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Re: [libvirt] VFIO device groups and libvirt

On Thu, 2013-05-30 at 13:48 -0400, Laine Stump wrote:
> On 05/30/2013 01:18 PM, Alex Williamson wrote:
> > nit, vfio is not a stub driver, it's an actual driver. vfio also
> > whitelists some host drivers. The two so far are pci-stub and
> > pcieport. libvirt should not disconnect root ports from pcieport
> > unless the root port is being assigned to a guest (which isn't supported).
> So are you saying that if someone wants to assign a device that's in the
> same group as a device that is already bound to pcieport, even if they
> say its okay to bind the entire group to vfio-pci, we should just leave
> the pcieport device alone? Is the same true for pci-stub?

Yes.  pcieport makes sure the bridge device is enabled and has
sub-drivers for things like AER that will become useful once that
support is incorporated.  pci-stub doesn't do anything useful for vfio,
but it doesn't do anything that risks the isolation of the group either.
If I had a group that contained an endpoint device and a motherboard
component, I might want to attach the motherboard component to pci-stub
and the endpoint to vfio-pci.  The devices are not isolated from one
another (that's why they share a group), but it becomes more difficult
to get at the other device from userspace if it's attached to pci-stub
instead of vfio-pci.  It's just an extra barrier we can choose to use.

> > pci-stub can be used to satisfy the requirement that the device is
> > disconnected from the host, but doesn't allow direct access of the
> > device through vfio.
> >
> > I'm also working on a kernel patch that will allow a user to specify on
> > the kernel command line devices and sets of devices to assume have ACS
> > support.  This should allow users to strategically change device
> > grouping if they want to opt-in to the risk of assigning devices in
> > topologies without ACS support.
> If that's possible, then it seems the usefulness of what I'm doing
> becomes significantly less (or at least the need for it becomes much
> less urgent).

We're still going to have groups with multiple devices, and often
they're justified.  For instance, even with the ACS overrides I'm
planning, the motherboard USB functions on my system are still grouped
together because they don't event claim to be PCIe devices.  USB is a
case where there's absolutely sharing between functions and it's
dangerous to assigned different functions to different guests or leave
some attached to the host.  These should be treated as a package, and so
far ACS does that for us.

> > The additional xml flag is unfortunate, but I can see why you want it.
> I dislike it too, since it means that we will never be able to support a
> simple <hostdev> assignment of a device that's in a group without
> specifying a <driver group='allow'/>.
> I'm almost inclined to just categorically state that if you want to use
> VFIO to assign a device that's in a group, you can't use <hostdev
> managed='yes'>, but instead have to manually detach the devices in the
> group from the host and attach them to vfio-pci/pci-stub (libvirt
> provides an API to do this - virNodeDeviceDetachFlags()). This would
> keep the XML clean for the cases of non-grouped devices (as well as
> devices in a group of devices that were all bound to vfio-pci, pci-stub,
> or pcieport); for for devices in groups that used other drivers, the
> user could either add the kernel commandline options you mentioned (to
> allow willy-nilly assignment to any combination of guests) or bind the
> devices in the group to vfio-pci prior to starting the guest / assigning
> the device.
> Does that sound like a reasonable level of usability?

It sounds like an additional barrier to using vfio.  Let's not overlook
that places where libvirt allows pci-assign to attach individual
functions and vfio does not should be considered a bug in libvirt's ACS
enforcement.  vfio actually enables secure assignment by telling libvirt
the bounds of that isolation group whereas pci-assign requires libvirt
to figure out that out, so the only option it has is to require the user
to disable ACS checking altogether.  Just because pci-assign and libvirt
allow it doesn't mean that it's ok.  Thanks,


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