest memory stats feature
> > (commit 11724ff).
> > 
> > As we decided to let commands implement ad-hoc async mechanisms until we
> > get a proper way to do it, I decided to try to re-enable that feature.
> > 
> > My idea is to have a command and an event. The command gets the process
> > started by sending a request to guest and returns. Later, when the guest
> > makes the memory stats info available, it's sent to the client by means
> > of an QMP event (please, take a look at patch 05/05 for full details).
> > 
> > I'm not sure if that approach is good for libvirt though, so it would be
> > very helpful to get their input (Eric, I'm CC'ing you here, but feel free
> > to route this to someone else).
> [I went ahead and cc'd the libvirt list]
> Yes, libvirt can live with this approach.  And having this in parallel
> to a qemu-ga verb is nice, since, as it was pointed out, this would
> allow interaction with guests that have a balloon device but not a guest
> agent.
> You may want to read this thread [1], for thoughts on the impact of
> making another existing blocking command be extended into one that
> starts an async event and ends when an event is raised; libvirt can
> expose both a blocking and an asynchronous implementation to the user on
> top of the qemu model being just asynchronous.
> [1] https://www.redhat.com/archives/libvir-list/2012-January/msg00562.html
> Thinking aloud - do we need a means to poll the state of the
> balloon-stat query?

We could have a query-balloon-memory-stats command that returns the last
available stats (or none, if ballon-get-memory-stats wasn't issued), and
I think that it would be better to move the stats info from the event to
the query command too, this way the event would just signal that the stats
info are available.

I find that approach a bit more complicated though.

>  On the one hand, if libvirtd issues the start
> command, then gets stopped, then the event occurs, then libvirtd is
> restarted, then libvirt won't know that the event was missed.  On the
> other hand, since this involves guest interaction, libvirt already has
> to assume that the guest may be malicious and refuse to report stats
> and/or report invalid stats, so libvirt would already have to be
> prepared to give up if no event has arrived in a fixed amount of time,
> and that also means that restarting libvirtd can just ignore any balloon
> query that was in flight before the restart.

Yes, there's no guarantee the event will be ever sent. If it doesn't
arrive after a fixed amount of time, the best thing to do is to issue
the start command again.

> So I guess I'm okay with just a start and an event, with no poll of the
> last-known guest response.  But it does mean that qemu has to gracefully
> handle if libvirt makes two start requests in a row without any
> intervening events, and conversely that libvirt has to be prepared for
> an event that happens even when libvirt doesn't remember triggering the
> start command.

There could be intervening events. Everything can happen between the
start command and the event (I/O Error, VM stop, etc). Libvirt has to be
prepared for that.

> > Another interesting point is that, there's another way of doing this and
> > it's using qemu-ga instead. That's, qemu-ga could read that information
> > from proc and return it. This is easier & simpler, as it doesn't involve
> > guest communication. We also could return a lot more information if needed.
> > The only disadvantage I can see is the dependency on qemu-ga...
> Most likely, we would want to teach libvirt to use both methods, and
> give the choice to the user on which approach to use when the guest
> supports both.

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