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Re: [libvirt] TSC scaling interface to management

On Fri, Sep 21, 2012 at 11:30:31PM +0300, Dor Laor wrote:
> On 09/21/2012 05:51 AM, Marcelo Tosatti wrote:
> >On Fri, Sep 21, 2012 at 12:02:46AM +0300, Dor Laor wrote:
> >>On 09/12/2012 06:39 PM, Marcelo Tosatti wrote:
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>HW TSC scaling is a feature of AMD processors that allows a
> >>>multiplier to be specified to the TSC frequency exposed to the guest.
> >>>
> >>>KVM also contains provision to trap TSC ("KVM: Infrastructure for
> >>>software and hardware based TSC rate scaling" cc578287e3224d0da)
> >>>or advance TSC frequency.
> >>>
> >>>This is useful when migrating to a host with different frequency and
> >>>the guest is possibly using direct RDTSC instructions for purposes
> >>>other than measuring cycles (that is, it previously calculated
> >>>cycles-per-second, and uses that information which is stale after
> >>>migration).
> >>>
> >>>"qemu-x86: Set tsc_khz in kvm when supported" (e7429073ed1a76518)
> >>>added support for tsc_khz= option in QEMU.
> >>>
> >>>I am proposing the following changes so that management applications
> >>>can work with this:
> >>>
> >>>1) New option for tsc_khz, which is tsc_khz=host (QEMU command line
> >>>option). Host means that QEMU is responsible for retrieving the
> >>>TSC frequency of the host processor and use that.
> >>>Management application does not have to deal with the burden.
> >>>
> >>>2) New subsection with tsc_khz value. Destination host should consult
> >>>supported features of running kernel and fail if feature is unsupported.
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>It is not necessary to use this tsc_khz setting with modern guests
> >>>using paravirtual clocks, or when its known that applications make
> >>>proper use of the time interface provided by operating systems.
> >>>
> >>>On the other hand, legacy applications or setups which require no
> >>>modification and correct operation while virtualized and make
> >>>use of RDTSC might need this.
> >>>
> >>>Therefore it appears that this "tsc_khz=auto" option can be specified
> >>>only if the user specifies so (it can be a per-guest flag hidden
> >>>in the management configuration/manual).
> >>>
> >>>Sending this email to gather suggestions (or objections)
> >>>to this interface.
> >>
> >>I'm not sure I understand the exact difference between the offers.
> >>We can define these 3 options:
> >>
> >>1. Qemu/kvm won't make use of tsc scaling feature at all.
> >>2. tsc scaling is used and we take the value either from the host or
> >>    from the live migration data that overrides the later for incoming.
> >>    As you've said, it should be passed through a sub section.
> >>3. Manual setting of the value (uncommon).
> >>
> >>Is there another option worth considering?
> >>The questions is what should be the default. IMHO #2 is more
> >>appropriate to serve as a default since we do expect tsc to change
> >>between hosts.
> >
> >Option 1. is more appropriate to serve as a default given that
> >modern guests make use of paravirt, as you have observed.
> but you also observed that legacy applications that use rdtsc (even
> over pv kernel) will still be affected by the physical tsc
> frequency. Since I'm not aware of downside for using scaling, I
> rather pick opt #2 as a default.

The downside is that, if your destination host does not support tsc
scaling, two possibilities arise:

1) destination tsc frequency > source tsc frequency: TSC trap
2) destination tsc frequency < source tsc frequency: TSC catchup 

TSC trapping is not wanted, because it is slow.
This is the downside.

Note Intel does not support tsc scaling.

> >That is, tsc scaling is only required if the guest does direct RDTSC
> >on the expectation that the value won't change.
> >
> >>Cheers,
> >>Dor
> >--
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> >the body of a message to majordomo vger kernel org
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> >

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